Glen Ellyn

Historical Society

+1.630.469.1867

The History Center  800 N. Main St. Glen Ellyn, IL 60137

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The History of the Chicago Auto Show by Mitch Frumkin​

Saturday, January 20   2:00 p.m.

​Come learn about the history of the Chicago Auto Show from Mitch Frumkin, the Chicago Auto Show Historian and Archivist. First staged in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show is the largest auto show in North America. This year marks the 110th edition of the show. Enjoy a full-length video presentation that features a blend of vintage photographs, color film footage, period music and voices from more than 100 editions of the Chicago Auto Show. Audiences relive the debuts of legendary vehicles, displays of classic motorcars, American muscle and pony cars, imports from around the world, exotic supercars, futuristic dream cars and concept vehicles, legendary sports figures, political and show business celebrities, Broadway-style musical stage shows, and much, much more. While "car guys" -- and gals -- are bound to love this program, you will also see the entire 20th century unfold before your eyes, not just thru cars but through fashion, marketing, the effects of world events, and an evolving Chicago. Come enjoy a fascinating, and entertaining, afternoon. Cookies and coffee/tea/hot chocolate served. $5 Admission. Tickets available at the door. Doors open at 1 p.m.

Part of our Illinois Bicentennial Celebration Series


An Untold Lincoln Story:

Billy the Barber's Mirror: Reflecting on William de Fleurville's Friendship with Abraham Lincoln

by Glennette Tilley Turner

Saturday, February 3   2:00 p.m.

Note: The author and illustrator will have books for sale and be available for signing after the event.

Glennette Tilley Turner will provide a much needed, clear look at one of the most important people in the life of Abraham Lincoln: William de Fleurville, Lincoln's African American friend and barber. Mrs. Turner's wonderful glimpse into Billy the Barber's Mirror is a beginning examination of the constructive, but often ignored role, that Springfield, Illinois African Americans played in Lincoln's life. Well-known author Glennette Tilley Turner has written a wonderful children's book on this topic that has received enthusiastic media attention. This presentation will delve into the subject in greater depth for adults, but she will also have the children's book on hand that afternoon for sale and signing.

Richard E. Hart, Past President of the Abraham Lincoln Association, notes that Mrs. Turner paints the picture of a man, William de Fleurville (Billy the Barber), who undoubtedly influenced history through the shared insight, fellowship, and trust that exemplified his friendship with Abraham Lincoln. Born in Haiti in 1806, arriving in Springfield in 1831, and eventually establishing himself as a successful entrepreneur and community leader, de Fleurville became Lincoln's barber as well as his confidant and friend. This friendship lasted even after Lincoln left Springfield to become the 16th President. The two men remained fast friends until Lincoln's death in 1865. Mrs. Turner and the book's illustrator, Linnea Carlson, will be available to sign the book after the event. Refreshments. $6 Admission. Tickets available at the door.

Part of our Illinois Bicentennial Celebration Series


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, February 6   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


I Spy: Secrets of Secret Writing from Caesar through the Civil War

​Saturday, February 10    2:00 p.m.

Once upon a time, codes were primarily used for military intelligence. We paid little attention, but maybe as a kid you loved to write or talk in your own secret code. Well, today we are inundated with codes: numbers and letters that identify us, new types of coding from computer programs and gaming to phone apps, vehicles and home appliances. If you’re a puzzle fan or are dazzled by intrigue, this program will take you into the seemingly mysterious world of historical code writing and deciphering. You’ll be challenged to decipher secret messages from the earliest systems to the methods used by the North and South in the American Civil War. Who was more successful and why? What was the origin of the cipher used exclusively by espionage agent Elizabeth Van Lew, a Southern Lady, from Richmond, Virginia, who was an agent for General Butler and General Grant. I Spy is created and presented by Annette Baldwin, who became interested in early cryptography when she was researching and developing her first-person portrayal of Elizabeth Van Lew. Annette’s lectures, historical portrayals, and Readers Theater productions have been presented in 19 states. She has appeared at the National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C., as well as on the Chautauqua stages of New Hampshire, Maryland, Nevada, Colorado, Illinois and Missouri. If you love solving puzzles, you are sure to enjoy learning these secrets of historical coding, and you may even help solve a few that Annette will share with the audience. Refreshments. $6 Admission. Tickets available at the door.


