Adlai E. Stevenson, former Illinois Governor and two-time presidential candidate, grew up in Bloomington and is buried at Evergreen Memorial Cemetery on Bloomington’s south side. Since 1966, the Adlai E. Stevenson Memorial Lecture Series has served as a tribute. The organizers of the Stevenson lecture series hoped that the ongoing program would “speak to future generations as he spoke to his, by promoting his ideals in the field of international affairs and by furthering the cause of world peace and good will among peoples.” Past speakers include a Nobel Peace laureate, four heads of state, one vice president, five U.S. Senators, and two foreign prime ministers. Originally the lectures were held at Illinois State University, but since the late 1970s they have rotated between ISU and Illinois Wesleyan University. No admission is charged, and the lectures are scheduled at times that are accessible to all.
The collection includes material from the 1965 fund drive to establish an endowment to fund the lecture expenses and honoraria, such as campaign manuals, contributor information, expenses, bank deposit slips, and miscellaneous correspondence. The bulk of the collection, however, is made up of material, spanning the years 1965 to 1981, in which the organization was primarily involved with soliciting appropriate speakers and working out the details of each lecture. Included are copies of the first 25 lectures and the correspondences related to seeking permission to publish them in book form. The collection also includes similar but less extensive information on speakers from 1981 to present, including lists of past speakers and potential speakers, programs, speech transcripts, press releases, minutes of the Stevenson Lecture Series board meeting, treasurer reports, tax documents, correspondence, and board of directors information.