John K. Morris Papers (Chadwick), 1919-1989
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Brief Description:

The John K. Morris Papers contain documents related to Mr. Morris’ career as a State Representative, chairman of the State Property Tax Appeal Board and farmer.  The collection is arranged into three series, one for each aspect of his career.  Papers in the collection date from 1919 to 1982.  The collection contains biographical sketches of Morris’ life.  There are also some papers from his grade school and college days.

The first series contains material from Morris’ career as a State Representative in the Illinois General Assembly, from 1946 to 1966.  Material for elections includes letters of endorsement, campaign literature, and election returns.  The amount of material varies for each election.  Correspondence from his term in office follows the appropriate election year.  This series also contains memorandums from the Legislative Council.  The Legislative Council performed research for state officials to provide them with information on current topics of legislation.

The second series is the largest and contains most of the material in the collection.  It spans the years Mr. Morris served as Chairman of the Property Tax Appeal Board (PTAB), 1967-1980.  The Board was appealed to by taxpayers who considered their assessments unfair.  This series contains some of the Board’s decisions for 1967-1970 and 1972-1974.  These decisions are arranged by docket number.  The docket number is a string of numbers indicating the year, the county, and the number of the docket.  It is the second number in the string by which the decisions are arranged numerically.  Morris created indexes to the 1967-1970 decisions, so that a decision can be found if one knows the Board’s decision number.  The Board had its own numbering system for appeal decisions.  Although termed petitions for property assessment appeal, the 1972-1974 decisions contain the same information as the earlier decisions.  If the taxpayer or the County Board were dissatisfied with the PTAB’s decision, they could take the PTAB to court.  Decisions defended in court which are in this series include, the

Commonwealth Edison dispute over the Zion Nuclear Power Plant.  Also defended in court, was the decision on the Belvidere Chrysler plant assessment.

Material related to the Board’s activities, such as farmland assessment and various bills, can, also, be found in this series.  Personal papers of Mr. Morris’ are included, too.  These personal papers cover his correspondence with people asking for his help in bureaucratic matters and his correspondence with various state and federal officials on current political topics.  Copies of letters he sent to President Carter are among this personal correspondence.

The third series concentrates on Morris’ activities as a farmer.  It contains farm account books, agriculture census forms and a few income tax returns.  Awards that Mr. Morris received, some for non-farm related services, are included in this series.  Also, two articles written about the Morris dairying enterprise can be found in this series.

The addendum dates 1970-1989 and includes the remainder of series III, Elmcrest Farm.  While State Representative, Mr. Morris divided his time between Springfield and his farm in Chadwick.  Great detail was needed in documenting the herd and their production because of Mr. Morris’ absence from the farm.  The series consists of records kept by Mr. Morris and his employees regarding the status of the herd.  The records include herd health and production records, pedigree and performance evaluations, herd listings and registrations, computerized herd reports, and other material pertaining to the herd and the farm.  There are also herd identification photographs.  These photographs include vital statistics about the cattle. The series contain photographs of cattle sold or deceased and the reason behind such action.

Held at:
Northern Illinois University
Founders Memorial Library
Northern Illinois University
DeKalb, IL 60115
Phone: 815-753-1779
Email: rhcua [at]
Record Series Number: RHC/RC/161
Volume: 5.0 Linear Feet
Acquired: An addendum was added on November 28, 1989.
Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.
Subject Index
Chadwick (Ill.)
Democratic Party
Illinois. General Assembly
Morris, John K.
Property tax--United States
Tax Assessment
Languages of Materials
English [eng]
Rights/Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by the Northern Illinois Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.
Acquisition Notes: Mr. John K. Morris  Mr. John K. Morris donated his papers to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on February 4, 1983.