This Week in Indiana History: Unigov

January 1, 1970

On this week in Indiana history, Unigov went into effect. It consolidated the city of Indianapolis with Marion County, and dramatically increased the size of the city. This let the city keep up with recent population growth and trends.

Due to Unigov, Indianapolis became the 12th most populated city in Amer-ica overnight. However, it wasn’t without opposition. The re-organization and the expansion of the city into the outer suburbs would dramatically in-crease the voting population, and change the political environment of the city.

Unigov graphic

This information packet included important information about Unigov for Indianapolis citizens. You can read it, and many more items like it, at the Indiana State Library.

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Indiana Young Readers Center Coming in 2016

The Indiana State Library will be opening a Young Readers Center in 2016! The idea was inspired by the Young Readers Center at the Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. The Indiana Young Readers Center will be a place for kids to learn about the talented authors and illustrators from Indiana and about our great state itself.

The first step in creating this space was building a collection. The Indiana Young Readers Center collection includes materials written or illustrated by Indiana authors and books about Indiana for kids and teens. A portion of this collection is already circulating and available to check out. The Center also houses special, non-circulating collections of autographed books by Indiana authors and illustrators and Indiana state book award winners for children and teens.

The Indiana Young Readers Collection includes books by Hoosier authors Jim Davis, John Green, Meg Cabot, Norman Bridwell, and many more!

The Indiana Young Readers Collection includes books by Hoosier authors Jim Davis, John Green, Meg Cabot, Norman Bridwell, and many more!

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The Hidden History of the Indiana State Library

Giving tours of the Indiana State Library building and highlighting its architectural details keeps the staff connected with both the library’s history and our state’s history. Before the current 1934 building existed for the Indiana State Library, the library was housed within the “new” Indiana State House, occupying four rooms in the third floor south wing from 1888 to 1933. Those rooms are presently offices for the Legislative Services Agency and Indiana House of Representatives.  If you are an architecture aficionado, do not pass up the opportunity offered by the Statehouse Tour Office to tour Indiana’s beautiful 1888 State House. Continue reading

Cliff Johnson Explores Indiana High School Basketball History

As a lifelong high school and college basketball fan, Cliff Johnson has made Indiana his summer destination for the past 17 years. He has spent many of those hours at the Indiana State Library. Cliff uses the State Library’s historical newspaper collection, school directories, and yearbooks to research Indiana high school basketball.

cliff at mackey arenaLiving in California, Cliff makes good use of his visits to Indiana.  He has spent many days looking deep into the glow of the microfilm readers. He also spends his time traveling to various parts of the state to interview former players and retired coaches. Continue reading

Researching 1920s Building History with the Indiana Construction Recorder

Doing history on a building completed in the 1920s?  The Indiana Construction Recorder, we have from 1920-1933, must be consulted.

The Indiana Construction Recorder (ISLI 690.5 I385C) is the trade publication of the Indiana Society of Architects and Associated Building Contractors of Indiana. It lists new building contracts awarded for large projects such as schools, apartments, etc. Not only does it show new construction contracts awarded, but also lists building permits which include residence and garages. Continue reading

Libraries, Scholarly Journals and Star Wars: A One-on-One with Justin Davis

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A One-On-One Conversation with ISL Librarian Justin Davis
By: Ryan Brown

After an extensive tour of the Indiana State Library, Indiana Division Librarian Justin Davis was gracious enough to sit down with me for a brief interview. My mind was blown by the amount of historical items located at the ISL. There were numerous books, newspapers, maps, directories, and photographs positioned throughout the multi-level building. Everywhere I turned, Justin was showing me another item from the collection. I highly recommend that all Hoosiers come and visit the ISL — you will NOT be disappointed. Continue reading

Indiana Division Digital Collections

The Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library has a number of digital collections that are online for everyone to see, and they’re only continuing to grow! You’ll find everything from atlases, maps, government documents, trade catalogs, county histories, and more. What’s nice about these online collections is that the books are sometimes fragile, and because of that, special caution has to be used before reading one. Now that they’re online through, you can leaf through the pages as much as you want without worrying about any bad tears or pages falling apart.
Tomlinson Hall Building
This photo of Tomlinson Hall appears in S.H. Knox’s 1904 book of Indianapolis Photos, which is part of the Indiana State & County Histories collection. Want to see more? Click here.

