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Mock Trials Help Save History

Mock Trials Help Save History

Mock trials over the last three years have generated enough money to fund some efforts to preserve Illinois history.

The mock trials included the case of Mary Surratt, an alleged conspirator in the assassination of President Lincoln, the insanity case of Mary Todd Lincoln, and the habeas corpus hearing of Mormon founder Joseph Smith. They were each held in Springfield and Chicago, for a total of six events, with a gross of $269,000. They produced profit of $123,000, which is being split between the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum and the Illinois Supreme Court Preservation Commission.

The Library & Museum will use its share to restore and preserve 19th Century maps in its collection, including an 1879 map of the state that cannot be found anywhere else. Other maps include Sangamon County (1858), Pike County (1860) and maps of DeWitt and Kendall counties.

“Many of these maps show buildings that we don’t even have any photographs of, so the idea of conserving what we looked like in the 19th Century is very much dependent upon these maps,” director Eileen Mackevich said.

The Illinois Supreme Court will be able to preserve portraits of all 107 former justices, and shrink them so the growing number can fit on the wall. The collection began after the Supreme Court building opened in 1910; there were 45 portraits done then.

 

 

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