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MEETING OF THE FORTY-SEVENTH GENERAL
ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS.
The Forty-Seventh General Assembly of the State of Illinois began its session on January 4, 1911.
A Speaker and other officers were elected promptly and the biennial message of Governor Deneen was received.
In the message the Governor calls the attention of the Legislature to the work which has been done by the various departments of the State and their needs and future possibilities, and suggests and advises legislation to meet these needs.
The message proper closes with a recommendation that the State of Illinois unite with the State of Kentucky in preparing and suitably marking a road from the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln near Hodgenville, Kentucky, to his later home and his last resting place in Springfield, Ilinois. Governor Deneen makes an eloquent appeal for this memorial, which is to be known as “The Lincoln Way." He gives in beautiful language the reasons and precedents for such a memorial, and he closes the message as follows:
“Accordingly, I recommend that the Legislature take suitable action, naming the route 'The Lincoln Way,' and directing the State Historical Society to make the necessary investigations to determine the exact route traveled by Lincoln in his removal from Kentucky to Illinois, and empowering and directing the State Highway Commission to erect such markers and suitable signs as may be necessary to mark the way in a prominent and permanent manner.”
The Historical Society highly appreciates the mark of appreciation of its labors given it by the Governor in the message and will gladly accept the privilege and duty which he suggests if the Legislature acts favorably upon this beautiful and patriotic recommendation.
The entire message of the Governor should be read by each citizen of the State, as it furnishes in a condensed form a history of the important activities of the State and gives an idea of its great power and resources.
The Journal extends a cordial invitation to the members of the Legislature, now in session, to visit the Illinois State Historical Library whenever convenient, and inspect, not only its wealth of historical collections, but also its dimly lighted, crowded and cramped condition. The Library is on the same floor with the Hall of Representatives and Senate Chamber, on the central front of the State House, in the room originally designed for a State portrait gallery, and subsequently assigned to the State geological museum, but found ill-fitted and inadequate for either. When the museum was removed to the new arsenal building, in 1904, the Historical Library was permitted to become the tenant of the room vacated, moving from the small alcove room at the north end of the State Library room where it was incubated in 1889. Having here considerably more floor space than the alcove, the move was decidedly a relief and improvement. But the accessions to the historical department of the State have been so rapid that it has outgrown its present quarters, with an adjacent small room in addition, causing demand-indeed an absolute necessity- for more space, better lighted, better ventilated, and constructed with special design for the purposes of such a library as this.
The State Historical Library is, ex officio, the home of the Illinois State Historical Society, constituted by act of the Legislature guardian ad litem, as it were, of that organization; but, unable to afford it either room or material, it has, so far, given it only shelter, and the publication of its annual Transactions. The State Historical Society, however, tho but an incorporated body, without library, collections, property or habitation of its own, has, notwithstanding its limitations and destitution, accomplished, and is accomplishing, work of such importance as to attract the attention and profound interest, not only of our own people, but of those of every state in the Union. It has established this Journal, and through it quarterly and annually by its Transactions, is adding rich and varied contributions to the history of Illinois and the (former) Northwest. This great work, rendered by its members without compensation, is recognized as an invaluable adjunct to public education, and the basis of authentic historical literature of the State.
The State Historical Library now contains (approximately) 28,680 volumes, pamphlets, files of Illinois newspapers, a multitude of maps, unpublished manuscripts, portraits, engravings and miscellaneous historical relics. This collection is of immense value, beyond commercial estimate, as it includes much rare historical material that can not be duplicated. From it, several recent writers of American history have drawn their inspiration and facts. It is fast becoming the chief source of reference and information for writers of western history, who were heretofore compelled to seek their data in the libraries of Wisconsin, Canada and New York historical societies. It now has many of the original documents, and copies of many of the most important held in foreign archives, relating to early discoveries, Indian tribes and wars, and the social and political affairs of Nlinois and the great Northwest from the days of Marquette to the present time.
The care and preservation of this library is obviously a matter of serious interest to all citizens of our State. Its continual expansion requires constant rearranging, classifying, cataloguing, indexing-and corresponding expansion of space. Illinois is a great state; in population and wealth exceeding Wisconsin and Iowa combined. Yet Wisconsin has provided a building for its historical department at an outlay of two-thirds of a million of dollars, and Iowa has expended almost half a million of dollars for a similar purpose.
The State of Illinois has outgrown its State House. Tho a spacious edifice, and when erected amply large for all departments of the State government, the judicial department, the arsenal and State Museum of Natural History, have been crowded out of it, and compelled to find more commodious quarters in extra buildings. The growth of the State Historical department is overrunning the limits assigned to it, and if retained in its present rooms must soon box up some of its collections and store them elsewhere.
The Journal calls the attention of the General Assembly to this condition, and respectfully urges the necessity of more room and enlarged facilities for the Historical Library-in a word, a new building commensurate with its increasing needs including also apartments suitable for all requirements of the Illinois State Historical Society.
THE GEOLOGICAL SURVEY.
It may not be generally known that Illinois ranks third, among the states of the Union, in mineral products. The output of minerals, from its own resources, in 1907, reached the value of $93,415,404, and with the added pro