Also included were two magazines – covering the years 1916 to 1921 – that were kept by Otto’s daughter, Elsie Brenneman, born in 1899 and raised on the family farm in western McLean county, along the Tazewell county line.
Brenneman’s magazines offer a window into life on a central Illinois farm, as experienced by an intelligent young woman. Sometimes, however, the triumphs and tragedies of the wider world intruded into this quiet corner of the Corn Belt.
“At 6:00 this morning we learned that Germany signed the Armistice. How wonderful, ”observed a 19-year-old Brenneman on November 11, 1918. Although he wrote mostly in blue / black ink in his journal, the entry that marks the end of the First World War was written in red. “I carried the flag on the windmill tower,” he continued. “This eve Victor, Nora (two of his brothers), and I went to a big party at Minier. A big “hallebalu” “(the last word is a creative misspelling of” hullaballoo! “).
Brenneman holds a business education degree from Illinois State Normal University and a master’s degree from Northwestern University. For 33 years – from 1927 to 1960 – he was an indispensable figure on the campus of the State of Illinois, first serving as a school registrar and then as an admissions director.
He was also actively interested in the affairs of the local community. It was as a member of the Bloomington Business and Professional Women’s Club that helped escort Amelia Earhart around the city during the aviator’s famous visit of 6-7 April 1936 to the Twin Cities. This appearance included an overnight stay at the Illinois Hotel (now Illinois House) in downtown Bloomington.