Did You Know? Artist Ivan Albright is from IllinoisIvan Albright was born 119 years ago this week in Harvey.

Albright, who is known for his typically dark yet very meticulous art work, began his career studying at The Art Institute of Chicago. He was very interested in the works of El Greco and Rembrandt, but quickly developed his own style. Many of his pieces have themes of life, death, the material and spirit worlds and the effects of time.

Albright was prolific in his work. He worked up until his death in 1983, completing more than 20 self-portraits in the last three years of his life. His attention to detail caused him to spend upwards of ten years on one painting. Often he would hand carve intricate frames for works.

Ivan Albright is a celebrated artist. He was a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and was elected to the National Academy of Design. He won first prize in three major exhibitions in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia in 1941.

The Art Institute of Chicago currently houses one of his most famous paintings, Picture of Dorian Gray, along with a vast archive of his work.

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To see more of Albright’s work, visit The Art Institute of Chicago

Lottie ONeillLottie Holman was born in Barry, Illinois in November of 1978. She met and married Joseph O’Neill in Chicago after college, and the couple moved to Downers Grove in 1904. There Lottie launched her political career based on the fundamental principle of democracy that all people should be represented.

She became the state representative for the 41st District in 1923. O’Neill served in the House from 1923-1931 and from 1933-1951. She then served as a state senator from 1951-1964.

She ran for U.S. Senate in 1931 and represented the Illinois GOP at the 1944 Republican National Convention.

O’Neill passed away in her Downers Grove home on February 17, 1967. She is buried at Oak Crest Cemetery in Downers Grove, and a statue commemorating her 38 years in the Illinois General Assembly was erected in the Capitol rotunda in Springfield in 1976.

crawford lgCynthia Crawford was born 50 years ago this month in DeKalb. Growing up, Cindy excelled in school all while hearing her family and friends tell her she had the look to become a successful model.

Cindy graduated high school valedictorian and continued her education at Northwestern University, where she worked towards a degree in chemical engineering. College life was short-lived however, as she left to begin her modeling career. She immediately won the “Look of the Year” contest from an elite modeling agency and within months was featured on the cover of Vogue magazine.

Crawford often spoke about her broken childhood. She did several interviews that really humanized her image to the public by showing her own life struggles. This sparked her career even further, as she went on to host MTV’s House of Style, participate in a fitness video, TV specials, commercial endorsements and film.

Crawford signed a multi-million dollar deal to promote Pepsi and also promoted Revlon. Although she doesn’t model anymore, Cindy Crawford will always be remembered as a woman with poise and a strong professional personality.

Did You Know? Olympic gold medal winner Bonnie Blair has ties to IllinoisTwenty-two years ago today, Bonnie Blair won her fifth Olympic gold medal during the XVII Winter Games in Lillehammer, Norway. Blair started skating at a young age and began competing at the age of seven. After graduating from Centennial High School in Champaign, and with support from the Champaign Policemen’s Benevolent Association, Blair traveled with the U.S. Olympic Speed Skating Team.

Blair first participated in the Olympics in the 1988 Winter Games in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, setting a new world record and winning her first gold medal in the 500 meter competition. She would go on to participate in the 1992 Winter Games in Albertville, France, winning her second gold medal in the 500 meter and another in the 1,000 meter competition. Blair’s participation in the 1994 Winter Games in Norway led to her fourth and fifth gold medals, again in the 500 and 1,000 meter competitions.

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Read more about the life and accomplishments of Bonnie Blair

DYK Wadlow

Robert Pershing Wadlow was born in Alton, Illinois on February 22, 1918. Wadlow would enter the history books as the “Alton Giant” or World’s Tallest Man.

Standing at 8 feet, 11inches, Wadlow is the world’s tallest man confirmed by Guinness World Records. At 13, Wadlow would be one of the tallest boy scouts at the height of 7 foot 4 inches. At 18, he weighed nearly four hundred pounds and was wearing a size 37 shoe that cost one hundred dollars per pair.

The International Shoe Company would provide Wadlow free shoes as long as he and his dad would travel the country as marketers for the company.

The entire town shut down to attend his funeral with nearly 40,000 signatures in the guest book. He earned the nickname “Gentle Giant” for his demeanor with everyone in the town of Alton, Illinois.


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