Illinois History Minutes

August 19 Illinois History Minute


It’s August 19th. And on this day in 1975, President Gerald Ford visited Pekin for the dedication of a new congressional research center named for his old colleague, the late Everett Dirksen. Dirksen, a Pekin native and fellow Republican, had been the Senate minority leader, while Ford held the same post in the House. Their joint news conferences to promote the GOP’s views were nicknamed the Ev and Jerry Show.

On the very same day in 1975, Illinois Governor Dan Walker signed legislation making the monarch butterfly Illinois’ official state insect. Walker was joined in Springfield by third-graders from Dennis School in Decatur, who had proposed the designation.

And writer Ring Lardner Junior, who won screenplay Oscars for “Woman of the Year” and “MASH” was born in Chicago on this day in 1915.