Illinois State Library

Illinois Center for the Book


Individual Author Record

General Information

Name:  Robert E. Hartley  

Pen Name: None

Genre: Illinois History Illinois Politics

Born: 1936 in Winfield, Kansas

Sites:


Illinois Connection

Robert was a journalist and group editor of the former Lidsey-Schaub newspapers in Illinois, which included papers in Decatur, Carbondale, East St. Louis, Edwardsville and Champaign-Urbana.

Biographical and Professional Information

Hartley was a journalist and group editor of the former Lidsey-Schaub newspapers in Illinois. He has written books on Illinois history and politics, including books on Illinois politicians Paul Powell and Paul Simon. His book ''Lewis & Clark in the Illinois Coutnry: The Little-Told Story'' focuses on the prelude to the historic expedition, from the American Revolution to 1803, and the crucial six months in the winter of 1803-04 that the exploreres spent in the Illinois country, recruiting and gathering supplies and infomration. The expeditiion began more than 200 years ago with the creation of a camp near what is now known as Wood River in Madison County.


Published Works Expand for more information


Titles At Your Library

Charles H. Percy: A political perspective
ISBN: 0528810189

Rand McNally. 1975

Charles H. Percy - A Political Perspective by Robert E. Hartley is an objective, in-depth political biography of the Senior Senator from Illinois. It provides a fresh, comprehensive insight into the political background, philosophy, and outlook of a man whose increasing seniority in the Senate had a major influence on national affairs. Hartley has sorted out the various facets of Percy's political image. How has Percy's personal and business background affected his political philosophy? What in fact is his philosophy and how was it formed? How has this philosophy affected his sometimes edgy relationship with the more conservative, traditional Illinois Republicans? - Illustrated with photographs

Big Jim Thompson of Illinois
ISBN: B0006DWVTO

Rand McNally. 1979

Paul Powell of Illinois: A Lifelong Democrat
ISBN: 0809322714

Southern Illinois University Press. 1999

Paul Powell emerged from the hill country of southern Illinois to serve in state government from 1935 until his death in 1970. His political tenure included three terms as Speaker of the Illinois House, four terms as minority leader, and two terms as secretary of state. The sponsor of hundreds of bills, he worked tirelessly for his constituents in southern Illinois. He also worked tirelessly to promote his own interests.

In this first political biography of Powell, Robert E. Hartley follows the money. He tells how this man of humble origins and meager means amassed a world-class political and financial base. Part of that story is the disclosure of a personal fortune that boggled minds, including the unbelievable yarn of the $800,000 cash found in the hotel room following Powell's death.

Powell never earned a state salary of more than $30,000 per year, yet in the last year of his life, his federal income tax return showed an income of more than $200,000. At his death his estate totaled $3.2 million, and, when settled in 1978, was worth $4.6 million, including nearly $1 million in racetrack stock.

Following Powell's story, Hartley takes us deep into the Illinois political world of the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, a time when politicians were on an "honor system" regarding their financial holdings. This was before disclosure of political contributions, before computer records, and before public meetings laws.

Lewis and Clark in the Illinois Country: The Little-Told Story
ISBN: 1401057942

Sniktau Publications/Xlibris Corporation. 2002

Dust jacket notes: "Lewis and Clark would have been poorly prepared for their journey to the Pacific Ocean without aid from the Illinoisans they met during the winter of 1803-04. If the Corps of Discovery had paused only for a short while in the Illinois country little information would have been obtained about the wilderness that stretched before them. Fortunately for all, the Corps spent almost six months along banks of the Mississippi River recruiting soldiers, gathering supplies and listening to experienced explorers. This little-told story of preparation for the famous expedition comes to life in Lewis and Clark in the Illinois Country."

An Uncertain Tradition: U.S. Senators From Illinois 1818-2003
ISBN: 0809325497

Southern Illinois University Press. 2003

This sweeping survey constitutes the first comprehensive treatment of the forty-seven individuals—forty-six white males and one African American female—who have been chosen to represent Illinois in the United States Senate from 1818 to 2003. David Kenney and Robert E. Hartley underscore nearly two centuries of Illinois history with these biographical and political portraits, compiling an incomparably rich resource for students, scholars, teachers, journalists, historians, politicians, and any Illinoisan interested in the state’s heritage.

An Uncertain Tradition: U. S. Senators from Illinois, 1818–2003 is a fresh and careful study of the shifting set of political issues occurring over time and illuminated by the lives of participants in the politics of choice and service in the Senate. Kenney and Hartley plot the course of the state’s varied senatorial leadership, from the state’s founding and the appearance of political parties, through the Civil War and its aftermath, and into the diverse political climate of the twenty-first century. From the notorious to the heroic, the popular to the pioneering, the senatorial roster includes such luminaries as “The Little Giant” Stephen A. Douglas

Lyman Trumbull, who served three terms in the Civil War era

“Uncle Dick” and “Black Jack,” also known as Richard Oglesby and John A. Logan

the “Wizard of Ooze” Everett Dirksen

and modern leaders such as Adlai Stevenson III, Paul Simon, and Carol Moseley-Braun.

