Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book

Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  James Ballowe  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Biography Essay Poetry

Born: 1933 in Carbondale, Illinois

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-- James Ballowe on WorldCat --

Illinois Connection

Ballowe was born in Carbondale, Illinois and currently resides in Ottawa, Illinois. He is a Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Bradley University in Peoria, Illinois.

Biographical and Professional Information

James Ballowe is a poet and biographer. He is the winner of two Arts Council awards for poetry and an Arts Council award for creative non-fiction. Along with the books listed in the "Titles for Purchase and at Your Library" section below, he has also edited: *[''George Santayana's America: Essays in Literature and Culture''], 1967; 2nd ed., 1969*[''Anglo-Welsh Poetry''], North Dakota Quarterly 1989 - edited with Raymond Garlick and Tony Curtis*[''Christmas in Illinois''], University of Illinois Press, 2010. His work is also represented in anthologies, including:* ''A Sampler: New Poems and Some Poetry Talk'', Dunes House, 1976. * ''Prairie Voices'', Lucien Stryk, editor,Spoon River Poetry Press, 1980. * ''Beowulf to Beatles and Beyond'', David Pichaske, editor,Macmillan, 1981. * ''Illinois Voices'', Kevin Stein and G.E. Murry, editors, University of Illinois, 2001 Ballowe has also contributed articles, poetry, and short stories to numerous periodicals, including: ''Encounter'', ''American Quarterly'', ''American Literature'', ''Southern Review'', and ''Salmagundi''. He is also the author of ''A Great Outdoor Museum: The Story of The Morton Arboretum, 2003''. This is a monograph published by and available through The Morton Arboretum. It is the only history of that institution.

Published Works Expand for more information

Titles At Your Library

The coal miners
ISBN: 0933180004

Spoon River Poetry Press. 1979

A Man of Salt and Trees: The Life of Joy Morton
ISBN: 0875803989

Northern Illinois University Press. 2009

A Man of Salt and Trees is the first full-length biography of Joy Morton (1855-1934), founder of The Morton Arboretum—an internationally acclaimed outdoor museum of woody plants—and Morton Salt—the brand that for over a century has been a household name in the United States. Joy Morton’s story begins in the pre–Civil War Nebraska Territory and concludes in the midst of the Great Depression in Chicago, the city in which he lived for over a half century. Using the voluminous correspondence of the Morton family, Ballowe tells the story of the Nebraska farm boy who grew up to be a small town banker who became a leading citizen of Chicago and Illinois and a major figure in the nation’s economic and technological development during the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Morton left his mark in several areas, from business and city planning to transportation and environmental preservation. He was a contributor to the development of Daniel H. Burnham and Edward Bennett’s 1909 Plan of Chicago, which continues to affect the way Chicagoans protect the Lakefront and approach transportation and park issues throughout the region. During the last three decades of his life, Morton served on the Chicago Plan Commission. His interest in transportation led him to become an investor and a director in railroad transportation and a champion of inland waterway traffic. He also single-handedly financed early advancements of the teletype, a technology that advanced the economic and cultural development of the 20th century.

Toward the end of his life, Morton funded the University of Chicago’s explorations of Mississippian Indian culture in central Illinois and traveled throughout the world visiting ancient as well as modern cultures and gardens. The Morton Arboretum stands today as a natural expression of a desire Joy Morton had from childhood, when he learned from his father, the founder of Arbor Day, and his mother, a dedicated gardener, that a necessary complement to a good life is the cultivation and preservation of the environment.


  • 2 poetry and 1 essay award from the Illinois Arts Council
  • Honorable Mention, biography, The Society of Midland Authors
  • Certificate of Merit, biography, Illinois Historical Society
  • Delta Award, Friends of Morris Library, Southern Illinois University

    Speaking Engagements

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