History and Social Studies Teachers

History and Social Studies Teachers

You can bring history home by looking at the artwork and reading the stories of women artists who lived in Illinois between 1840 and 1960. The artwork these women made may well capture the imagination of your students. Tell the stories--what life was really like-- using the work of artists from your community and nearby Illinois locales.

Look at the sitters' clothing and the objects assembled around them in portraits by Chicagoans Pauline Palmer and Macena Barton. Note the interiors in the paintings of Frances Badger and Jean Crawford Adams, the street scenes of Rowena Fry (such as “Rush Street” featuring Club Alabam), and those of Adele Fay Williams, who renders scenes of Joliet.

If there are women artists who lived in your town or area of the state, their works and experiences might personalize history for your students. We can help you locate them. Send us an email telling us your Illinois town, and we’ll find the artist who is nearest to you. Then you can go to the Artists section of our website to learn what we’ve found out about her. You may want to do a little digging to learn more about her and her time period. Check out our Timeline also.

Seeing the Sites

You’ll find information and resources about Illinois art, history and writing at the sites listed below. Check our Links page also. Be sure to look for facts, historical descriptions, and ideas at your local historical society, art center and library. Libraries have often been repositories for local artists’ works. Visit the artist’s home and places she frequented if they are still standing.

Illinois Historical Materials
Collections of historical materials, including post cards and photographs, from towns throughout Illinois.

Illinois Women’s Suffrage
From an essay of the Brief History of Woman Suffrage in Illinois to a list of historic sites in Illinois and oral histories featuring 56 Chicago architects.

Illinois Representational Art
A list of essays and arts organizations concerned with Illinois representational art history at the Traditional Fine Arts Organizations.

19th and Early 20th Century Life in Illinois
Illinois State Museum’s At Home in the Heartland website about family life in Illinois including timelines, maps, objects, people, and teacher resources.

A Guide to the History of Illinois by John Hoffman
In his book, A Reader’s Guide to Illinois Literature, editor Robert Bray notes that “Illinois regional literature is crammed with social history. It represents the works and days of common folk and insists upon drawing its scenes and portraits realistically, with carefully reproduced dialect, with foibles, superstitions, and peculiar mannerisms, with evangelistic religion, frontier politics, and democracy and lawlessness.”

Illinois Women in 1868
On to Victory: Propaganda Plays of the Woman’s Suffrage Movement. Catharine Waugh McCulloch wrote a play about the status of Illinois women in 1868.

Federal Writers’ Project
Manuscripts from the Federal Writers’ Project‘s Life Histories from Illinois.