Events & Exhibits


Chicago’s Black Metropolis

Highland Park Historical Society presents ‘Chicago’s Black Metropolis’, focusing on African-Americans whose energy and ingenuity helped Chicago become the commercial and  cultural  center of the American Midwest. The program will be held in the auditorium of the Highland Park Public Library, 494 Laurel Avenue, at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, February 19, 2019.           The program was initially presented to an audience in Paramaribo, Suriname in 2013 by Highland Park Historical Society Board Member Jeff Stern at the request of his daughter, who was then the Public Affairs Officer at the U.S. Embassy there.

Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair, an Illinois Bicentennial Project

Come join us as the Highland Park Historical Societys' own Catherine Lambrecht dishes on her book, Family Heirloom Recipes from the Illinois State Fair, an Illinois Bicentennial Project. The book is based on Cathy’s work through The Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance, and was also inspired by her own family’s heirloom recipes. Since 2009, Greater Midwest Foodways has sponsored and judged Family Heirloom Recipes contests in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Ohio, Minnesota, Missouri, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Cathy has compiled many of the winning recipes from 1950 or earlier, along with their histories, in what many are already considering a landmark book. “If nothing else, should this book inspire you to document a family favorite recipe to share with loved ones, then we have accomplished our mission,” Cathy says. 

World War II: The Defense of Bastogne, Fourth Annual Veterans Roundtable

The 101st Airborne Division's heroic denial of the crucial Belgian transportation hub of Bastogne to attacking German forces during the Battle of the Bulge and the charging advance of elements of General George S Patton Jr's US Third Army to break the enemy encirclement have entered legendary status in military history. Less recognized was the stubborn resistance by overwhelmed infantry and armored units at key road junctions in Belgium and Luxembourg. Without their willingness to sacrifice all in holding their ground, the defense of Bastogne would have never happen. Join battlefield expert Robert Mueller in reviewing individual contributions to defeat Hitler's 1944 Winter Offense.

200 Objects that Made History in Lake and McHenry Counties

Every artifact tells a story.  Learn about the history of Lake County through the artifacts featured in the new book 200 Objects that Made History in Lake and McHenry Counties.  Debbie Fandrei, curator of the Raupp Museum in Buffalo Grove and project manager for the book, will show pictures and share stories of 30 of the different artifacts, ranging from a mammoth bone to a 1940s football. She will also talk about the collaboration between 23 different museums which produced the book. Members of the Deerfield, Highland Park and Highwood Historical Societies will offer complimentary local history to this program.

Leopold and Loeb Files: An Intimate Look at One of America’s Infamous Crimes

          In 1924, University of Chicago students Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb were young, rich, and looking for a thrill. The crime that came next--the brutal, cold-blood murder of 14-year-old Bobby Franks--would come to captivate the country and unfold into what many dubbed the crime of the century. As the decades passed, the mythology surrounding the unlikely killers continued to capture the interest of new generations, spawning numerous books, fictionalizations, and dramatizations.          In The Leopold and Loeb Files, author Nina Barrett returns to the primary sources--confessions, interrogation transcripts, psychological reports, and more--the kind of rare, pre-computer court documents that were usually destroyed as a matter of course. Until now, these documents have not been part of the murder's central narrative. This first-of-its-kind approach allows readers to view the case through a keyhole and look past all of the stories that have been spun in the last 90 years to focus on the heart of the crime.

High and Dry on the North Shore

The Highland Park Historical Society and Highwood Historical Society jointly present ‘High and Dry on the North Shore,” by Bill Savage. When the 18th Amendment was enacted in 1919, the fifth-largest industry in the United States became illegal.  While many parts of the country (including, famously, many north-of-Chicago suburbs) were already legally “Dry,” Prohibition changed the political and moral landscape of the nation, introducing intrusive federal law enforcement, a new kind of organized crime, and the “scofflaw.”  In this talk, Bill Savage will discuss how the politics of Temperance, and the battle between Wets and Drys, exposes rifts in American identity (and American food-and-drink culture) that still resonate today.  Using George Ade’s The Old-Time Saloon as a guide, he will explore Prohibition historian Daniel Okrent’s not-so-rhetorical question: “How the Hell Did that Happen?”

Searching for Gold in Online (and Offline) Archives

Welcome to the online catalog for the Highland Park Archives and Local History collections at the Highland Park Public Library, which originated with grants from the National Archives. In addition to the collections photos available on this site, Highland Park images can be found on Flickr ( and the Illinois Digital Archives (, a service of the Illinois State Library and Illinois Secretary of State.

Manny Bud, Artifacts from a Jewish Marine Fighting in the Pacific, WW II

Manny Bud (1921-2016) enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps on December 8, 1941. Less than one year later, he was serving as a Pioneer Marine on Guadalcanal. He saw heavy combat there but was able to return stateside. After further training on the mainland and Hawaii, Manny deployed to New Zealand for combat training in preparation for the invasion of Iwo Jima. Manny was on the invasion force of the 4th Marine Division, and on his sixteenth day of combat was leading his unit out of a bomb crater when he sustained injury from a shot by a Japanese sniper. He was evacuated, placed in a body cast, then transported to the Island of Guam and later to Naval Hospital, Great Lakes, Illinois, where he spent more than one year recuperating. His oral history on this period is available at the Pritzker Military Museum in Chicago.

Searching for Mr. Lincoln: Fortuitous Archival Processing

David Spriegel will present events surrounding his discovery in 2011 of two previously unknown Abraham Lincoln manuscripts. He made this discovery while an intern in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library’s manuscripts division. David’s presentation will highlight the historical context of the two original manuscripts, in addition to the initial discovery.