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Mysterious America

Illinois State University and the Enduring Legacy of Ange Milner

Founded in 1857, Illinois State University is said to be haunted by the ghost of Angeline V. Milner, or Ange for short, a beloved librarian who remained with her books long after she passed from this world. Does she still haunt the university archives?

Jesse W. Fell, a Bloomington newspaper publisher, founded Illinois State Normal University in 1857 with the help of his friend, lawyer and legislator Abraham Lincoln, who would go on to become our sixteenth president. Originally a teacher’s college, ISNU became Illinois State University in 1968 to accommodate a broader curriculum. The university is currently home to around 23,000 students and faculty, as well as one tenacious ghost.

The ghost is said to be that of Angeline V. Milner, or Ange for short, a beloved librarian who remained with her books long after she passed from this world. Although now often spelled Angie, Angeline is commonly abbreviated in the original French as Ange. In Charles William Perry’s 1924 biography of Miss Milner, he omitted the ‘i’ from the diminutive form of her name. As head librarian for 37 years, she was so beloved by the school that Illinois State University named its library after her.

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