ARCHIVES AND RESEARCH LIBRARY
The Hinsdale Historical Society Archives collects and preserves documentary materials relating to the history of Hinsdale. The collection includes photographs, books, ephemera, newspaper clippings, biographies and obituaries, house histories, city directories, maps, blue prints, high school yearbooks, and special collections.
Hours and Fees: The archives, located at the Roger and Ruth Anderson Architecture Center in the lower level of Immanuel Hall, 302 South Grant Street, is open for walk-in hours from 10:00 am-2:00 pm on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Use of the archives is FREE for members, students with valid IDs, not-for-proft organizations and members of the press. The access fee for non-members is $5.00.
Staff Conducted Research Fees: For those patrons unable to visit the archives in person, we offer a Research for Fee service. There is a minimum one-our charge for staff to conduct a thorough search of our archival resources. The fee is $15 an hour for members and $10 for each subsequent hour. The fee is $25 an hour for non-members and $20 for each additional hour. To obtain a Research Request Form or for additional information about services and fees, please email or call the Society at 630-789-2600.
To contact us, please call 630-789-2600 or email us at
RESEARCH AND EDUCATION
The Hinsdale Historical Society has a local history archive as part of the Roger and Ruth Anderson Architecture Center located at Immanuel Hall. It contains a variety of materials related to the history of Hinsdale and DuPage County, as well as Chicago and Illinois. Some of the resources available are published histories and maps, many of which are available online.
Digitized by various libraries and archives around the country, these resources are accessible through websites like Archive.org, the Illinois Digital Archives, and Google Books. For those conducting historical and genealogical research, these online resources provide quicker and more thorough searches than through traditional methods.
First of all, one can conduct research from the comfort of his/her home (although visiting small historical archive like ours certainly has its own rewards). Secondly, instead of relying on the index – if there even is one – one can enter any search term, and it will be located within the document. Of course, common word names, like Bush or Grove, will get more hits for non-related stories and topics, but one might also find references not included in the index. Most of these websites will also allow for downloads of the whole book or map, as a PDF or other document type.
Here’s a list, by publication date, of some of the local history resources that can be found online. Some can be found on more than one website, although only one link is included here, based on what is considered to have better search capabilities. For those items that can also be found in the Hinsdale Historical Society Archives or at the Hinsdale Public Library, those are marked accordingly.
LOCAL HISTORY RESOURCES
Hinsdale History Museum
15 South Clay Street, Hinsdale, IL Fridays and Saturdays 2:00 - 4:00 pm Admission is free and donations are appreciated
Take a look at the history of Hinsdale through cartography. Over a dozen maps will show the platting, development, and growth of our community.
For more information, email or call 630-789-2600
Hinsdale History Museum
15 South Clay Street, Hinsdale, IL
Fridays and Saturdays 2:00 - 4:00 pm. Admission is free and donations are appreciated
Legacies from the Victorian era have survived since the days of Queen Victoria, particularly during the days Hinsdale was established in 1864. Journey our permanent exhibit space at the Hinsdale History Museum to learn how founding Hinsdaleans and early residents lived and made sense of their everyday lives.
On display are hundreds of objects from Hinsdale residents and interior decor--original and recreated--guiding visitors through the lives of 19th century village citizens. This exhibit space shares what it means to live in a growing local community in the larger context of the Victorian era of the United States.
Collection Spotlight: The Castle Inn, 1945
By Kenneth P. Becker (1913-1972)
Irving Clarke recently donated this framed pen-and-ink drawing. Mr. Clarke informed us that the artist had given the drawing to his parents. The piece is signed “Becker ’45”. After doing an internet search, staff found a website about an artist named Kenneth Perrin Becker who lived in the Hinsdale area at the time this print was created. He was noted for pen and ink drawings of local scenes although he also practiced in other mediums. We contacted the administrator of the website, Antonie Becker, the daughter of Kenneth P. Becker, to see if she could verify that the drawing was indeed her father’s work. She confirmed that it was his signature although she had never seen this particular subject before. She indicated that her father loved to give paintings to people who admired them.
Becker was born in 1913 in Berwyn, Illinois and moved to Hinsdale to finish high school. He began studying art in 1931 at the Art Institute of Chicago and also spent time in workshops at Mohegan Island, the Maine Art Colony and at the Oxbow Summer School of Painting in Saugatuck, Michigan. He exhibited at various art galleries in the Chicago area and spent summers is Aspen, Colorado. After his marriage, he began working at a lithographic and point-of-sale advertising company alongside his father to support his growing family. Although he moved briefly to Geneva, he returned to Hinsdale where he had a studio on the fourth floor of the house after installing a skylight. In 1945, The Art Institute mounted a one man show of his drawings. During this time, he was a member of The Cliff Dwellers, a renowned club for artists and writers, as well as a longtime member of The Arts Club of Chicago. Unfortunately, he developed a drinking problem and died of liver failure in 1972 at the age of 59.
In 1973, the Art Institute acquired four of his watercolors for their permanent collection. His works are also in many private collections. This is the first known Becker piece to be added to the Hinsdale Historical Society collection.The Castle Inn was built in 1836 by Orente Grant on the south side of the Southwest Trail (now known as Ogden Avenue) just east of York Road. The Inn served both travelers through the area and new settlers to the area while their permanent homes were being built.
The Hinsdale Historical Society newsletter is now sent via email four times a year. To subscribe, please email us at newsletter@HinsdaleHistory.org