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About this blog

I'm Rochelle Gridley, a librarian and amateur historian. I live in an historic neighborhood in Bloomington Illinois ( and about three years (2012!) ago I began investigating the houses in my neighborhood and put that information on a website to help my neighbors with questions about their homes, the lives of the people who lived there and general genealogy questions. 

(Wow, I can't believe I started this blog in July 2015! Editing this space today (Mar 2019) because I wondered when this blog started. Unfortunately, the Wix tool does not let me easily see my beginning date or navigate the site by date -- something for new website builders to consider when choosing a platform -- wish I had!)


I volunteer at the McLean County Museum of History as reference help, archivist, and cemetery tour guide and researcher. Digging into the stories of the cemetery tour characters and reading letters from a WWII collection inspired me to look more deeply into the stories of people from a greater collection of Bloomingtonians. In my blog Women Called to Action I attempt to find the stories of the women who lived in Bloomington and joined in the work of the armed forces in WWII. 


Once the historic pages of the Bloomington Pantagraph were digitized, it was inevitable that I would begin more in depth research of the people from Founders' Grove and then this blog, which looks through a very wide geographical lens to each day 100 years ago in the Bloomington Pantagraph. 


The Pantagraph reached people living in many adjoining counties, including Logan, Tazewell, Livingston, Woodford, Piatt, Champaign, Ford, DeWitt and even Peoria.  The news was sometimes sensationalist and sometimes extremely personal. The newspaper was a way for people to know whether their friends were ill, where they were travelling and who was visiting Bloomington. We would consider reporting all this information as an invasion of our privacy, but in the past, readers needed this information to maintain friendships -- without telephones, how could you know that your dear friend was ill and that you should call on her to wish her well? Sometimes the articles could be cruel toward the less fortunate or display the prejudices of the day. 

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