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Whittaker Family Collection

Processed by: Unknown, February 2013


  1. Collection Information
  2. Historical Sketch
  3. Photographs
  4. Scope and Content Note
  5. Box and Folder Inventory
Collection Information

Volume: One (1) Box
Dates: 1850-1998
Restrictions: None
Reproduction: Must be obtained in writing
Location: Archives

Archived Photographs under People "Reginald Whittaker Collection." 1 box of identified photographs, 1 box of unidentified photographs. Also 1 folder titled "Whittaker" in Bloomington-Normal Black History Project

Whittaker family interviews are published in Black Families of Normal: Genealogies of Long-Time Residents of the town of Normal in the Library, call: IL McLean NOR BLO BNBHP Collection Box 3 Folder 11 and a few other folders contain miscellaneous documents related to the Whittaker Family.

Whittaker family scrapbooks in Archive Annex: PS-25

Historical Sketch

Reginald Whittaker, born April 23, 1925, lived all his life in Normal. His parents were Walter and Caddie Whittaker. He attended Normal Central School, graduated from Normal Community High School, and worked in the stockroom at F. W. Woolworth Company for twenty-six years. Later he worked as a janitor at GTE for more than two decades.

His sister, Josephine Whittaker, grew up in the family home purchased by her grandfather in the 1890s. She graduated from Normal Community High School and attended Illinois State Normal University. She married and lived much of her life in Normal. She worked for many years in a retirement community which later became a sheltered-care home.

Caddie Whittaker, their mother, came to Bloomington from Georgetown, Kentucky. She met and married John Duff, and had one daughter, Fay Wesley Duff. She was carrying their son John Wesley Duff when her husband passed away with typhoid fever. Five or six years later she married Walter Whittaker, who was good friends with her late husband. They then had three children, Reginald, Walter II, and Josephine. Caddie worked at the Illinois Soldiers' and Sailors' Children's School until Reginald started school, and she never worked again.

Walter Whittaker worked at Model Laundry in Bloomington for twenty-three years, until 1932 or 1933. After that he worked for the Works Progress Administration, then as a janitor at the Livingston Building in downtown Bloomington. He worked there until he died in 1964 at the age of 84.

  • Test: Josephine and Walter

Scope and Contents Note

This collection contains documents related to the Whittaker family. Included are photocopies of death certificates, oral histories, misc. certificates, diplomas, correspondence, ephemera, and research notes. Collection dates from 1850-1998.

Box and Folder Inventory
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Box 1
Folder 1
Death Certificate Photocopies
1.1 Minnie Whittaker, born July 1883, died August 21, 1911
1.2 Esther Whittaker, died October 3, 1899 of Pulmonary Tuberculosis
1.3 Oliver Walter Whittaker, born December 29, 1854, died January 12, 1912
1.4 John Whittaker, died October 17, 1909 from Phthisis Polmonilis
1.5 Receipts for burial of John and Minnie Whittaker
1.6 Certificate of Death for Cyril Lee Roy Lee (A.K.A. William Lee) & Funeral Memorial Program Mr. Cyril LeRoy Lee
1.7 List of Counties in Louisiana
1.8 Louisiana Census 1850
1.9 1910 census
1.10 Map of Louisiana counties
1.11 2 pages of notes
Folder 2
Reginald Whittaker Oral History
2.1 2 copies of an interview with Reginald Whittaker talking about Normal, Illinois and the African American community during the 1920s-40s. Interview by Jack Muirhead, July 23, 1996.
2.2 Reginald Whittaker, Evergreen Cemetery, Notes from the video tape. July 30, 1996
Folder 3
Citizens' Savings, Loan & Building Documents
3.1 Envelope, contract, and promissory note for loan ($500) to Walter Whittaker. December 1917 (4 documents)
3.2 Bloomington Loan and Homestead Association loan of $400 to Walter Whittaker April 1893
Folder 4
John Duff Reading Circle Diploma
4.1 John Duff Reading Circle Diploma, signed by B.C. Moore April 1916
Folder 5
Square Deal Oil & Gas Company Documents
5.1 Share Owner Certificate for Walter Whittaker (2, February and April 1920)
5.2 Corresponding letter
Folder 6
Knights of Pythias
6.1 Photograph of member ribbon
6.2 Beneficiary Certificate for Walter Whittaker
Folder 7
7.1 1912 invitation to Miss Minnie Whittaker from Miss Alverta Duff. (Note in folder says "Interesting because she died in 1911")
Folder 8
Commercial Trades Institute
8.1 March 24, 1944. Recommendation letter for Walter Whittaker
8.2 March 24, 1944. Release letter
Folder 9
Greeting Cards
9.1 Happy Birthday wish from Mr. and Mrs. L. B. Auson
9.2 Mothers day card from daughter
9.3 Thank-you for sympathy card
9.4 Greetings to dad card
9.5 Seating Cards
9.6 Envelope and Mothers Day card from John Duff
9.7 Dance Card
Folder 10
Post Cards
10.1 Approximately 70 color post cards from all over the United States
Folder 11
Ann Malone's Notes on Whittaker
11.1 Obituary for Walter Whittaker II
11.2 Will book photocopy
11.3 List of dates and records (notes)
11.4 12 pages of notes on deed records
11.5 Map- Visitors Guide to Frankfort
11.6 35 pages of notes
11.7 Photocopy of free inhabitants and slave inhabitants in Scott County, Kentucky
11.8 7 pages of notes on John Pratt & family
11.9 6 pages of ancestor charts and family group records regarding Whittaker, Pratt and Wilson
11.10 Funeral book for Lillie Caldwell (1898-1964)
11.11 One Hundred and Forty-Sixth Anniversary of First Baptist Church (1842-1988) program
Folder 12
Miscellaneous Documents
12.1 Obituary for Walter Whittaker
12.2 3 C Club's Annual Harvest Party program, 1980
12.3 3 C Club Harvest Party program, 1995
12.4 Letter Reginald Whittaker from Barbara Doss Regarding enclosed obituary (Anna Lee Wilson) and photocopy of a photograph
12.5 3 C Club 90th Anniversary Reception, 1998
12.6 Faye Duff Certificate of Bank from McLean County Common Schools, and the envelope it came in.
Folder 13
ISU Student Interviews
13.1 Letter expressing 5 students' interests in the BNBHP. Attached is an interview by Jeff Vincent with Reginald Whittaker