Presentation on the Vollintine Estate

Please Join Us

Tuesday, February 20 at 2:00 pm in the UIS Student Union – 226B

Brookens Library is hosting a special program that will feature University Archivist Tom Wood, who will highlight a recent collection received by the Archives that contains photos from the Vollintine Mansion in Taylorville. Known as “Grayton”, the 20-acre estate was built in 1911 by the heirs of Horatio Vandeveer, and was famous for its architecture and luxurious appointments.

Jackie Jackson Exhibit in the Library

Jackie Jackson with some of her life’s work boxed to go to the UIS archive. Photo credit: Illinois Times

UIS Professor Emerita of English and Women’s Studies, Jackie Jackson, was featured in a cover story in the November 2, 2017 issue of Illinois Times. To celebrate this honor, UIS Archives/Special Collections has created an exhibit about Jackson on Level 2 of Brookens Library.

Jacqueline Dougan Jackson was born near Beloit, Wisconsin and was raised on her family’s dairy farm.  She graduated from the University of Beloit in 1950, and received an M.A. in Latin from the University of Michigan in 1951. After teaching writing at Kent State University, in 1970 she was hired as a charter faculty member at a new university in Springfield, Illinois, named Sangamon State University (now UIS). She taught at UIS until her retirement in 2000, but, at age 89,  she still teaches writing in her home.

The exhibit includes copies of Jackson’s published books dating back to 1953.  Jackie published several children’s book, but also the Stories from the Round Barn series,  which includes her delightful and thoughtful reminiscences of her early years growing up on a dairy farm, and her remarkable family. The final volume of the Stories from the Round Barn series has just been published, and is the occasion for the Illinois Times feature article.

The exhibit also contains material from the Reading and Writing and Radio Jamboree, organized and directed by Jackie Jackson. Every spring from 1975 to 1993, hundreds of central Illinois schoolchildren converged on the SSU campus for the Jamboree, a festive occasion for students, second grade to high school, to come together and share and present essays on a variety of subjects, both serious and lighthearted. Selected essays would be read and broadcast on the campus radio station.

Award Recognition: Employees with 30 Years of Service

This morning the University recognized employees who have worked for UIS for 10 or more years for their service. The Library is proud to have two employees celebrated this year: Joanne, Senior Library Specialist (Serials), and Tom, University Archivist, have both worked at Brookens Library for 30 years. Today we honor and thank them for their commitment to the UIS (or SSU) ideals and in their service to our campus community. Here are brief tributes read at the ceremony this morning:


On Joanne’s first day, December 1st, 1986, she recalls that campus consisted of the Brookens Building, the PAC, as well as a few temporary buildings that made up Sangamon State University.  She began at the Brookens Library in the Technical Services Department and with a few job shifts along the way, it is still where she currently works. When she started, there was a card catalog for searching and the Brookens library collection consisted of mostly print journals and books with a small collection of a few other media types.

Today, she now works at the University of Illinois Springfield, and there has been a few more buildings added to the campus. The card catalog in the Brookens library is just a memory. The print journals have drastically been replaced with their online versions, as well as electronic books and streaming video have become more prevalent as well. Joanne has been a vital part of the Technical Services team throughout the years. She has seen a lot of changes here at the Brookens library and when asked about her time here she will say, “I love libraries, and I’ve met some really terrific people along the way.” Thank you Joanne, for your many years of dedicated service.


