Jacksonville Characters is a list of short biographies of people who lived in Jacksonville compiled over many years by Steve Hochstadt, emeritus professor of history. To date, this list consists of over 1600 biographies of prominent and lesser known people who have contributed to the history of Jacksonville, Illinois.
A note from Professor Hochstadt...
I am responsible for a wonderful collection of interviews with Jacksonville people by Jacksonville people. As these are slowly transcribed, and they become accessible to a much wider audience, I have created short biographies of people mentioned in the interviews, and added others whose names I ran across.
The only claim I’ll make about this list is that it is as accurate as I could manage. The description of each person’s life is based on a serious effort to find reliable information. Many names appear on this list because they or their families were mentioned in interviews. Then one name leads into another. Occasionally I would burrow into some part of Jacksonville’s past and come up with names and accomplishments that have been forgotten. I have tried to avoid reproducing “the great man” version of our history that I was taught in public schools. My special interest in teachers and athletes, and my efforts to discover everyone’s educational journey influence this list.
This list is an unequal representation of Jacksonville. The interviews were done overwhelmingly with notable citizens of Jacksonville, meaning anyone whose life was significant in our city. They mainly talk about each other. As much as I tried to unearth the biographies of some lesser known names, every source of information in media, in archives, and on the internet favors the prominent, the wealthy, and the educated.
Nearly every day I add another character to Jacksonville’s past. Every once in a while, the version on our website will be refreshed with new information. I welcome new information about anyone here or suggestions about any other Jacksonville character. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Seeking information about one Jacksonville person after another has demonstrated to me their many accomplishments and personal strengths – I call them characters with respect. I believe the list also demonstrates the character of Jacksonville, an incubator of greatness since its founding in 1825.
- Steve Hochstadt