Charles H. Kuhn, Hoosier cartoonist

Charles Harris “Doc” Kuhn was not a native Hoosier, but much of his career as a cartoon artist occurred during his more than 40 years of residence in Indiana. He was born in 1892 in Prairie City, Illinois and studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He worked for the Chicago Journal and the Rocky Mountain News in Denver before joining the staff at the Indianapolis News in 1922 as an editorial cartoonist. Here’s one of his first cartoons for the News:

Indianapolis News, Jan. 21, 1922. Available from Newspapers.com.

If you are an adult of a certain age, you probably remember advertisements for drawing contests like this one:

The Kokomo Tribune, Jan. 19, 1969. Available from Newspapers.com.

In 1934, the Indianapolis News offered its readers a chance to get free drawing lessons created by Kuhn. A coupon like the one below was printed each day in the newspaper. After clipping six coupons, readers could send them in to receive a chart containing two lessons. The lessons continued for 10 weeks, for a total of 20 lessons.

Indianapolis News, March 29, 1934. Available from Newspapers.com.

With cold weather and continued social distancing, this winter might be a great time to try your hand at learning to draw cartoons. The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division has digitized all twenty lessons and they available to view and download here.

Charles H. Kuhn collection (S0792), Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library.

For 25 years, Kuhn’s editorial cartoons appeared in the Indianapolis News. He was often quoted as saying that “the main thing in a cartoon is the idea. If you haven’t got a good idea, you’re just drawing a pretty picture. Political cartoonists have to read all the time and keep up with current events.”

Indianapolis News, April 19, 1947. Available from Newspapers.com.

He left the Indianapolis News in 1947 and began creating comic strips for Richardson Feature Service of Indianapolis. His drew a two-column panel called “Hoosier Life” (published as “Sparks of Life” in newspapers outside of Indiana) and it ran for a couple years.

Indianapolis Star, May 4, 1948. Available from Newspapers.com.

The Daily Oklahoman, Jan. 30, 1948. Available from Newspapers.com.

Kuhn is best known for his “Grandma” comic strip. Originally published using his middle name, Harris, he went back to signing his work as Chas. Kuhn after King Features Syndicate picked it up in 1948.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 4, 1947. Available from Newspapers.com.

The Hammond Times, Sept. 21, 1950. Available from Newspapers.com.

According to the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, his “Grandma” comic depicted the adventures of a “tomboyish, mischievous old lady who was a friend to the neighborhood boys.” His own mother was his model for Grandma, and he noted that she “was always full of pep and vigor. One time at 75 years of age, she dressed up in my old Navy uniform, danced a jig and played a piece on her French harp just to help the neighborhood kids put on a backyard show.” He also credited his wife, Lois Stevens Kuhn, with supplying many of the ideas for the comic strip.

“Grandma” was syndicated nationally until Kuhn’s retirement in 1969.  He died at his home in Florida on Jan. 16, 1989 at the age of 97.

This blog post was written by Laura Eliason, Rare Books and Manuscripts assistant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Using food as a cultural touchstone in genealogy

I have a cookbook that was my grandmother’s. The cookbook, “Food for Two,” was acquired during her engagement to my grandfather. I also have handwritten recipes from another grandmother. These items are among my most treasured family heirlooms.

I have memories of my grandmothers making gingerbread cake, johnny cakes in the pan – fried in lard, beef and homemade noodles. Saturday evenings I watched my great grandmother make communion bread for Sunday’s service.

Though my life is surrounded by living memories of sharing food and life with family, I have also wondered what my ancestors’ lives were like. What their occupations were, what their environments – the places they lived – looked like, what music they listened to and I wondered what did my ancestors eat? All the things that make a life full.

My family has no sheen of the gentry on it and some of them lived in London. My ancestors who lived in London lived near the river Thames, and the river provides. And what does it provide? Eels. Eels from the Thames river. Cooked eels, eel pies and jellied eels.