GEHS Book Discussion Group: The Accidental President

Thursday, March 1   10:00 a.m.

The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months That Changed the World is a non-fiction book by A. J. Baime. This work is the dramatic, pulse-pounding story of Harry Truman’s first four months in office, when this unlikely president had to take on Germany, Japan, Stalin, and the atomic bomb, with the fate of the world hanging in the balance. Free! Everyone welcome


Maria Callas, portrayed by Maria Boundas Bakalis

Saturday, March 3   2:00 p.m.

Maria Callas was a Greek-American soprano born in New York City in 1923, and one of the most renowned and influential opera singers of the 20th century. This internationally acclaimed singer captivated audiences with her iconic opera performances, showing off her vocal range in productions like Tosca and Norma. Callas made her Italian opera debut at the Verona Arena in 1947, followed by her 1954 American debut in Norma. On September 16, 1977, Callas died in Paris of a heart attack.Maria Callas:  "I am not an angel and do not pretend to be. That is not one of my roles. But I am not the devil either. I am a woman and a serious artist, and I would like so to be judged.” Maria Boundas Bakalis is a Glen Ellyn resident and the founder of the Curtain Up Classroom school of acting, and has portrayed Maria Callas abroad at international festivals, as well as in the United States. You are in for a real treat! Refreshments served. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, March 6   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!

A Joyful Musical Tribute to Women's History: A Performance by Kristin Lems in Celebration of Women's History

The Once and Future Woman

Saturday, March 10   2:00 p.m.

​Enjoy this celebration of American women of all kinds in a moving portrait of the lives of those who struggled and those who survived. Stories too little told, with much to be remembered -- and unforgettable songs! Kristin Lems is a versatile composer, songwriter, folksinger and performing artist from Evanston. Equally at home before vast crowds or in small living rooms, Kristin has shared the stage with two First Ladies, Maya Angelou, Captain Jacques Cousteau, Gloria Steinem, Helen Caldicott, and Alan Alda. Musicians she has performed with include Pete Seeger, Tom Morello, Malvina Reynolds, Holly Near, Dan Fogelberg, Laura Love, Koko Taylor, Peter Paul and Mary, Michele Shocked, the BoDeans, Simon Townshend and many others. New Yorker magazine called Kristin "a charmer in the most literal and least artificial sense of the word." Gloria Steinem named Kristin "a one woman argument against the notion that the women's movement doesn't have a sense of humor." The Illinois Times said, "Kristin not only has a beautiful voice, clear, crisp and forceful, but she is a very creative and thoughtful lyricist." And of Kristin's performances, The Evansville Courier said, "the performance was simple yet substantive, humorous, yet poignant, and always energetic and warm." Come join us for a wonderful and engaging musical program! Refreshments served. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, April 3   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


GEHS Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Tuesday, April 10   6 p.m.

This dinner is an annual event to honor everyone who has volunteered at the Historical Society in the past year. Please R.S.V.P. to Karen Hall, director@gehs.org. There will be dinner at 6 p.m., followed by a wonderful program you are all sure to enjoy. Please contact Karen for more details. Volunteers are welcome to bring a spouse/partner/friend -- just include them in the R.S.V.P. Thank you!


​Rachel Carson: The Woman Who Launched the Environmental Movement portrayed by Leslie Goddard

Saturday, April 21    2:00 p.m.

