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