The Elgin Area Historical Society collects significant materials to explain and document the history of Elgin and its relationship to local, state, regional, and national history. The Society’s permanent collection holds approximately 3,500 three-dimensional items and a large archive of over 30,000 documents, photographs, negatives, ephemera, postcards, stereocards, oversize maps and posters, books, ledgers and manuscripts. All of the items relate to Elgin’s history from 1835 to the present. Some items are rotated on exhibit at the Society in Old Main and in traveling exhibits.
Baby Quilt Collection:
40 quilts made from kits sold by Elgin companies were recently donated to the collection. Here's a detail of one of them.
Ziegler Watch Collection:
Two fantastic Elgin watches featuring custom dials, 1893 World’s Fair, beautiful cases, and the local Rovelstad Jewelers and Illinois Watch Case connection.
1953 Soap Box Derby Items: Edgar Alm’s 1953 helmet, trophy, flag, and certificate.
The Museum holds several photo collections with thousands of Elgin images assembled by different collectors, including the Elmer Gylleck Collection, the Howard Gusler Collection and the Courier News Negatives Collection. There are also images in the general photo collection on a variety of subjects including Elgin businesses, homes, streetscapes, people, schools, community events, City government, and Elgin National Watch Company.
Search the Courier-News Photo Archives A searchable index to the Elgin Courier News Negatives Collection is available; the index lists the photos by subject matter. After locating a photo in the Index, please contact the Museum and provide the index number. Museum staff can then locate the photo for you.
Fees are charged for the use of historic photographic images, archival collections, and original artwork to help defray costs incurred for ongoing preservation care and staff time associated with access, retrieval and request processing. The user fees do not include reproduction costs, which are the responsibility of the user.
For a list of user fees, contact the Museum at 847.742.4248 or email firstname.lastname@example.org