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E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Papers (Rockford)


Scope and Contents

Administrative Information

Detailed Description


Topical Files

Topical Newsclipping Files, 1969-1975

Addendum 1

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E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Papers (Rockford), 1965-1981 | Northern Illinois University

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Collection Overview

Title: E.J. "Zeke" Giorgi Papers (Rockford), 1965-1981

ID: RHC/RC/136

Extent: 12.0 Linear Feet

Date Acquired: 11/02/1981

Subjects: Democratic Party, Giorgi, Zeke, Illinois. General Assembly, Legislators, Lotteries, Rockford (Ill.), United States--Politics and government, Winnebago County (Ill)

Languages: English

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Giorgi Papers are organized into three series: (1) constituent correspondence (1967-1981), (2) topical files (1965-1979), and (3) topical newsclipping files (1969-1975).  The topical files contain information Giorgi gathered from various sources and comprise the largest series.  Major subjects covered include the Board of Higher Education, energy, environmental protection, equal rights amendment, Governor Walker’s news releases, health care, law enforcement, the lottery, the mental health department, schools, unemployment and workmen’s compensation, and welfare.  Some of these subjects, among many others, are also documented in the alphabetically arranged newsclipping topical files.

For the most part, the constituent correspondence is organized chronologically.  However, some of the folders are labeled by subjects—house bill numbers and E.R.A., for example.  Researchers wishing to make use of the correspondence for particular subjects will need to know the approximate date when the topic became a governmental concern.

The collection contains very little material for Giorgi’s first few years as a state representative and nothing from his term as an alderman in Rockford.  Nevertheless, the material documents a wide variety of subjects useful for background information on legislation.  Of particular note are the legislative synopses (1965-1975, Box 5, ff 3-6) which indicate the current and past measures taken on all bills presented to the House of Representatives.  The collection also contains information on Winnebago County and the City of Rockford.

Collection Historical Note

Edolo J. “Zeke” Giorgi was born in Rockford in 1923 to immigrant parents from Ferentino, Italy.  After attending St. Anthony grade school and Central High School, Giorgi became a sergeant in the U.S. Army serving for 40 months during World War II.  He also was educated at Washington and Lee University through the Army Information - Education program.  Upon returning to Rockford, Giorgi worked at the Roper Corporation and for the Midwest Distributing Company.  His career as a politician did not begin until 1955.  

When Alderman Peter Cicero decided to retire from the Rockford City Council in 1955 Giorgi chose to run for the position as a Good Government candidate.  Backed by Mayor Milton Lundstrom and Emmett Poyer, then the city’s most powerful union leader, Giorgi easily won his first election.  Since then Giorgi has been successful in all but one campaign; in 1969 he lost the mayoral race as the Democratic candidate against Republican incumbent Ben Schleicher.  

Although Giorgi served as fifth ward alderman until 1967, his political aspirations began pointing towards offices at the state level as early as 1965.  His chance to move up the political ladder came when the Illinois Supreme Court decreed that all the state representatives were holding office illegally on the basis of a redistricting problem.  By joining forces with Representative William Pierce, Giorgi became a delegate to the Democratic convention, was nominated, and subsequently elected.  Giorgi’s constituents continued to back him in his political endeavors and today, Giorgi is serving his ninth term as state representative.  

Giorgi’s political career has mirrored his personal interests and concerns.  Always the staunch supporter of individual rights, Giorgi worked to improve workmen’s and unemployment compensation laws.  He also has been concerned with upgrading mental health and higher education facilities throughout the state.  In 1975, recognizing Giorgi’s achievements, the Young Democrats of Illinois named him “Outstanding Legislator” and the Democratic Party elected him assistant majority leader in the House.  His innovative work on the Illinois Lottery earned him the designation “Father of the Illinois Lottery” from Governor Dan Walker during the same year.  

Giorgi passed away unexpectedly in 1993.

Subject/Index Terms

Democratic Party
Giorgi, Zeke
Illinois. General Assembly
Rockford (Ill.)
United States--Politics and government
Winnebago County (Ill)

Administrative Information

Repository: Northern Illinois University

Access Restrictions: There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Use Restrictions: Property rights in the collection are held by the Regional History Center; literary rights are dedicated to the public.

