Indiana’s bobbed menace

The 1920s were an exhilarating and decadent era for Americans. With one devastating World War behind them, they were ready for peace, stability and fun. Businesses boomed, people prospered and modern technologies like radio and cinema exposed individuals to ideas and sensations never before experienced. All these changes had a particularly profound effect on the nation’s young women. They began to chafe against what they perceived as old-fashioned restraints on their behavior and appearance. Beginning in 1922, they could vote. They held jobs, shortened their skirts, wore make-up, smoked, drank alcohol (despite – or because of – Prohibition) and perhaps most shocking of all, they cut their hair and made the stylishly short bob the default hairstyle for women everywhere.

There is much debate over the origin of the bobbed hair fad of the 1920s. Some attribute it to a particular Parisian barber. Others to the 1910s dancer and megastar Irene Castle who shortened her tresses in 1915 for convenience prior to undergoing surgery and a long hospital stay. Another theory attributes the popularity of short hair to the prevalence of Joan of Arc imagery used in propaganda campaigns throughout the first World War, where she was often depicted as having short hair. Whatever its origins, once it took hold among the nation’s young women, it spread rapidly and thoroughly, including here in Indiana. Of course, not everyone approved and the resulting battle over female hair length played out in various newspaper columns throughout most Indiana communities in the 1920s.

Some businesses refused to hire women with short hair, considering a bob a sign of immorality. Interestingly, in this article shorn locks – a personal decision – is given equal consideration to blonde hair, a genetic condition, although dying hair was also increasingly popular during this time period.

Indiana Daily Times, July 9, 1921.

The “loose morals” trope of the bobbed hair phenomenon was underscored by accounts such as this article which gleefully highlights the offender’s hair style in the headline.

Daily Banner (Greencastle), Oct. 27, 1931.

As the bobbed hair craze took over the country, attempts were made to discourage the trend. Articles appeared encouraging women to keep their hair long thus retaining their “crowning glory.” Some articles offered “scientific” advice on how to quickly regrow hair for those regretting their bob. Underscoring many of these articles was the notion that long hair was inherently feminine and that women who deviated from this norm were an abomination of traditional womanhood.

South Bend News Times, Feb. 22, 1922.

Other articles argued that bobbed hair was somehow more expensive to upkeep than long hair. This brief article fails to make an actual argument in support of that thesis but still manages to throw out an inflammatory accusation with the almost certainly fabricated quote “…bobbing does destroy a girl’s personality… we all look like orphan asylum inmates.”

Greenfield Herald, Sept. 20, 1924.

Bobbed hair was used as a scapegoat for more serious social ills such as the dissolution of marriages and even suicide.

Evansville Courier and Press, Oct. 11, 1923. Brown County Democrat, Aug. 24, 1922.

Despite this barrage of negative media, bobbed hair did have its proponents in popular media. Some considered the hairstyle more hygienic and practical, such as the president of the Indiana State Board of Health, although he did use this opportunity to publicly scorn makeup use.

Garret Clipper, April 10, 1924.

While some businesses completely banned bobbed hair among female employees, others allowed it, albeit with some reluctance.

South Bend News Times, Aug. 14, 1921.

Still, others pointed out that women’s appearances and fashions have been constantly changing throughout recorded human history and that short hair and short skirts were not necessarily a new fad, but a return to an older social norm.

Evansville Courier and Press, Oct. 8, 1923.

But perhaps the strongest proponents of bobbed hair were the millions of young women who gleefully sliced off their long locks. For many it was a statement of personal choice and preference, a symbol of modernity and, as with voting, a chance to be citizens on their own terms.

Pictures of unidentified Hoosier women with bobbed hair circa the 1920s. From the Indiana Picture Collection, Rare Books and Manuscript Collection.

The trend became so prevalent, that by the middle of the 1920s it was very difficult to find any young women with long hair. Indeed, one occasionally finds them in the pages of local high school yearbooks. One has to wonder, how did these girls feel about their long tresses? Were they forbidden to cut their hair by their parents? Did they simply like having long hair? Or maybe they sensed that a daring and scandalous trend is no longer daring and scandalous when absolutely everyone does it and therefore by refraining, they signify themselves as unique and rebellious?

A long-haired holdout from Kokomo High School, class of 1923 (ISLI 379 K79 1923).

