Local History

The Illinois Collection at Bloomington Public Library offers patrons resources to research family and local history. The collection contains books about McLean County, city directories, and more. The Pantagraph and other local newspapers dating back to the 1860s are available on microfilm. All resources are available for use when the library is open. For assistance in locating or working with any of the resources, please ask a librarian at the Adult Services Desk. 

Fragile or rare materials are housed in the Illinois Room Locked Case. This material is currently unavailable due to building project construction.

Bloomington Public Library offers online resources which give patrons access to articles and photos pertaining to local history. Genealogy assistance is also available. For more information or to make a request, please visit the Genealogy Assistance Request Form

African American Heritage

African American Heritage by Proquest logo

Search primary sources devoted specifically to African American family history. This resource also includes exclusive partnership with AfriGeneas -- a popular networking site devoted to African American genealogy -- for direct access to expert advice, moderated forums, chats, mailing lists, surname registry, and more. For more information please view this video on African American Heritage by ProQuest.

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America's News

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Explore and stay informed about local and national topics, people and events in areas such as business, health, education, jobs, careers, political issues, social issues and more with America's News. This resource features a wide variety of credible, vetted news sources spanning the United States, including The Pantagraph. Available remotely 24/7 on any device. Online tutorials are available. 

 

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Ancestry Library Edition

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With Ancestry Library Edition, patrons can access genealogical information using this popular resource which offers family history data for over 500 million names, census information for 1790-1930, city directories, military records, and much more. Online tutorials are available.

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ArchiveGrid

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Search for historical documents, personal papers and family histories held in archives throughout the world with ArchiveGrid.

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Black Freedom Struggles in the United States

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This curated collection features open primary source documents such as historical newspaper articles, pamphlets, diaries, correspondence and more from specific time periods in U.S. history marked by the opposition African Americans have faced on the road to freedom. This resource supports a wide range of students, from middle and high school to college, and anyone interested in learning more about the ongoing Black Freedom Struggle. No library card is required to access this collection.

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Black Life in America

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From Black-owned newspapers to mainstream publications, this primary source collection offers an expansive window into centuries of African American history, culture, and daily life-as well as the ways the dominant culture has portrayed and perceived people of African descent. Packed with information unavailable elsewhere, Black Life in America is updated daily and sourced from more than 19,000 American and global news sources, including over 400 African American publications. Access is available 24/7. Online tutorials are available.

 

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Bloomington-Normal City Directories (1854-1920)

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After partnering with McLean County Museum of History to house Bloomington Public Library's priceless collection of historical documents, the City Directory from 1854-1920 is now digitized and available for convenient access. Students, researchers, and community residents now have improved access to examine this treasure trove of material.

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Bloomington-Normal Local History

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Through Bloomington-Normal Local History, patrons can view selected images from Bloomington Public Library's Illinois Collection Picture File. These photos relate to the history of the City of Bloomington, the Town of Normal, McLean County, and the surrounding communities.

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Fold3

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Find stories, photos, documents, and military records for the men and women who served our country using this military genealogy database. Fold3 helps you discover and share stories of the everyday heroes, forgotten soldiers, and the families who supported them. Online tutorials are available. 

 

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HeritageHub

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Providing access to hundreds of years of obituaries and death notices from thousands of newspapers across the United States. This one-of-a-kind collection helps Patrons and family historians uncover new family members and understand family relationships on a deeper level than ever before. Online tutorials are available. 

 

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HeritageQuest

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This family history resource, HeritageQuest includes U.S. federal census information, family genealogies, local histories, tax lists, city directories, land and probate records, birth records, marriage records, death records, genealogical and local history serials, and more. Online tutorials are available. 

 

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Home Town in the Corn Belt

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The McLean County Museum of History recently digitized all five-volumes of "Home town in the Corn Belt" which debuted in late December of 1950. The volumes contain 171 articles with 39 biographical sketches and 52 poems relating to local history. With 132 authors contributing to the 1,740 pages, these collections offer a wealth of primary and secondary source material to support local history research. 

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Pantagraph Collection of Resources

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Bloomington Library offers multiple databases that offer a variety of access to The Pantagraph, a newspaper local to Bloomington, IL. Find full-text articles about local news, issues, events, people, images and more. Click View from Anywhere below to look through the different databases.

 

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Peoria Journal Star

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Find full-text articles about news, issues, events, people and more as you search Peoria Journal Star archives from 1991 - today. Articles from 2019 are available with text and images. The 2006-2020 blogs are also available. Updated daily, the archive includes obituaries, editorials, announcements, sports, real estate and more.

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Post Amerikan

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The Post Amerikan was Bloomington-Normal's underground alternative newspaper published from 1972 to 2004, making its 32 years the longest continuous publication run for any underground newspaper in America. This historic newspaper is now available online due to a collaboration between the McLean County Museum of History, owner of an archive of nearly all the Post Amerikan's 32-year-run of issues, and EIU's Booth Library.

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State Journal-Register

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Explore Springfield area history through local news, events, and people using the State Journal-Register Collection. Search current and archived issues with full-color newspaper pages, full-text articles, and content only published online. 

 

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USA Today

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From 1987 to the present, search for articles about news, issues, events, people, and more. From 2006 to the present, full issues of each paper are available. This database is updated daily.

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