Church of the Brethren Headquarters

The Church of the Brethren Publishing House has had a long history in Elgin, IL. The publishing house operated in Mt. Morris, IL through 1897, when it became owned by the church. Looking for improved railroad and mailing facilities, operations were transferred to Elgin in 1899.


The original location in Elgin, IL
More... Located on South State Street near West Chicago St, the original 3 story brick building built in 1899, was expanded and enlarged in 1903, 1904, and 1906, eventually growing to 4 stories in height. More...


After several decades in the downtown Elgin location,

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Celebration

Asian-Pacific American Heritage Celebration

Gail Borden Library celebrates the many diverse cultures that make up our community.
Several organizations joined with us
to celebrate Asian-Pacific cultures in May 2015.

News of Yesteryear


News of Yesteryear

Gail Borden Library holds a large collection of historic microfilmed newspapers, dating from as early as 1850.

Shown below are those issues that are currently available in a digital format. Follow the links to view or download these editions.


Newspapers of Elgin, Illinois

The Elgin Advocate

  1873 - February 22, September 6
  1875 - May 8
  1881 - January 1 and 15
  1883 - December 22 


The Elgin Business Mirror

  1865 - May 12



The Elgin Daily Courier

  1884 - March 18 through December 31;
  1885 - January 1 through December 31;
  1886 - January 1 through December 31


The (Elgin) Daily News

  1877 -  7 issues
  1878 -  4 issues
  1879 -  4 issues
  1880 -  3 issues


The Elgin Daily Frank

  1882 - February 1 through March 31
  1882 - April 1 through May 31
  1882 - June 1 through July 31


Elgin Every Saturday

  1884 - November 15 and 22, December 6 and 27
  1885 - January 31
  1886 - April 3
  1899 - December 30 - (final issue)


The Elgin Gazette

  1850 - August 10, October 19, December 28
  1851 - January 18 and 25, April 19, May 17,
             June 21

  1856 - June 18, October 22
  1857 - January 21, February 4
  1858 - February 27, December 31
  1860 - May 24, September 27
  1869 - February 4, February 11, February 25
  1872 - April 6
  1873 - February 22


Elgin Weekly Frank

  1882 - January through December



The Fox River Courier

  1851 - August 16, November 1 and 12, 
            September 20
  1852 - April 7


The Illinois Weekly Palladium

  1853 - October 27
  1854 - February 2, September 14
  1855 - April 19, November 1


Second District Democrat

  1863 - September 16 and 23, October 7 and 14
  1864 - March 16, 23, 30 and July 27


Valley Chronicle

  1884 - November 28



The Weekly Gazette

  1861 - May 16 through December 25
  1862 - January 8 through December 10
  1863 - January 7 through December 30
  1864 - January 6 through November 30
  1865 - February and May 24

The digitization process is ongoing, so please check back frequently for new additions.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2014 / English and En EspaƱol


The theme of 2014's Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration was the Dreams and Stories that we all share.

El tema de la celebración del Mes de la Hispanidad en el 2014 fue Sueños y Stories.




Members of the community were invited to talk about their dreams for themselves, their families, and their community. Their inspiring stories were captured on film in a video which was screened at the celebration. Watch it here.
Se invitó a miembros de la comunidad a que compartieran sus sueños para si, para sus famnilias y para sus comunidades.  Las historias inspiradoras quedaron grabadas en un video que se mostró en la celebración. Puedes verlo



Pita Betancourt came to the United States after a childhhood in Mexico.
She brought along a love of theater and the arts. After many years, she was able to
put that love of theater to work by directing a play.

Pita Betancourt vino a los Estados Unidos después de su infancia en México.
Ella se trajo un amor por el teatro y las artes. Después de muchos años puso
ese amor para el teatro a trabajar dirigiendo una obra de teatro.

Rich Rodriguez is a 7th generation Mexican-American. After many years working for others
in financial services, he was able to fulfill his dream of starting his own company, RXR Capital.

Rich Rodriguez es de la séptima generación Mexicana - Estadounidense. 
Después de muchos años trabajando bajo otros en los servicios financieros, 
fue capaz de cumplir su sueño de iniciar su propia empresa, RXR Capital.

Elisa Lara studied at Elgin Community College, and Northern Illinois University,
while maintaining a grueling work schedule. After receiving her degree in nursing,
she is able to give back to the community through her work with VNA Health Care.

Elisa Lara estudió en Elgin Community College y Northern Illinois University,  
mientras que mantenía un horario de trabajo agotador. 
Después de recibir su licenciatura en enfermería, 
ella es capaz de devolver a la comunidad a través de su trabajo con la clínica VNA.

