Ellen M. Whitney

Ellen M. Whitney, 101, of Springfield, died on Wednesday, July 14, 2021 at Regency Care. She was born on March 13, 1920, in Evanston, the daughter of Reverend C.H. and Irene Whitehurst Todd. She graduated from Greenville High School and Southern Illinois University where she finished third in the class of 1941. She married Francis A. Whitney in 1940 and he preceded her in death in 1996.

Ellen is also preceded in death by her parents, brother, Harold Todd and sister, Grace Todd.

Survivors include one son, Blair (Rita) Whitney of Springfield; two grandchildren, Ruth (Ken) Antonoff of Glendale, WI and Helen Whitney of Springfield; four great-grandchildren, Zachary and Chelsea Marek and Eva and Joseph Antonoff, all of Glendale.

Ellen worked for the International News Service as a reporter and as a teacher at Feitshens High School. She worked for 32 years at the Illinois State Historical Library. Her most notable achievements were as a historical research editor of the papers of the late Dr. George E. Black, which required more than a year. Her most difficult assignment was editing the library’s exhaustive collection of the Black Hawk War papers, which required many years of work and filled four volumes. As part of her work, she was called to Washington, D.C. to serve as an expert witness in a very difficult American Indian claims case from the Black Hawk War of 1832, which ended with a rare Indian victory. The Black Hawk War papers won Mrs. Whitney a national reputation and awards from the American Association for state and local history and from the State Historical Society of Wisconsin. Her last major project was as a compiler of Illinois History: An Annotated Bibliography (with Janice A. Petterchak and Sandra Stark).

Per Ellen’s request, anatomical donation has taken place and no services will be held.

Memorial contributions may be made to Lincoln Library 326 South 7th Street, Springfield, IL 62701.

Many thanks to Helping Hands, Regency Care and close friend, Mary Ellen McElligott for her care and companionship.

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