Rockford Historical Society publishes its first book “Best of Nuggets of History”

Staff Report

The Rockford Historical Society has announced the publication of a book honoring the 50th Anniversary of the publication of their local history journal “Nuggets of History.” The book, titled the “Best of Nuggets of History,” is a selection of 15 articles from the first 50 years of publication of the journal. Articles written by local historians detail some of the absorbing historical events in Rockford’s over 175 year history.

“Rockford Historical Society has published more than 580 articles on local history in the past 50 plus years,” said Scott Lewandowski, the society’s current president. “We wanted to honor our local writers and our area’s unique history with this book.” Included in the book is a biographical history of Hononegah, the Indian princess who married Stephen Mack (Dean McMakin), along with an account of the 1870 season of the Forest City Base Ball Club (John Molyneaux), the Civil War story of Jared and Mary Brainard who went to war together (Amanda Becker), and the story of the Alice Beale Parsons’, et al. sedition trial. Their defense lawyer was Clarence Darrow (Robert J. Lindvall).

“Rockford Historical Society began publishing ‘Nuggets of History’ in 1963 under the editorship of Ash Johnson, a well-known Rockford newspaperman of his era. It was Ash who named the journal ‘Nuggets of History’,” said Carol J. Fox, the journal’s current editor. “In addition to the book, we are using past issues of ‘Nuggets’ and newspaper archives to build a website at rhsil.org that will provide access to areas of local history not available online before. For example there are pictures and short biographies of all the 19th century mayors of Rockford and pictures of every Fiberglass sock monkey made for the first Monkey Madness celebration. It is our intention that the community uses our website to learn more about the history of this area.” said Fox.

The book is available at Veterans Memorial Hall, 211 North Main Street, for $20.

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