Elijah Lovejoy Symposium


In the fall of 1997, the Illinois State Historical Library purchased the only extant copy of a handbill calling for an Illinois antislavery convention occurring on September 27, 1837. To commemorate the 160th anniversary of the document printed by Elijah Parish Lovejoy, the Illinois State Historical Library sponsored a scholarly symposium and exhibition on Elijah Lovejoy. That symposium, along with this Web Document, are a small part of an ongoing effort to make the collections of the Illinois State Historical Library more accessible to the public as well as to provide a public forum for scholarly discourse.

The scholarly symposium took place in the Hall of Representatives of the historic Old State Capitol located in Springfield, Illinois. Illinois State Historian Thomas Schwartz presided over a panel discussion of three scholars, followed by comments from a fourth. A final question and answer period along with a brief public reception capped the symposium. Along with the symposium, a display of materials from the collections of the Illinois State Historical Library illustrating the life of Elijah Lovejoy, African Americans in antebellum Illinois and the antislavery movement in Illinois ran from September 27 through November 30, 1997. Both the symposium and the display achieved the Illinois State Historical Library's goal of illustrating for the public the complex relations between race, culture, and politics throughout the course of Illinois history.

Symposium Participants

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