Paloma Greer is an artist, an activist, and covers events in the Latino community
for Reflejos newspaper. She feels that if you face whatever scares you, you are a
little closer to your dream.

Paloma Greer es una artista, activista, y cubre los eventos 
de la comunidad Latina para el periódico Reflejos. 
Ella siente que cuando enfrentas lo que te mas asusta, 
estarás un poco más cerca a tu sueño.

Kevin Echevarria used his knowledge of hard work to realize his dream
of working for and owning his own company, PK Enterprises.

Kevin Echevarria  utilizó su conocimiento del trabajo 
duro para hacer realidad su sueño de trabajar y 
ser dueño de su propia empresa, PK Enterprises. 

Margarita Mendoza shows the positive aspects of the community through
her work for Panamericano Hoy. Another dream she has realized was
finding the right man to be with to face the challenges of family life.

Margarita Mendoza enseña los aspectos positivos de la 
comunidad atreves de su trabajo para Panamericano Hoy. 
Otro sueño que ella ha realizado es haber encontrado 
un hombre con el que juntos pueden enfrentar los desafíos de la vida.


Other members of the community became “Books that Live. ”  Their unique and compelling life stories were shared in intimate 20-minute appointments with ‘readers’ young and old at the celebration. Check out the books here.

Otros miembros de la comunidad fueron “Libros que Viven.” Compartieron sus historias únicas y conmovedoras con ‘lectores’ de todas las edades en citas íntimas de 20 minutos.





Elgin Death Records

Genealogists have long used records from Gail Borden Public Library to trace their family tree. 

One favorite reference source, Death records in Elgin, Illinois with burials at Bluff City Cemetery and elsewhere ... as recorded in the cemetery sextons' ledgers has been available on microfilm since 1995.


New technology, funding support from the Elgin Genealogical Society, and permission from the Elgin Heritage Commission has allowed this valuable resource, commonly referred to as the Elgin Death Records, to be digitized. The digitization process allows for easier access to this resource for users unable to physically visit the library and protects the film reels from excessive wear and tear.

Follow the links to view the death records on Illinois Digital Archives.

Volume 1 contains death records from 1837 - 1924.

Select volume 1,  part 1 for last names beginning with the letters A - G.

Select volume 1, part 2 for last names beginning with the letters H - O.

Select volume 1, part 3 for last names beginning with the letters P - Z.

Volume 2 contains death records from 1925 - 1949.

Select volume 2, part 1 for last names beginning with the letters A - H.

Select volume 2, part 2 for last names beginning with the letters H - R.

Select volume 2, part 3 for last names beginning with the letters S - Z.

Elgin Academy

Elgin Academy, a private, co-educational, college preparatory school, was founded in 1839, only four years after the founding of the city of Elgin.

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The Academy has been a vibrant part of the community since that time. In February 2014, Elgin Academy celebrated their 175th anniversary.

The commemorative video below showcases their story.

Gail Borden Public Library 140th Anniversary Celebration

On March 19, 2014, Gail Borden Library celebrated 140 years of providing library services to our community.  Many changes occured over that length of time, both in the library, in the surrounding community, and in the nation. Share a walk down memory lane with us!


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What will the future hold for Gail Borden Public Library?

Our Vision:  The library where imagination and transformation flourish, fueled by the power of community.

Please join us on our journey!

Learn more about Gail Borden Public Library's history at the Illinois Digital Archives.

Books and More

Gail Borden Public Library celebrated its 140th Anniversary on March 19th, 2014. It is one of the oldest libraries in Illinois, organized after the passage of a law by the state legislature. This law, enacted on March 7, 1872, authorized tax-supported libraries and provided for their management through an elected board of trustees. 


After several years in rented properties, the library began to look about for additional space. They were aided in this effort by brothers Alfred and Samuel Church, who donated the former Scofield house on Spring Street. As stepsons of Gail Borden, they specified that the library be known as the Gail Borden Public Library from that time onward.

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Learn more about Gail Borden Public Library's history by browsing Books and More: A History of the Gail Borden Public Library. Our thanks to author E. C. (Mike) Alft who gave permission for the digitization of his book.

To see more images and text-searchable documents about Elgin Area history, please visit the Illinois Digital Archives

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church was formally organized in July 1939 when the near west side of Elgin began to be converted from farm fields to houses filled with people. The first church, now the parsonage, was built on Van Street and dedicated in 1939.


