Chautauqua: An American Icon

The second lecture of the 2024 Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series will be presented on Thursday, April 18 at 7 in the evening in Farley’s Music Hall, 37 Mill Street, Elsah, Illinois.

The lecture, Chautauqua: An American Icon will be given by Tim Tomlinson, a past president of Historic Elsah Foundation and the Chautauqua Historical Society. Tomlinson has lectured locally and nationally on the topic of Chautauqua as an American social and cultural movement. He is the author of The Western Chautauqua: A History of New Piasa Chautauqua.

This year, 2024, is the 150th anniversary of the founding of the “Mother Chautauqua” in western New York State. The local Great River Road Chautauqua, a “sister Chautauqua” founded in 1885, will be conducting its 139th season. Tomlinson’s lecture will define the Chautauqua Movement for historic and contemporary context, looking for ideas that explain a continued relevance in a sesquicentennial year.

The Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series is a major contribution of Historic Elsah Foundation to the understanding of local history. The Series is underwritten, in part, by Liberty Bank of Alton, Illinois, by Federal Steel of East Alton, Il, by anonymous donors, and by the membership of Historic Elsah Foundation.

The presentation is free and open to the public, free parking is ample and available. The lecture is also available virtually. To join the lecture virtually, register below:

Meeting Mike: Mammoth or Mastodon

The first lecture of the 2024 Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series was presented on Thursday, March 21, at 7:00 in the evening in Farley’s Music Hall, 37 Mill Street, Elsah, Illinois. 

The lecture, Meeting Mike: Mammoth or Mastodon, was given by Andrew Martin, Professor of Archaeology and Anthropology at Principia College.

Some years ago, the partial skeletal remains of a Wooly Mammoth were discovered on the Principia campus. Nicknamed “Benny” after the worker who first came across the remains, the Mammoth was an important part of the college curriculum, ending with a major exhibit in one of the college’s science buildings. Now comes “Mike,” an ivory tusk recently uncovered like “Benny,” by chance, and once again an opportunity for student learning. Andrew Martin leads the effort at the college, in cooperation with Illinois State Museum staff. His lecture described what’s happened to date, and where the “Dig” is going.

Here is a recording of the lecture:

The Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series is a major contribution of Historic Elsah Foundation to the understanding of local history. The Series is underwritten, in part, by Liberty Bank of Alton, Illinois, by Federal Steel of East Alton, Il, by anonymous donors, and by the membership of Historic Elsah Foundation. 

The Village of Elsah Museum Announces 2024 Photography Exhibit

We are happy to announce that the following Photographers have had one to three photographs accepted into the 2024 Photography Competition and Exhibit. The Exhibit opens April 6, 3-4pm, a Saturday, at the Elsah Village Museum, 26 Lasalle Street, Elsah, Il. Awards will be announced during the opening Reception and Awards Event at that time. The public, as well as friends and family of the entrants are invited to attend.

Joan Baker
Jennifer Bunting
Marion Gower
Melissa Johnston
Dan Kistler
Michael Matney
Marty McKay
Sam Odhiambo 
Rosa Renner
Carolyn Schlueter
Jeffrey Vaughn
Suzanne Vogel
Ray Watsek
Andrew Webb

We hope you’ll congratulate these creative individuals! They entered their images under one of two themes: Native Species, or Historical Abstraction. Some of them entered both categories. We’re delighted with their enthusiasm and creativity! Thirty outstanding images will make up a memorable exhibit! Photos will be on display at the museum, thru June 30.

Their images have been sent on to Carmen Troesser, the juror, who will determine the awards: Best of Show ($500, + a stay at Green Tree Inn), First ($250), Second ($100), and Third Place ($50) winners. The sponsors of awards, funding, and support come from the Historic Elsah Foundation, The Elsah Museum, The Village of Elsah, Green Tree Inn, and Inspiring Wooded Cottage.

Troesser is an editor and lifestyle photographer based in the Midwest. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in painting and graduated with a Master’s Degree in photojournalism from the University of Missouri in 1993. Troesser travels for assignments from her Chicago home base. In 2022 she was the Winner of the Julia Margaret Cameron Award. https://www.carmentroesser.com

Photo above by Dan Kistler, “Join Me,” 2023, manipulated processes.

Join the Elsah Museum Photography Competition for 2024

Announcing the 2024 Elsah Photography Competition. The submission deadline of January 6, 2024, is fast approaching. Please see the information page on Historic Elsah Foundation’s webpage for specifics on the competition’s two themes, entry requirements, etc. We are looking forward to your entries! And we are grateful to donors for their generous contributions making substantial prizes available in 2024.

Tuskegee Airmen: Brothers in Arms, by Professor John Williams

The concluding lecture of the 2023 Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series was presented on Thursday, October 19, at 7 pm in Farley’s Music Hall, 37 Mill Street, Elsah, Illinois.

The lecture, Tuskegee Airmen: Brothers in Arms, was given by John Williams, former president and professor of Political Science at Principia College. Williams is well-known as a popular and entertaining speaker on the local lecture circuit, a lawyer, journalist, and experienced world traveler.

The Tuskegee Airmen all-black squadron was formed in January 1941, and trained at segregated Tuskegee Army Air Field in Tuskegee, Alabama, months before American entrance into World War II. The Airmen were fighter pilots, later bomber pilots, active in the Mediterranean, Italian, and southern France campaigns. Williams will tell the story of Arnold and George Cisco, brothers growing up in Jerseyville and graduates of Jersey Township High School in the 1930s. Highly decorated, they died tragically in military accidents after the war.

The Hosmer-Williams Lecture Series is a major contribution of Historic Elsah Foundation to the understanding of local history. The Series is underwritten, in part, by Liberty Bank of Alton, Illinois, by anonymous donors, and by the membership of Historic Elsah Foundation.

Pictured: George and Arnold Cisco. Photo credits: Irene Cisco