Acquisition Source: E.J. “Zeke” Giorgi

Acquisition Method: E.J. “Zeke” Giorgi donated his political papers to the Northern Illinois Regional History Center on November 2, 1981.

Related Materials: Researchers interested in northern Illinois politics may wish to consult the other politicians’ papers held by the Center.  The local government records collected in the region also may provide information on politics, although in a localized area rather than state-wide.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Correspondence],
[Series II.: Topical Files],
[Series III.: Topical Newsclipping Files, 1969-1975],
[Addendum 1],

Series II.: Topical Files
Box 3
Folder 1: Agriculture Department, 1971
Folder 2: Agriculture Appropriations, 1973-1975
Folder 3-4: Board of Higher Education, 1972-1973
Folder 5: Building Authority, 1971
Folder 6: Business and Economic Development, 1971-1972
Folder 7: Capital Development Board, 1971-1974
Folder 8: Children and Family Services, 1969-1972
Folder 9: Committee Assignments, 1979
Folder 10: Comptroller's Office, 1971-1973
Folder 11: Conservation Department, 1971-1974
Folder 12: Constitution Implementation, 1970
Folder 13: Corrections Department (6), 1971
Folder 14: Crime Victims Compensation, 1973-1974
Folder 15: Chicago Transit Authority (C.T.A.), 1973
Folder 16: Department of Labor, (12), 1970-1974
Folder 17-18: Energy, 1976-1980
Folder 19-20: Environmental Protection (Illinois), (14), 1971-1974
Folder 21: Equal Rights Amendment, no date
Box 4
Folder 1-3: Equal Rights Amendment, 1975-1980
Folder 4: Governor Ogilvie, News Releases, 1971-1972
Folder 5-7: Governor Walker, News Releases, (210), 1973-1975
Folder 8: Governor Walker, Newsclippings, 1972-1976
Folder 9-10: Health Care, 1971-1973
Folder 11-12: Higher Education, 1965-1975
Folder 13: Illinois Law Enforcement Commission, (45), 1975
Folder 14: Industrial Commission, 1971
Folder 15: Insurance Department, 1971-1973
Folder 16: Judicial Retirement System, 1973-1975
Box 5
Folder 1-2: Law Enforcement Commission, 1970-1972
Folder 3-6: Legislative Synopses, 1965-1975
Folder 7-11: Lottery, 1971-1974
Folder 12-15: Mental Health Department, (60), 1969-1974
Box 6
Folder 1: Mental Health Department, (15), 1969-1974
Folder 2: Personnel Department, (18), 1974
Folder 3: Pinball Information, 1965-1969
Folder 4: Press Releases (Giorgi), 1981
Folder 5: Public Relations, 1974-1975
Folder 6: Racing Board, 1971
Folder 7-8: Revenue Sources, 1973-1975
Folder 9: Rockford, Home Rule
Folder 10: Regional Transportation Authority (R.T.A.), 1979
Folder 11: Scholarships, 1976
Folder 12-16: Schools, 1971-1980
Folder 17: Schools, Private, 1972
Folder 18: Secretary of State, 1971-1972
Folder 19: Taxes, 1968-1975
Box 7
Folder 1: Tollway, 1969-1973
Folder 2: Traffic Safety, 1971
Folder 3: Unemployment Compensation, 1975
Folder 4-8: Unemployment/Workmen's Compensation, 1972-1977
Folder 9: Veteran's Commission, 1971
Folder 10: Vetoes, 1975
Folder 11: Vocational Education, 1971-1981
Folder 12-14: Welfare, 1971-1974
Folder 15: Winnebago County Schools, no date
Folder 16: Transportation Department (23), 1966-1971
Box 8
Item 1: Scrapbooks (newsclippings), 1966-1968

Browse by Series:

[Series I.: Correspondence],
[Series II.: Topical Files],
[Series III.: Topical Newsclipping Files, 1969-1975],
[Addendum 1],

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