Like many Midwesterners, I have plenty of Irish heritage, too. I have wondered: What did the Irish eat?

Even though corned beef is often associated with our Irish ancestors, it was not beef they were eating – that was for the wealthy British landowners. Potatoes – also often associated with our Irish ancestors – were brought in to feed the poor, Irish tenant farmers. Of course, when the cheap food source of potatoes failed in Ireland; many Irish migrated to America.

But when families have plenty of food, they use food to show love, celebrate, tell stories and heal.

Recently, foodways were used to bring healing to the native peoples in Minneapolis during the COVID pandemic.

Family foodways can turn into family businesses and then influence and change the surrounding culture as the Chili Queens of San Antonio did.

Food can be about survival, too. Michael W. Twitty explored his family’s experience of slavery through food.

Sometimes the recipes and the food are a clue in family history, as it was for Cuban-American, Genie Milgrom.

What will your family foodways tell you about your family history?

Books about foodways in the Indiana State Library’s collection to explore:
“Dellinger family : American history and cookbook,” ISLG 929.2 D357M
“Keaton Mills family cemetery, Egeria: an era: family stories and cookbook,” ISLG 929.2 M657MA
“Weesner family favorites: a recollection of old and new recipes,” ISLG 929.2 W3983R
“The cooking gene: A Journey Through African American Culinary History in the Old South Twitty,” Michael W., available as an e-book
“Historical Indiana cookbook,” ISLI 641.5 K72H
“Farm fixin’s: food, fare & folklore from the pioneer village,” ISLI 641.5 F233
“Aspic and old lace: ten decades of cooking, fashion, and social history,” ISLI 641.5 B295
“Pennsylvania Dutch cookbook of fine old recipes: compiled from tried and tested recipes made famous and handed down by the early Dutch settlers in Pennsylvania,” ISLM TX721 .P46 1971
“Quaker cooking and quotes,” ISLI 641.5 B655q
“Cooking from quilt country: hearty recipes from Amish and Mennonite kitchens,” ISLI 641.5 A215C
“The Catholic cookbook; traditional feast and fast day recipes,” ISLM 641.5 K21C
“Consuming passions being an historic inquiry into certain English appetites,” ISLM TX645 .P84 1971
“Rappite cookbook,” ISLO 641.5 no. 29

Online Sources about foodways to explore:
Jellied Eels
What the Irish Ate Before Potatoes
Is Corned Beef Really Irish?
Medieval Cookery
The Sifter A Tool For Food History Research
Historic Cookbooks on line
Generations of Handwritten Mexican Cookbooks Are Now Online
Mexican Cookbook Collection
Recetas: Cooking in the Time of Coronavirus

This blog post is by Angi Porter, Genealogy Division librarian.

From our shelves to your computer screen, part one

“I want to find out more about the Indiana Council of Defense. What do you have in your collections?”

This is a typical reference question that we get here at the Indiana State Library. In response, we search our catalog to see what we have in our collection. We provide a list of items for patrons to browse and ultimately choose what they want to see. We then retrieve the materials for the patron to view and eventually they get re-shelved.

However, times are changing. Over the past decade, digital versions of those materials have populated the internet. Libraries, museums and historical societies of all sizes across the globe are making their collections available online. Here at the Indiana State Library, our digital collections also continue to grow.

But how? How do materials make it to our digital collections? Let’s look at how that happens by looking at the first part of the process.

Our first step is selection. Or, in other words, choosing what gets digitized. We are often looking for materials that we think patrons might use. This can be hard to determine since, like our collections, research is vast and covers a variety of topics. But, we have some guidelines that help us.

First, what happened on this date? Which historical event anniversaries or bicentennials are coming up? For example, it’s been one hundred years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment. We have recently added over 100 items to our digital collections pertaining to the Suffrage Movement.

