University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jonathan Baldwin Turner Papers (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Jonathan Baldwin Turner papers consists of letters, images, certificates, patents, and circulars pertaining to the life and career of Jonathan Baldwin Turner, a teacher, preacher, agriculturalist, and educational and political advocate.

Jonathan Baldwin Turner (1805-1899) was born in Massachusetts and moved to Illinois after receiving his degree in classical literature from Yale University in 1833. He settled in Jacksonville, Illinois, where he was a professor at Illinois College. Turner was an integral figure in the establishment of land grant universities, as well as the founding of the Illinois Industrial University, now the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He was also an agriculturalist who improved agricultural methods and established the use of Osage orange trees for hedge farming.

The digitized content contains incoming and outgoing correspondence, images, patents, circulars, and certificates from Turner's career in agriculture and educational advocacy. Correspondents include Illinois politicians, national politicians, and friends and associates involved in Turner's educational pursuits. Many of the letters concern Turner's decade-long effort in establishing the Illinois Industrial University. Turner's circulars and patents concern innovative agricultural methods, including improvements for seeding machines and Pulverizers, and the promotion of Osage orange trees for hedge farming. Images include portraits of Turner, his family, and their residence in Jacksonville, Illinois.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Jonathan Baldwin Turner Papers (MS 333). The collection was partially digitized in 2020, 2021, and 2022. For more information, contact an archivist at