Illinois became a state on December 3, 1818. One hundred years later, the University of Illinois Press opened its doors. The Press’s debut book, on Abraham Lincoln, marked the beginning of a remarkable union between the Prairie State and its premier scholarly publisher. In the hundred years since, the two have formed a double helix of intellectual inquiry dedicated to understanding our past and illuminating our present.
That commitment maintains with new books like Frank Cicero Jr.’s Creating the Land of Lincoln, a history of how three state constitutions helped create modern Illinois, and Ian Rocksborough-Smith’s Black Public History in Chicago, the untold story of an alliance of African American activists, educators, and organizations fighting for civil rights. UIP’s roster of journals bring short-form scholarship to our continuing mission via publications like the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Soceity and, to say nothing of collections like the Illinois History Reader, our forthcoming primer for exploring some lesser-known corners of the past.
And the present? Jillian M. Baez’s In Search of Belonging introduces us to Latinas making sense of media and their lives in a changing Midwest. Larry Bennett, Roberta Garner, and Euan Hague’s Neoliberal Chicago shows us what became of the Windy City and how it got that way, while Carol Mighton Haddix, Bruce Kraig, and Colleen Taylor Sen’s Chicago Food Encyclopedia serves up all you need to know about the City That Eats.
The future is also secure with an upcoming biography of Harold Washington and a history of the women’s-led digital arts revolution, while series like Latinos in Chicago and the Midwest and Heartland Foodways promise to expand what we know—and need to know—about the Prairie State’s diversity and dynamism.