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.”

A delayed divide: Crispus Attucks High School and segregation in Indianapolis public schools

If you are familiar with Indianapolis history, you know that Crispus Attucks High School was the city’s first, and only, all-black high school. But did you know before Crispus Attucks opened, Indianapolis high schools were not formally segregated? Before the fall of 1927, when Crispus Attucks opened its doors, black high school students attended Shortridge, Washington and Arsenal Tech High Schools with white students.

A post card printed in the mid-twentieth century depicting the seven IPS high schools.

In May of 1869, the Indiana State Legislature passed a law ordering that all property should be taxed for the benefit of public school systems, without regard to the property owner’s race, and that all children, black or white, should be able to matriculate at their local public school. Still, section three of the act states “The Trustee or Trustees of each township, town or city, shall organize the colored children into separate schools, having all the rights and privileges of other schools of the township.” While this act was a huge positive step for black children, who beforehand were not guaranteed a free, public education, the law called for school segregation. In general, segregation came more naturally to elementary and middle schools, which were more numerous and served the children living closest to them. At this time, however, there was only one high school for all of the young men and women of Indianapolis. According the 1869 law, if there were not enough black students to justify separate schools, it was up to the trustees to find another means of education for these children. In 1872, although the superintendent and not a board trustee, Abraham C. Shortridge did just that.

After retiring from his position as IPS superintendent, Shortridge became the president of Purdue University, a position he held for just the 1874-1875 term. This picture appeared in the 1895 “Debris,” Purdue’s yearbook.

In a 1908 article penned by Shortridge for the Indianapolis News, the former superintendent explained how Indianapolis High School, today known as Shortridge High School, gained its first black student. In the early 1870s, there were only about six black teens looking to attend high school, so a segregated high school defied practicality. A group of local men prominent in the black community came together with a plan to file suit against Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) and force them to admit black pupils to Indianapolis High School. Shortridge had a simpler idea. He asked the men to send their brightest, high-school age child to him on the first day of the new school year. On that day, Mary Alice Rann appeared before Shortridge and asked to enroll in the high school. He took her to the principal, George P. Brown, and plainly said, “Mr. Brown, here is a girl that wishes to enter the high school,” and then went back about his day. Shortridge would wait and see if anyone protested.

Miraculously, no one did; however, that does not mean that people weren’t against the admittance of Rann. In his article, Shortridge goes on to tell the story of one such dissenter. Editor of the now-defunct Indianapolis Daily Sentinel, and member of the IPS school board, J. J. Bingham, came to the high school to confront Shortridge about admitting a black pupil. After making a derogatory remark, Bingham said, “I have a long communication in my pocket now in regard to it.” He was threatening to publish his feelings in his new paper, which would surely stir up additional protesters. Shortridge replied, “That is a good place for it; better let it stay in your pocket.” In the end, Bingham published nothing. After four years of study, Mary Alice Rann graduated from Indianapolis High School.

The part I find the most fascinating about history is how we can see facts within material culture and through archival documents. I found proof of the beginning of segregation in Indianapolis high schools on a whim. I wondered, would I be able to see segregation by looking at Shortridge High School yearbooks? Look at the images below. Notice a change? The first clump of senior photos are from the 1926-1927 term yearbook at Shortridge High School. Below that are several pages worth of senior pictures from the following term, 1927-1928. In this yearbook, you will find nothing but white faces, save one young man from the Philippines.

A collection of senior pupils at Shortridge High School, 1926-1927 term.

A collection of senior pupils at Shortridge High School, 1927-1928 term.

People often associate the decision to build Crispus Attucks High School with the Ku Klux Klan. This association is based on the fact that multiple IPS board members elected in 1925, along with Indianapolis city councilors, Governor Edward Jackson and Indianapolis Mayor John Duvall, were members of the KKK; however, it was actually the school board elected in 1921 who began the preparations for building Crispus Attucks. Sentiment for white supremacy was running rampant in the state well before 1925.

