Henry H. ("H.H.") Cole
Henry H. ("H.H.") Cole first established his photography business in Pekin in 1879.
He photographed Abraham Lincoln at Peoria during Lincoln's campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1858 (Lincoln lost to Stephen A. Douglas).
Cole was a well-known Tazewell County photographer, having studios in Pekin & Delavan. Over the years, he has become recognized as an early pioneer in the photographic art form.
Mr. Cole created a historical picture gallery of notable Tazewell County residents—displayed at one time on the hallway walls of the Tazewell County Courthouse. Many of these photographs are of early Tazewell County settlers. They had been stored in the basement of the courthouse for many years.
Our archivists were given access to over 1500 of the 5"x7" photos that had been stored in the basement of the Tazewell County Courthouse for decades. The photographs were scanned digitally (lossless tiff format, 200 dpi).
Many hundred hours of work by our volunteers went into this project. We are fortunate that we have been able to preserve these important images— we have heard about for years—but very few ever had access to them.
Here's some samples of the photographs (size reduced to fit available space):
Although Mr. Cole is most remembered for his many historical photographs of Tazewell County buildings and prominent businessmen, farmers, and politicians, he also took thousands of simple family photos like the ones displayed below.