Latest book:


Hallwas, John E., and Kathy Nichols. Memory and Community: The Life and Writings of W. H. Hainline. Macomb, IL: McDonough County Historical Society, 2018.

Historians often realize that they don’t just provide new information, to make the past more well-understood and appealing for modern readers. They sometimes resurrect the dead—bringing individuals from earlier generations out of the dark realm of the lost and into the modern consciousness. That is the deepest accomplishment of the John Hallwas and Kathy Nichols in this book, Memory and Community: The Life and Writings of W.H. Hainline. Yes, the book is filled with accounts of McDonough County, Illinois, historical events, Civil War experiences, noted murder cases, tragic deaths, community activities, and other matters, but it also reflects the personal experience and the inner life of a remarkable figure, who was raised on the frontier, spent four long (and ultimately tragic) years in the Union Army, edited the Macomb Journal for more than half a century, and crusaded for the remembrance and appreciation of others throughout his life. Because Hainline was such a popular local resident, committed civic leader, and talented writer, readers of this volume will not just develop an understanding of the human experience in one corner of America, but will become deeply engaged with a complex, purpose-driven Illinois figure from generations ago. Ultimately, he led a rich and meaningful life because he related deeply to those around him, and appropriately, this collection of his writings prompts us to do the same.

Price for McDonough County Historical Society members is a special discount price of $5. Email: or if you prefer, write to the Historical Society, Box 83, Macomb IL 61455. For general public the price is $17.95 and is available at New Copperfield's Book Service in Macomb, Illinois (phone: 309-837-3052 or email:

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On Community:  A Crucial Issue, a Small Town, and a Writer's Experience 

As historian, literary scholar, newspaper columnist, and small-town proponent John Hallwas points out, " We live in an unprecedented era, when community is under siege from a variety of forces, and the negative ramifications of that are continually mounting."  On Community presents compelling short writings that both discuss this crucial issue and examine the relationship between people and meaningful place.  Convinced that our communities need to re-discover and appreciate their heritage, he provides some perceptive commentaries on "The Way It Once Was" and engaging biographical vignettes that allow modern readers to look into the lives of committted, and often struggling or tragic, people in Macomb's past.  He also reflects insights from many fine authors and conveys his own experiences with some fascinating figures in small-town Illinois.

ISBN 978-1-4951-7092-8

Price $17.95

Here to Stay: Reflections on the Dead in a Small-Town Cemetery

Here to Stay is a broad and compelling look into the lives of past residents in a downstate Illinois community—presenting the most varied array of small-town folks since Edgar Lee Masters’ Spoon River Anthology appeared a century ago. But it is much more. The introduction on “Living with the Dead” is an engaging account of both the impact of death in a nineteenth-century town and the social purposes of cemeteries like Macomb’s beautiful Oakwood. The biographical sketches of the buried “Permanent Residents” reflect every generation in that corner of America since the first settlers came, in 1830, emphasizing such universal themes as self-realization, social commitment, and the struggle to belong. The four insightful essays in the  “Theatre of Memory” section probe into and defend cemeteries as complex cultural sites, which deserve our reflective engagement, historical appreciation, and vigilant preservation. The many arresting photographs by Kathy Nichols demonstrate the aesthetic appeal—and suggest the hidden mysteries—of such an historic cemetery as well. But uniting all the components of Here to Stay are the spiritual insights of well-known Illinois author John Hallwas, who explicitly crusades “to allow the local dead to inhabit our conscious-ness”—and who readily convinces us that “to realize the temporal dimensions of our place is to let it shape, and connect, and deepen us.”

ISBN 978-1-4675-2755-2

Price:  $17.95


$16.46 (
University of Illinois Press
ISBN 0252068440 (0-252-06844-0)






Cultures in Conflict: A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois

with Roger D. Launius


Utah State University Press

ISBN-10: 0874212723

ISBN-13: 978-0874212723



Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers

$25.00 (

University of Illinois Press

ISBN-13: 978-0252078040

Keokuk and the Great Dam

$18.19 (
Arcadia Publishing
ISBN 0738507350 (0-7385-0735-0)


McDonough County Historic Sites

$17.15 (
Arcadia Publishing
ISBN 0738520446 (0-7385-2044-6)


$19.99 (
The History Press

Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition
$14.95 (

University of Illinois Press

ISBN-10: 0252063635

ISBN-13: 978-0252063633


Kingdom on the Mississippi Revisited : Nauvoo in Mormon History 

 $27.00 (

University of Illinois Press

ISBN-10: 0252064941

ISBN-13: 978-0252064944


Available from New Copperfield's Book Service








Illinois Literature, The Nineteenth Century 

Illinois Heritage Press, 1986

Price:  $17.95 



Tales from Two Rivers, VII available at New Copperfield Book Service, Macomb, IL.

A limited number of "Tales from Two Rivers," volumes IV and VI are available from the same supplier.


Out of Print



(Used copies are sometimes available through, New Copperfield Book Service in Macomb, Illinois,

and other suppliers.) 


The Vision of This Land: Studies of Vachel Lindsay, Edgar Lee Masters, and Carl Sandburg, Western Illinois University, 1976, edited with Dennis J. Reader.


Tales from Two Rivers, I, II,  III, and V (an Illinois memoir collection series), Two Rivers Arts Council, 1981-2009, co-edited with Jerrilee Cain-Tyson, Victor Hicken, and others.

The Poems of H.: The Lost Poet of Lincoln's Springfield, The Ellis Press, 1982.


Western Illinois Heritage,

Illinois Heritage Press, 1983.




Thomas Gregg: Early Illinois Journalist and Author, Western Illinois University, 1983.


McDonough County Heritage,

Illinois Heritage Press, 1984.





Studies in Illinois Poetry,

Stormline Press, 1989.



Macomb: A Pictorial History, G. Bradley Publishing Co., 1990.




The Legacy of the Mines, Memoirs of Coal Mining in Fulton County, Spoon River College, 1993.






First Century: A Pictorial History of Western Illinois University, Western Illinois University, 1999.