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Oral History Collection

The Peru Public Library has 92 oral history interviews available for use by local patrons, researchers, and students. The interviews range from the Cherry Mine Disaster to the Illinois-Mississippi Canal to teaching in the 1900’s. Taped and transcribed during 1975 and 1976 as part of a local history project supported by the Starved Rock Library System (Ottawa, Illinois), the interviews were given to Peru Public Library by the Starved Rock Library in 1993.

In 2013-14, the tapes and transcriptions were digitized under a grant given to the Peru Library from the Illinois State Historical Records Advisory Board. Circulating copies of the interviews are available for two-week loans from the Peru Public Library. A set is also housed in our Local History & Genealogy Collection. And the transcripts are available as pdf’s at the following links. Please note, not all the tapes were transcribed and not all the transcriptions have the original tape.

  1. Albrecht, Henry & Harriet – Family operated well-drilling
  2. Allen, Mary – Soapmaking
  3. Ambrose, Joe – Early years in Austria and DePue
  4. Anderson, Mary – Life in Princeton
  5. Arendell, Lester – History of Coal Mining in Toluca, IL
  6. Bartlett, Watson – Trip to Yakima
  7. Battin, Charles – Description of Indian artifacts
  8. Beatty, Lester – Farm life in LaMoille
  9. Bender, Michael – Personalities & business in Spring Valley
  10. Bieser, William – Life on a farm and farming
  11. Brady, Gladys – Sandwich fair
  12. Bryant, Edward – Autobiography & the Illinois-Mississippi Canal
  13. Bryant, Minnie – Childhood in Spring Valley
  14. Carus, Alwin – Zinc, Hegeler & Mattiesen
  15. Castle, Latham – Career in Law
  16. Clay, Floyd – Working on a riverboat
  17. Confrey, Burton – People & places in LaSalle
  18. Curtis, Ora – 27 years teaching in Lostant
  19. Divan, Louis – Life in Toluca
  20. Donna, Peter – Cherry Mine disaster & coal mining
  21. Dunlap, Jessie – Marseilles Daily Press, 1921-1966
  22. Fisher, Hart – Interurban line
  23. Fletcher, Vera – History of Bureau County
  24. Flint, Irvin – Strip mining in Bureau County
  25. Foster, Rosa – Reminiscences from a 91-year-old
  26. Fry, Donnabell – Teaching in Princeton
  27. Gardner, Teresa – Growing up on a farm near Arlington, Illinois
  28. Gerding, Arthur – Recalling the Illinois-Michigan Canal
  29. Gunn, Carol – Living in LaSalle
  30. Gutting, Leo – Working at the Panama Canal, 1914-1918 
  31. Hamill, John – Justice of the Peace in Sandwich
  32. Harrison, Lonzo – DePue Police Officer
  33. Harrison, Melissa – Memories of early DePue, Illinois
  34. Heaton, Cecil – People and places in Walnut Township, Bureau County Illinois
  35. Hedrich, John – Illinois-Mississippi Canal
  36. Helmer, John – DePue, Illinois zinc industry
  37. Herr, Fred – Farm life in Clarion Township, Bureau County
  38. Housby, James – State parks in LaSalle County
  39. Housby, James – LaSalle trades and labor council
  40. Housby, James – Early transportation, business, and recreations
  41. Ill, Dorothy – Illinois-Mississippi Canal: its construction
  42. Johnson, Anna – School days in Princeton, Illinois 1913-1975
  43. Johnson, Inez – Teacher’s life
  44. Jordan, John – Ottawa Childhood
  45. Kaiser, William – Effects of the depression
  46. Kellier, Ruth – 1911 Overland poem
  47. Kern, Stanley – Interurban line
  48. Kleinmaier, Anne – History of the Easter Seal treatment center of LaSalle
  49. Koyak, Mary – Cherry Mine disaster and life in Spring Valley
  50. Kruger, William – DePue & the Kruger family
  51. Lang, Ruth – History of Zearing, Illinois (Bureau County)
  52. Looft, Christie – Life of Christie Looft
  53. Lyons, William – Teaching in the 1920s
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