Two World War I stories: Newly digitized collections from World War I and the Hoosier Experience

With the World War I centennial upon us, library staff have been hard at work digitizing the collections of Hoosier heroes of all walks of life from wartime. While we are taking the time to highlight collections of those who served both at home and abroad, here are two new additions from the past few months: S0091 Joe Rand Beckett Collection and L359 Franklin Newton Taylor Collection.

A 1912 advertisement for Franklin N. Taylor as a voice teacher at the Metropolitan School of Music.

Both men were from Indianapolis, though Taylor was originally born in Danville, Ind. Taylor was a singer and, as part of the Y.M.C.A., traveled France entertaining the troops mostly throughout the Bordeaux region. Aside from his war work, he served as music director at the Central Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, choir director at Irvington Methodist Episcopal Church and was a voice instructor at Metropolitan School of Music (later Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music at Butler University) from 1908 until 1949. His collection includes a plethora of personal correspondence and newspaper clippings, as well as Y.M.C.A. and World War I travel ephemera and interesting personal effects that he collected.

Seashells collected by Franklin Taylor in La Rochelle, France while overseas with the Y.M.C.A., dated Jan. 30, 1919.

Beckett was an Indianapolis architect, lawyer, philanthropist, member of the Indiana Senate and captain of the 326th Field Artillery, Battery D during World War I. Shortly before the war, he had passed the bar and formed the law firm, Beckett and Beckett, with his father. At the beginning of his service, Beckett’s rank was first lieutenant and rose to captain in August 1918. The battery sailed from New York to Scotland the following month, arriving in France at the end of September only a few weeks out from Armistice. His senatorial career took place during 1929 and 1931; afterwards he became known for pioneering low-income housing in Indianapolis, specifically Lockefield Gardens. His collection contains several photographs, correspondence during and after the war and military papers, including the roster and movements of 326th F.A., Battery D.

A photograph of Joe Rand Beckett (right) in uniform in 1918; location unknown.

This postcard was sent to Captain Joe Rand Beckett’s wife, Mary Ann Beckett, to notify her that he had arrived safely overseas; ca. September 1918.

 

Sources:

“Joe Rand Beckett.” Indiana Legislator Database. Accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

Barrow, Robert G. “The Local Origins of New Deal Housing Project The Case of Lockefield Gardens in Indianapolis.” Indiana Magazine of History 103, no. 2 (2007): 125-151, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

This blog post was written by Lauren Patton, Rare Books and Manuscripts librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Marie Stuart Edwards: Suffragist and social reformer

Indiana engendered more than one leader of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. The most recognized of these Hoosier suffragists today are probably May Wright Sewall and Ida Husted Harper. Marie Stuart Edwards of Peru, Ind. was among the next generation of activists to take up the cause.

Marie Stuart Edward, circa 1910s. (SP021)

In many ways, Edwards was typical of women’s suffragists from Indiana. Born on Sept. 11, 1880, she was one of two children in an upper middle-class family from Lafayette, Ind. Edwards received a first-class education, having graduated from Smith College in 1901 and had a supportive husband, Richard E. Edwards (1880-1969), who she married in 1904.

Over six feet in height with brown hair and eyes, Edwards was described as “a woman of brilliant, buoyant personality” in the Carroll County Citizen-Times. Not one for idle hands, Edwards oversaw designing and decorating for her husband’s business, the Peru Chair Company, while raising her only child, Richard Arthur (1909-1984), and taking an interest in social reform.

Marie Stuart Edward and her son, Richard Arthur, 1912. (SP021)

Alongside her contemporaries Grace Julian Clark and Luella McWhirter, Edwards belonged to various women’s clubs and desired the right to vote so she might effect social change. Also, like many Hoosier suffragists, Edwards lent her support to the mainstream suffrage movement, carefully keeping away from the more radical factions, such as Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party.

Map of states where women could vote in 1914. From NAWSA pamphlet (S3355).

In 1917, Edwards was elected president of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana, an organization associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). That same year, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Maston-McKinley Partial Suffrage Act, granting Hoosier women the right to vote in municipal, school and special elections.

Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana leaflet before repeal of partial suffrage law, 1917. (S3355)

Between 30,000 and 40,000 women registered to vote in Indianapolis alone within a few months. However, Indiana suffragists soon suffered a bitter disappointment. On October 26, 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional.

