University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The items in the Digital Collections of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library contain materials which represent or depict sensitive topics or were written from perspectives using outdated or biased language. The Library condemns discrimination and hatred on any grounds. As a research library that supports the mission and values of this land grant institution, it is incumbent upon the University Library to preserve, describe, and provide access to materials to accurately document our past, support learning about it, and effect change in the present. In accordance with the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read statement, we do not censor our materials or prevent patrons from accessing them.

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Gustave Koerner Papers (Digitized Content)

The digitized content of the Gustave Koerner Papers consists of printed and hand-written speeches given by Koerner during his time as a democrat in the Illinois Legislature from 1842-1844. Also included is a signed cabinet card photograph of Koerner.

A native of Gemany, Gustave [also spelled “Gustav”] Koerner (1809-1896) moved to St. Clair County, Illinois in 1833. He became an influential state and national political figure, especially amongst the German American settlers of St. Clair. Koerner became a member of the Illinois General Assembly in 1842, and later served as the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois (1853-1857).

This collection contains items relating to Koerner’s years in the Illinois legislature (1842-1844), including two printed copies of his July 5, 1842 speech voicing support of the Illinois Michigan Canal Bill; a handwritten speech on the nature of the current government, the National Bank, the depreciation of money, and anti-Van Buren views; and a cabinet card photograph of Koerner with his signature.

The Illinois History and Lincoln Collections unit at the University of Illinois Library manages the physical items of the Gustave Koerner Papers (MS 044). The collection was partially digitized in 2019. For more information, contact an archivist at