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Adeline J. Geo-Karis papers

Identifier: MS-BC239
Republican state representative (1973 -1978) and senator (1979-2007) from thirty-first district. Minority spokesman for Labor and Commerce Committee (1975-1976); Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee (1977-1978) and Judiciary I (1979-1986). Vice chairman of Illinois Resources Commission (1975-1976).

Constituent correspondence with smaller amounts of legislative bills, news releases, newsletters, reports and news clippings concerning the Environmental Protection Agency, Equal Rights Amendment, Labor and Commerce Committee, unemployment compensation, Lake County, energy, education and public aid.

Two reel-to-reel tapes, four cassette tapes, and a few photographs and published items were transferred out of the collection.

(3-18) 187 Photographs and a packet of negatives were transferred to the Audio-Visual Department.

Access: open for research, except Alphabetical Files restricted (requires Geo-Karis' written permission).


  • 1973 - 2007


53.42 Linear Feet (53 archival boxes and 1 manuscript box)

Scope and Content

The Adeline J. Geo-Karis Papers, 1973-2007, consist of 53.42 cubic feet of constituent correspondence with smaller amounts of legislative bills, newsletters, reports and newsclippings. Geo-Karis’ work as a state representative and her terms as a state senator are documented. The Alphabetical Files can be used only with Geo-Karis’ written permission, but the rest of the papers are open to research. The collection is divided into six series: Illinois House of Representatives Papers, 1973-1978; Illinois Senate Papers, 1978-1984; Series III: Correspondence, 1991-2001; Series IV: 90th and 91st General Assembly Bills; Series V: Correspondence 2002-2007; Series VI: House and Senate Bills

* Series I: The Illinois House of Representatives Papers, 1973-1978 (Boxes 1-21), are comprised of seven files.

- The Chronological Files, 1973-1978 (Boxes 1-2), consist of six chronologically-arranged files containing carbon copies of all outgoing correspondence. Filing notes on the letters indicate the location in the collection where the original letter and another copy of the reply can be found.

- The Alphabetical Files, 1973-1978 (Boxes 2-8), consist of six yearly files arranged alphabetically by name of constituent. Included are letters, cards and newspaper clippings regarding constituent requests for assistance, invitations to Geo-Karis, and Geo-Karis’ congratulatory and thank-you messages. The 1975 file almost exclusively concerns constituent views on legislation being considered by the General Assembly.

- The Subject File, 1973-1977 (Boxes 9-16), contains correspondence, reports, newsletters, and newspaper clippings arranged alphabetically by topic. The correspondence is primarily constituent letters concerning legislative bills before the General Assembly. Topics include the Environmental Protection Agency, mental health, private colleges, regional transportation, schools, senior citizens, and unemployment compensation.

- The 78th General Assembly Correspondence File, 1973-1974 (Boxes 16-18), is arranged alphabetically by constituent regarding legislative bills before the 78th General Assembly. A file index for the 1973 correspondence is included. - The 78th General Assembly Subject File, 1973-1974 (Boxes 18-20), contains legislative bills and smaller amounts of correspondence, newsletters, news clippings, reports, and other printed items arranged alphabetically by topic. Almost all of the material is dated 1973; the few folders containing 1974 material are marked on the container list. Topics include acupuncture, the Aeronautics Board, death with dignity, and the Rape Study Commission.

- The 79th General Assembly Correspondence and Subject File, 1975-1976 (Boxes 20-21), contains constituent correspondence followed by legislative bills and bill analysis, correspondence, and reports arranged alphabetically by topic. The work of the Labor and Commerce Committee and legislation concerning unemployment compensation are documented.

- The Correspondence, Legislation Bills, and Printed Material, 1977 (Box 21), dates primarily from September through December.

* Series II: The Illinois Senate Papers, 1978-1984 (Boxes 22-42), are comprised of fourteen files.

