The roots of the Peoria Historical Society can be traced as far back as 1839. Incorporated in 1934 as the Peoria Historical Society, the purpose of the Society is to enhance the quality of life in the Peoria area by: collecting, preserving and displaying items relating to our history; encouraging and supporting historical research and education; and promoting and sustaining public interest in the history and contributions of our people and organizations.
The focus of our work has changed and evolved through the years, but our commitment to preservation remains strong. We offer programs for both local residents and out-of-town visitors. We seek to entertain the eye and stimulate the mind. We support historical scholarship and collaborate with other preservation organizations.
We look to the future . . . with a vision to be the community resource and advocate for historical preservation and research on the Peoria area, its organizations and its people. As a collaborative partner of the Peoria Riverfront Museum, we are pleased to have the opportunity to display some of the Society’s artifacts and present the history of the Peoria area in the museum.
To preserve, share and celebrate the stories of the Peoria area.
To research the Society’s Collection, type a search word, term, or phrase into the text box above. For example: type in (without quotes) “Hiram Walker,” “Flanagan,” “Keystone,” or general terms like “photograph” or “obituary,” or other keywords that interest you such as: your family or business name.
About The Society’s Collections Database
Collection I: The Peoria Historical Society is thrilled to allow the public to access our Collections Database. Be aware that the vast majority of items are still to be entered and that the records that are entered are sometimes incomplete or may be missing data and images. Since this is a labor intensive process and our Curator relies on volunteers to assist him, this is a work in progress. However, it was decided the value to the public was greater than would justify waiting until the collections were completely entered and updated. The good news is that you can not only search our Collections Database, but you can help! If you have information on an item that we do not have, or can fill in gaps or you spot a correction, let us know and we will update the information on that item. This is an exciting time! The more data that is entered, and the more data YOU can help add, the more valuable and useful the collection becomes to everyone. Enter your search word(s) above and happy researching!
Collection II: The PHS Collection also includes 1,000 linear feet of material which is housed at Bradley University’s Cullom-Davis Library in their environmentally controlled Special Collections Center since 1980. This collection contains a large number of images, books, manuscripts, maps, and ephemera, all covering a period from the late 19th century to the first half of the twentieth. Some of this material has been shared on CARLI and can be searched online. Click on the underscored link below and continue your research.