Kenney and Hartley offer incisive commentary on the quality of senate service in each case, as well as timeline graphs relating to the succession of individuals in each of the two sequences of service, the geographical distribution of senators within the state, and the variations in party voting for senate candidates. Rigorously documented and supremely readable, this convenient reference volume is enhanced by portraits of many of the senators.

Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters
ISBN: 0809327058

Southern Illinois University Press. 2006

Examining two devastating coal mine disasters

Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters examines two of the most devastating coal mine disasters in United States history since 1928. In two southern Illinois towns only forty miles apart, explosions killed 111 men at the Centralia No. 5 mine in 1947 and 119 men at the New Orient No. 2 mine in West Frankfort in 1951. Robert E. Hartley and David Kenney explain the causes of the accidents, identify who was to blame, and detail the emotional impact the disasters had on the survivors, their families, and their communities.

Politics at the highest level of Illinois government played a critical role in the conditions that led to the accidents. Hartley and Kenney address how safety was compromised when inspection reports were widely ignored by state mining officials and mine company supervisors. Highlighted is the role of Driscoll Scanlan, a state inspector at Centralia, who warned of an impending disaster but whose political enemies shifted the blame to him, ruining his career. Hartley and Kenney also detail the New Orient No. 2 mine explosion, the attempts at rescue, and the resulting political spin circulated by labor, management, and the state bureaucracy. They outline the investigation, the subsequent hearings, and the efforts in Congress to legislate greater mine safety.

Hartley and Kenney include interviews with the survivors, a summary of the investigative records, and an analysis of the causes of both mine accidents. They place responsibility for the disasters on individual mine owners, labor unions, and state officials, providing new interpretations not previously presented in the literature. Augmented by twenty-nine illustrations, the volume also covers the history, culture, and ethnic pluralism of coal mining in Illinois and the United States.

Saving Yellowstone
ISBN: 1425771211

Xlibris. 2007

FOR MOST OF August 1883 a military expedition headed by President Chester A. Arthur and guided by Lt. Gen. Philip Sheridan crossed 500 miles of lightly settled Wyoming Territory. The goal was to reach Yellowstone National Park and tour it before returning to civilization. Arthur was the first president to visit the park, and the only president to make an extensive overland march, mostly on horseback. A primary objective of the expedition was to raise the awareness of U.S. citizens to the attractions along the route, and the need for preservation of the park, which was threatened by vandalism, commercial development, and official neglect.

Paul Simon: The Political Journey of an Illinois Original
ISBN: 080932945X

Southern Illinois University Press. 2009

With Paul Simon: The Political Journey of an Illinois Original, author Robert E. Hartley presents the first thorough, objective volume on the journalistic and political career of one of Illinois’s most respected public figures. Hartley’s detailed account offers a fully rounded portrait of a man whose ideals and tenacity not only spurred reform on both state and national levels during his celebrated forty-year career but also established the lasting legacy of a political legend.

Simon first became a public figure at the age of nineteen, when he assumed the post of editor and publisher of a weekly newspaper in Troy, Illinois. From there, he used his paper to launch a fierce crusade against the crime and corruption plaguing Madison County. This battle sparked his entry into politics, helping to land him a seat in the state legislature in 1954. While serving, he campaigned tirelessly according to his principles, earning him the mass voter approval that would usher him into the seat of lieutenant governor in 1968—the first person elected to that position who did not share party affiliation with the governor.

As lieutenant governor, Simon initiated many changes to the position, remaking it to better serve the citizens of the state of Illinois. The cornerstone of his reform plan was an ombudsman program designed to allow the people of the state to voice problems they had with government and state agencies. The program, extremely popular with the public and the press, solved problems and helped to make Simon a household name throughout Illinois. Although he faced challenges along the way, including racial upheaval in Cairo and the student and police riots on the Carbondale campus of Southern Illinois University, Simon’s outspoken honesty and strong support of his constituents earned him the utmost esteem and popularity.

While his 1972 bid for governor of Illinois ultimately failed, this did not deter Simon from his dedication to social progress. In 1974 he began his remarkable twenty-two-year career in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, where he earned the admiration of the country for his political integrity. Despite the praise and support Simon had earned during his time in Washington, he was unable to win the Democratic presidential nomination in 1988 and returned to the Senate, winning a second term in 1990.

Simon committed time and energy to the myriad issues of interest to him, especially in the field of education, with one of his biggest successes coming with the passage of the National Literacy Act, which he sponsored. He continued to foster his ties to journalism throughout his lengthy political career, authoring numerous books, articles, and columns, all of which he used to relentlessly promote open government and social programs.

This vivid account of the public life of Paul Simon reveals a man whose personal honor and dedication were unshakeable throughout nearly half a century in the political arena. Robert E. Hartley provides a candid perspective on Simon’s accomplishments and victories, as well as his mistakes and losses, revealing new insights into the life of this dynamic and widely respected public figure.



