Illinois Digital Heritage Hub

A Gateway to Illinois State History

The Illinois Digital Heritage Hub brings together unique digital cultural heritage resources from across Illinois. Explore collections immense in volume and rich in historical detail, including photographs, manuscripts, books, audio recordings, and videos. Established in 2015 by four institutions, the Chicago Public Library, the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, the Illinois State Library, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library, the content of the IDHH is made possible by a network of more than 150 partners from across the state, including dozens of institutions providing content through the Illinois Digital Archives and CARLI Digital Collections.

Illinois History

  • Sports

    Illinoisans participating in all kinds of sports throughout the years

  • Postcards

    Postcards throughout the ages featuring scenes and people from around Illinois

  • Art

    Illinois art collections and the people who enjoy them

  • Architecture

    Structures in Illinois that range from historic to modern, commercial to residential, rural to urban

  • Century of Progress

    Chicago's second world's fair celebrated the city and the nation's future, 1933-1934

  • Cherry Mine Disaster

    1909 deadly mining disaster spurred Illinois to create stronger mine safety legislation

  • Civil Rights

    Activism for voting rights, integration, and equal wages

  • Civil War

    Illinois' crucial roles in the US Civil War and contributions to the Union army

  • Columbian Exposition

    Chicago's first world's fair, hosted in 1892

  • Great Chicago Fire

    The 1871 fire that burned over three square miles of Chicago in three nights

  • Labor and Industry

    Labor, industry, and organization and advocacy for workers

  • Lincoln-Douglas Debates

    1858 debates for a US Senate seat drew national attention for their focus on slavery

  • Maps

    Illinois geography, geo-political boundaries, and infrastructure

  • Military History

    Documentation of Illinois and its military personnel in national and global conflicts

  • Protest Movements

    Historical protest movements with local and national impact

Notable Illinoisans

  • Richard J. Daley

    Six-term Mayor of the City of Chicago from 1955 until his death in 1976 and his family

  • George Pullman

    Industrialist who developed the “Pullman Sleeper” railroad sleeping car and founded the company town of Pullman

  • Jane Addams

    Social reformer, activist, Nobel Peace Prize winner. "The Mother of Social Work" founded Hull House in 1889

  • Frank Lloyd Wright

    Architect and designer whose well-known works include Prairie School houses, the Guggenheim Museum, and his personal estate and studio Taliesin

  • Gwendolyn Brooks

    The poet laureate of Illinois, one of the best known US writers, and the first African American poet to win the Pulitzer Prize

  • Stephen A. Douglas

    Known for the 1858 Lincoln-Douglas Debates, Douglas bested Lincoln for a seat in the US Senate

  • Ernest Hemingway

    Born and Raised in Oak Park. Journalist and author of "The Sun Also Rises", "The Old Man and the Sea", and his adventurous life

  • Mary G. Harris Jones

    Better known as Mother Jones, Irish-born school teacher, seamstress, labor organizer, activist, and self-described "hell-raiser"

  • Abraham Lincoln

    The Sixteenth US President who held seats in the Illinois and US Houses of Representatives

  • Mary Todd Lincoln

    First Lady of the US, wife of President Lincoln and witness to her husband's assassination

  • Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak

    The leader of the Sauk People more widely known as Black Hawk organized several campaigns against the US Military

  • Barack Obama

    The 44th President of the United States began his political career as a community organizer in Chicago

Illinois Communities

  • Chicago

    Illinois’ largest and North America’s fourth most populous city

  • Aurora

    The “City of Lights” is one of Illinois’ most populous

  • Naperville

    Home to one of the best-loved public libraries in the U.S.

  • Joliet

    Founded on one of the earliest European settlements in Illinois

  • Rockford

    Learn about the rich history of the Forest City

  • Springfield

    The Home of Lincoln and the Illinois state capitol

  • Elgin

    The Jewel of the Midwest has a long history of settlement since the pre-Columbian era

  • Peoria

    Peoria is known for museums and one of the oldest symphony orchestras in the U.S.

  • Champaign

    Home of Roger Ebert and the University of Illinois flagship campus

Collections by Format

  • Images

    An immense collection of images, including posters, postcards, portraits, and paintings

  • Text

    A wealth of textual documents, including historical newspapers and clippings, dime novels, and letters

  • Audio

    Sounds recordings include interviews and oral histories with civil rights activists, veterans, and scholars

  • Physical Objects

    Digitized physical artifacts, such as prehistoric tools and weapons, artwork, clothing, and jewelry

  • Video

    Videos include interviews with Illinois veterans, theatrical performances, lectures, historical footage, and more

IDHH Highlights Blog

Check out the IDHH Highlights blog for posts highlighting new contributors and collections as well as items relevant to certain holidays and current or historical events.

IDHH Exhibits Site

Check out the IDHH Exhibits site for digital exhibits that dig into topics important to Illinois History and relevant to current and historical events, featuring items curated from our collections that are immense in volume and rich in historical detail.