The need for a "new" church soon became apparent. Following a period of planning and construction, the new church was dedicated on November 30, 1952. This dedication booklet showcases the history of the church, the planning and construction process, and the explanations of the stained glass windows.  Enjoy this photographic history of the church!


View the entire Dedication booklet on Illinois Digital Archives.

Hispanic Heritage Month 2013

In 2013, the 4th Annual Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration coincided with Gail Borden Public Library's celebration of The Big Read. During The Big Read, many community and library activities centered on the themes found in Tim O'Brien's novel The Things They Carried.

Community members were photographed with objects from their cultural heritage that hold a special place in their hearts and which many carried with them as they journeyed to a new home. The photographs, taken by Gil Feliciano, were displayed at the Library during the month. You can see the photos here.

Para ver esta página en español presione aquí.  To view this page in Spanish, click here.


Adriana Carpio de Palma

This is a typical dress from my state of Jalisco, the land of mariachi and most colorful dances.  We have manitained the cultural traditions alive through my daughters’ dancing in Ballet Girasol for many years.


Helen López Strom

The pot belonged to my mother and was given to me when I married. The ingredients make a dish that is my favorite and is now my family’s favorite too: arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas.)  Food is one of the ways in which I am passing my heritage on to my children.


Laura Bedolla

My mother's sister gave me this dress when I was 5 years old on my very first visit to Mexico. It was my first time meeting her and my grandparents as well. It  is a reminder that despite the great distance my family always thinks of me.



Dr. José Torres

My hammock brings to mind pictures of times spent  with family, with my grandmother , surrounded by palm trees and mountains.  Relaxing in it, on the roof of my building, is the ideal way to slow down life and think.  Some of those memories and ideas make it into my journals, which I have been writing and keeping for many years.



Tina Birkholz

Just a few weeks ago I discovered my grandmother Hoffman’s recipe collection in my father’s basement.  Those recipes brought together both sides of my family and include lemon freeze bars from my cousins in Monterey.  The teapot was given to my parents by my dad’s grandmother after they were married. 



Patricia Arroyo

My grandmother Elodia Cortés knows how much I love to collect jewelry so she gave me this this jewelry cabinet that she had made for me in México City.  She is now 99 and I don’t see her as often as I would like.  Being able to have this object that I look at and use every day connects me with her.


Carmen Berríos

My flag tells about my country of Colombia through its colors: yellow for gold; blue for the sea, and red for the blood of the heroes who fought for its Independence.



Luciana Feliciano

This ‘dita’, made from the higüera fruit, belonged to my mother.  The Taíno indians of Puerto Rico used them as bowls to eat from.  The wood carving of the “Three Kings’ belonged to my father.  This picture  shows how I remember him.



Verónica Noland

Twenty-four years ago I met my family in Chile for the first time.  I brought this rain stick back, which reminds me of the Andean music typical of the region they are from.  I enjoy listening to it as much as the music.


Cristina Castro

My family shapes who I am.  The photos are of my ancestors, migrant workers who arrived here from Texas as they worked on fields. Their hardships are always on my mind, as are those of others in Elgin today who are experiencing some of their same struggles.  As an elected oficial I try to be a voice for them.


Tara García Mathewson


This ‘cuatro’ is a gift from my grandfather. The song Love Story was my grandfather’s favorite, and I learned it so I could play it for him. My cousin makes ‘cuatros’ in Puerto Rico. 



Betty Martínez


The aroma of coffee smells  like mornings in my country, Colombia.  My mother gave me this coffee cup in 1991.  We have three of them in my family because there are three of us.


Laura Segura

My father brought me this straw bag from Mexico 5 years ago.  It was full of ‘camote’ (sweet potato) candies.    It brings memories of all the fairs my mother used to take us to at which we savored the candies.


Lucy López

Mi mother carried me in this ‘rebozo’ (shawl.)  When I was 12 years old, I carried my little brother in the same ‘rebozo’ while I did the housework.  Today a ‘rebozo’ is like a pretty accessory, but not so long ago it was something useful and necessary to have in the house.


Trinidad Armenta

I carry my faith with me and that means I carry this image of the Virgin of Guadalupe I painted with me.  She is the primary example of my Mexican heritage and the strong faith in our culture.  I am now 86 and started painting at 65.


Tina Viglucci

When my grandfather Segio Muñoz Dieppa and my grandmother Angela Saras Torres moved to a new home, the story goes, the first thing he would do was to hang his painting of Governor Luis Muñoz Marín and she to install her mortar in the kitchen.  Now wherever I go, like ‘mama’,   I take the mortar, redolent of  adobo and home.  


