Mr. John Laidlaw

John Laidlaw was born in 1882 in Missouri. He received his education there, and by the age of sixteen, he was teaching in a one-room schoolhouse. He attended a college in Kirksville, Missouri, and graduated from the University of Missouri in 1902. He was involved in education for several years after graduating, eventually becoming superintendent of schools in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

While associated with D.C. Heath Publishing, John Laidlaw spent three years traveling by horse and buggy through Missouri and Arkansas encouraging teachers to use better textbooks. Then he and his brother founded Laidlaw Brothers Publishing. This was the first publishing company to use four-color printing for textbooks.

Mr. Laidlaw moved with his family to Western Springs in 1918. They lived at 1338 Chestnut. He and his wife had four children.

John Laidlaw was active in many community activities. He served on the board of what is now the Chicago Community Renewal Society; he was Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Western Springs Congregational Church for many years; he was on the board that developed the West Suburban YMCA; and he served on the Western Springs Board of Education from 1929 to 1945, acting as president from 1934 to 1945. As the president of the Board of Education during Depression, he solicited local residents to pay teachers.

John Laidlaw School was built in 1950 and named to honor this man for his many years of service to the community and particularly for his contributions to the Board of Education.

John Laidlaw died in 1962 at the age of eighty.


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