Julia Evashenk interns to preserve canal history

Julia Evashenk interns to preserve one of the nation’s largest canal history collections

Published: January 2, 2012.


Julia Evashenk



Lewis University student Julia Evashenk of Orland Park spent the 2011 Fall semester preserving local history as an intern for the Lewis University History Center scanning, preserving, and working with historical artifacts. Evashenk is a Sociology major with a minor in Social Work.

Evashenk learned about digitizing projects from the planning stages, through scanning and entering data into the collection management system while working in the Howard and Lois Adelmann Regional History Collection, one of the largest canal collections in the United States.

The collection consists of a variety of materials relating to 19th century American canals, with a concentration on the Illinois and Michigan Canal, and the history of northeastern Illinois where the canal is located. It also has materials on most of the pre-Civil War canals of America. This material consists of bound volumes, pamphlets, annual canal reports, and 19th century maps, both manuscript and printed. In addition, it has photographs, prints, manuscript letters, and memoirs relating to the construction and operation of canals, and those industries associated with canals. It also houses some canal artifacts. It has a total of over 10,000 items.

The collection is housed in the Lewis University Library. Mary Ann Atkins, Library systems coordinator / digital collections librarian and Jennifer Butler, technical services assistant served as her supervisors. Atkins said, “Julia’s work was immensely helpful in preserving the local history of the I&M Canal. Future generations for many years will learn from the materials she helped to preserve.” Evashenk’s internship was funded by a Gaylord & Dorothy Donnelley Foundation grant for the History Center. The foundation is dedicated to land conservation and preserving artistic vitality for communities in the Chicago area and South Carolina.

Lewis University is a Catholic university offering distinctive undergraduate and graduate programs to nearly 6,500 traditional and adult students. Lewis offers multiple campus locations, online degree programs, and a variety of formats that provide accessibility and convenience to a growing student population. Sponsored by the De La Salle Christian Brothers, Lewis prepares intellectually engaged, ethically grounded, globally aware, and socially responsible graduates. The ninth largest private not-for-profit university in Illinois, Lewis has been nationally recognized by The Princeton Review and U.S. News & World Report.

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