Yesenia Mendoza


The ‘molcajete’ is a cooking utensil that goes back to the indigenous people of Mexico.  My mother gave me this one.  The green blouse is from the state of Cuernavaca, the ‘City of Eternal Spring.” It was a gift from my sister-in-law.



Estefanía Romero


Corn is widely grown in the mountain range north of Puebla.  My grandparents used to say that before harvesting the corn they had to pray asking the earth for permission to pick it.


Ivonne Callejas

I identify with objects from my country because they represent my culture and traditions.  The clay pot is for making beans and the ‘molcajete’ (mortar) is for making the best salsas.


Claudia Díaz

The serpent is representative of our origins.  I treasure images such as this one, which which are proof of the ability and creativity of the indigenous artisans of Mexico.



Saul Díaz

The Mexican Revolution was about change from oppression.  It reminds me that we should never stop fighting for our rights and our liberty.


Others shared recipes from their cultural heritage, sometimes passed down from generation to generation, in a “Recipes we Carry Swap.” Participants wrote their recipes in a recipe card which was then posted to a board on display at the Library.

The Recipes We Carried

Receta para: Sopa Azteca/Aztec Soup
El país/ región de origen de esta receta es: México
Si esta es una receta de familia indica quién te la dio:  Yvonne Callejas

3 tazas de caldo de pollo
3 hojas frescas de epazote
sal (a su gusto)
3 tomates pequeños
1 chile pasilla (sin semillas)
1 chile ancho (sin semillas)
¼ cebolla
3 dientes de ajo
un pellizco de orégano
pimienta negra (a su gusto)

Coloque los chiles y los tomates en una olla y llénela hasta la mitad con agua.
Cocine en fuego medio hasta que los tomates se abran.
Añada el aceite a un sartén y cocine el ajo y la cebolla picada hasta que estén suaves. Cole los tomates y colóquelos en la licuadora junto con los chiles, el ajo  y la cebolla. Añada orégano, pimienta, y totopos. Caliente una cacerola y añada la mezcla de la licuadora (colada). Cocine por 15 minutos, agregue el caldo de pollo y el epazote, cubra y deje sentar por 15 minutos. Añada sal a su gusto. Acompañe la sopa con aguacates, crema, y  totopos.


Receta para: Sancocho Colombiano de Pollo/Colombian Chicek Sancocho
El país/ región de origen de esta receta es: Colombia
Si esta es una receta de familia indica quien te la dio:  Terry Gordon

3 espigas de maíz fresco (cada una cortada en 3)
12 tazas de agua
1/2 taza de salsa de ají picante
1 pollo entero
1 cucharada de sal
2 plátanos verdes cortados transversalmente en 2
2 cubos de pollo bouillon
6 papas blancas peladas y cortadas a la mitad
1 libra de yuca hervida y cortada en trozos
1/4 taza de cilantro picado
1/4 cucharada de pimienta molida

Direcciones: Coloque el pollo en una olla grande junto con el maíz,
la salsa, pollo bouillon, sal y pimienta y plátanos verdes.Añada el agua y 
deje hervir. Luego cubra la olla y baje a fuego mediano. Deje cocer durante 30-35 minutos. 
Agregue la papa, yuca, y pimienta y continúe a cocinar por 30 minutos más o hasta 
que la yuca y la papa se ablanden. 
Agregue el cilantro y pruebe para ajustar los condimentos a su gusto 

Receta para: Colombian Hot Sauce / Ají Picante)
El país/ región de origen de esta receta es: Colombia
Si esta es una receta de familia indica quien te la dio:  Terry Gordon


1 semilla de pimiento rojo pequeño habanero
1/2 taza de vinagre rojo
1/2 taza de agua
1/4 cucharadita de sal
1 cucharadita de azúcar
1 cucharada de jugo de limón
2 cucharadas de aceite de vegetal
1/2 cilantro fresco picado
1/4 taza de perejil fresco picado
1/2 taza de cebollín picado
1/2 taza de tomate picado

Ponga el vinagre, el agua y chile habanero en una licuadora durante 2 min. 
Coloque los ingredientes restantes en un tazón y mezcle.
Agregue el vinagre y la mezcla de habanero al tazón y mezcle bien. 
Puede ser refrigerada hasta diez días.

Recipe for: Frijoles a la Charra/ Charro beans
The country/region of origin of this recipe is: Mexico, Moterrey
If this recipe was passed down to you indicate by whom: My mother (Claudia Díaz)


1 kg of beans
Red huaje tomato
Cooked bacon
Cooked sausage 
Boil the beans, when they are done you will add the rest of the ingredients so 
they can all boil together. 
The sausages, the bacon, the onion, and the chile, and 
the tomato are browned together, then added to the beans.