The court’s decision shocked Edwards, but she declared that Indiana women would continue to fight for equal enfranchisement. She was right. Although the women of the state seemed shaken by the setback, they soon recovered, gaining confidence as momentum for a national suffrage amendment mounted.

Cartoon from NAWSA leaflet promoting pro-suffrage parades in Chicago and St. Louis, 1916. (S3355)

While managing her husband’s chair factory during his war service, Edwards also served as the Franchise League’s president until 1919, when she became more heavily involved with NAWSA working for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as it was then called, was ratified on August 18, 1920. It stated, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Carrie Chapman Catt and Marie Stuart Edwards on either side of the next U.S. president, Warren G. Harding, Social Justice Day, October 1, 1920, Marion, Ohio. (SP021)

In February of 1920, months before the amendment’s passage, Edwards helped found the League of Women Voters, in preparation for helping women exercise their new rights as voting citizens. A non-partisan organization, approximately 2 million women joined the League by 1921. Edwards served as the first treasurer of the National League of Women Voters and then as the organization’s first vice president until 1923. As part of her duties as treasurer and manager of the national speakers bureau for the League, she traveled widely across the United States.

Marie Stuart Edwards (front row, middle) volunteering with the Red Cross during World War II. (SP021)

In Indiana, Edwards remained heavily invested in civic responsibility. She was the first woman to sit on the Peru Board of Education and in 1922, Governor Warren T. McCray appointed her to the Indiana State Board of Education. Later, Edwards led the local Works Progress Administration board in Miami County during the Great Depression. In 1937, she served as vice president of the Indiana Board of Public Welfare, as well as chairman of the drafting committee for the Indiana Civil Service bill. Edwards was also a member of Miami County Board of Public Welfare (late 1940s-1955) and served on state women’s prison parole board during the 1950s. She died in Peru, Indiana on November 17, 1970.

Sources:
Wilson, Mindwell Crampton. “Thoughts in Passing.” Carroll County Citizen-Times, November 17, 1917, 3.

Dice, Nellie Waggoner. “Forum: The Readers Corner.” Indianapolis Star, July 16, 1977, 63.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Indiana.” In History of Woman Suffrage, 1900-1920, vol. 6. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922.

Kalvaitis, Jennifer M. “Indianapolis Women Working for the Right to Vote: The Forgotten Drama of 1917.” MA thesis, Indiana University, 2013.

Images from the Mary Smiley Small Photograph Collection (SP021) and Women’s Suffrage Movement Collection (S3355), Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library. These items are available online in Women in Hoosier History collection in the ISL Digital Collections.

This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian.

Florence J. Martin, Indiana native and World War I chief nurse

Florence J. Martin (1876-1963) was born in Jeffersonville, Ind. and lived in Indianapolis for most of her life. On April 4, 1917, at the very beginning of U.S. involvement in World War I, she was appointed chief nurse of Base Hospital 32. Base Hospital 32 was largely funded through contribution from Eli Lilly & Company.

Offer letter from the Indiana State Medical Association director John H. Oliver to Florence Martin for the position of Chief Nurse of Base Hospital 32.

Photo of Florence Martin taken in New York in 1917.

In December of 1917, Miss Martin and the nurses of Base Hospital 32 sailed on the U.S.S. George Washington across the Atlantic and began their journey to Contréxeville, France. Throughout the war, Base Hospital 32 cared for patients from over 30 countries and faced injuries from gas attacks, Spanish Influenza epidemics and overcrowding, among other wounds from wartime. For her service, which lasted the duration of the war, Miss Martin received the French Medal of Honor on March 18, 1919.

List of nurses bound for Base Hospital 32 aboard U.S.S. George Washington and their room assignments on board.

Postcard of Contrexeville, France.

Her scrapbook (V334) at the Indiana State Library in the Rare Books & Manuscripts Division, includes letters, photographs, postcards, news clippings, official orders and memoranda from 1917 to 1919 chronicling her experiences as a nurse during World War I.

Florence Martin’s Medal of Honor from France.

Sources used: Benjamin D. Hitz, A History of Base Hospital 32, (Indianapolis, IN: Edward Kahle Post No. 42 American Legion, 1922)

This blog post was written by Lauren Patton, Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

The Indiana/Virginia land dispute

The Cornelius Harnett and William Sharpe letter (S0593) was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Guy Morrison Walker on June 2, 1919.