Another example relating to anniversaries is the upcoming bicentennial of the founding of Indianapolis. We scoured our collections for materials about the centennial to see how the city celebrated. Here’s a program detailing the pageant they had a century ago:

Another aspect of selection is condition. As materials age, they become brittle, making them fragile. For example, the anniversary of World War I was the perfect time to harvest materials from our collections to scan for researchers and students in order to help them find primary sources created during the war years. Sometimes these materials are printed on cheap paper and that paper was not meant to last long.

Here’s an example of a letter. You can see that it has yellowed over the years and part of it is breaking off:

Maps are another example of materials that are hard to handle. We have a large map collection, some of which require conservation work due to their age and condition. This one is very hard to physically handle, making it a perfect map to digitize.

We also look at requests from our patrons, as well as our community. Back to our question at the top of this blog post, we have lots of materials about the Indiana Defense Council that were created during World War I. In this case, we can refer the patron to our digital collections.

Among the materials, we have a 1917 report from the Indiana State Council of Defense. This would also be a great time to revisit the physical collections to see what else we can digitize.

As for the community, IUPUI has a School of Philanthropy. There are numerous materials about local charities in our pamphlet collections. We hope that the students at the school will find those materials helpful, so we make them available in our collection for them to research. Here’s an example from our Charitable Organizations and Philanthropy digital collection:

One last point that we look at is inclusion. Indiana has 92 counties, and we want to make sure that all 92 are represented. We recently added materials from about 15 counties that had very little representation in our digital collections. Here is an example from Brown County. It’s not only about inviting people to visit Brown County, but also in very fragile condition.

Selecting materials is easy when you have a vast collection like we do at the Indiana State Library. But, it’s also hard to do with so many awesome materials to choose from!

This post was written by Christopher Marshall, digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library.

Food assistance to hungry Hoosiers

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, now is a good time to remember that some people struggle to obtain adequate food on a day-to-day basis. Throughout its history, Indiana has approached this persistent social problem with a combination of both government and private-sponsored solutions.

An early example of government-funded food assistance is demonstrated in these food coupons, issued by the State of Indiana in 1934 during the Great Depression with monetary backing from the federal government. Indigent Hoosiers who qualified could take such coupons to their local store in exchange for the food item listed. In the specimens below, the coupons were used at stores in the communities of Modoc and Carlos, both located in Randolph County. This coupon system was a precursor to the federal Food Stamp Program which began a few years later in 1939 and has lasted in various forms since then. It currently exists as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP.

From Unemployment Relief Coupons, 1934 (S1547), Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection

Private organizations have also played an integral role in feeding this state’s hungry. The Indianapolis Community Fund was founded in the 1920s under the name The Community Chest. Its goal was to raise money which would then be distributed to various private agencies involved in social work. This included agencies that provided food assistance. As with the Food Stamp Program, the Indianapolis Community Fund lasted through several iterations and is now the United Way of Central Indiana.

From Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 361 no. 27 [08] and ISLO 361 no. 252)

An example of a private charity which received financial support from the Community Fund – and one which still operates to this day – is The Wheeler Mission of Indianapolis. Founded in 1893 by a hardware salesman, the Mission has been in continuous operation since then, providing meals, shelter and other essential resources to the city’s most vulnerable people.

From For Human Needs (ca. 1923), Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 361 no. 27 [12])

As with many aspects of civic life, government and private organizations often work together to provide necessary services. This directory from 1976, issued by the Indiana Commission on the Aging and Aged, lists locations throughout the state where senior citizens could obtain a nutritious meal. Many of the entries are for privately-run charitable organizations.

From the Indiana Collection (ISLI 36263 M482 1976)

Finally, food banks also are an integral part of food assistance in Indiana and collect and distribute food and other essential goods to those in need. Most operate at a local level and may be administered through a church or other religious institution. Many need particular assistance stocking their shelves at the end of the year. The 1999 newsletter below highlights the Share Your Feast Food Drive held by Gleaners Food Bank as a special campaign to solicit food donations for the holidays.

