Christmas in Illinois
To purchase a copy of the book:
Christmas in Illinois
Saturday, November 27
Saturday, December 4
Morton Arboretum Bookstore
Saturday, December 11
The Book Stall
Tuesday, December 14
This book is about the holiday as remembered by Illinoisans. Some are widely familiar--John W. Allen, Gwendolyn Brooks, Sandra Cisneros, Mike Royko, Carl Sandburg, Joseph Smith -- but most are known only in their close-knit communities that together represent the very best of the Prairie State.
We learn here about the customs of Christmas from Chicago to Cairo, Belleville to Danville, before statehood to the present day, through hard times and good. Tales, poems, news reports, memoirs, recipes, and images are arranged in sections on Christmas in Illinois history, living traditions, songs and symbols, Christmas outdoors, eating merrily, and memories. We see how bright an occasion Christmas has been, and sometimes amusing, raucous, or even dark.
The collection's highlights include Chicago's Christmas tree ship, Peoria's Santa Parade, Rockford's Julotta service, a Victorian holiday in Bloomington, and Audubon's 1810 Christmas on the Cache River. Nature writers detail holiday bird-watching expeditions along the North Shore and in deepest southern Illinois. A letter from a member of the 130th Illinois Infantry captures Christmas Day 1863, and Jack McReynolds recalls West Frankfort's 1951 Orient Number Two mine disaster that thereafter haunted the holiday for him and many others.
The holiday table is not neglected, with traditional recipes for wild game, pickled herring, and all manner of Christmas cookies. A wide array of illustrations includes images of Chicago's grand State Street parade, the Santa Lucia celebration at Bishop Hill, Belleville's Santa Claus House, Millikin University's Vespers tradition, the University of Illinois madrigal singers, Studs Terkel singing songs of good cheer, and the holiday art of Edgar Rice Burroughs.
November 26: Author - James Ballowe Talks About His Book, Christmas In Illinois
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