The Heroic and the Notorious: U.S. Senators from Illinois
ISBN: 080933108X

Southern Illinois University Press. 2012

This sweeping survey constitutes the first comprehensive treatment of the men and women who have been chosen to represent Illinois in the United States Senate from 1818 to the present day. David Kenney and Robert E. Hartley underscore nearly two centuries of Illinois history with these biographical and political portraits, compiling an incomparably rich resource for students, scholars, teachers, journalists, historians, politicians, and any Illinoisan interested in the state’s senatorial heritage.

Originally published as An Uncertain Tradition: U.S. Senators From Illinois 1818–2003, this second edition brings readers up to date with new material on Paul Simon, Richard Durbin, and Peter Fitzgerald, as well as completely new sections on Roland Burris, Barack Obama, and Illinois’s newest senator, Mark Kirk. This fresh and careful study of the shifting set of political issues Illinois’s senators encountered over time is illuminated by the lives of participants in the politics of choice and service in the Senate. Kenney and Hartley offer incisive commentary on the quality of Senate service in each case, as well as timeline graphs relating to the succession of individuals in each of the two sequences of service, the geographical distribution of senators within the state, and the variations in party voting for Senate candidates. Rigorously documented and supremely readable, this convenient reference volume is enhanced by portraits of many of the senators.

Battleground 1948: Truman, Stevenson, Douglas, and the Most Surprising Election in Illinois History
ISBN: 0809332663

Southern Illinois University Press. 2013

The election year of 1948 remains to this day one of the most astonishing in U.S. political history. During this first general election after World War II, Americans looked to their governments for change. As the battle for the nation’s highest office came to a head in Illinois, the state was embroiled in its own partisan showdowns—elections that would prove critical in the course of state and national history.


In Battleground 1948, Robert E. Hartley offers the first comprehensive chronicle of this historic election year and its consequences, which still resonate today. Focusing on the races that ushered Adlai Stevenson, Paul Douglas, and Harry Truman into office—the last by the slimmest of margins—Battleground 1948 details the pivotal events that played out in the state of Illinois, from the newspaper wars in Chicago to tragedy in the mine at Centralia.


In addition to in-depth revelations on the saga of the American election machine in 1948, Hartley probes the dark underbelly of Illinois politics in the 1930s and 1940s to set the stage, spotlight key party players, and expose the behind-the-scenes influences of media, money, corruption, and crime. In doing so, he draws powerful parallels between the politics of the past and those of the present. Above all, Battleground 1948 tells the story of grassroots change writ large on the American political landscape—change that helped a nation move past an era of conflict and depression, and forever transformed Illinois and the U.S. government.

The Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois: Paul Powell, Clyde L. Choate, John H. Stelle
ISBN: 0809334747

Southern Illinois University Press. 2016

Many people are unaware that from 1945 to 1975, downstate lawmakers dominated the Illinois political arena. In TheDealmakers of Downstate Illinois, Robert E. Hartley details the lives and contributions of three influential southern Illinois politicians, Paul Powell, Clyde Choate, and John Stelle. He describes how these “dealmakers” were able to work with Democrats and Republicans throughout the state to bring jobs and facilities to their region. Using a variety of coalitions, they maintained downstate political strength in the face of growing Chicago influence.


Hartley traces the personal histories of Powell, Choate, and Stelle, shows how they teamed up to advance a downstate political agenda, and reviews their challenges and successes. Beginning with an account of early experiences, including the battlefield courage that earned Choate the Medal of Honor as well as Stelle’s World War I experience and later entrepreneurship, the book continues with an exploration of the groundwork for their collaborative legislative agenda and their roles in the growth of Southern Illinois University and the passage of income tax legislation. Hartley reviews the importance of Powell’s relationship with Governor Stratton, Choate’s leadership of the 1972 Democratic National Convention and his relationships with Governor Walker and with Chicago interests.



The Dealmakers of Downstate Illinois is a vivid, straightforward tale of fighting in the legislative chambers, backstabbing behind the scenes, and trading special favors for votes in pursuit of not only personal gain but also the advancement of a regional agenda.


Awards

-- Award of Merit from Illinois State Historical Society in 1980 for ''Big Jim Thompson of Illinois''

-- Certificates of Excellence from the Illinois Historical Society in

-- * 2007 for ''Death Underground: The Centralia and West Frankfort Mine Disasters''

-- * 2004 for ''An Uncertain Tradition: U.S. Senators from Illinois, 1818-2003''

-- ''Lewis and Clark in the Illinois Country: The Little-Told Story'', was chosen as centerpiece book for the Illinois State Library Lewis and Clark bicentennial celebration. Hartley was also chosen as a principle speaker at the 2004 Illinois Authors Book Fair sponsored by the Illinois Center for the Book and the Illinois State Library in Springfield, Illinois. -- The Delta Award of the Friends of Morris Library at Southern Illinois University-Carbondale was presented to Hartley in April 2007. The award is given to those who have "written/published about southern Illinois with distinction or added to the cultural life of southern Illinois." Hartley’s award was for work as a journalist and author.

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-- The Cowley County Historical Society History Award was received in 2006 in "recognition of your efforts to document the history of Winfield, Kansas." Hartley, with his wife, Mary, is a founder of Celebrate Winfield History, an annual symposium.