Bina Deneen
1905-07-09 morning olympian mrs charles s deneen p3 pic

Full name

Bina Day Maloney Deneen

Presence at Shimer


Presence on Earth



Seminary period alum

Bina Day Maloney Deneen was a student at Shimer College during the late Seminary period, exiting in 1890. After moving to Chicago and working briefly as a typist, she married Charles S. Deneen in 1891. Her husband became the first two-term governor of Illinois, serving from 1904 to 1912 and also served from 1924 to 1930 as US Senator. Bina described herself as a "passive politician", but stumped actively for her husband during his final, failed Senate campaign in 1930.[1]

The Chicago Mount Carroll Seminary and Frances Shimer Academy Association held a reception for the Deneens in 1907, but only Bina was there, the governor being a no-show due to "urgent business".

Like many Seminary period alumnae, Bina was active in the women's club movement, particularly the Englewood Woman's Club in Chicago.

The home where the Deneens lived still stands at 457 W. 61st Place in Chicago's Englewood neighborhood.[2] It was bombed on March 26, 1928 as part of the "Pineapple Primary", in which the Capone-backed Thompson faction of the Republican party squared off against the anti-corruption Deneen faction.[3][4]

Shimer connectionsEdit


  • in "Society Matters", Rockford Republic, 1907-03-16, p. 5:
    Mrs. Charles S. Deneen and her daughter, Bina, 4 months old, were the guests of honor at a reception given at the Stratford Hotel in Chicago yesterday afternoon by the Chicago Alumni and Students' Association of Mount Carroll Seminary and the Frances Shimer Academy of the University of Chicago. Gov. Deneen was expected, but he sent word that he had been called to Washington and would be unable to be present. Bina, who is known in Springfield society as "the state house baby," took her place in the receiving line and apparently enjoyed it hugely. She is the first baby who has honored the executive mansion by being born there for many years. Mr[s]. Deneen is a graduate of the Mount Carroll Seminary and an honorary member of the association. Among the out of town guests who attended the reception were Mr. and Mrs. Latallette of Freeport, Ill.
  • in Frances Shimer Record 43:1, January 1951, p. 8:
    Bina Maloney Deneen died recently in her home in Chicago. On leaving Frances Shimer she married Charles S. Deneen and was, as she herself expressed it, a passive politician for more than 40 years.


1904-06-08 morning star wife of the republican nominee for governor p4

Profile of Bina Deneen published during her husband's first gubernatorial run in 1904.

  • on RootsWeb (Alice Horner)
  • in Carroll County: A Good Heritage:
    James and Frances Maloney's daughter, Bina Day. named for a dear friend of the mother, was born on Valentine's Day, 1868. and all through her life that day had a double significance for friends and relatives would travel for miles each year to spend at least a few hours with their special Valentine. The mother died in 1885.
    Bina attended rural school near their farm on Big Cut Road and was graduated in 1890 from Frances Shimer Academy, where she learned among other studies to type. While still just a child (about 16) she spent one winter with her sister Bird in Iowa teaching school, and playfully would toss her lunch basket ahead into the snow, running to pick it up and repeat the same fun on her way to and from her classroom.
    Soon she was on her way to Chicago and found a job as typist in offices of one of her father's friends rooming at one of the select boarding homes that were then the proper residences for young ladies of that era while away from home ( even more strictly regulated than Allerton Houses of more recent times.) A young lawyer, Charles S. Deneen, had started practice there. His sister came to visit him and as he was then living in a boarding home he arranged for her to board at the same place as Bina where they became friends, and it was this sister who introduced Charles and Bina who fell immediately in love marrying within a few months time. Their marriage ceremony was performed in the home of sister Cora in Princeton, Illinois by her minister husband.
1950-10-31 register republic mrs bina deneen p13 obit.pdf

Obituary of Bina Deneen, published October 31, 1950 in the Rockford Register-Republic.


  1. Connection established here: "T.W. House Ends Life With Gun", 1935-12-15.


Note: Part or all of this article is being groomed for possible export to Wikipedia.

Bina Deneen (1868–1950), born Bina Maloney, was the first two-term first lady of Illinois, and the first to give birth in the Illinois Executive Mansion. Known as "the ideal wife for a governor"[1] for her calm and unassuming style, she was also active in her husband's campaigns, and in the woman's club movement.

Early life and educationEdit

Bina Day Maloney was born on February 14, 1868, to a prosperous Carroll County farm family. Her father was the local commissioner of roads.[2] She was born and raised in rural Mount Carroll Township, where she attended the Big Cut district school.[2] Because her parents moved into the town of Mount Carroll several decades later, she was sometimes inaccurately reported as having been born adn raised in Mount Carroll itself.[2]

In her teens in the 1880s, she taught school for a time in Sac County, Iowa.[3] She studied at the Mount Carroll Seminary (later known as Shimer College), exiting in 1890.