Biologist and author Rachel Carson warned the world of the potentially dire environmental impact of chemical pesticides in her best-selling 1962 book, Silent Spring. In this brand-new living-history program, set in 1963, actress and historian Leslie Goddard portrays Carson as she discusses her childhood love for the living world, her passion for writing, and her work to awaken the world to the beauty and fragility of nature. Refreshments Served. $10 Adults, $8 GEHS Members, $5 Students 18 and under


​Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, May 1   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


GEHS Book Discussion Group: I Married the Klondike

Thursday, May 3   10:00 a.m.

I Married the Klondike is a memoir by Laura Beatrice Berton. In 1907, Laura Beatrice Berton, a twenty-nine-year-old kindergarten teacher, left her comfortable life in Toronto to teach in a rough Yukon mining town.   She quickly discovered why the town was nicknamed the "Paris of the North,” and fell in love with Dawson City. While thousands of people left the Klondike each October on the "last boat out" and the city slowly decayed around her, the author remained true to her northern home. Humorous, poignant and filled with stories of both drudgery and decadence, I Married the Klondike is a classic and enduring memoir by a brave and intelligent woman. Free! Everyone welcome


Happy Illinois Bicentennial Birthday Bash with Terry Lynch

Saturday, May 12   2:00 p.m.

On December 3, 2018, the great state of Illinois will be 200 years old! A birthday this monumental cannot go uncelebrated. The "Happy Illinois Bicentennial Birthday Bash” will discuss everything from Illinois’s early years, historical happenings, famous Illinoisans, as well as info on Illinois counties. And, of course, there will be birthday cake!  $6 Adults, $5 GEHS Members and students 18 and under


Part of our Illinois Bicentennial Celebration Series


Fifth Annual Vintage Auto Fest

Saturday, June 2   10 a.m. - 3 p.m.

Come out to our Vintage Auto Fest and see a great selection of antique and vintage vehicles. Enjoy delicious baked goods by Historical Society bakers. Tour Stacy's Tavern Museum. Shop at Stacy's Corners Store's annual sidewalk sale. Take your kids to our activity table for great coloring pages of vintage vehicles and more. This is a free event to the public. More information on registering your vehicle for the show will be coming in 2018.


Story Time

Tuesday, June 5   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join us for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


Cinderella: A Curtain Up Classroom Production

​Friday, June 8

Saturday, June 9

Sunday, June 10

Curtain Up Classroom will once again offer students, ages 6 thru high school, and adults, the opportunity to perform in a wonderful production of a beloved play, Cinderella. More details, including audition dates, coming!


Story Time 

Tuesday, July 3   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join us for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


GEHS Book Discussion Group: The Girls of Atomic City

Thursday, July 12   10:00 a.m.

The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win WWII is a work onon-fiction by Denise Kiernan. At the height of WWII, Oak Ridge, TN was home to 75,000 residents and consumed more electricity than New York City, yet it was shrouded in such secrecy that it did not appear on any map. Thousands of civilians, many of them young women from small towns across the U.S., were recruited, enticed by the promise of solid wages and war-ending work. This New York Times bestseller shares the incredible true story of the top-secret town of Oak Ridge and the young women brought there unknowingly to help build the atomic bomb. Free! Everyone welcome


Story Time 

Tuesday, August 7   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join us for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


Story Time

Tuesday, September 4    10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join us for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


GEHS Book Discussion Group: Friends Divided

Thursday, September 6   10:00 a.m.

Friends Divided: John Adams and Thomas Jefferson is a biography by Gordon S. Wood. Arguably no relationship in this country's history carries as much freight as that of John Adams of Massachusetts and Thomas Jefferson of Virginia. Jefferson and Adams could scarcely have come from more different worlds, or been more different in temperament. This is a dual biography of two of America's most enduringly fascinating figures, whose partnership helped birth a nation, and whose subsequent falling out did much to fix its course. Free! Everyone welcome


Smithsonian Museum Day Live!

Saturday, September 22   1:30 - 4:30 p.m.

