- 1904 - 1918 (Creation)
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Robert George Robinson, who was originally named Sigmund Robinson, is a native Chicagoan. He was born on June 12, 1901 and thereafter was raised as an orphan, living at a variety of different orphanages. In 1916, Robert graduated from Lake Bluff Grammar School, and the following year (1917) at the age of 16, he moved to Highland Park with a job as an errand boy for department stores. A local Highland Park family took Robert in, and he graduated from Deerfield-Shields Township High School in 1923 at the age of 22.
In high school, Robert developed a skill and passion for poetry, which continued into his adult years. These skills also allowed Robert to attend the University of Illinois, where he graduated in 1927 with a major in journalism. After graduation, Robert returned to Highland Park and began working an apprenticeship under Leon Harris at the Yorktown Shop and later at the Red Shutters. Here he developed his interior decorating skills and developed his love and passion for antiques. 25 years later in 1968, Robert opened his own store, Robert G. Robinson and Associates, dealers in antiques and interior decorating.
Robert would often talk with local groups about antiques and interior decorating. His knowledge was highly respected and nationally recognized as an antique expert. Some of his collections and remakes have even been on display at the Met (Metropolitan Museum of Art) in New York. Through his love of the past and the objects it held, Robert felt that Highland Park needed its own museum to house its own specific treasures. With this idea, he became one of the founding members of the Highland Park Historical Society in 1966. He was also a President and Curator.
Robert began collecting the first day of his apprenticeship. He would buy pieces he liked, thought were interesting, and felt would have value. One of his prized collections is the valentine collection. He began the collection because the valentines were unique items that had value to them. They were also a testament to their time, a way of life, and allowed Robert to reflect on a period that he preferred to the present. Robert was not a fan of modern styles and thought processes, so he put a lot of value into his prized valentine collection and would often put them on display at the local flower shop during February. Only one other Highland Park native collected and placed value on old valentines, Mrs. Lawrence McClure. Mrs. McClure and Robert often discussed their collections, shared their joys, and kept a friendly competition while hunting for additions.
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