The letter was sent to North Carolina Governor Richard Caswell by Harnett and Sharpe while they served in the Continental Congress during the United States Revolutionary War. Dated November 4, 1779, Harnett and Sharpe relay information about a petition presented to Congress by the Indiana Land Company regarding land claims. There had been a dispute between shareholders of the Indiana Land Company and Virginia as to who had the legal right to sell land located along the Ohio River. The Indiana Land Company’s petition asserted Congress had jurisdiction over the land but Virginia claimed it had jurisdiction and North Carolina supported Virginia’s claim. For more information about the controversy, visit the Indiana Historical Bureau’s “The Naming of Indiana” page.

This historical document is in the process of being digitized and transcribed and will be available via the Indiana State Library Digital Collections page.

To read more about proposed borders in early Virginia region history, including Vandalia, visit the West Virginia Division of Culture and History’s website.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts Supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

Vintage Valentine’s Day cards

Love it or hate it, today is Valentine’s Day. Here are three images of a Valentine’s Day pop-up card from the 1910s -1920s, courtesy of the Indiana State Library’s Rare Books and Manuscripts collection. The recipient, Hazel Whiteleather, married Indiana artist Floyd Hopper. Hazel worked at the Indiana State Library for 44 years before retiring in 1975.

You can find many more Valentine’s Day cards within the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

State library staff meet Governor Holcomb

On Tuesday, Jan. 10, 2017, staff from the Indiana State Library met Indiana’s 51st Governor, Eric Holcomb. After learning he was an American Civil War buff, Associate Director of Public Services Connie Bruder, Rare Books and Manuscripts Supervisor Bethany Fiechter and Rare Books and Manuscripts Program Coordinator Laura Eliason presented a Civil War carte de visite album commissioned by Governor Oliver P. Morton.

Bethany Fiechter shows Governor Holcomb a Civil War carte de visite album commissioned by Governor Oliver P. Morton.

The Governor Oliver P. Morton Civil War Soldiers Photograph Collection (P001) includes three carte de visite albums to perpetuate the remembrance of Indiana regiment officers. The portraits are arranged alphabetically by last name with notations indicating the name, rank, regiment and, if applicable, place of death.

L to R: Bethany Fiechter, Governor Holcomb, Laura Eliason and Connie Bruder.

For more information about Governor Oliver P. Morton, view our finding aid here. Interested in more Civil War photographs? The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division has made available over 80 photographs here.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

New exhibit! Decorating your home

Are you aware of the Indiana State Library’s massive collection of rare books, state and federal documents, Indiana history and genealogical material? There’s truly something for everyone – and for me, it’s an assortment of interior design, “how-to” books and advertisements and building samples, spanning from 1920-1960.

Our latest Rare Books and Manuscripts exhibit features a standard edition of the Munsell Book of Color created by the Munsell Color Firm in 1929. The Munsell color system was created by Professor Albert H. Munsell and is based on three color dimensions: hue, value (lightness) and chroma (color purity). The color of any surface can be identified by comparing it to the chips under proper viewing conditions.

ISL – [Cage] ISLM 752 M969m – Cage General Books

A Dictionary of Colours for Interior Decoration will also be on display. Developed by the British Colour Council in 1949, this volume was published to provide clarity and standardization of design work, specifically application to carpets, curtains and upholstery fabric, and in the making of paint or other materials used in decorating. The guide includes 378 colors displayed on three surfaces, including matte, gloss and fabric.

ISL – [Cage] ISLM 535.6 B862D – Cage General Books

Interested in Indiana furniture design during the 1960s? Several Tell City Chair Company catalogs are available to view. The catalogs were designed to aid the homemaker who desired a “comfortable and attractive living space.” They include a comprehensive review of Tell City’s furniture styles, the basic principles of decoration and tips on the care of furniture.

Paired with the Tell City Chair Company catalogs is one of our favorite volumes within the rare book collection titled “The American woods: exhibited by actual specimens and with copious explanatory text.” Each volume contains a booklet of descriptive text and at least 75 wood samples mounted in an estimated 25 plates. The featured specimen includes a transverse section, a radial section and a tangential section with Latin, English, German, French and Spanish names for maple wood.

ISL – [Cage] ISLM 634.9 H8384 – Cage General Serials

Maple wood was featured in many styles of the Tell City Chair Company, including the Young Republic Group and the Hard Rock Maple. Many of the furniture pieces are highly valued among collectors due to their fine craftsmanship and quality.