The Glen Ellyn Historical Society partners with the Smithsonian Magazine for this annual event, where admission is free for two people to local museums on September 22, 2018. Just visit their website and download a free ticket, print it out or show it on your phone. This event is designed for individuals and families; we regret that we cannot schedule group tours for this event.


Tavern Day: A Living History Celebration of Stacy's Tavern Museum

Sunday, September 30   1:00 - 4:30 p.m.

Come see what life was like for the early settlers of Glen Ellyn, on the same spot where early residents lived! Try your hand at 1840's life. This event happens at Stacy's Tavern Museum and the surrounding grounds; park at the History Center at 800 N. Main St. More details to come!


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, October 2   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


GEHS Book Discussion Group: The Unexpected President

Thursday, November 1   10:00 a.m.

The Unexpected President: The Life and Times of Chester A. Arthur is a biography by Scott S. Greenberger. Despite his promising start as a young man, by his early fifties Chester A. Arthur was known as the crooked crony of New York. And after President James A. Garfield was shot in 1881, nobody expected Arthur to become a strong and effective president, courageous anti-corruption reformer, and early civil rights advocate. From the moment President Arthur took office, he proved to be not just honest but brave, going up against the very forces that had controlled him for decades. This biography tells the dramatic, untold story of a virtually forgotten American president.  Free! Everyone welcome


Christmas at Marshall Field's: A Leslie Goddard Program

Saturday, November 3   2:00 p.m.

​Come join Leslie Goddard for an illustrated lecture that will bring back many wonderful memories, and learn the history of the iconic building now inhabited by Macy's at State Street. For many Chicago area residents, no Christmas season was complete without a visit to Marshall Field and Co. We'll trace the store's holiday traditions, including the Walnut Room Christmas tree, the window displays, the toy department, and the Christmas catalogs. Ever have your photo taken with Santa in Cozy Cloud Cottage? Remember Uncle Mistletoe and Aunt Holly? A fun and fascinating look at one of Chicago's most beloved holiday traditions. Refreshments. Adults $10, GEHS Members $8, Students 18 and under $5.


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, November 6   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


Third Annual Gingerbread House Contest

Houses will be on display Saturday, December 1 from 4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

We are continuing our new holiday tradition with our third annual gingerbread house contest! This year, admission is free, but you must pre-register by Thursday, Nov. 29th at 5 p.m. by returning a completed entry form, either by mail, in person, or by email to director@gehs.org. There are awards for individuals and groups; for children, teens, and adults. Categories for Buildings include: Best Depiction of Glen Ellyn Building or Event, Best Depiction of Historical Building or Event, Best House for Dogs (or Other Companion Animals), Best House for Birds (or Wild Animals). The bases do not need to be edible (plywood is recommended), but all visible materials should be edible. For complete rules, email director@gehs.org or pick up a copy at the History Center.


Gingerbread and Candlelight: A Holiday Celebration for the Entire Family

​Saturday, December 1   4:00 - 7:00 p.m.

​Join the Historical Society in their third annual holiday celebration. Stacy's Tavern Museum will be open for candlelight tours. See the remarkable gingerbread houses from our third gingerbread house contest. Craft-making for kids...and adults too! Enjoy refreshments -- delicious cookies and hot chocolate/coffee/tea. Admission is $5 for adults; children are free with paid adult admission.​ Begin at the History Center, 800 N. Main St. in Glen Ellyn.


Story Time with Aunt Tillie

Tuesday, December 4   10:30 - 11:15 a.m.

Come join Aunt Tillie (Dr. Maria Bakalis from Curtain Up Classroom) for a wonderful story time. Story Time is geared to 2 - 5 year-olds, but everyone young at heart is welcome. Caregivers are asked to stay with their children for this special story and activity time. Free! No reservations required -- just come!


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Note: All events occur at the History Center at 800 N. Main St. Glen Ellyn, IL 60137 unless otherwise noted. Free parking is available at the building and on surrounding lots and streets. The History Center is wheelchair accessible and has wheelchair accessible restrooms.

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