“There’s a really great variety of material to work with here, from 200 year old records to new digital records, and everything in between.” Thomas J. Woods, 2017

Tom was born and spent his formative years in Mount Carmel, Illinois, about 3 ½ hours SE of Springfield. He earned two Masters degrees from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign; one in History, the other in Library and Information Science. In his thirty years here on campus, he has been at the forefront of collecting the history of the institution as it has progressed. When Tom started work in 1986 at what was then Sangamon State University, founding president Dr. Robert Spencer was still teaching here, as were many of the charter faculty who had been hired in the early 1970s. He has also documented the physical changes on campus; he remembers when the corn fields started just south of where the colonnade is now.  The UIS Archives holds administration files that have long term value, but it also preserves photographs, student newspapers, audio files, and video of commencements, special events, and visiting speakers. The Archives has a collection of over 5000 student Master projects and theses. Tom handles historical documents such as records of birth, death, and marriage certificates, and Lincoln-era court cases. He has overseen major digitization projects, including a multi-year project preserving and digitizing more than 20 years of oral history interviews with people from all walks of life, such as former prisoners of war, farmers, coal miners, Illinois politicians, and others.  

He has adapted to changing collection and archival standards, as well as innovations in information technology. Focusing not just on collecting and preserving, Tom also works with researchers, students, families seeking genealogy assistance, and more. In the Archives alongside Tom, you’ll also find an archival library assistant, a graduate assistant, and two Illinois Regional Archives Depository (IRAD) interns. Working with, and training students and interns has been very rewarding and over 30 years, Tom has seen a rotating cast of talented people. While he is sad to see them go, he does enjoy seeing them succeed in professional jobs in archives, libraries, museums, and teaching positions.

When not working in the archives, it’s no surprise that Tom would enjoy the opposite – the great outdoors – and exploring natural and historical sites around central Illinois and beyond. He also enjoys reading and listening to music, and playing in trivia tournaments. If you want to know more about any of the previously mentioned items, stop by the Archives, located on the lower level of Brookens Library, and chat with Tom, or visit the archives website. Congratulations to Tom on his 30 years on our campus and for his dedication to collecting, preserving and sharing the history of our university.


New Collections Digitized in University Archives

Brookens Library Construction -  1975
Construction of Brookens Library and PAC, ca 1975. From the “Library Media Services Slides: 1960’s-1989” collection.

The University Archives has been busy digitizing and making available online a variety of its collections which includes several different series of slides. Click on the links below to view the newly digitized collections.

 S2/1. Library Media Services Slides: SSU, Springfield sites and events, 1957-1987

Includes photos related to Sangamon State University campus scenes, presentations for the Illinois Board of Education, a presentation by former SSU student Judith Haynes entitled “Good and Useful Lives: People of the Sangamon,” the LGPA Rail Classic in 1983, various colleges in the area (including Millikin University, Blackburn College, Illinois College), Brookens Library, previous SSU Presidents (Dr. Durward Long, Dr. Alex Lacy, Dr. Robert Spencer), SSU construction, activities at the Clayville Rural Life Center, and the SSU sponsored Computer Camp in the mid-1980s

S2/2. Library Media Services Slides: SSU, Springfield sites and events, 1960s-1989

Includes photos related to Sangamon State University campus scenes, SSU Auditorium performances and events, SSU graduations, Illinois Issues 10th anniversary, SSU Founder’s Day Celebration in 1985, events with previous SSU Presidents (Dr. Durward Long, Dr. Alex Lacy, Dr. Robert Spencer), SSU construction, previous SSU soccer coach Aydin Gionulsen, local politicians (Paul Simon, Jesse Jackson, Philip J. Rock), and SSU fall festivals. Making Changes June 15th, the popular online geneology tool, is part of our resource offerings at Brookens Library. Please note the following changes in support provided by

Effective June 15th, will no longer be supporting Internet Explorer 8. If you are still using Windows XP, this means that your operating system will no longer be supported by It is recommended that you update your operating system to Windows 7 or higher, as has said it plans in the coming months to phase out support for all versions of Internet Explorer other than Internet Explorer 11. An alternative to updating your browser or operating system is to use one of the several other supported browsers, such as Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.

New Tim Rice Musical Show Draws on Material in Archives/Special Collections

From here to eternity photoOn October 23, a new stage musical opened in the Shaftsbury Theatre in London’s West End. The musical, From Here to Eternity, was based on the bestselling and award-winning 1951 novel by Illinois author James Jones. The lyricist for the musical is Tim Rice, famous for blockbuster shows like The Lion King, Jesus Christ Superstar, and Evita.

