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Collections Cameo Blog

Collections Cameo, July 2012

By Julia Irons, Historical Society Intern

For more than half a century, Max Cohn’s grocery store was a key Lake Forest institution, providing residents with groceries seven days a week, 362 days a year. From 1913 to 1968, his small grocery was a primary source of fresh produce and canned goods for the growing town. The history of the store and its owners exemplifies the triumph of the American dream.

This receipt is one of a collection of 14 from Max Cohn's store listing the summer 1932 purchases of Charles Butterfield, who lived on Scott Street. Here you can see that on July 11 he purchased sugar, soap, and bread, for a total of $1.03. The receipts were donated to the Historical Society by Shirley Paddock. See an image gallery of all 14 receipts here.

Collections Cameo, June 2012

On Friday, June 12, 1936, at 8:15 in the evening, the brand-new Lake Forest High School held its first Commencement ceremony, in the high school gym-auditorium. This simple bi-fold program, five inches by seven inches, marked the occasion. The fifty-seven graduates listed inside the program would have attended Deerfield-Shields High School in Highland Park for their first three years, many taking the North Shore Electric Line to and from school. One of those graduates was William Harvey, who donated this and many other items to our museum collection in 2004.

The new High School, built with federal funds from the Works Progress Administration of the New Deal, was designed by local architects Anderson and Ticknor in the Georgian style. On its completion in 1935 it was considered “one of the finest schools in the country—beautiful in architecture and complete in all the...

Collections Cameo, May 2012

This letter, dated May 2, 1923 and three pages in total, was written by J. J. Yore, who had the task of securing teachers and administrators of Everett School. He desired to confirm the engagement of Miss Mary Sneddon as principal at Everett for another year. At the time of this letter, Everett was still its own community; it would be annexed to Lake Forest in 1926. From Mr. Yore’s tone, it sounds as though the school has had a number of teachers come and go in recent years. (Letter transcription below.)



Collections Cameo, March 2012

On March 19, 1972, residents of Lake Forest and Lake Bluff met at the Lake Forest public safety building (255 W. Deerpath) to discuss the organization of a historical society. An article in the Lake Forester headlined “Saving the past for the future is aim of group” describes the goals of the meeting, which “probably will be devoted to discussion of programs, a constitution and by-laws, and election of a steering committee.” In the article, founding member John Sedala says that items of historical value will be gathered by the society: “Many times it has hurt me to see these things destroyed and thrown away.”

Once the organizational meeting had been held, the ball really got rolling. By March 30, tentative approval had been given to by-laws. The Historical Society elected officers and formally approved bylaws on April 8, and held its first official meeting on...

Collections Cameo, February 2012

This essay book by eighth grader Helen Frye, entitled “February,” was created as a school assignment in February 1926. The book is bound with a piece of string and features a drawing of a sailor on the cover. Its content includes the Gettysburg Address copied over in Miss Frye’s handwriting, a page of newspaper image cutouts of Abraham Lincoln, and essays composed by Miss Frye about Lincoln, Saint Valentine, George Washington and the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, who was born February 27, 1807.

Excerpts from Miss Frye’s essays:

On Abraham Lincoln: “Lincoln had many debates with Douglas and later he was elected president which was on March 4, 1860. He was the fourteenth president of the United States.* And one of the best presidents we have ever had. He was shot by Wilkes Booth while attending a Theater. Abraham Lincoln the great...