The Sweet Home Cook County exhibit fills 12 display cases in the Pedway between City Hall and the Daley Center. It features photos, a timeline and memorabilia for history-makers from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to retired Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, Nobel Prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway and Oscar winner Jennifer Hudson.
“A great many cultural giants were born right here,” Orr said. “It’s a legacy we shouldn’t take for granted. What’s more, we’ve dug up the trivia showing how many of them are connected to one another by films, jobs or their hometowns.”
The Sweet Home Cook County exhibit is also available as an online database where curious fans, librarians and teachers can explore brief biographies of nearly 150 home-grown celebrities. The database also links people together by their year of birth, hospital where they were born, schools they attended and their hometown.
The Clerk’s Bureau of Vital Records maintains the birth records of these notables among its 27 million vital records dating back to 1871.
“Whether you’re a fan of music, art, literature, politics or sports, Sweet Home Cook County will provide you plenty of hometown pride,” Orr said.
“We want this exhibit to inspire others to dig up their own roots,” Orr added. Through the Clerk’s Genealogy Online — a portal to all of Cook County’s genealogical birth, death and marriage records — genealogists can piece together the past.
Under Illinois law, genealogical records are defined as:
- Birth certificates older than 75 years;
- Marriage certificates older than 50 years;
- Death certificates older than 20 years.
Sweet Home Cook County will remain in the Daley Center concourse until March 24. The Sweet Home Cook County website, with additional photos and short biographies, will remain available indefinitely. A video of the display is posted on YouTube.