Many, if not most, in the black community in Indianapolis were against the creation of Crispus Attucks. They argued that this new school could not possibly provide the same opportunities, academically or vocationally, that the city’s three other high schools offered. Shortridge High School was considered one of the best in the nation, after all, and the majority of Indianapolis’ black high school students were enrolled there. Even with local protest and pending court cases, construction on the new school commenced. In the end, the school became one of the crown jewels of the neighborhood surrounding the Indiana Avenue corridor. It provided jobs for black teachers who were otherwise barred from teaching at white or even integrated schools. Because of the high level of competition for black teaching jobs, the teachers at Crispus Attucks were the best of the best. Many had advanced degrees and were better qualified to do their job than white teachers, and Crispus Attucks became a first rate school despite the circumstances that caused its founding.

Crispus Attucks High School, 1928. This photograph is part of the Bass Photo Co. Collection at the Indiana Historical Society.

In 1949, Indiana outlawed segregation in its schools; however, segregation continued in Indianapolis. Crispus Attucks began admitting white students in 1967, but the pupils remained more than predominantly black. In 1968, the federal government filed a complaint and took the IPS school board to court for continuing de jure (by law) segregation, while the school board argued that they were innocent and that IPS schools only suffered from de facto (by fact, or chance) segregation. In reality, there had been gerrymandering of school boundaries, which perpetuated segregation. After multiple appeals by the IPS school board, the federal court ordered that the city and IPS needed to facilitate a busing program to help reverse the years of segregation. The program bused black students living closer to the city center to township schools in more affluent, predominantly white neighborhoods. It began on a small scale in 1973 and then transitioned to a large-scale program over several years; many of the affected township schools did not begin participating in the program until 1981. White students living in the townships were never bused to predominantly black schools in the inner city. The federal court order mandating this program expired in 2016.

This blog post was written by Caitlyn Stypa, Indiana Young Readers Center assistant, Indiana State Library.

Bicentennial Commission holds final meeting at Indiana State Library

On Thursday, June 30, 2017, the Indiana Bicentennial Commission met for the final time at the Indiana State Library. The commission, which included former First Lady Karen Pence and former Lt. Governor Becky Skillman, who served as co-chair, set “the direction of the planning and funding of a strategic plan to implement a cost-effective, inclusive [and] realistic celebration of Indiana’s 2016 bicentennial.” Started under the guidance of former governor Mitch Daniels in 2012, the commission worked for five years planning and implementing the state’s bicentennial celebration.

Executive Director Perry Hammock detailed one such endeavor. The statewide Bison-tennial Public Art Project, which was sponsored by the United Way, aimed at placing five-foot-tall fiberglass bison in every county in the state. Even though a small handful of counties did not display a sponsored bison, the art project was a rousing success.

When Indiana turned 200 on Dec. 16, 2016, the Bicentennial Commission had carried out several major events and completed many major celebratory projects, such as the construction of the Bicentennial Plaza outside of the statehouse, the building of Statehouse Education Center in the Indiana State Library and the execution of the torch relay, which saw a bicentennial torch carried through all 92 of Indiana’s counties.

Even though the commission has disbanded after a very successful five years, the Indiana State Library is still seeking materials related to Indiana’s bicentennial for archival purposes. Individuals or organizations with such materials may contact Bethany Fiechter of the Rare Books & Manuscripts Division at the state library.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director at communications@library.in.gov.

Proposed Friends of the Riley Library group seeks members

My name is Dena Vincent and I’ve been the librarian at the Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health for over 14 years. I received my Masters in Library Science in 2003 from Indiana University.

The children’s library at Riley Hospital got its start in the early 20th century. At the 1923 meeting of the Indiana Library Association, currently known as the Indiana Library Federation after a 1990 merger with the Indiana Library Trustees Association, members of the association pledged their support for the children’s library at Riley Memorial Hospital, today’s Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.1

I am seeking people who would be interested in starting and running a Friends of the Riley Library group. The focus of the group will be to support volunteer efforts for the library and to raise funds for the library to purchase and pay for magazine subscriptions, collection updates, supplies and, ultimately, to help fund library staff. The overall goal would be to generate the necessary funds to create and support an endowment for the library and its programs and services. The proposed friends of the library group would work closely with me and with the Riley Children’s Foundation to augment the support currently provided.

Due to increasing costs and a reduction in reimbursements, many cuts have been made in departmental budgets in the last few years. Therefore, non-revenue producing departments, like the library, will ultimately be funded by the Riley Children’s foundation.

