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Illinois Memoirs: Our Story and Your Opportunity

Illinois Memoirs: Our Story and Your Opportunity

Sun Aug 19 14:00:00 2018

To continue the celebration of the Bicentennial of Illinois, the Museum, in partnership with Bloomington Public Library, are pleased to host author and literary and cultural historian John Hallwas, for a program exploring fascinating memoirs by Illinoisans throughout its 200 year history. This free, public program will be held in the Community Room at Bloomington Public Library on Sunday, August 19 at 2:00 p.m.

Illinois’s monumental literary heritage is particularly rich in autobiographies and memoirs, including the first noted autobiography from the Midwest (Chief Black Hawk’s), the most famous memoir associated with the Civil War (Ulysses S. Grant’s), and one of the most celebrated autobiographies by an American woman (Jane Addams’s Twenty Years at Hull House), among many others. Such works often address issues of identity and belonging, which are as crucial today as ever. Because of the rapidity of cultural change, personal accounts that offer perspectives on life in particular places, families, communities, and occupations at various points in the past (even the recent past) are increasingly valuable.

In this presentation, Hallwas will explore selections from these memoirs and more. He will then lead the members of the audience in a discussion of contributions that they might make by writing memoirs, editing collections of short memoirs by local residents, or reading and discussing Illinois memoirs as a group. He hopes his presentation will foster local public efforts to read and write about the Illinois experience in its many dimensions in conjunction with the state’s Bicentennial

Literary and cultural historian John Hallwas was born and raised in Illinois. He has published books and articles on some 90 Illinois authors and has written extensively on Illinois-related topics such as frontier life, small-town experience, outlaws, women’s responses to social challenges, and the culture of Western Illinois. Hallwas taught English for 34 years at Western Illinois University and is now a distinguished professor emeritus. Since his retirement from WIU, Hallwas is a member of the Illinois Humanities Council’s “Road Scholars” program. In 2015, Hallwas received the Cultural Achievement Award from the City of Macomb for his work as a writer, speaker, and cultural leader. In May of 2018, he also received a lifetime achievement award for his contributions to the preservation and appreciation of Illinois state history from the Illinois State Historical Society.

This program is sponsored by a grant from Illinois Humanities. Illinois Humanities is supported in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the Illinois General Assembly [through the Illinois Arts Council, a state agency], as well as by contributions from individuals, foundations, and corporations.

For more information about this program, please contact the Education Department via email at education@mchistory.org or by telephone 309-827-0428.


Sunday, August 19, 2018
2:00 pm



McLean County Museum of History 200 North Main Bloomington IL 61701 3098270428

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