John L. Raymond Research Library

The Society’s research collections are housed in the John L. Raymond Research Library, located on the second floor of Lilac Cottage in Bowen Park. The library is named for the man who first appreciated the importance of collecting the photographic and archival history of Waukegan.

Latest News

The Research Library now has a new copy machine thanks to the assistance of of members contributing to the Library Equipment Fund. Our old machine served us well for the last 10 years, but it had become an antique (no, we didn’t add it to our collections). The library still needs a microfilm reader and hopefully one will be found or purchased in the near future. The staff at the library has been busy with the start of the inventory of the archives. 

The staff is currently going through all books on the shelves and evaluating if they fit the scope of pertaining to the “research of Waukegan.” With our limited space, some books will not be able to remain on the shelves.

 September 2013

In the research library. 

In the research library. 

Lilac Cottage in Bowen Park

Lilac Cottage in Bowen Park


Research Inquiries


Research questions should be directed to Beverly Millard, Head Librarian. Leave a message at (847) 360-4772, write to the library at Lilac Cottage, or email Beverly Millard directly at

Library Hours

Wednesday–Friday, 10am–2:30pm
Saturdays by appointment
Closed Christmas Day and New Year's Day
In case of bad weather, especially snow, please call to make sure the Library will be open.

Head Librarian: Beverly Millard

Lilac Cottage, Bowen Park
 1911 North Sheridan Road
Waukegan, IL 60087
(847) 360-4772

Wish List

Please keep us in mind when cleaning out your house or your relatives' houses. We accept a wide range of items. Photographs and postcards of Waukegan, especially buildings, are always needed.

Right now we are looking for Waukegan telephone directories from 1913-1923 and from 1957-1967.

Lake County Information

Information about births, deaths, and marriages can be obtained through the Lake County Clerk's office: Uncertified or "for geneological purposes only" copies are available at a reduced cost.

County Archives:

Marriage Licenses begin in 1839
 Birth Records begin in 1871
Death Records begin in 1877

The Recorder of Deeds Office also has Lake County information:

Information about wills and naturalizations in Lake County are held by the Office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court: Copies may be obtained in person or by mail.

Include as much information as you can for the person you are researching (name, birth date, where from, approximately when they arrived, and approximately when they were naturalized).

The fee is $5.00 per name searched (please confirm this information before sending payment by mail). This fee includes the search and the copy cost. It is not refundable if no information is found. Payment must be in cash (in person) or money order (by mail). Personal checks are not accepted. Include a self-addressed stamped envelope if inquiring by mail.

Clerk of the Circuit Court
 18 N. County St.
Waukegan, IL 60085
847) 377-3380

Research Materials Available

The following is a sampling of research materials available at the library. You can also download the list of materials (pdf).


1861, 1873, 1885, 1907, 1913, 1926, 1935, 1936, 1944, 1963, 1976, & 1977

Books and Directories

Early Death Notices of Lake County, IL 1845-1879

First Land Purchases of Lake County-Mogg

List of Illinois Place Names-I.S.H.S.

Migration, Emigration, Immigration Vol. I & II-Miller

Newspapers in the Illinois State Historical Library

Peterson Funeral Home Records 1865-1945-L.C.G.S.

Tobin Funeral Home Records 1876-1934

Treasures From Northern Illinois-Mogg

(only a partial listing of collection)

City directories

Telephone directories

Census Records

Waukegan & Lake County

1810, 1818, 1820, 1840, 1850, 1860, 1870, 1880, 1900

Family Histories

Converse, Coulson, Darnall, Drew, Hazen, Jack, Knoll, Lush, Niblack, Sheldon, Strang, Tiernan, Wait, Walsh, White, and Whyte


People File (many obituaries included)

Waukegan Historic District Homes

Proper Name and Subject Files


Waukegan & Lake County

Bridge to the Past-Wadsworth

A History of Lake County-Halsey

History of Lake County-Partridge

History of Slovenian Community 1893-1952

History of Waukegan-Holmes & Darrow

History of Warren Township-Lawson

Historical Sketches of Lake County-Haines

Historical Highlights of the Waukegan Area-Osling

How It All Began-Meads

Illinois of Today and It's Progressive Cities

Immaculate Conception Parish 1841-1949

Lake County, Illinois-Virginia Mullery

Lake County Roots-News-Sun 1997

Makers of Illinois

Meehan's Settlement (Irish in Shields Township)

Men of Illinois-Halliday 1902

Old Waukegan Days-Dunn 1929

The Past and Present of Lake County-Le Baron

Portrait and Biographical Album of Lake County-1891

St. Patrick's Church-Wadsworth 1849-1949

South Side Memories-Osling

Waukegan, It's Past & Present-League of Womens Voters

Waukegan's Legacy, Our Landmarks Revealed-1976

Waukegan Scenes, Past & Present-Gregory 1977

The Best Ever-Waukegan Theatres 1865-1919 -J. Neal

Journal Of The Illinois State Historical Society

Includes early issues (not complete) and indexes


Victorian Homes: 1982-present

Old House Journal: 1986-present

Old House Interiors: 1996-present


Sanborn Insurance Maps 1912 and 1917, 1929

Sanborn Insurance Maps 1885-1949 (microfilm)

Military Histories

Several volumes including

Adjutant General's Report of Illinois (Civil War)

Index to 1862 Military Census of Lake County-L.C.G.S.

Roll of Honor, Record of Burial Places in Illinois 1929 (2 vol.)

Wright's Official History of the Spanish-American War


approximately 7,000


Large collection includes

Dahl 1885-1930, Yard 1875-1894, D.A.R., Military Personnel Photo & Scrapbook 1942-1948, Waukegan Women's Club, West School


Waukegan High School 1898-1990

Holy Child High School

Miscellaneous Sources

Diaries, Post Cards, etc.