The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum will be hosting the 22nd Annual Conference on Illinois History Oct. 5-9 virtually. Session 18 on Oct. 8 will be a particularly interesting session, as it focuses on Edwards County: From Prairie to Progress: Women, the Land and Community in Edwards County, Illinois - Past and Present. 

There will be three presentations evolving around Edwards County: “Grace, Grit and Growth: Frontier Albion’s English Gentlewomen,” presented by Caroline Kisiel of DePaul University; “Women and Farming in Edwards County Today,” presented by Holly Spangler of Prairie Farmer magazine and Farm Progress, and lastly, “Pioneers on the Prairie: Albion’s Groundbreaking Women, Past and Present,” presented by Jessica Gwaltney, President of the Albion Area Chamber of Commerce and City of Albion Chowder.

Other topics - presented by a litany of knowledgable persons - throughout the conference will include Culture and Legacy of Native Americans in Illinois; Civil War and Remembrance in Illinois; The Politics of Art and Performance in Illinois History; Politics in Illinois, Equal Rights Amendment in Illinois; Reformers and Radicals in Illinois; Journalism and Illinois; Antebellum Illinois; The Built Environment and Memory in the Midwest; Women, Gender and Identity in Illinois History; Slavery and Freedom in Illinois; The Mythic Mississippi Project; The Politics of Race and Civil Rights in Illinois; Ethnicity and Immigration in Illinois; Baseball in Illinois; Practicing Public History in Illinois; Corruption and Reform in Illinois, the Civil War Era in Illinois; a African Americans in Law Enforcement round table; a Civil War Soldier Culture round table; “Reimagining the Illinois State Museum” speech; “Local History for Our Times” speech and various teacher workshops with a vast array of topics to include, but not limited to, the 1919 Race Riots, Bringing History to Life and Political Cartoons to Understand History.

Registration is required for each session, but you can register for as many as you like for free. If interested, registration links are available at After registration, you will receive an email with a link to join the session. Instructions will be provided.

You may also support Research Division programs like the Conference on Illinois History by making a tax-deductible donation to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library Foundation.

If you have any questions about the conference, please contact Jacob Friefeld at [email protected] or call 217-558-0128.

For teachers, the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum Education Department provides 1.5 Continuing Professional Development Units (CPDUs) for each concurrent or plenary session and teacher workshop (1.25 CPDUs will be offered for each plenary speaker during the Conference on Illinois History). A teacher who attends all conference events will receive 31 CPDUs.

According to the Library’s webpage, in order to receive CPDU credit, teachers must complete a time-sensitive “sign in” process when they enter a session and submit an evaluation for each session attended. One certificate will be issued at the end of the conference for each teacher, which will include the total hours awarded and a record of sessions attended. If you have any questions, please contact the Education Department at [email protected].

For more Illinois history, The Anti-Slavery Movement in Illinois in-person forum will be held on Nov. 14 at The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library, with a suggested reading of Gateway to Freedom: The Hidden History of the Underground Railroad by Eric Foner. All discussions begin at noon and are free and open to the public, and bringing your lunch is advisable. For more information, please call 217-785-9132.

For more information on the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, the Library’s website states, “the Library is a multi-faceted educational institution that offers a variety of instructional and cultural programming for visitors of all ages…At times the Library’s atrium is transformed into an exhibit hall that showcases materials from the Library’s collections…[which includes] all aspects of Illinois history, including an extensive Civil War collection and strong offerings on slavery and abolition, early settlement, church and community histories, and Illinois coal mining.”