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Somethin' to Write Home About: Introduction

An exhibit featuring letters from the Regional History Center Collections

Somethin' to Write Home About

“Somethin’ to Write Home About: Letters from the Regional History Center Collections” Exhibit

The written word is enduring. When ink is put to paper an individual’s fleeting thoughts become a lasting record of the past. While not every composed statement is highly profound, when analyzed in context a simple sentence provides framework of the author’s experience. Such experiences can be woven together to create a historical snapshot of times passed. “Somethin’ to Write Home About” examines the impact of both mundane daily activities and extraordinary historical events on  the residents of the northern Illinois region through their written words.  Letters date as far back as the 1850s with topics including the military, college life, Northern Illinois University, and family life. 

The physical exhibit, which was curated in conjunction with American Archives Month, is open to the public and will be on display in the foyer of Founders Memorial Library (Northern Illinois University) until the end of October 2010.


This exhibit was created by the staff of the Regional History Center, a unique component of the Northern Illinois University’s commitment to education, research, and public service.The Center’s goal is toacquire, preserve, and make available to the public the most significant historical records of the northern Illinois region.  The Center actively collects historical material from the 18 northernmost counties of Illinois, excluding Cook.  Since 1964 the Center has evolved from a small university archive to a multifaceted research center containing three related sets of historical records available to researchers: Regional Collections, University Archives, and Local Governmental Records.

All images of this exhibit issued by the Regional History Center/ University Archives of Northern Illinois University. Property rights in the collection belong to the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public. The user is responsible for copyright issues. Permission for use of this image for ANY reason other than educational purposes should be obtained by contacting the Center’s staff. Credit line should read Regional History Center, Northern Illinois University.

The Regional History Center, in conjunction with Northern Illinois University’s Media Services Imaging Department, produces print reproductions made from high-resolution scans of original source material from its holdings. These custom orders are done for a small fee. Please contact us with any questions: 815-753-1779.