John Hallwas

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General Information

Hallwas John.jpg
Name: John Hallwas

Pen Names: John E. Hallwas

Born in: 1945 in Waukegan, Illinois



Illinois Connection

Hallwas was born in Waukegan and moved to Antioch when he was five years old. He attended Western Illinois University in Macomb in Macomb, where he received both his BS and MA degrees. His Ph.D. is from the University of Florida. He was an English professor at Western Illinois University from 1970 to 2004, and he still resides in Macomb today.

Biographical and Professional Information

John Hallwas has been an Editor, Historian, Archivist and Professor. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus at Western Illinois University and has written and edited many books on Illinois, the Midwest, literature and history.

During the 1980's, Dr. Hallwas wrote columns of cutural commentary forseveral Illinois newspapers. His essays have also appeard in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and Des Moines Register. In 1992 and 1993, his weekly radio program, Prairie State Journal, focused on Illinois history was heard over various National Public Radio stations.

He has published journal and magazine articles on more than two dozen Illinois authors. He has also written several plays about Illinois, including The Conflict: A Soldier's Memories of the Civil War, produced in May 2011 at Hainline Theatre, Western Illinois University. He currently writes a newspaper column titled "On Community" for the McDonough County Voice, in Macomb, and he speaks on Illinois historical and literary topics throughout the state.

Hallwas has also edited several books. They include:

  • The Vision of This Land: Studies of Vachel Lindsay, Edgar lee Masters, and Carl Sandburg, Western Illinois University, 1976, edited with Dennis J. Reader
  • The Poems of H.: The Lost Poet of Lincoln's Springfield, The Ellis Press, 1982
  • Spoon River Anthology: An Annotated Edition, Univ. of Illinois Press, 1992
  • Tales from Two Rivers, I-VII, Two Rivers Arts Council, 1981-2009, co-edited with various other scholars.
  • Studies in Illinois Poetry, Stormline Press, 1989
  • The Legacy of the Mines, Memoirs of Coal Mining in Fulton County, Spoon River College, 1993
  • Kingdom on the Mississippi revisited: Nauvoo in Mormon History, 1996, co-edited with Roger Launius.

There is a John Hallwas Collection at Western Illinois University's Malpass Library in Archives and Special Collections. It has much information about John and his various books, almost all of which are related to Illinois, and has copies of his hundreds of articles. For additional information, contact WIU Archives at: 309-298-2717.

Published Works

  • 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
  • Illinois Literature, The Nineteenth Century, Illinois Heritage Press, 1986
  • Macomb: A Pictorial History, G. Bradley Publishing Co., 1990
  • Cultures in Conflict, A Documentary History of the Mormon War in Illinois, Utah State University Press, 1995 - written with Roger D. Launius
  • The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America, University of Illinois Press, 1998
  • First Century, A Pictorial History of Western Illinois University, Western University Press, 1999
  • Keokuk And The Great Dam, Arcadia Publishing, 2001
  • McDonough County Historic Sites, Arcadia Publishing, 2003
  • Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers, University of Illinois Press, 2008
  • Remembering McDonough County, The History Press, 2009
  • Here to Stay: Reflections on the Dead in a Small-Town Cemetery, Illinois Heritage Press, 2012
  • On Community: A Crucial Issue, a Small Town, and a Writer's Experience, Illinois Heritage Press, 2015

Titles at Your Library

Thomas Gregg: Early Illinois journalist and author (Western Illinois monograph series)

Release Date: 1983

McDonough County heritage

Release Date: 1984

Illinois Literature: The Nineteenth Century

ISBN: 9996265781
Release Date: 1986-06

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Cultures In Conflict

ISBN: 0874211867
Release Date: 1995-04-01

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The Bootlegger: A Story of Small-Town America

ISBN: 0252068440
Release Date: 1999-05-13

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First Century: A Pictoral History of Western Illinois University

ISBN: 0967151007
Release Date: 1999

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Keokuk And The Great Dam (IA) (Images of America)

ISBN: 0738507350
Release Date: 2001-04-17

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McDonough County Historic Sites (IL) (Images of America)

ISBN: 0738520446
Release Date: 2003-01-20

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Dime Novel Desperadoes: The Notorious Maxwell Brothers

ISBN: 0252033523
Release Date: 2008-07-16

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Remembering McDonough County (American Chronicles)

ISBN: 1596298383
Release Date: 2009-11-06

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

ISBN: 1495170926
Release Date: 2015

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Literary Awards

  • Society for the Study of Midwestern literature's MidAmerica Award, for Distinguished Contributions to the Study of Midwestern Literature, 1994.
  • Hallwas was honored at the 1995 Illinois Center for the Book's Illinois Authors Book Fair at the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois.
  • John Whitmer Historical Association Award: Best Book and Mormon History Assocation Best Documentary for Cultures in Conflict both in 1996
  • Society of Midland Authors Award, "Best Biography from the Midwest" for Dime Novel Desperadoes, 2009
  • Illinois State Historical Society Superior Achievement Award, for Macomb: A Pictorial History (1992), Dime Novel Desperadoes (2009), and Here to Stay (2013).

Speaking Engagements and Upcoming Appearances

Speaking Engagement Availability: (Yes)

Contact author at: or 404 S. Edwards St., Macomb, Illinois 6l455

External Links

John Hallwas on WorldCat


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