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Friday, December 10, 2010

Kenar - Jakubowski, North Chicago

In 2007, a collection of photographs and documents from the Kenar-Jakubowski Family of North Chicago was donated to the museum.

For the museum, the donation enhances its holdings for the North Chicago area, and the period of the 1920s - 1940s. It also increases our understanding of immigration to the county. Much of the county's history is related to settlement and growth, and this donation is the story of first generation Americans.

Jacob Kenar (photo 1944)
The patriarch of the family, Jacob Kenar (1878-1944), was a Polish immigrant and naturalized U.S. citizen. He arrived in the United States in 1900 and settled in North Chicago with his wife, Anna. Jacob became a leader among Polish people in the community, was a member of the Polish National Alliance Society and Holy Rosary Church, and worked for 25 years at the Chicago Hardware Foundry Company.

Julia Kenar (1904-1984), circa 1920
in her North Chicago letterman sweater
The bulk of the donation relates to Jacob and Anna's eldest child, Julia, and her husband Joseph Jakubowski.

The collection gives insight into life in North Chicago in the first half of the 20th century, and into the lives of immigrant families and their children. These were ordinary people living out ordinary lives, and in part that's what  makes the materials all the more fascinating. It's a slice of life.

Julia was the only woman in the Kenar family to drive a car.
Pictured here on Victoria Street, North Chicago, circa 1925.
Julia's husband, Joseph Jakubowski
(1902-1976), studio photo circa 1920. 
Joe worked as a butcher. He's pictured here in
the meat market's slaughter yard. The original
Holy Rosary Church can be seen in the
background at 14th and Victoria.
Photo circa 1922. 

Julia and Joe had this house built between 1941-1946
on Skokie Highway near Stearns School Road in Gurnee. 
One of many receipts related to the
construction of
Julia and Joe's home.  
Another local business the Jakubowski's
patronized as they furnished their new home.
Julia Kenar Jakubowski was a plant superintendent at
Pfanstiehl (Fansteel) Chemical Corporation. She is
shown in this photo at the plant, standing in the back
of the room, 1942. 
The images shared here are a sampling of what the Kenar-Jakubowski Collection has to offer historians and genealogists. The collection consists of one-linear foot of material.

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