Posts Tagged ‘Elmhurst Historical Foundation’

. . .  in the 1844 presidential campaign with the lithographic printing process.

Sign of the Times: The Great American Political Poster 1844-2012*

On a cloudy, cold Saturday at the end of March, snow flurries and gray skies dampening one’s spirit, I opted to head over to a small but significant history museum hidden in plain sight. I checked with the Antler Man to see if he wanted to meet me there. He did.

The Elmhurst History Museum sits in the historic Glos Mansion, just steps from the train station and the downtown business district of Elmhurst.


We parked and walked through the portico, climbed the steep steps to heavy, wooden doors and were greeted by a museum volunteer who welcomed us, handed us a brochure, and told us to enjoy the exhibit and museum, which we promptly and enthusiastically did.

This is an extraordinary exhibit with 50 outstanding reproductions of presidential campaign posters spanning two centuries, and reflecting the politics, printing and artistic techniques of their times. There is also a large collection of campaign buttons on display – and a voting booth in which to vote for certain posters with plastic chips.

I was especially excited as I finally got into the Oval Office.

These campaign posters reflected the decades they represented, as well as the candidates and campaigns, from all political parties, as well as artists and techniques of their eras. Jamie Wyeth to Alexander Calder and Ron English are among famous artists represented, but, there are “insiders and outsiders” represented as well.













If you live in the Chicago area, or are visiting, I highly recommend this exhibit. If not, this is a traveling exhibit which might be coming to a museum near you, which brings me to your own hometown or area. There are so many small museums, often in historical homes or buildings, established by local citizens and societies who have endeavored to save their town’s history, stopped bulldozers, steadfastly raised funds and lobbied locally elected officials. Whether a one room schoolhouse, a gristmill, a windmill, a factory or a farmhouse, these museums are treasure troves of local history and reflections of who we were and are.

Do you have a small but significant exhibit near you?


* title of exhibit at the Elmhurst History Museum, March 29 to April 28, 2019




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DSCN1144When I first heard that Leslie Goddard would be portraying Jackie Kennedy at a fundraising event in February, I eagerly set about gathering a circle of women to share a table. The event was a benefit for the Elmhurst Heritage Foundation, which supports the Elmhurst Historical Museum and the Churchville Schoolhouse, both of which celebrate local history.

I first saw Leslie Goddard last winter when she portrayed one of my favorite authors, Louisa May Alcott. I knew she would capture the essence of the former first lady of the United States. She did not disappoint.

It was fun to meet up with those sharing my table, and see so many women I haven’t seen in a long while. Many wore pill box hats, suits, and outfits reflecting the 1960’s and the brief years of the Kennedy administration.

I didn’t wear a hat, or gloves, or a suit, but I did wear several strands of pearls around my neck, pearl earrings and a vintage brooch at my lapel.

The tea was outstanding; savories and sweets filled our plates and satisfied our palates as we sipped tea, chatted, and waited for Jackie to arrive.

When she did, in a red suit, pill box hat, and signature wide-brimmed sunglasses, I felt myself taken back, 50 years, to the days of my youth, watching the black and white television tour of the White House with Mrs. Kennedy, who was bringing its history alive. I remembered how glamorous I though Jackie Kennedy was and how she influenced fashion of the time in her classic manner. I recalled how we all bought mantillas to wear on our heads to church and how I wanted to learn more of our nation’s history and furnishings. Of course, as Ms. Goddard spoke of that fateful day in Texas, I remembered the assassination of JFK, of how sad and frightening those days in November, 1963 were, and of Jackie’s quiet, graceful dignity that helped us all through, in spite of her grief and her trauma.

What a elegant afternoon it was. How fortunate I was to share it with friends and family. How amazing it is to have such talented historians as Ms. Goddard, who bring history alive in such meaningful ways.

I wish you could have been us, dear reader. I really do.


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