The Edward A. Block Family Library is a library for patients and families. The library is similar to a small public library offering books for all ages, movies, video games, music CDs, magazines, phone charging, computers and printing/faxing/copying. Other services include Riley Reading Time on CCTV, dial-a-story and volunteers reading to patients and delivering book carts to their rooms.

Patients and families are welcome to come to the library, however, 35 percent of our patients are in isolation and another 25 percent are in the NICU.2 If a parent is not there to provide some distraction then these children may not have any type of distraction other than nurses or doctors. The Cheer Guild provides toys and crafts for the children, but as you can imagine children need other resources, especially reading.

The library at Riley got its start with the help of Indiana librarians and with your continued support we can provide a library to patients and families well into the future.

If you would like to be a member of the Friends of the Riley Library, call me at (317) 944-1149 or email me.

If you would like to volunteer, you may fill out an application here.

If you would like to donate monies/materials, or learn more about the library, please visit our website.

1Spencer, Rhonda, and Dina Kellams. “In Conclusion: Highlighting the Indiana Library Association-1923 Meeting at the West Baden Springs Hotel.” Indiana Libraries 31.2 (2012) 56. Abstract. Library Occurrent 6.12 (1923): 427-28. Print.

2 Riley Hospital. Riley Hospital Daily Brief. Rep. N.p.: n.p., 2016. Print. November & December.

This blog post was written by Dena Vincent, librarian, Edward A. Block Family Library at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health.

Indiana cookbooks and gastronomical morsels

Over the years, the Indiana State Library’s Indiana Collection has come to include many unique cookbooks, usually with some sort of Hoosier connection. While browsing the closed stacks, the titles of three cookbooks caught my interest. It is useful to mention that the word “receipts” is old terminology for what we now call recipes. So if you are ever searching library catalogs, digitized newspapers or online materials for old recipes, you might want to try “receipts” as a keyword instead.

Published in 1876, “The Household Friend; A Practical Domestic Guide for Home Comfort” by Mrs. S. C. Jennings, includes cooking receipts, medical remedies and housekeeping hints. Mrs. Jennings of Lafayette, Ind. wrote that the receipts (recipes) included had been thoroughly tested by both herself and her friends. The pie crust and custard pie recipes were from Mrs. Jennings’ personal collection.

Sadly, the publisher included an obituary notice stating that the author died shortly after completing the book. Mrs. Jennings’ memorial and a photo of her tombstone appears on Find-A-Grave.

The next cookbook even uses the term “receipts” in its title. “Brides’ Favorite Receipts: Indianapolis” was published around 1909 by the Glisco Company and a complimentary copy was presented to each new bride in Marion County by Leonard Quill the County Clerk. The introduction explains that the merchants of Indianapolis took out paid advertisements in the book, with some even including coupons in the back. The state library’s copy came as a donation, and consequently, some of the coupons were used. After the recipes, other household cleaning hints are included, such as how to make ostrich plumes fluffy.

The title alone of the last book was intriguing. “The Stag Cook Book, Written for Men by Men” was compiled by Carroll Mac Sheridan in 1922. It includes favorite recipes from notable American men including Indiana author, politician and diplomat Meredith Nicholson. I wanted to find out a bit more about the book and consequently discovered The New York Herald’s Books and Magazine section on Nov. 5, 1922 carried a review of “The Stag Cook Book” entitled “Justifiable Homicide.” While the title of the review refers more to the introductory pages than to the recipes, the reader is left to question if the book is meant for humor or for serious cookery. The entire book was digitized from the New York Public Library’s copy and can be viewed on Google Books. I’ll let you decide if it’s a real cookbook or not.

While these cookbooks are much different than the slick photo-laden volumes that celebrity chefs publish today, the three are certainly noteworthy for their historical context. Anyone can virtually search and browse the Indiana Collection through the state library’s online catalog.