Issue of newsletter for Gleaners Food Bank of Indiana, Indiana Collection (ISLI 363.8 G554)

More information on current food assistance programs – including a directory of food banks – can be found at the Indiana State Department of Health’s website.

For more information on the history of charitable organizations in Indianapolis, visit the Indiana State Library’s digital collection.

A brief history of charitable organizations in Indianapolis and a description of materials found in State Library’s digital collection can be found here.

From Give More Because Everybody Benefits from the 50 Red Feather Services supported by the Community Chest (1955), Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 361 no. 222)

This blog post was written by Jocelyn Lewis, Catalog Division supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Conservation of an 1852 map of Madison, Indiana

This 1852 map of the city of Madison is the earliest map of the old river city held in the Indiana State Library’s collections. The detail is brilliant, done by the careful hand of Hoosier pioneer William C. Bramwell. It seems clear that this map is the original map used for the 1854 published map of the city, which is held in Madison. Bramwell seems to have an interesting biography, although little is known about the details of his life. Credits to his name include state legislator, surveyor, preacher, inventor and spinning wheel maker. Whatever his true calling, it is clear his attention to detail and craftsmanship has left us a beautifully rich and detailed map of one of Indiana’s oldest cities.

It is not known when the Indiana State Library acquired this map, or its history before it arrived at the library. When it was found in the collection it was in an extremely deteriorated and fragile state. The map was still adhered to its original fabric backing, which had become very dirty and deteriorated. As with many maps from this period, the front had been varnished, which resulted in even more deterioration. The front of the map had also become so dirty and discolored that most of the map could not be read. Many pieces of the map had broken off and become lost, and it was difficult to determine the difference between the paper areas and the cloth. It was in such poor condition, that even unrolling it would result in pieces falling off. Finally, as with many maps from this period, there was evidence of water damage as well in the form of staining.

The goals for this project were simple. In its current state, the map was unusable. It was so dirty that it could not be read, and it was so fragile that even unrolling it would result in more pieces falling off. The goals of this project were to clean the map as much as possible to remove the old varnish, the dirt and the staining and then line the map onto a single sheet of Japanese paper to allow for it to be stable enough to handle. While the goals were simple, the execution would prove to be complicated by the enormous quantity of loose pieces that would come loose once the original fabric was removed. In order to preserve the information in the map, all the loose pieces would need to stay in their correct spots throughout the entire treatment. Finally, the map would be encapsulated in a custom polyester film sleeve to allow for more protection. The below pictures outline the conservation process.

Before treatment of top section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

Before treatment of bottom section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

In order to remove the varnish, the map was placed faced down on blotter paper a high-power suction table and sprayed with ethanol.

The ethanol would penetrate through the fabric and paper, solubilizing the varnish, and pull it into the blotter below.

This process was repeated until all the varnish was removed. The map was routinely lifted and checked during this process.

The blotter shows all the varnish removed from the map.

The map sections were washed in modified hot water on a rigid sheet of plexiglass for support.

The map was carefully lifted on the plexiglass support and tilted. Using a small brush and a Japanese mister, the entire surface of the maps was cleaned to remove all remaining varnish and dirt. Careful attention was paid to make sure all the loose pieces of the map stayed in their correct spots throughout the entire process.

This image shows the progress of the cleaning of both sections.

This image shows the progress of the cleaning of both sections.

This image shows the progress of the cleaning of both sections.

After the map sections were cleaned, the map was placed face down on polyester film and the original fabric was carefully removed making sure none of the loose pieces moved.

This image shows the map after the fabric was removed and the thousands of small pieces of the map that are now loose.

This image shows the map after the fabric was removed and the thousands of small pieces of the map that are now loose.

The map was lined onto a large sheet of Japanese paper with wheat starch paste and dried between wool felt blankets.

The map was lined onto a large sheet of Japanese paper with wheat starch paste and dried between wool felt blankets.

