Free online books and articles, with descriptions: Illinois Religion – Religion of Chicago, the first Parliament of Religions, Jesuit missions in Illinois history, history of Baptist church, Peter Cartwright, Methodist circuit rider, history of Catholic Church, religious history of Chicago, Illinois Congregational Church, Mennonites in Illinois, Presbyterianism in Illinois, Church of the Brethren in Illinois, Methodism in Illinois
Find the Directory for 90+ pages in this collection at History of the Great Lakes States.
Goshen, IN: The Mennonite Historical Society. 1931.
The author was a Mennonite and a graduate of two theological seminaries. The editor describes this as a, “comprehensive work of cyclopedic character, which includes in addition to material of a general nature, a specific history of each Mennonite congregation and institution which has ever been established in the great prairie state of Illinois.”
Chicago: the Society 1895
In 1891 the Illinois Congregational Church History Society was created. It solicited members of churches throughout the state to, “collect and preserve in permanent form the story of the origin and growth of the Churches in this State.” This volume contains a few pages describing that Society, and the remainder is devoted to papers that were submitted by members throughout Illinois that trace the history of various congregations. There is also a paper on the early history of the Chicago Theological Seminary.
Baldridge, Samuel C.
Cincinnati: Elm Street 1870
This book is dedicated as a, “contribution to the history of the fathers and founders of Presbyterianism in Illinois.” The Rev. Stephen Bliss (1787-1847) arrived at Mt. Carmel, Illinois in 1818 just as it was being laid out, and established a church and school there. When the author was assigned to the ministry there many years later, he learned that this church was one of the earliest Presbyterian churches in Illinois. This is an admiring biography of Bliss, as well as a history of both the early church and the place.
An Illustrated and Popular Story of the World’s First Parliament of Religions, Held in Chicago in connection with the Columbian Exposition of 1893
Barrows, Rev. John Henry, ed.
London: Review of Reviews 1893
“A number of congresses were held in conjunction with the exposition, including those dealing with anthropology (one of the major themes of Exposition exhibits), labor, medicine, temperance, commerce and finance, literature, history, art, philosophy, and science. One of these was the World’s Parliament of Religions, an initiative of the Swedenborgian layman (and judge) Charles C. Bonney. The Parliament of Religions was by far the largest of the congresses held in conjunction with the Exposition.”
“The 1893 Parliament, which ran from 11 to 27 September, marked the first organized gathering of representatives of Eastern and Western spiritual traditions. Today it is recognized as the occasion of the birth of formal interreligious dialogue worldwide.”
– Wikipedia entry “Parliament of the World’s Religions”
The two volumes contain a large number of photos, in addition to many chapters divided into Parts, as follows:
Part 1: History of the Parliament
1. The Origin of the Plan for a Parliament of Religions 2. The World’s Response to a Great Idea 3. The Assembling of the Parliament: Words of Welcome and Fellowship 4. The Chronicle of the Parliament from the Second Day to the Sixteenth 5. Close of the Parliament
Part 2: Introduction to the Parliament Papers
1. The Study of the World’s Religions 2. What the Various Faiths – Brahman, Buddhist, Parsee, Confucian, Mohammedan, Jew, and Christian – had to say concerning God 3. What the World’s Religions reported in regard to the Nature of Man 4. The Various Estimates of the Importance of Religion 5. What Scholarship had to say on the Various Systems of Religion 6. Interesting Accounts of the Sacred Books of the World 7. What Religion has Wrought in Family Life 8. Addresses on the Chief Religious Leaders of Mankind 9. Report of the Connection of Religion with the Arts and Sciences 10. What the Various Faiths had to Say of Religion in its Relation to Morals 11. The Account of Religion and Modern Social Problems 12. The History of Religion and Civil Society 13. The Relation of Religion and the Love of Mankind 14. What was Said of the Present Religious Condition of Christendom 15. The Aspirations for the Religious Reunion of Christendom 16. Hopes for the Religious Union of the Whole Human Family 17. What were Deemed the Elements of a Perfect Religion
Part 2: The Parliament Papers
[55 papers by various authors are contained in 550 pages in Volume 1; Volume 2 has 116 papers spanning 600 pages.]
Part 3: The Scientific Section: Reports and Abstracts of Papers
[Opening address and 17 short papers]
Part 4: The Denominational Congresses
[Reports from 34 congresses representing different denominations; virtually all Christian]
Part 5: Review and Summary
Brand, Edward P.
Bloomington, IL: Pantagraph 1930
For more works on Baptists in the region, see:
– McCoy, Isaac, History of Baptist Indian Missions, embracing remarks on the former and present condition of the aboriginal tribes … in Great Lakes Region Religious History;
– Stott, William T. , Indiana Baptist History, 1798-1908 in Indiana Religious History;
– Trowbridge, Mary Elizabeth Day, History of Baptists in Michigan in Michigan Religious History
Books and articles on Native American tribes in historic Illinois
Cincinnati, Cranston & Curts; 1856
This famous Methodist circuit-rider made an exploratory trip through Illinois in 1823 and located the following year in Sangamon County. He had charge of several districts in the central and northern part of the state and traveled extensively on his circuits and in attending conferences. Though containing little formal description, the book depicts social and religious conditions on the frontier.
Garraghan, Gilbert Joseph
Chicago: Loyola University 1921
Chapter headings are:
– Early Missionary Visitors – The Pastorate of Father St. Cyr, 1833- 1834 – Bishop Brute and the Mission of Chicago – The Pastorate of Father St. Cyr, 1834- 1837 – Bishop Quarter – Bishop Van de Velde – Bishop O’Regan – Bishop Duggan – Bishop Foley and the Fire of 1871
– Blanchard, Charles., ed., comp., History of the Catholic Church in Indiana in Indiana Religious History;
– Lamott, John Henry, History of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, 1821-1921 in Ohio Religious History;
– Pare, George, The Catholic Church in Detroit, 1701-1888 in Michigan Religious History;
– Heming, Harry Hooper, The Catholic Church in Wisconsin in Wisconsin Religious History
Heckman, John and Miller, J.E.