The production drew upon photographs from the Handy Colony Collection in the Archives/Special Collections department of Brookens Library, not only for use in publicity material, but to help create authentic costumes for the solders featured in the show.

The book of the musical was based on a new unexpurgated edition of James Jones’s From Here to Eternity, created by George Hendrick, a Professor Emeritus of English at UIUC. This new edition (published in 2011 as an e-book by Open Roads Media and as a trade paperback and e-book by Random House) also drew extensively on material contained in the UIS Archives.

From Here To Eternity ArticleThe Handy Colony Collection was acquired by the University in 1984 and was processed by UIS Archivist Thomas J Wood and his staff in the following years. The large collection (filling 77 archives boxes of various sizes) was in considerably disarray when received and took over four years to arrange and process.

James Jones, the Handy Colony Collection and the musical From Here to Eternity are also featured in the latest issue (Fall 2013) of UIS Alumni Magazine.

Read the UIS Alumni Magizine article about “How a bedroom-sized collection of papers and artifacts of acclaimed novelist James Jones made their way to UIS”

Visit the From Here to Eternity The Musical Website

Faculty Open House: 9/11

Calling All UIS Faculty! You are invited to the Brookens Library Faculty Open House! This is a great opportunity to meet your library liaison and learn about the many  resources and services we provide to you and the UIS community. Archives, CINRC (Central Illinois Nonprofit Resource Center), the Media Lab, CTL (Center for Teaching and Learning), & COLRS (Center for Online Learning, Research & Service) will also be at the open house. We’d love to see you there.

Preservation Week 2012

April 22-28 is National Preservation Week! Celebrate by getting to know more about preservation and the University of Illinois Springfield’s Archives & IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository). Archives is housed in the lower level of Brookens Library. They are available to serve the public between 9am & 5pm Monday – Friday. Visit the Archives website to learn more:

In 2004 Heritage Preservation carried out the first national survey, the Heritage Health Index, to document collections preservation needs in libraries, museums, and archives ( That survey showed that roughly 1.3 billion items need treatment to reduce the risk and rate of damage. The condition of 30 percent of items across every type of collection is unknown. No one knows of preservation needs in the collections of individuals, families, and community organizations, which were not surveyed. Even when condition is known, our cultural and information heritage, especially in digital collections, continues to be at risk.

Brookens Library & the University of Illinois Springfield is fortunate to have an Archival department on campus dedicated to preserving collections, treasures, history, and more. Visit the Archives & IRAD (Illinois Regional Archives Depository) website:

Library Whiteboard Project

Visit Mary Jane’s Café every week to voice your opinion on the library whiteboard! The inspiration for the whiteboard project grew from an ethnographic study we conducted about student use of library space. Placing questions on flip boards throughout the library, we were able to informally communicate with library patrons and learn what is important to them. The findings from this study were recently published in “College Libraries and Student Culture: What We Now Know” (Chapter 8).

Partnering with us to support this project are UIS Archives and Student Life. The board will represent student opinions about a range of topics, and will serve as an historical record of student life. Weekly photos of the board are archived on Flickr and Facebook, so feel free to post your answers online, or view the comments from previous weeks.

Week 6 - Favorite Band

Have an idea for a question?  Let us know.

Celebrate Archives Month!

October is American Archives Month. Archives allow us to preserve and revisit our history. The UIS Archives played an important role in the 40th anniversary of the university last year, and will continue to preserve our history for future generations. In honor of this month, Brookens Library will be highlighting historical photos and other institutional documents that are held in the UIS Archives. Learn about UIS back in the day by following our posts on Facebook and Twitter throughout the month of October.

If you have historical photographs of the campus, and would like to donate them to the UIS Archives, please contact UIS Archivist Tom Wood at 217-206-6520 or