Tara McAndrew McClellan


COURTESY OF SPECIAL COLLECTIONS RESEARCH CENTER, UNIVERSITY OF CHICAGO LIBRARY

2020 is the 75th anniversary of America dropping atomic bombs on Japan to end World War II. Without Illinois, there wouldn’t have been nuclear medicine, nuclear power or nuclear weapons.

Prairie politicians didn't let challenges, like rules, get in their way, historians say.

Part 1: Radium poisoning took the lives of perhaps thousands of female factory workers, many in Ottawa, Illinois, in the last century.

Updating history 

This year is the centennial of America’s entry into World War I. Most stories about the war focus on the fighting overseas, but there was another struggle taking place. An American icon from Illinois helped lead that battle and, for a time, paid for it with her reputation.   

Because Illinois is a northern state and the former home of Abraham Lincoln, it isn’t typically associated with slavery. But there was slavery in Illinois for more than 100 years.

Even after Illinois entered the Union, loopholes in its laws allowed the practice to continue, making the future Land of Lincoln a quasi-slave state. 

In many states, including Illinois, Abraham Lincoln's February twelfth birthday is a holiday. But it's not in others. The federal government has never declared it a national holiday, despite one man's lifelong efforts.