Champaign County Historical Archives celebrates 65th Anniversary


Cameron Krasucki

The Champaign County Historical Archives sit on shelves in The Urbana Free Library on Wednesday afternoon. The library is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the archives.

By Amrita Bhattacharyya, News Editor

The Urbana Free Library is celebrating the 65th anniversary of the Champaign County Historical Archives with outreach events from the month of April through August.
Established in 1956, the Champaign County Historical Archives is a department of The Urbana Free Library, which maintains a large research-level collection on the history of Champaign County and the genealogy of he CCHA residents spanning back as far as the 1830s.
In 1987, the CCHA was designated the official repository for Champaign County non-current records.
“We’re celebrating this year by providing more local history and genealogy programs and outreach events,” said Donica Swann, director of the CCHA, in a press release. “From April to August we will make virtual visits to many of the public libraries in  Champaign County to share our resources.” To celebrate, The Urbana Free Library will host a series of beginner and intermediate genealogy workshops. This will feature guest speakers such as Road Scholar Kim Sigafus, who will be speaking about Illinois Native American tribes.
The CCHA has over 25,000 books and journals and subscribes to over 100 genealogical and local history journals. In addition, they have a collection of newspapers from Champaign County ranging from 1852 to the present, with most available on microfilm.
The CCHA also has over oral histories, including topics that cover Champaign County rural life and the experience of the African-American community.
The CCHA also has a collection of directories, school yearbooks, records and manuscripts, photographs and maps.
The online databases are available in The Urbana Free Library, and some are available with a library card remotely.
The CCHA also has a relatively new “digital exhibit space” with exhibits such as “C-U at the Movies: Roger Ebert, 1942-2013” and “Champaign’s Gambling Hotspots in 1937.”
Other digital exhibits include “Early Jewish Life in Champaign-Urbana” and “Mary E. Busey’s Gift: A Centennial Celebration Of The Samuel T. Busey Memorial Library.”
Each exhibit has photos and descriptive text.
The CCHA is located on the second floor of The Urbana Free Library.
The CCHA is open for appointments on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and  Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. On Wednesdays, appointments can be made between 11 a.m. and 7 p.m., and on Sundays between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

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