Saturday, January 11, 2014

We inerrupt your usual programming for a historical geek-out

So, we all know that Senator Stephen A. Douglas (currently residing on the right side of this blog, warding away untoward advances) called my fair Chicago his home during his later years.  It stands to reason, then, that many of his personal papers and affects remained here.  And I just now got around to finding out where: the University of Chicago, which he was an integral part of founding!
Red lipstick+shades=ready to research and smash the patriarchy
Of course, this necessitated a field trip to rummage through the collection boxes in the lovely U of C Special Collections Library.  I even got my own little glass cubicle so that people wouldn't be annoyed by my little freak-outs ('oOOH MY GODDDD THIS IS FROM JAMES MADISON CUTTS!!!1! oh this is a bill for CARRIAGE REPAIRS! OOOOH!)

 They had a piece of his cravat!  That he actually wore!  And touched!  Oh goodness!
 ... This was only about a third of the alcohol list at a party thrown in his honor.  And we still wonder why he was an alcoholic?
 A super rad lithograph of him from a hence lost daguerreotype
 Misc. cards and objects
Everybody talks about Mary Todd Lincoln's spending habits, but WOW, here's the bill for Adele Douglas' notions. And yes, these are all for sewing or wearing, and this is only about half the list!  (I do suppose that Douglas was a good deal better off than Lincoln, but STILL!)
*breathes heavily*

There are many more pictures, but I'm sure that most people don't share my deep, abiding love for my homeboy from my hometown.  But I just get so excited over research projects...


  1. That is so cool!!!!! I love the shopping list and the cravat price but especially the lithograph!!!!!! I'm not near as into him as you are but reading this and looking at the pictures, i m sitting over here in the corner on my tablet smiling like an idiot and my dad is like what on earth are you looking at and I'm like "oh my goodness she has a picture of his wine list and a price of his cravat!!!" "Who's?" "And a shopping list!!! And the papers have beautiful scroll work on the edge and aaaah!!! Douglas dad!" "The old guy?" *glares* "yes" :-D BTW, you look cute in that picture :-)

    1. I'm still not over this, a day and a half later. Really awesome opportunity. (and I touched the cravat a little bit too butdon'ttellanybodyeheheheh) I'm so glad that other people are interested in Stevvie D and his spending habits! I think that they say even more than most of his personal letters. It is interesting to note, though, that his wife Adele received at least as many political letters as he did. She was no trophy wife!
      And the litho was really really cool. There was another one of him that had 'Please Return to Robert M Douglas Greensboro NC,' which was a little bit sad because it meant that his son held onto that image of him until well after he died.
      (and I had to look sassy with a side part for Steve, obvs! research is serious business.)

    2. O WOW! lol GREEEEEENSBORO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! rofl How ya doin' Robbie D? :P I live in Greensboro, Frieda! Or around it at least :D I'm not very interested in Stephen Douglas, but that shopping list and wine list is very amusing! (chuckles) It must have been an exciting day for someone as into him as you! Sounds like you had fun :)