Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission Collection


Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission Collection


Illinois. Sesquicentennial Commission
Special events
Newman, Ralph Geoffrey, 1911-1998


The Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission was created in 1965 by the 74th Illinois General Assembly to commemorate the 150th anniversary of statehood in 1968. Several events took place across the state as part of the celebration including ceremonies at historic sites, performances, and the placement of a time capsule on top of the John Hancock Center. Several celebrities with ties to Illinois participated in the production of a television show, I Remember Illinois, and a film, Tomorrow is a Day. The commission also produced a commemorative medallion and booklet.

Photographs in this collection images of the members of the Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission, commission events, Illinois historic sites and landmarks, and celebrities participating in commission activities. Also included are several photographs of the first Special Olympics which took place at Soldier Field in 1968.

The finding aid for the Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission Records, 1965-1969 at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library may be found at



Collection Items

Otto Kerner and Ralph G. Newman
Illinois Governor Otto Kerner and Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission Chairman Ralph G. Newman look at a folder during a meeting of the Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission in Champaign.

Mahalia Jackson on I Remember Illinois
Mahalia Jackson stands in the choir area of an unidentified church while recording a performance for the Illinois Sesquicentennial television special, I Remember Illinois. The special aired on February 18, 1968.

Charlton Heston Narration
Charlton Heston records the narration for the film Tommorow is a Dayhonoring the Illinois Sesquicentennial.

John Hancock Center Dedication
Members of the Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission stand with Governor Otto Kerner under the John Hancock Center's space capsule-themed time capsule and a signed I-beam prior to installation on the roof of the building. Several construction workers…

Everett Dirksen Performs State Song
United States Senator Everett M. Dirksen reads from a piece of sheet music containing the Illinois state song.

First Pitch
Illinois Sesquicentennial Chairman Ralph Newman throws out the first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game during which Illinois' Sesquicentennial was honored.

Paul Douglas at New Salem
A young boy watches as a film crew records United States Senator Paul Douglas speaking with an unidentified man in front of a log cabin at New Salem.

Illinois Readers Theatre Performers
Members of Northern Illinois University's Readers Theatre pose for a photograph with the Illinois Sesquicentennial logo.

Abbey Lincoln Receives Sesquicentennial Coin
On verso: "Home State Honor - goes to Chicago born actress-singer Abbey Lincoln in recognition of her portrayal of the title role of the current movie hit "For Live of Ivy." James W. Howard, chairman of the Chicago Sesquicentennial committee…

Illinois Readers Theatre
Members of the Illinois Readers Theatre at Northern Illinois University pose on risers with binders in their hands in front of the Illinois Sesquicentennial logo.

World's Columbian Exposition Diamond Jubilee Celebration
Men and women in period dress meet with Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission chairman Ralph G. Newman.

World's Coumbian Exposition Ferris Wheel Model
On verso: "General manager Richard Ferris and Ralph Newman, chairman, Illinois Sesquicentennial Commission admire the chocolate Ferris wheel made by pastry chef Heinz Zache honoring the Chicago 1893ers participating in a Diamond jubilee held at the…

Youth Baseball Players at White Sox Game
Several youth baseball players stand along Comiskey Park's third base line listening to a speaker at a Chicago White Sox Game.

Special Olympics Awards Podium
Two female Special Olympics althletes pose with a man in a suit while standing on the awards podium wearing their medals. The inaugural Chicago Special Olympics took place at Soldier Field in 1968.

Richard Daley Receives Special Olympics Certificate
Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley receives an Honorary Chairman certificate from Special Olympics athlete Kevin O'Brien as Eunice Kennedy Shriver and two unidentified individuals look on. Chicago hosted the first Special Olympics games at Soldier Field…
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