March 18, 2015

Historical society to receive Delta Award

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- The Union County Historical and Genealogy Society is the recipient of the 2015 Delta Award from Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Friends of Morris Library. 

The award presentation is set for 5 p.m. on April 9 in the John C. Guyon Auditorium at Morris Library on the SIU campus. Guest speakers will include society board members Patrick Brumleve, Judy Travelstead and Paulette Aronson. Following the Delta Award presentation, there will be a reception with appetizers and beverages served from 6 to 7 p.m. in the first floor rotunda. 

The historical society, founded in 1972, owns and operates the Union County Museum, located within the historic DuBois Building on Appleknocker Street. The building, constructed in 1892, was completely restored by the Society. The museum houses a permanent collection of Anna pottery, Native American artifacts and early household items along with military and horticulture exhibits. In addition, it features at least three additional special exhibits annually. 

The society is an all-volunteer group that sponsors annual history fairs in local schools, provides a scholarship to a graduating senior with a history or photography major, publishes a quarterly newsletter and hosts a variety of book signings and programs relative to the area’s social and cultural history. The Museum hosted the Smithsonian’s Hometown Teams Museum on Main Street Exhibit in 2014 as well. All of the museum’s events are free and open to the public. 

The society board of directors also includes Beverly Anderson, John Baldwin, Pat Meller and Marianna Riley; Bonnie Heidinger recently retired from the board. 

“Union County History: Migrants, Artists and South Pass,” is the topic for the awards presentation program. Brumleve will present an overview of the early history of South Pass, now known as Cobden, and why the community was considered so progressive. Aronson will speak about early Union County artists, and Travelstead will discuss the history of the region’s horticulture and the role that migrant workers have played and continue to have in the industry. 

The society members have researched and published nine books pertaining to the history of the area and fostering an interest in that legacy. They have researched and written books about each of the topics featured in the April 9 presentation. 

The society is developing a resource center featuring books, documents and other items of interest to local historians and genealogists with the goal of making these items available for the public to view.  

The Delta Awards presentation is free and open to the public. Although there is no cost, those planning to attend are asked to register in advance to allow planners to adequately prepare refreshments. 

To register, or for more information about the Friends of Morris Library or the Delta Award, contact Sandy Akaqboune at