She moved to Chicago and worked briefly as a stenographer[3] or typist[4], living in a boardinghouse. She married Chicago law student Charles S. Deneen, the brother of a fellow boardinghouse resident, in Princeton, Illinois in 1891.[5] Both hailed from strongly Methodist families;[6] the marriage rites were performed by Mrs. Deneen's minister brother-in-law.[2]

Political careerEdit

I've had an awfully full life, but I've also had an delightful time out of life. I know I'm getting older, but it's only because the birthdays are piling up. I'm keenly interested in what's going on, and I like to watch things happen.
—Bina Deneen, 1930[1]

Deneen played an active part in each of her husband's campaigns, although chiefly behind the scenes.[1] These campaigns began at the ward committeman level in Chicago, quickly rising to Cook County state's attorney and the state legislature.[4]

Charles became the first two-term governor of Illinois, serving from 1904 to 1912. As the First Lady of Illinois, Deneen cut a demure figure, describing herself as a "home woman".[7] She was the first First Lady of Illinois to have a child while living in the governor's mansion -- her fourth child, Bina, born in 1906[6] -- a feat that would not be repeated until the birth of Samantha Thompson in 1978.[8] She remains the only First Lady of Illinois to give birth in the executive mansion.[9][4]

As First Lady of Illinois, Deneen was in charge of entertaining the various visitors to the executive mansion. Notable among these were president William Howard Taft, for whom a special ramp had to be installed, as well as former president Theodore Roosevelt, and the French and British ambassadors.[10]

Like many other early Shimer College alumnae, Bina was active in the woman's club movement. She served as president of the Englewood Woman's Club, dedicated to the "promotion of the highest interest of humanity through Sociological, Literary, Educational, Art, and Music work,"[11] and was also active in the Chicago Woman's Club, which she joined in 1915.[12] She was also active in the First Methodist Episcopal Church of Englewood.[1]

The Deneens returned to electoral politics in 1924, when Charles ran successfully for US Senate. Deneen described herself as a "passive politician"[13], but stumped actively for her husband during his final, failed Senate campaign in 1930.[1] Feeling uncomfortable with traditional political speeches, however, she confined herself to expressing her gratitude and recognition of the campaign workers' efforts.[1]

In the violent "Pineapple Primary" of 1928, in which the organizations of Deneen and "Big Bill" Thompson squared off against one another, the Deneens' home in Englewood was bombed, destroying the front porch.[14] The 61st political bombing in Chicago that year, it marked a significant turning point in the campaign, which ended in a decisive victory for the Deneenites. Mrs. Deneen's calm response was considered noteworthy; she recalled later that "as we were in Washington and no one was hurt, and none of my paintings and books in the front of the house were damaged to any extent, I felt it hardly called for hysterics."[1]

Death and legacyEdit

After her husband's death, Deneen had moved from Englewood to nearby Hyde Park. She died on October 30, 1950, and was laid to rest in the Oak Woods Cemetery.[5] She survived her husband by ten years.[5] The home where the Deneens lived in Englewood still stands at 457 W. 61st Place in Chicago.[14]

Works citedEdit

  • E. George Thiem, ed. (1968). Carroll County: A Goodly Heritage. Kable Printing Company. 


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 "Deneen's Wife Discusses Her Political Debut". Chicago Daily Tribune: p. 16. 1930-03-10. 
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Thiem 1968, p. 117.
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Married an Iowa Girl". The Courier. 1904-06-09.,6100556&dq=bina+deneen&hl=en. 
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Thiem 1968, p. 369.
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 "Mrs. Bina Deneen". Rockford Register-Republic: p. 13. 1950-10-31. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 Thiem 1968, p. 370.
  7. "Wife of the Republican Nominee for Governor". Rockford Morning Star. 1904-06-08. 
  8. "Governor Jim Thompson's Baby Comes Home to a New Old-Fashioned Nursery". People 10 (12). 1978-09-18.,,20071746,00.html. 
  9. "Society Matters". Rockford Republic: p. 5. 1907-03-16. 
  10. "Dies at 82". Chicago Daily Tribune. 1950-10-31. 
  11. [ "Englewood Woman's Club Records, 1898-1932"]. Chicago Public Library. Retrieved 2013-06-20. 
  12. Chicago Woman's Club (1922). "Active Members". Chicago Woman's Club. p. 90. 
  13. Frances Shimer Record 43 (1): p. 8. January 1951. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 John R. Schmidt (2011-08-01). "The Senator and the Pineapple". Chicago Public Radio. 

This page is part of the Shimer College Wiki, an independent documentation project. Shimer College, the Great Books college of Chicago, is not responsible for its content.

Ad blocker interference detected!

Wikia is a free-to-use site that makes money from advertising. We have a modified experience for viewers using ad blockers

Wikia is not accessible if you’ve made further modifications. Remove the custom ad blocker rule(s) and the page will load as expected.