The map was lined onto a large sheet of Japanese paper with wheat starch paste and dried between wool felt blankets.

The top and bottom section of the map next to each other. At this point, the bottom section has already been treated and the top section had not yet been treated.

After treatment of top section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

After treatment of bottom section of City of Madison and Environs by H.G. Bramwell, city surveyor, 1852.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan encapsulating the map in a polyester film sleeve with an ultrasonic polyester welder.

Click here to read more about the conservation efforts of the Indiana State Library.

This blog post was written by Seth Irwin, conservator, and Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor, both of the Indiana State Library.

Ways to fill your shelves without draining your budget

About a month ago, the Indiana State Library hosted a webinar titled “Ways to Fill Your Shelves Without Draining Your Budget.” During the webinar, I shared a multitude of resources for librarians showing where they can obtain free books. The webinar is now archived on the Indiana State Library’s website and available for viewing at any time. In case you missed it, or if you would like to try out a few of the resources included in the webinar, here are a few highlights:

EarlyWord – The EarlyWord website is a great place to find contact information for publishing houses and their many imprints. As a librarian, you can request books early to review and/or preview for purchase. Once you find out the publisher of a book, EarlyWord is a great place to go to find out who to contact for a specific book. They have two lists: one for adult publishing contacts and one for children’s publishing contacts. Another great feature of EarlyWord is that you can sign up for librarian newsletters from the links provided and organized by publisher. Publisher’s newsletters most always have contests and giveaways for free books for librarians.

Bookish First – On Bookish First, there are a few featured books each month that you can read an excerpt from and provide a quick first impression. For each of impression you write, you get points. You are also entered to win physical copies of each book you write the first impression for as well. Then, if you review books on their website, share your review to Amazon, Goodreads, or your blog if you have one, you can receive even more points. Once you have 2,000 points, you can choose a free book to be mailed to you. It’s free to signup, and when you do, you automatically get 500 bonus points to get you started.

Early Audiobook Listening Copies – There are two places I check each month to get complimentary early audiobook listening copies, known as ALCs, specifically for librarians. These are LibroFM and the Volumes app. Both are free to sign up. With LibroFM, librarians and educators can download three free audiobooks each month from their selection, which is updated monthly. For the Volumes app, you’ll have to download the app and then signup on the link provided above. Then you can download free audiobooks each month to review. They are yours to keep after downloading.

If you would like to view the full webinar – and see even more resources for receiving free books – you can access it on our Archived Webinars page, or directly via the link shared above. Don’t hesitate to contact me via email if you have any questions regarding these resources.

Submitted by Laura Jones, Northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.

Resource sharing update recap

On Oct. 2, the Indiana State Library hosted a resource sharing update for the Indiana library community. The two-hour webinar detailed the latest resource sharing information in the state. This took the place of the annual Discovery to Delivery conference which is normally held in-person each year. This abbreviated virtual conference featured sessions from State Library staff and vendors, and was attended by public, academic, school and institutional library staff. State Librarian Jacob Speer and Nick Schenkel, director of the West Lafayette Public Library, kicked off the conference by welcoming attendees.

Sessions included:

EBSCO – Rick Rybak, Academic Regional Sales Manager, EBSCO
As of July 1, the INSPIRE virtual library has been updated to feature EBSCO databases, including an upgrade to Academic Search Complete. Rick explained some of the newer additions to EBSCO’s offerings, including eBooks and LearningExpress.

Teaching Books – Nick Glass, Founder and Executive Director
Nick introduced the group to the resources available through TeachingBooks, which is also part of INSPIRE. While TeachingBooks’ primary audience is educators and caregivers, Nick introduced the new Book Connections interface, which is intended for every reader. Resources on these sites include background information on books and authors, including complete audio and video book readings.