Elgin, IL: Brethren Publishing Hourse 1941
This history of the Church of the Brethren is for the most part a collection of brief profiles of individual congregations in Northern Illinois and Wisconsin. There is also a section on ‘Activities’ of the church as a whole, and some biographies. Illinois congregations profiled are:
– Arnold’s Grove – Franklin Grove (Rock River) – West Branch – Yellow Creek – Hickory Grove – Pine Creek – Milledgeville (Dutchtown) – Bethel (Naperville) – Cherry Grove – Waddams Grove – Rock Creek – Silver Creek (Mount Morris) – Shannon – Lanark – Pigeon Creek (Oak Grove) – First Church, Chicago – Batavia – Elgin – Polo – Dixon – Rockford – Freeport – Chelsea – Douglas Park
Books and articles about everyday life, women, ethnic groups, social issues etc. at Topics in the social history of Illinois
Leaton, James (Rev.)
The four parts of the book are:
– Western Conference, 1793-1811 (seems to include Kentucky and Illinois)
– Tennessee Conference, 1812-1815
– Missouri Conference, 1816-1823
– Illinois Conference, 1824-1831
Within each of these parts there are chapters for each year that cover that year’s conference (if there was one), principal people and events in the establishment and growth of churches, and some miscellaneous other topics. The author said that, “This is not so much a history as a collection of material for the use of the future historian.”
For more works on Methodism in the region, see:
– Boase, Paul, “The Fortunes of a Circuit Rider” in Ohio Religious History
– King, I. F., “Introduction of Methodism in Ohio” in Ohio Religious History
– Bennett, P. S., History of Methodism in Wisconsin in Wisconsin Religious History;
– Holliday, Rev. F. C., Indiana Methodism: Being an Account of the Introduction, Progress, and Present Position of Methodism in the State in Indiana Religious History;
– Price, Ruth, “Indiana Methodism 1816-1832” in Indiana Religious History;
– Finley, James B., Sketches of Western Methodism: Biographical, Historical, and Miscellaneous, Illustrative of Pioneer Life in Great Lakes Region Religious History
Palm, Mary B. (Sister)
Part names and chapter headings are:
-The French in North America -The Jesuit Mission Field in French North America
2. The Mission of the Immaculate Conception among the Kaskaskia, 1673-1700
-At the Great Illinois Village, 1673-1691 -At Peoria, 1691-1700
3. The Mission of the Guardian Angel at Chicago, c. 1696-1702
4. The Mission among the Kaskaskia at the Des Peres River, 1700-1703
5. Kaskaskia, the Indian Mission Village, 1703-1718
6. The Missionaries in the Illinois Country, 1718-1763
-The Boisbriant Regime, 1718-1724 -The Mission of St. Francis Xavier at Michigamea, 1720-1736 -St. Anne’s at Fort de Chartres -The Parish of the Immaculate Conception at Kaskaskia, 1719-1763 -Indian Kaskaskia, 1718-1763 -Vincennes, 1732-1763 -Ste. Genevieve, 1735-1763
7. Side-lights in the Parish Registers of Kaskaskia
8. The Banishment of the Jesuits from the Illinois Country
-The Great Illinois Village -The Jesuit Missionaries in the Illinois -Notes on the Map of the Jesuit Missions in the Illinois Country
For more works on Jesuits in the region, see:
– Kip, William Ingraham (Rev.), The Early Jesuit Missions in North America; compiled and translated from the letters of the French Jesuits, with notes in Great Lakes Region Religious History;
– Nute, Grace Lee, ed., Documents relating to Northwest Missions, 1815-1827 in Great Lakes Region Religious History;
– Parkman, Francis, The Jesuits in North America in the Seventeenth Century in Michigan Religious History;
– Thwaites, Reuben Gold, The Jesuit Relations and Allied Documents: Travels and Explorations of the Jesuit Missionaries in New France, 1610-1791 in Michigan Religious History;
– Verwyst, Chrysostom, Missionary Labors of Fathers Marquette, Menard and Allouez, in the Lake Superior Region in Wisconsin Religious History
Please visit our collection of 2,000+ selected online magazine and newspaper articles on 40 subjects, plus online map & vintage photo collections, at Century Past History Resources
Pennewell, Almer M.
Scyamore, IL: Sycamore Tribune 1942
Collection of Illinois Biographies & Memoirs
Roe, Elizabeth A.
Rockford, ILL: Gazette. 1885
The author wrote in the Preface, “In these pages many recollections of frontier life in different localities are sketched. The climate, the soil, society, schools and churches, in many places in Kentucky, Illinois and Nebraska are described…”
Chapter headings are:
– My Childhood – The Garden and the Gardener – Earliest Recollections of Methodism and its Influence on me – Religious Resolutions and how they were Prosecuted – – Recollections of early Married Life – Doctor’s Adventure on the Farm – Removal to Rock River – Progress of Methodism – Recollections of Methodism in Chicago – Recollections of Payne’s Point – Recollections of Rockford and our new Home on the Prairie – Visit to Nebraska – Death of Dr. John Roe – Funeral Sermon – Dr. John Roe – Birthday Testimony
Transactions No. 7. 1902 pp 56-62
Short, W. F.
Springfield: Illinois State Historical Society
In this short paper the author provides some data for the earliest establishment in Illinois of churches for the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians, and Episcopalians. He also discusses early camp meetings, church promotion of education, and founding of some early colleges.
You can find more works like these at our other ‘Religion’ pages.