Have you ever wanted to find out where one of your ancestors lived in one of Indiana’s 92 counties? Or do you want to see how your hometown and/or current city existed in the 19th century? We have Indiana atlases online dating back all the way to the 1860’s, and they’ll show you property owners, illustrations of townships, maps of towns and cities, and more. You can view the entire collection here.
Map of Shelby County
Map of Shelby County, Indiana, from the Indiana Division Atlas and Plat Map collection.

The Indiana Division also collects and digitizes various trade catalogs that sold everything from bicycles and cars, to farm and road equipment. Looking at these materials is a great way to learn about how these industries impacted the development of Indiana in the early 20th century. You can look at everything right here.
J.D. Adams Stroud Elevating Grader
J.D. Adams & Company sold equipment that was used in the creation and maintenance of roads.

As the digital collection continues to grow, we look forward to adding even more rare and valuable items so that everyone will be able to access them through the web. Here’s another link to three of our online collections:

Indiana State library Map Collection: http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15078coll8

Indiana State Library Trade Catalog Collection: http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16066coll6

Indiana State Library State and County Histories: http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p1819coll6

We hope you enjoy looking through these as much as we enjoyed putting them online!

This blog post was written by Justin Davis, Indiana Division Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Collection Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

John Muir in Indianapolis

The famous naturalist and conservationist John Muir lived in Indianapolis for two years in the 1860’s. In fact, his time in Indianapolis clarified his life’s purpose to preserve and discover nature. After leaving the University of Wisconsin, he traveled south and eventually ended up in Indianapolis. The bustling metropolis seemed to offer him a way to make some money to fund his dream of studying animal and plant life.

Young Muir picture

He soon found a job at the Sinker-Davis Foundry in Indianapolis and began work there. One evening, he accidentally punctured his eye with an awl while working on a piece of leather. He subsequently lost sight in that eye and had to convalesce for some time. While recovering, he met with Heinrich Schliemann, the archaeologist who discovered the ruins of Troy. Schliemann was also staying in Indianapolis at the time in order to finalize his divorce. The two became friends and exchanged plans and ideas. During this time, Muir became more certain of his life’s path than ever before. As soon as he was able, he started his long trek to Florida. He wrote a book about the experience, called A Thousand Miles to the Gulf (1916). From Florida, he sailed to Cuba and eventually ended up in California.
TR and John Muir

John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt

After contracting malaria during his stay in Florida, Muir decided to go to California for the fresh, clean air that would aid him in recovery. He instead became instantly enamored of the landscape, likening it to a religious experience. He felt called to preserve and protect the flora and fauna of Yosemite Valley. Although it was in California where Muir established himself to be the “father” of conservation, he was greatly influenced by his time and experiences here in Indiana.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Collection Newspaper Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Collection Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Digitizing Indiana Atlases and Maps

The Indiana Division has a wide assortment of rare and valuable atlases in its collection, and to make them more accessible to people, we’ve taken the initiative of putting them online. This process involves finding out which atlases aren’t already digitized, and making sure the books are in good enough condition before scanning them.

After they’ve been scanned in at a high resolution, we edit the files with programs like Adobe Photoshop and then upload them online through contentDM. From there, they’re on the web for the entire world to see. You can look at them here: http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p15078coll8

A map of Johnson County, from “An Illustrated Plat Book of Shelby and Johnson Counties, Indiana (1900)”
Map of Johnson County

In addition to providing detailed maps of Indiana counties, these atlases show information on property owners, offer family histories, and provide useful facts about the time period they were published in. When you’re researching your family tree, be sure to take a look at these books because they might even show you a picture of your ancestor along with exactly where they lived!