InfoExpress – Nicole Brock, Indiana State Library Resource Sharing Coordinator and NOW Courier Staff
Nicole gave an update on the courier service beginning with the shutdown in March to the gradual reopening this summer. Nicole passed along some best practices related to shipping. NOW Courier staff shared some insight on how their mission is aligned with the Indiana State Library’s and gave a preview of some upcoming developments, including an upgrade to a new platform which will reduce unnecessary stops.

SRCS and Indiana Share – Nicole Brock, Indiana State Library Resource Sharing Coordinator
Nicole Brock gave an update on participation in both interlibrary loan services, and a preview of upcoming SRCS enhancements. Following the presentation, Nicole also hosted an informal lunch discussion for SRCS libraries.

Project ReShare – Scott Garrison, Executive Director, Midwest Collaborative for Library Services
Scott capped off the morning by providing an update on Project ReShare, an exploratory service that has the potential to breakdown barriers between consortia and systems, putting the patron in the center and increasing access to library materials.

The recording of the workshop and presentations is posted to State Library’s Resource Sharing page.

This post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Regina Anderson Andrews, pioneering African American librarian

Regina Anderson Andrews was a librarian, author, playwright and the executive director of the Harlem Experimental Theatre.

Andrews was born on Tuesday, May 21, 1901 in Hyde Park, Illinois to Margaret Simons Anderson and William Grant Anderson. She was a 1919 graduate of Hyde Park High School, the alma mater of famous airplane pilot, Amelia Earhart.

After graduating high school, Andrews attended Wilberforce University a historically black university in Wilberforce, Ohio. While at Wilberforce, Andrews worked at the university’s Carnegie Library as a library assistant. In 1921, Andrews moved to Chicago where she worked as a junior assistant at the Chicago Public Library. Two years later, Andrews moved to New York City and was hired as a clerk at the New York Public Library’s 135th St. Branch, now known as the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. In 1926, she enrolled in the Columbia University Library School. That same year, she married William T. Andrews, a graduate of Howard University and a lawyer for the NAACP.

During her years at the New York Public Library, Andrews worked with other pioneering African American librarians such as Catherine Latimer, the New York Public Library’s first African American librarian, Sadie Peterson Delaney, a pioneer in bibliotherapy, and Arthur Schomburg, a noted bibliophile and collector of works from the African diaspora. Andrews later became the first African American librarian at the Woodstock Branch of the New York Public Library. Andrews also worked at the 115th St. Branch of the New York Public Library – now known as the Harry Belafonte 115th St. Branch – and was one of a few African American librarians to hold supervisory positions during that time, becoming head of the 115th St. Branch and the Washington Heights Branch.

In her role as a playwright and author, Andrews wrote plays such as “Underground” and “Climbing Jacob’s Ladder,” co-founded the Harlem Experimental Theatre with Dorothy Petersen in 1929 and co-edited “Chronology of African Americans in New York, 1621-1966” with Ethel Nance. In addition, Andrews was close friends with writers Zora Neal Hurston and James Weldon Johnson; poets Countee Cullen and Langston Hughes; civil rights activist and historian W.E.B. DuBois; and A’Lelia Walker, daughter of beauty entrepreneur Madame C.J. Walker.

Regina Anderson Andrews continued her work at the New York Public Library until her retirement in 1966. She died on Friday, Feb. 5, 1993 at the age of 91 in Ossining, New York.

The Indiana State Library is fortunate to have in its collection “Regina Anderson Andrews: Harlem Renaissance Librarian”, a biography on Andrews written by Dr. Ethelene Whitmire, a professor at the iSchool of the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

In addition to her book, Dr. Whitmire has a brief YouTube video about Andrews, “Harlem Renaissance Librarian: The Life of Regina Andrews.”

This blog post was written by Michele Fenton, monographs and federal documents catalog librarian.

Evaluating online resources for COVID-19 data

Resources online for COVID-19 data are already plentiful. You can do a search today and find data on the internet from all over the world, from many sources and for a variety of audiences. So, this is a good time to review the ways we evaluate sources for data and information.