- The Chronological File, 1979 (Box 22), contains carbon copies of all outgoing correspondence. Filing notes on each item indicate where the incoming letter and another copy of the reply are located in the collection.

- The Alphabetical Files, 1979-1980 (Boxes 22-23), consist of two files of letters and cards arranged alphabetically by constituent name. Constituent requests for assistance, invitations to Geo-Karis, and Geo-Karis’ congratulatory, thank-you, and sympathy messages are documented.

- The Subject File, 1978-1981 (Boxes 24-29), is arranged alphabetically by topic and contains primarily correspondence outlining constituent views on legislation. A few newsletters and reports are also included. Some of the material in the file dates from 1974 to 1977. Topics include the Bicentennial Commission (1974-1975), employment agencies, the Equal Rights Amendment, and unemployment compensation.

- The Correspondence File, 1979-1980 (Boxes 29-30), contains chronologically-arranged copies of constituent correspondence regarding legislative bills.

- The Chronological File, 1982 (Box 31), contains carbon copies of outgoing correspondence with notations by Geo-Karis.

- The Alphabetical File, 1973-1982 (Boxes 31-32), contains constituent correspondence arranged alphabetically. Requests for assistance, thank-you’s, and invitations to Geo-Karis as well as views on issues are included. Congratulatory and sympathy messages from Geo-Karis to her constituents are also included.

- The Subject File, 1979-1982 (Boxes 32-35), is arranged alphabetically by topic and primarily contains constituent correspondence concerning legislative bills before the General Assembly. A few reports, articles and newsletters are also included. Geo-Karis’ work as a member of senate committees, commissions and task forces is also documented. Topics include the Illinois Atomic Energy Commission, Lake County organizations, Pollution Control Board (1982), public aid, Regional Transportation Authority and the Environmental Protection Agency.

- The Legislative File, 1978-1983 (Boxes 35-36), consists of correspondence, minutes, reports, notes, voting records, statements, bill summaries and news releases documenting Geo-Karis’ work in the senate. Topics include advisory committees on mental health and education and political issues.

- The Alphabetical File, 1981-1982 (Boxes 36-37), contains constituent correspondence arranged alphabetically. Newsletters, reports and invitations as well as letters giving thanks, requesting assistance and offering opinions on legislation are included.

- The Subject File, 1979-1983 (Boxes 37-38), is arranged somewhat alphabetically. It primarily contains constituent correspondence concerning issues such as education, labor and children. A few reports, newsletters and invitations are also included.

- The Chronological File, 1983 (Box 39), contains carbon copies of outgoing correspondence arranged by month.

- The Alphabetical File, 1983 (Box 40), consists primarily of constituent correspondence arrange alphabetically. Constituent requests for assistance, thank-you’s, invitations and views on issues are included. Outgoing letters by Geo-Karis include thank-you’s, congratulatory and sympathy messages.

- The Subject File, 1981-1983 (Boxes 40-41), contains constituent correspondence, reports, agendas, invitations and thank-you’s arranged alphabetically. Geo-Karis’ outgoing letters include thank-you’s, congratulatory and sympathy messages and information requests. Topics include education and social issues.

- The Correspondence File, October-December 1983 (Box 42), consists of constituent correspondence including thank-you’s, invitations, views on issues and requests for assistance. Geo-Karis’ outgoing correspondence consists of thank-you’s, congratulatory and sympathy messages, recommendations and letters on behalf of individual constituents.

* Series III: Correspondence, 1991-2001 (Boxes 43-47) Box 43 consists of correspondence, 1999-2002, arranged alphabetically. Boxes 44-47 consists of correspondence listed by subject.

* Series IV: 90th and 91st General Assembly Bills (Boxes 48-49) consists of House and Senate bills for the 90th and 91st General Assembly.

* Series V: Correspondence 2002-2007 (Boxes 49-52) is arranged by subject consisting of the years 2002-2007.

