SPRINGFIELD — How about some Abraham Lincoln under the Christmas tree this year? Or a charming children’s book for someone’s stocking? Maybe someone you love would enjoy colorful art that carries them back to the Illinois of 150 years ago.
Illinois historic sites offer an array of gift items.
The Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum recently issued a book celebrating the 125th anniversary of the state’s historical library. “Treasures of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library” overflows with pictures of gems in the state’s collection, from the Gettysburg Address to rare maps to amusing ads.
Although the book offers only a glimpse of the presidential library’s vast collection, it captures the incredible, quirky variety of what is available to both serious scholars and curious tourists.
“Treasures” is available at the Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s gift shop and on the website of Southern Illinois University Press, www.siupress.com. The hard cover edition costs $39.50; the soft cover is $22.50.
Another new Lincoln item is a sampling of editorial cartoons compiled from the presidential library’s collection. “Lincoln in Cartoons” features 30 period cartoons, many of them sharply critical of Lincoln, then a divisive figure in a nation tearing itself apart. Lincoln is portrayed as a giant overrun by tiny people seeking government jobs, a demonic figure writing the Emancipation Proclamation, an acrobat balancing anti-slavery against political pressure, and an old woman enjoying tea while the war rages on.
About half the cartoons, all of which are printed on postcards, are on display in the Lincoln Presidential Museum, while the others are rarely seen drawings from the library’s files. Each postcard can be detached, stamped and mailed, and each bears a brief explanation of the editorial cartoon it features.
“Lincoln in Cartoons” is available at the Lincoln Presidential Museum’s gift shop or the shop’s website, http://shop.alplm.org, for $14.99.
The Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum also has a new catalog full of color photos from its groundbreaking exhibition, “Undying Words: Lincoln 1858-1865.”
The catalog, $9.99 online or at the gift shop, includes the text of Lincoln’s greatest speeches, as well as essays explaining their impact. It also features pictures of the documents and about half of the artifacts in the show, connecting readers with his struggles: a whip used on slaves, the pen Lincoln used to sign the printed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, the bed where he died.
The Illinois Historic Preservation Agency’s sites go beyond Lincoln.
In Henry County, there’s the Bishop Hill State Historic Site, which tells the story of Swedish immigrants who founded the town as a religious colony in 1846. Decades later, artist Olof Krans looked back at his childhood and produced amazing paintings of life in the rural village.
A new book, “The Art of Olof Krans: A Prairie Vision,” looks at his career from beginning to end and includes photos of nearly all his paintings – men and women working together in the fields, children tending cattle as a storm blows in, portraits of stern Swedish settlers.
The Bishop Hill Heritage Association sells it for $27 at http://bishophillheritage.org. It can also be found at the Peoria Riverfront Museum, which has mounted a major exhibition of Krans’ work.
The Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site’s Sumac Shop always offers a bonanza of items about the house and its legendary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. The choices include jewelry and scarves with Wright motifs, books about the house and its beautiful design, and Wright-inspired decorations, vases and even Legos.
Visit www.sumacshop.com to see the full range of what’s available.
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site also offers a wide range of gifts, many of them with Native American themes — jewelry, pottery, baskets, Inuit ivory figures and more. Books tell the story of the huge mounds and the Mississippian culture that built them 1,000 years ago. Posters illustrate the site and the artifacts found there over the decades. Videos help bring the past to life.
Visit www.cahokiamounds.org to see some of what the gift shop carries.
A different kind of gift is available through the Old State Capitol State Historic Site. The foundation that assists the historic site is launching plans to dramatically upgrade and beautify the grounds of the building where Abraham Lincoln once served.
To raise money for “Growing Lincoln’s Legacy,” the Old State Capitol Foundation is offering the chance to make a donation in the name of a friend or loved one, who will then get a beautiful certificate and special access to Old State Capitol events in 2015.
A gift of $50 includes a special tour that will discuss the grounds and explain the improvement plan. A donation of $150 entitles a loved one to two tickets for a private tour focusing on the history of the site grounds and the 2018 design. Donating $500 gets someone two tickets to “Canapés at the Capitol,” an elegant lawn party scheduled for Sept. 5.
Call (217) 622-5279 for details.
NOTE: This article was submitted to AdVantage News by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency. To submit your press releases and photos, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit http://advantagenews.com/contact-us.