The Times
newspaper in Ottawa, Illinois, interviewed James Ballowe about his new book Christmas in Illinois.

Cover for BALLOWE: Christmas in Illinois. Click for larger imageQ. How did you gather the writings and photos?

A. I made perhaps a hundred personal contacts around the state, partially by telephone or e-mail, but often by driving to archives or communities from Metropolis to Chicago. Others who heard about the book from stories about my search sent me unsolicited material to consider. Richard Klemp of Seneca was one of those whose story I used. He heard about the book from a column Lonny Cain (The Times managing editor) wrote of my search during the summer of 2008, I believe. Historical material came mainly from archives throughout the state. I also solicited essays and images from people I knew who had a special understanding of Christmas representative traditions in their communities.

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