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

Rare Books in Indiana

We’re so lucky, Indiana. Did you know we have one of the first Indiana-printed books in our collection? Henry, William E State Librarian 1897-1906

After a little research, a fascinating story emerged about an item in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division titled, “The life of Bonaparte: late Emperor of the French, from his birth until his departure to the Island of St. Helena.” The book was discovered by William E. Henry, State Librarian (1897-1906), on a visit to Salem, Indiana in 1897. Henry knew right away it “was doubtless the first literary work published in the State.” The book was published by a small print shop called, Patrick & Booth, in 1818. If you’re from Washington County, Indiana, you’ve probably heard about the successful duo. Continue reading

Meet ISL Director of Building Operations Scott Lambert

This week I had a conversation with Indiana State Library Director of Building Operations Scott Lambert, aka ‘Building Grunt’ as he affectionately puts it.Scott_Lambert_2_web Scott has been a fixture at the library since 2005 and always provides interesting conversation. If you are not familiar with Scott, this interview will give you a chance to get to know him a little more.

RB: How did you come to work at the Indiana State Library?

SL: Well…actually, I went to school and got an Associate’s Degree in Medical Billing. I did that for about a year and hated it. I couldn’t stand it ‘cause all you do is talk to mad people all the time. So, I decided to get out of that and I started here as a secretary in the Indiana Division. That was my first position here, and I worked that for about a year. Ron Rose was the supervisor of the CSD Division.

RB: That’s circulation, right? Continue reading

10 Years of the Indiana Vision Expo

2015 marks the 10th year of the Indiana Vision Expo, sponsored by the Indiana State Library Foundation and organized by the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. Founded in 2006 by former Talking Book librarian Carole Rose, Vision Expo was designed to connect interested consumers with the resources available to support and promote independent living for individuals experiencing vision loss. The Expo has expanded from 15 vendors in its first year to over 30 in 2014. These vendors exhibit and sell a variety of products from screen-reading software and magnifiers to games and kitchen gadgets. Also participating are advocacy groups including the American Council for the Blind, the National Federation of the Blind, and the Blinded Veterans Association. Civic organizations including the Indianapolis Public Library and the Marion County Election Board provide information about services they offer to the blind and visually impaired community. Locally based Bosma Enterprises, which provides employment training and rehabilitation for the blind and visually impaired, has always had a strong presence at the Expo.

Vision Expo postcard-1

Continue reading

Indianapolis Brewing Company Digital Collection

Schmidt brewery - brew house

The Indiana State Library is proud to announce the newest digital collection available through Indiana Memory, the Indianapolis Brewing Company photograph album. The collection contains 66 photographs of the C. F. Schmidt brewing plant, one of three plants owned by the Indianapolis Brewing Company. The photographs, taken sometime in the early twentieth century, depict the exterior and interior of the brewing plant, and also includes several photographs of brewing equipment. The brewery was located at the corner of McCarty and High St. where the present day Lilly Corporate Center is located.

Schmidt brewery - 1887 Sanborn map

The original brewing plant was founded by Christian Frederick Schmidt and Charles Jaeger in 1858. The duo owned and operated the brewery until 1889, when the plant merged with two other local brewing plants to form the Indianapolis Brewing Company. The Schmidt brewery brands included a Bock, Budweiser, Cream Ale, Dublin Porter, Stock Ale, and Tonica. The brewery grew in popularity for their ability to produce a bottom-fermented lager that closer resembled European beers more familiar to Hoosiers than the strong ales made from baking yeast that was common for the period.

Schmidt brewery - oaken barrels

The Indianapolis Brewing Company, founded in 1887, was the largest Indiana based brewery. The brewery was comprised of three separate brewing plants, the P. Lieber Brewing Company City Brewery, the Casper Maus Brewery, and the C.F. Schmidt Brewing Company. The Indianapolis Brewing Company won medals for its Duesseldorfer beer at the Paris Exposition of 1900, the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904, and at Liege, Belgium in 1906. In 1918, the state of Indiana instituted Prohibition, forcing the Indianapolis Brewing Company to begin producing non-alcoholic beverages and tonics. The C.F. Schmidt plant of the Indianapolis Brewing Company ceased operations May 27, 1920, after 70 years of brewing.

Indiana Memory banner

Be sure to continually visit Indiana Memory, http://digital.library.in.gov, to find the latest digital collections published by the Indiana State Library. The Indiana State Library, through Indiana Memory, continues to produce digital collections highlighting the library’s rich and varied collections. The Indianapolis Brewing Company photograph collection is located within the Indiana State Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Division Photograph Collections, http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16066coll13. Take a minute to enjoy a unique behind the scenes view of a pre-Prohibition era brewery!

This blog post was written by Brent Abercrombie, Rare Books & 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.