* Series VI: House and Senate Bills (Boxes 53-54) consists of House and Senate Bills for the years 2002-2007

Biographical Sketch

Adeline Jay Geo-Karis was born in Tegeas, Greece on March 29, 1918. She was a Republican state representative from 1973-1978 and a state senator from 1979-2007 from the Thirty-First District. Geo-Karis was educated at Herzl College, Northwestern University, and Mt. Holyoke College before receiving a Bachelor of Laws degree from DePaul University in 1942. She taught Spanish at the University of Illinois and naval law - as she held the rank of Lt. Commander in the U.S. Naval Reserve (R) - at Smith College. Admitted to the Illinois bar in 1942, her legal career included practice with the Zion, the law firm of Adeline J. Geo-Karis and Associates in Illinois, and legal services for Mundelein, Vernon Hills, Libertyville Township, and the Long Grove School District. Geo-Karis was the first woman elected as a justice of the peace in Lake County, working from 1949-1961, and appointed as Assistant State's Attorney of Lake County in 1958.

Geo-Karis was also the first woman elected to the Illinois House by Lake County voters in 1972; she was then reelected both in 1974 and in 1976. She served as Minority Spokesman for the Labor and Commerce Committee from 1975-1976 and the Environment, Energy and Natural Resources Committee from 1977-1978. She was also the chairman of the Alternate Energy Committee. Other committee assignments included Cities and Villages (1973-1974), Higher Education (1973-1974), Human Resources (1973-1976), Public Utilities (1973-1976), and Veterans' Affairs, Registration and Regulation (1977-1978).

From 1975-1976, Geo-Karis served as the vice-chairman of the Illinois Energy Resources Commission and, from 1973-1974, as chairman of the Interim Study Committee (which studied acupuncture, dignified deaths, underage blood donors, and funeral expenses). During the same years, she was also a member of the Illinois Legislative Council, Rape Study Commission, Dangerous Drugs Advisory Council, Illinois Committee to the Illinois Board of Aeronautics, and somewhere along the line was also involved with the Nuclear Safety Committee, Consumer's Coordinating council, and Gasohol Task Force.

During her first term as the Thirty-First District Senator in 1978, Geo-Karis was a member of the Senate Insurance and Licensed Activities, Reorganization of State Government, Judiciary I (Minority Spokesman, 1979-1986) and II (1979-1986), and Agriculture, Conservation and Energy, and the Atomic Energy Commission committees. Further assignments include Public Health, Welfare, and Corrections (1981-84), Executive (1985-90), Judiciary (1987-90), and minority caucus (secretary, 1983-86; chairman, 1987-88).

From 1991-2006, she served on numerous committees, including Committees on Executive Appointments, Financial Institutions, Judiciary, Senate Operations Commission, NCSL Assembly on State Issues, Violent Crime Victims Assistance Commission, Citizens Council on Women, Veterans Affairs, and several others.

Geo-Karis finished her final term in the 94th General Assembly, in which she served as the Executive Appointments Co-Chairperson as well as serving on the Senate Committee of the Whole and the Pensions & Investments committees. She was an avid supporter of Saint Demitrios Greek Orthodox Church and was a member for over 50 years.

Serving as the first woman in Senate leadership in Illinois history, she served for 10 years as Assistant Senate Majority Leader from 1993-2003.

Throughout her lifetime, she won many awards, some of which include the Midwestern Regional Medical Center Award (Daughters of Penelope/Order of AHEPA), NAACP Award (North Chicago Chapter), 2002 Certificate of Appreciation for Excellence in Political Leadership (Treasurer Judy Barr Topinka), and 2004 Honorary Member of the Marine Corps League.

Geo-Karis died of natural causes on February 10, 2008 at the age of 89 at Glenbrook Hospital in Glenview, Illinois. The Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Beach State Park in Zion is named after her.

Repository Details

Part of the Manuscript Collection Repository

112 North Sixth Street
Springfield IL 62701 US
(217) 558-8923