103 E. State Street
Sycamore, IL 60178
Tuesday & Thursday
Between 1926 and 1976 a father and son team held the office of DeKalb County Clerk. Earle Joiner from 1926-1956 and Ralph Joiner from 1956-1976. It was Ralph's dream that the old records and other memorabilia scattered throughout the Courthouse could find a new, permanent home. He tagged numerous items with notes to "save for museum".
In the early 1980s, under the direction of DeKalb County Clerk Terry Desmond, Phyllis Kelley spent 18 months cataloging and indexing the contents of the old vaults, which comprise the bulk of materials in the Joiner History Room. As plans progressed for the renovation of the Courthouse, new hope emerged that some space might at last be found for a historical repository. Negotiations with the proper county officials were successful. Following the conclusion of the DeKalb County Sesquicentennial celebration, which generated funds to pay for it, work began in 1988 to transform 400 square feet in the basement of the Courthouse into the Joiner History Room. Dedicated to Ralph Joiner and his wife Bertha for their efforts in preserving the county's historical documents, and in memory of the late Earl Joiner, the room opened to the public on May 4, 1989.
Ralph Joiner passed away November 8, 2008 (obituary). In 1998 negotiations between the DeKalb County Board and the Sycamore Library Board arranged for the collection to be transferred to space in the Library building. The move was made in June 1998. The Joiner History Room is staffed by volunteers under the direction of Sue Breese and funded by donations and grants. The Joiner History Room is a cooperative effort of the DeKalb County Board of Supervisors, DeKalb County Finance Office, and County citizens concerned with safeguarding their heritage represented by the historical documents in our collection.