Photographs of County Officials, as they appeared in a “Descriptive Atlas of Jackson County (1900)”
County Officials

These atlases also had maps of the United States and the entire world, so that readers could learn more about them as well. Not only that, but the world maps had interesting statistics on the power of nation’s armies and navies, their various national debts, and how much railroad and telegraph infrastructure each country had. These maps provide a marvelous portal to the history of the late 19th century.

Map of the World, from “An Illustrated Plat Book of Vanderburgh and Warrick Counties, Indiana (1899)”
Map of the World

This blog post was written by Justin Davis, Indiana Collection Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Collection Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Pictorial Maps Depict Lincoln’s Life

As April 14 approaches, we remember that 150 years ago President Abraham Lincoln was assassinated. In the Indiana Division’s Map Collection, we have an interesting illustrated map entitled, “Abraham Lincoln, a Pictorial Outline of the Life of the Sixteenth President of the United States” [Map Rm-s] ISLZ 912.77 NT65S 1865 (1934). Karl Smith was the cartographer and illustrator of this map which includes events of Lincoln’s life from 1809 through 1865. Events of April 1865 include Lincoln’s Assassination at Ford’s Theatre and the Lincoln Funeral Train. These small sections from the map are included below.

Booth - A. Lincoln pictorial outline of the life

Funeral car - A. Lincoln pictorial outline of the life

John Speed of Louisville, Kentucky provided the historical data used in this map. The Speed family of Louisville, Kentucky had a connection to Abraham Lincoln as described in the book, Louisville’s First Families : A Series of Genealogical Sketches (1920). The Speed Family biographical sketch notes, “It was to ‘Farmington’ that Abraham Lincoln came before the Civil War to visit his friend, Joshua F. Speed, the fifth son of Judge Speed. The friendship, which was one of Lincoln’s strongest attachments, was the result of a meeting in Springfield, where Joshua Speed spent seven years in his early manhood.” The sketch continues by explaining that “James Speed, born in 1812, was Attorney General in Lincoln’s cabinet….and was mustering officer for the United States army in the Civil War. All the Speeds were loyal Unionists.” An illustration of Farmington, the Speed home, is also included in the map.

Speed home Farmington - A. Lincoln pictorial outline of the life

The Indiana Map Collection [Map Rm-s] ISLZ 912.772 I34S (1934) contains another map created by Karl Smith, “An Historical and Geographical Map of the State of Indiana ‘The Hoosier State.’”

An Historical and Geographical Map of the State of Indiana

The grave of Lincoln’s older sister, Sarah Lincoln Grigsby is noted, as is the grave of his mother Nancy Hanks Lincoln. A speculative rendering of the Lincolns’ first lean-to style home is marked. A drawing of a log cabin represents what may have been several evolving residences along Little Pigeon Creek. The nearby town of Gentryville is labeled, although it was not platted until 1854, long after the Lincolns moved to Illinois in 1830. The Spencer County community was settled by James Gentry, Sr., the farmer and merchant who hired Abraham Lincoln in 1828 to transport merchandise by flatboat to New Orleans. The site of the Lincoln log cabin was known much later as Lincoln City, presently an unincorporated area.

Lincoln sites - Indiana map

Karl Smith created a number of illustrated maps including a 1953 variation of the Lincoln timeline map. Commissioned by the J. B. Speed Art Museum in Louisville, Smith created illustrated maps of several states, including Kentucky. More of Smith’s maps can be viewed on website of the David Rumsey Map Collection.  According to Smith’s memorial on Find A Grave, he was also known as the creator of the The Little Colonel Game, a board game and promotional tie-in to the 1935 movie starring Shirley Temple.

The two Karl Smith maps described in this article are among the many interesting illustrated maps we have in our Indiana Collection.

This blog post was written by Andrea Glenn, Indiana Collection Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Collection Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.