200 North Main Street | Bloomington, Illinois | 309-827-0428

John Baldini Collection

Processed by: Brigid R. McBride, March 2009


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

Volume: Three boxes and one box of photographs
Dates: 1917-1998
Restrictions: None
Reproduction: Permission to reproduce or publish material in this collection must be obtained in writing from the McLean County Museum of History.
Provenance: Donated by Mary Baldini Olson
Location: Archives

See also-Photograph Collection Subjects- Democrats (Baldini Col.); Photograph Collection Subjects- Lucca Forest; Photograph Collection People- Baldini; Photograph Collection Subjects- Lucca Grill; Oral History Interviews- Baldini, John, 1992

Historical Sketch

The parents of John Baldini emigrated from Italy to the United States during the major influx of Southern and Eastern Europeans. The family eventually founded the Lucca Grill in Downtown Bloomington which is still operational today. The Baldini family also owned property west of Bloomington called the "Lucca Forest" where Frank Baldini built the Grotto, a shrine to Mary and Sister Bernadette. John Baldini attended Trinity High School and Illinois State Normal University.

After completing his college education, John Baldini became an enthusiastic Democrat and became involved in local and state elections. He was elected the Democratic County Chairman in McLean County from 1969 to 1982 and provided financial support and campaign support to Democrats not only in the state of Illinois, but nationwide. He corresponded with many national political figures including Edward Muske, George McGovern, and Jimmy Carter. Baldini also maintained a personal relationship with state politicians including Paul Simon and Dan Walker.

John Baldini passed in 1994 and was remembered by the State of Illinois and by the Democrats and Republicans alike with a scholarship fund created in John's name.

  • John Baldini and his parents outside of the Baldini Bros. Lucca Grill

  • John Baldini and John Kennedy in a John Baldini political advertisement

  • Lucca Forest and a family reunion

  • The Lourdes Grotto in the Lucca Forest

Scope and Contents Note

This collection is housed in three boxes and includes political and personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, telegrams, photographs, political ephemera, press releases, and audio recordings.

Box and Folder Inventory
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Box 1: Biographical and Democratic Party Information
Folder 1
Christening Certificate (1 item)
1.1.1 John Louis Baldini baptized September 23, 1917
Folder 2
Baldini Education (11 items)
1.2.1 Team Lineups 1933 for Trinity High School
1.2.2 Program for Trinity High School
1.2.3 Holy Trinity Grammar School class of 1932 program
1.2.4 Photocopy of the "G and K" Basketball Score Book 1935
1.2.5 I.S.N.U Basketball season ticket 1928-1929
1.2.6 Vote for John Baldini for Senior Class President
1.2.7 Half Century Club Certificate; Alumni Association Illinois State University, Normal, Illinois, received June 1991
1.2.8 I.S.N.U. Identification Card 1937-1938 for John Baldini
1.2.9 I.S.N.U. Identification Card 1940-1941 for John Baldini
1.2.10 Hail Alma Mater and Loyalty Song of the Illinois State Normal University published by the Homecoming Committee of the Illinois State Normal University
1.2.11 Eighty-Second Annual Commencement of the Illinois State normal University 1941, June 9, 1941
Folder 3
Baldini Family ( 7 items)
1.3.1 Correspondence from Mary Olson to Greg Koos undated
1.3.2 United States of America Railroad Retirement Board Certificate of Service Months and Wages for Virginia M. Baldini
1.3.3 Correspondence from Mary Baldini to Michael Ward (Assistant National Register Coordinator) dated August 4, 1981 (2 copies; original and photocopy)
1.3.4 Correspondence from Michael Ward to Mary Baldini Williams dated August 11, 1981
1.3.5 Correspondence from Kathryn Carter (Development Director WGLT) to Mary Olson dated April 16, 1998
1.3.6 Western Union Telegram from Johnny to Virginia Frye dated October 13, 1924
1.3.7 "The Life of John Baldini" written and researched by a grandchild; includes stories, pictures, and correspondence; 2003
Folder 4
Lucca Forest/Grotto (2 items)
1.4.1 "The Lourdes Grotto" pamphlet undated
1.4.2 "Compelling Urge; Builds Public Grotto at Lucca Forest" by Stanley Lantz from Pantagraph undated
Folder 5
Baldini Honors (8 items)
1.5.1 Photocopy of picture of plaque; Saints' Alumni Association Distinguished Alumni Award Homecoming '94
Box 2: Correspondence
Folder 1
Armbruster Letter (1 item)
2.1.1 Correspondence from Arthur (Art) Armbruster to voter dated April 3, 1950
Folder 2
Bakalis, Michael; Superintendent of Public Instruction/Comptroller (9 items)
2.2.1 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated February 12, 1970
2.2.2 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated April 7, 1970
2.2.3 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated November 20, 1970
2.2.4 Correspondence from Charles F. Armitage (Educational Specialist) to John Baldini dated September 17, 1971
2.2.5 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated April 5, 1978
2.2.6 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated April 11, 1978
2.2.7 Correspondence from Dick Durbin to John Baldini dated May 5, 1978
2.2.8 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated November 21, 1978
2.2.9 Correspondence from Michael J. Bakalis to John Baldini dated November 27, 1978
Loose Items
Spiral notebook-American Italian Society; includes membership lists for 1954, 1956, and 1957. Also includes an account of money
Illinois State Normal University diploma for John Baldini dated June 1941