Recipe for: Mixiotes with White Rice
The country/region of origin of this recipe is:
If this recipe was passed down to you indicate by whom: My mother

Chicken legs
Guajillo chile
Bay leaves


Grind the guajillo chile and strain in aluminum foil.
Place one chicken leg with the chile and one piece of carrot, potato,
and one bay leaf. These are then
steam cooked and they are accompanied with white rice.


Recipe for:  Mole Oaxaqueño / Oaxacan Mole (Gethsemani E. Feria)
The country/region of origin of this recipe is: Mexico, Oaxaca coast
If this recipe was passed down to you indicate by whom: n/a

Guajillo Chile
Sesame seeds
Animal Crackers
Roast the chiles and put them in water to soak. Saute the tomato, onion, 
garlic, almonds, pepper, oregano, cloves, sesame seeds, bananas and raisins. 
Next you want to grind the chile and season it so that you can 
add it to the rest of the sauteed ingredients. 
Then, you are going to add the chocolate and thicken 
it with the animal crackers. Add salt to taste.

Recipe for: Pipian Rojo/Red Pipian (Laura Segura)
The country/region of origin of this recipe is: Mexico
If this recipe was passed down to you indicate by whom: My grandmother

Chile de Arbol
Peanut butter
3 Tomatoes
3 Garlic cloves


Roast the chile, tomatoes, and garlic.
Then, boil the chicken. Once the chile, tomatoes,
and garlic have been roasted, blend them in a blender
along with the peanut butter.
In a pan, roast all the ingredients together.
After this, you will want to boil the liquid,
add the chicken and enjoy!


Recipe for: Polvorones / Shortbread Wedding Cookies
The country/region of origin of this recipe is: Puerto Rico
If this recipe was passed down to you indicate by whom: Titi Carmelita

3 cups of flour
1/8 tsp of salt
1 cup of sugar
1 cup of vegetable shortening
1 beaten egg yolk
1 egg white
1 tbsp butter
Mix the flour with the salt.  Beat the vegetable shortening 
until it is not too thick and then slowly add sugar. Add the egg yolk, 
the whites and the butter and mix well. Add the flour to the shortening and 
stir so that they combine well. Make small balls and place on platter, then 
press thumb down to squish down a little. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

El país/región de origen de esta receta es: Puerto Rico
Si esta es una receta de familia indica quien te la dio:  Madre de Helen Strom


aceite de oliva de calidad
1/4 taza de cebolla roja picada
1/4 taza de pimiento rojo picado
1 lata de gandules drenados
1-2 dientes de ajo
cilantro picado (al gusto )
sal y pimienta (al gusto )
1 lata de salsa de tomate
1 1/2 tazas de arroz blanco
1/3 – 1/2 taza de aceitunas manzanilla sin hueso
3 3/4 taza de agua


En una cacerola eche suficiente aceite de oliva para cubrir el fondo. 
Caliente a fuego medio. Sofría las cebollas y los pimientos 
durante 5 minutos y agregue el cilantro , la sal y la pimienta.
Cocinar unos minutos más y  eche la salsa, aceitunas y arroz a la cazuela. 
Revuelva para cubrir el arroz. Suba el fuego durante 1-2 minutos y eche el 
agua sobre la mezcla. Revuelva una vez más cuando hierva y luego cúbralo. 
Cocine a fuego lento durante 15 minutos. 
Destape la cacerola y dele vuelta con un tenedor y cubrir de nuevo 
por otros 15 minutos hasta que se seque el arroz.

Recipe for: Tortas Ahogadas/Drowned Sanwiches (Adriana Carpio)

The country/region of origin of this recipe is: Guadalajara, Mexico

If this recipe was passed down to you indicate by whom: n/a

Baguette or Bread Rolls
Carnitas (pork meat)
Fried beans
Tomato sauce
Chile de Arbol Sauce
Sliced red onion 
Open the baguette or bread roll in half. 
Spread the fried beans on the inside surface of the bread. 
Next, fill the bread with Carnitas and close the bread. 
Pick up the baguette with some tongs and submerge it in the tomato sauce. 
Then, submerge the baguette into the Chile de Arbol sauce for a spicy flavor.
 Finally, spread the onion slices on top of the baguette, 
and pour some more sauce on the completed torta. 

A special thanks is given to photographer Gil Feliciano for his assistance with this project. Original copyright of all photos is retained by Gil Feliciano.