If you’re curious about building repair or home decoration supplies during the early 1920s-1950s, we have you covered! Booklets from the Louisville Wall Paper Company, Sherwin-Williams Company, Indiana Farm Bureau, Co-operative Association, Inc., Alabastine Company and the United States Rubber Company are on display, too.

ISL – John M. Smith collection (L596) – Rare Books and Manuscripts

The Rare Books and Manuscripts reading room is located on the second floor of the Indiana State Library. The interior design exhibit will be on display until the end of March.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.

A Brief History of the United States passport

Pictured is an example of an early U.S. passport, found in the Hasselman-Blood family papers (MSS L385). The first United States passports were issued during the American Revolution. Early American passports were modeled after the French passports at the time and looked much like this example from 1873. This style was used from 1789 until 1900. This passport is slightly larger than 11 x 17 inches. On the left side, it gives a physical description of the bearer including age, height, and facial features. There is a passport number, but no explicit expiration date given. This particular passport was issued to Watson J. Hasselman of Indianapolis. This passport also boasts a large State Department watermark. 

Although the State Department issued passports beginning in 1789, states and cities were also able to issue passports to citizens until 1856. Passports not issued by the State Department, however, were not often recognized by other nations. During this period, the United States did not require a passport to enter or exit the country, but that changed at the start of U.S. involvement in World War II. Passports were not standardized until after World War I. The booklet layout that people recognize today was introduced in 1926. 

Averbach, Scott, “The History of the US Passport,” Passport Info Guide, September 13, 2014, Accessed October 12, 2016, http://passportinfoguide.com/the-history-of-the-us-passport/.

Woodward, Richard B., “Book Review: The Passport in America,” The New York Times, September 22, 2010, Accessed October 12, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/26/travel/26armchair.html?_r=0.

 

 

Collection Highlight: 1930s Indiana State Fair Broadsides

As we recover from the crush and hubbub of this year’s Indiana State Fair (not to mention snarfing all those elephant ears and fried pickles), take a gander at a few gems from the fairs of the early 1930s in the Indiana State Library’s broadside collection.

The 1930 and 1931 Indiana State Fair broadsides (sheets of paper printed on one side, often mass-produced for wide dissemination, such as posters) were simple but vibrant, using only two colors in addition to black and very little text. The subjects, a rooster and a farmer with his scythe, demonstrate the original intent behind state fairs as primarily agricultural exhibitions.

But like the fairs nowadays, those of the early 20th century featured many of the traditional entertainment staples we have today: Ferris wheels, cotton candy, and contests. The fairs of old just did it on a smaller scale. (Those in the 1930s only lasted about a week. Inconceivable!) Here are two broadsides from 1931 and 1932, respectively, announcing specific activities at the fair—the horse show and racing.

Better Babies

The last broadside is from the Better Baby Contest at the 1930 state fair. While friendly competition is a longstanding tradition at all fairs, the Better Baby Contest at the Indiana State Fair, and others across the nation, represented something altogether more sinister. Between 1920 and 1932, white mothers entered their babies and toddlers in the contest, where the children were weighed, measured, and judged for mental and physical health using baby growth charts (which were later criticized as oversimplified and inaccurate). Those children rated the best were awarded ribbons and prizes, rather like livestock and baked goods. Although on the surface, the contest encouraged parents to take maternal health and early childhood development more seriously, in reality, the competition was fraught with the pseudo-science, racism, and ideology of the eugenics movement.

Now that I’ve thoroughly depressed you, let’s think back on all the fun we’ve had at the state fair over the past 17 days. This year’s highlights included:

  • Riding the Tilt-A-Whirl to the point of nausea and (hopefully) no further;
  • Cheering on 4-H barrel riders;
  • Gawking at the World’s Largest Male Hog;
  • Cooing over the fluffy rabbits and baby chicks;
  • Inhaling a delicious sundae from Hook’s Drug Store;
  • Gazing at glowing hot-air balloons sailing the night sky;
  • Learning something new about Indiana history on the Indiana Bicentennial Train; and
  • Bidding farewell to the fair— until next year!

All these broadsides and more are publicly available online. This collection and many others continue to grow, so be sure to check back from time to time to see the newest additions to the ISL Digital Collections, found at http://digitalcollections.library.in.gov.

This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm.