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Written by Beth Whisman in Museum News Event Spotlight

Museum, Prairie Pride Coalition host trip to Albert Cashier musical in Chicago

Albert Cashier made national news after doctors discovered his female biological gender after years of living as a man, including years of fighting in the Union Army during the Civil War. He is shown as both a young soldier and a senior later in life.

The McLean County Museum of History is currently taking reservations for a special bus trip to see “The Civility of Albert Cashier”, a limited-run musical that focuses on the life of a Central Illinois Civil War soldier who defied contemporary gender roles. A matinee performance, the show will be held at 4 p.m. Sunday, September 17 at Stage 773 in Chicago. A limited number of scholarships for local high school students will be available thanks to the Prairie Pride Coalition.

Born Jennie Irene Hodgers, Albert D.J. Cashier (December 25, 1843 – October 10, 1915) was an Irish-born immigrant who moved to Illinois and lived under a male identity before enlisting in the 95th Illinois Infantry during the American Civil War. Cashier maintained his secret throughout the war and for most of his adult life until a doctor discovered Cashier’s biological gender following an injury. Cashier’s story became famous as one of a number of women soldiers who served as men during the Civil War, however Cashier did not dress in men’s clothing just to join the Army. His male identity was part of his life before and after the war, leading current scholars to reconsider the female narrative that has long framed his legacy.

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Written by Lauren Lacy in Museum News

Museum to be Beneficiary of Schnucks' Bags 4 My Cause Program

During the month of August, when you purchase a reusable bag with the “giving is in the bag” message from the Schnucks’ located in north Normal, the Museum will receive $1.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Fifth annual Corn Belt Coin Show July 14-15, 1962

The two-day Corn Belt Coin Show in July 1962 was held at the Illinois Hotel (now Illinois House) in downtown Bloomington. Some 1,500 persons were expected to attend the show. Folks here are looking at a $100,000 silver dollar display. If you recognize anyone in this photo, please let us know.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

An Old Master returns home ‘Doc’ Bradshaw, July 19, 1962

Kenneth “Doc” Bradshaw, one of the more accomplished pianists to come out of the Twin Cities, returned home in July 1962 after a seventeen-year absence. He performed before a capacity crowd at Miller Park. Doc is seen here warming up in the bandstand with Dorothy Ann Burkhart, a former student of his. Who out there recalls Doc Bradshaw?

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Glen Dotson and ‘Sparky’ Towanda, January 1941

Glen Dotson is seen here in late January 1941 with his new pet pigeon “Sparky.” Glen’s previous pigeon had been killed by an automobile. After reading about Glen’s loss, Lewis Hodge of Bloomington gave the Towanda boy a new pigeon, Sparky, who was said to be well-trained and fond of music.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Frankie Finck, Gridley’s ‘strong baby’ August 1949

Margy Finck of Gridley demonstrates how her six-month-old son Frankie was able to balance in her hands. Frankie’s doctor was said to admire his strong back!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

New American citizen May 24, 1941

Twenty-six people became American citizens in a naturalization ceremony held May 24, 1941, in the McLean County Courthouse. Overseeing the proceedings was Circuit Judge W.C. Radliff. Seen here is an unidentified woman completing her naturalization paperwork.

Some of the women who became U.S. citizens on this day included Catherina Fillipponi, Marguerite Grundler, and Frieda Wilde. If you can identify the woman shown here, please let us know!

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Parking meters perplex motorists Downtown Bloomington, May 1941

Parking meters were first installed in downtown Bloomington in February 1940. By the following spring these contraptions were still confusing local residents, as illustrated in this May 1941 Pantagraph photograph. The befuddled gentleman is local resident L.C. Hill.

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Written by Bill Kemp in Historic Photos

Woops! Roller-skating messenger State Farm Insurance, summer 1940

More than a week ago we posted a photograph from this set. Here’s another one. At the time, State Farm was testing the feasibility of having staff at its downtown Bloomington building deliver mail on roller skates. Seen here is Fayne Hoobler taking a rare tumble. Sitting at the desk is Margaret Warrick.

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Written by Bill Kemp in

Lexington Art Show July 1962

Jack Statz and Jann Thompson Anderson served as judges for an art show held in conjunction with Lexington’s annual homecoming festivities. The landscape they’re chatting about was judged one of the best in the adult professional class. It was painted by Libby James Compton of Clinton, IL, a native of Lexington.

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