There is no one perfect method for validating a data source. The usefulness of the data does not necessarily determine its reliability, nor does its timeliness or currency. When you choose a good book to read, you generally look for a good author, right? When you’re looking for good data, you need to choose a data source that has been verified by other sources.

This will ensure that the next time you search for data, you know where it’s from, what makes it a credible source, and how reliable it is.

If you do a Google search on “evaluating sources,” you can find several helpful mnemonics and acronyms that can help you remember how to search safely:

SIFT = Stop. Investigate. Find. Trace.

CRAP Test/CARP/CRAPPO/TRAAP = Currency. Relevance. Authority. Accuracy. Purpose.

CRITIC = Claim? Role of claimant? Information backing the claim? Testing? Independent verification? Conclusion?

PROVEN = Purpose. Relevance. Objectivity. Verifiability. Expertise. Newness.

Any one of these methods is useful for evaluating information sources. When it comes to data specifically, these are important questions to ask:

Where is the data from?
What was the source for this number or set of numbers? Did this come from a database that was available to you online? What organization created or collected the data? For what purpose? Was it a government information resource, a well-known national nonprofit organization or a college or university-owned research center? Was the data private or public information?

Who owns or maintains the data?
What is the name of the individual researcher or organization which conducted the survey or held the focus groups or interviews? What agency or organization published its findings with a publicized database or report? Who maintains the website you downloaded the data from?

When was the data made available compared to when it was collected?
What was the time frame for data collection? When was the database or report based on this data published? What date was the data released? When did you access the data?

How reliable is the data?
For how many years has the study been done? Can the data be verified? Can the study be reproduced? What methods were used to collect the data? Is the study peer reviewed? How are the data collection methods evaluated? How reputable are the organizations producing the data? Who else repeatedly uses this data?

Here are some examples of current, reliable sources for COVID-19 data:
The most recent COVID-19 data available for our state comes directly from the Indiana Department of Health. This is a government information source. The ISDH has been transparent in releasing current information daily throughout the pandemic. Since we get the numbers directly from the ISDH, it is our primary data source. We’re not relying on a secondary source for information.

For federal statistics on COVID-19, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention provides a COVID Data Tracker with cases and deaths by state and county.

For global statistics on COVID-19, the Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering maintains a COVID-19 dashboard that shows cases by country and world region. It includes information about data sources and technical production of the database.

Please see the Indiana State Data Center’s Coronavirus Data and Map Resources, by Geography on the Indiana State Library’s website for more data sources.

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Newly-digitized images from the Genealogy Division

Working at home during the pandemic has changed the way we approach our daily tasks. While we can’t do some things that we can do on-site from home, there are still a lot of projects that can be completed. Fortunately, I was able to upload several digitized images from multiple collections in our holdings during this time. Below are some of the images from two of the collections.

Vesper Cook grew up as Dorothy Vesper Wilkinson in Peru, Indiana. She was the curator of the Miami County Museum for 20 years and wrote some local and family histories. Her collection contains some of her research along with numerous photographs.

The photographs are of not only her immediate family, but also of her extended family as well as several her mother’s friends as teens and young adults.

Katherine Parrish was born in Indianapolis in 1921. She attended Shortridge High School and Butler University. She later married Milton Mondor. Her father was John P. Parrish, an architect who help design buildings at Stout Field along with several other buildings around Indianapolis, while her mother grew up in the area known as Nora.

The Mondor Collection has numerous family photographs, both intimate as well as staged. Most of them are of her immediate family but her parents’ extended family is also represented in the collection.

There are also photographs of John P. Parrish’s social life and his career as an architect. There are photographs of buildings around Broad Ripple and Washington Township as well as the hanger and administration building at Stout Field. He also sent many postcards home with images of the Murat Gun Club at Shiners conventions in the 1920s.

To view more digital images from the Genealogy Division check out our Digital Collections page.

Blog written by Sarah Pfundstein, genealogy librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3689 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”