The social propensity to police women’s appearances did not end with the bobbed hair fad of the 1920s. While fashion dictates throughout the rest of the 20th century caused hair to lengthen again, the bob has remained a standard for millions of women everywhere. Public outrage gradually moved away from hair length to other considerations such as the wearing of pants, bikinis, crop tops, leggings, tattoos, etc. While contemporary women have a great deal more choice when it comes to how they appear and hair length is largely considered a simple personal choice and not a brazen social statement, it is helpful to remember that these have been hard-fought battles.

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.”

Surviving the Cold War in 5 easy steps with government publications

The Cold War is a phrase used to describe global tensions in the post World War II era lasting until the official end of the Soviet Union in 1991. In overly generalized terms, these tensions pitted Western democratic countries against Eastern communist ones.

With a few significant exceptions, such as the Korean and Vietnam wars, most American military endeavors involved being perpetually prepared for engagement with the enemy. This resulted in a sprawling military bureaucracy with a large budget to publish a massive assortment of publications intended for use by personnel in the battle against communism.

Here are some examples of Air Force pamphlets published in the 1950s-60s. All direct quotes are taken from the publication being described.

Step 1: Know the enemy.

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 190-1-10

This pamphlet, the title of which is a famous quote from Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev, provides an ideological overview of communism and its economic and cultural applications in the Soviet Union and China.

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 200-2-3

In case one happens to find oneself behind enemy lines, this pamphlet provides some handy survival skills including this helpful phrase translated into Russian: “I am an American and do not speak your language. I need food, shelter and assistance. I will not harm you; I bear no malice toward your people. If you will help me, my government will reward you.”

Step 2: Be in excellent physical condition (even if you are female)!

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 50-5-2

The content of this pamphlet, originally created by the Royal Canadian Air Force, was intended exclusively for use by female military personnel under the assumption that “physical fitness does not mean bulging muscles” and that regular exercise for women “improves such desirable qualities as vitality, appearance and personality.”

Step 3: Know your equipment, know your job.

From Releasable data on USAF aerospace vehicles, p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 190-2-2

During the earlier phases of the Cold War, if you were in the Air Force and worked with bombers, you were probably working with a B-52. This plane could fly at high altitudes, get refueled while in flight and could – and usually did – fly around the globe carrying several tons of nuclear weapons.

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 34-2-2

In addition to regular military training and education, Air Force members could obtain further academic training from civilian trade schools, colleges and universities. In part, this extra training was necessary due to the high-tech aspects of the complex military equipment used during the Cold War but also served to strengthen patriotic resolve: “…today’s airmen, surrounded by conflicting ideologies and propaganda, must have sufficient education to provide them with insight, vision and self-confidence to defend the principles of American democracy in time of stress.”

Step 4: Relocate yourself  (and maybe your entire family) to a strategic location.

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 34-8-6

Even though military aircraft could travel further distances without the need to refuel, it was still preferable that American air bases be located in strategic areas with easy access to the Soviet Union and eastern Asia. While not yet an official state at the time this pamphlet was published, Alaska was an ideal place to launch bombers and keep an eye on things to the East.

Step 5: Prepare for the worst-case scenario.

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 163-1-3

For much of the Cold War, the entire planet lived under the constant unease of possible nuclear warfare. Even if someone managed to be lucky enough to survive an initial nuclear strike, the after-effects could render the area virtually uninhabitable and pollute food sources such as those provided by livestock.

p.d. 358.4 Un58afp no. 1-1-1

It is no coincidence that space exploration ramped up during the Cold War. If the geopolitical conflicts of the planet managed to render Earth uninhabitable, it was a good idea to seek out potential off-planet options for humanity.

The Indiana State Library has a fairly complete collection of United States Government Publications. More information on the collection can be found here.

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.”

‘A bill drawn by a woman:’ Mrs. Packard and rights for the insane

On the morning of June 18, 1860 an Illinois housewife named Elizabeth Packard was forcibly removed from the home she shared with her husband Theophilus Packard, a Calvinist minister, and their six children. The reason for her expulsion? Her husband was having her committed to the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, Illinois. Women had virtually no legal status in mid-19th century America and in the state of Illinois, a husband could have his wife committed to an insane asylum without showing any proof that said wife was, in fact, insane. Theophilus and his wife often quarreled over religious doctrines, with Elizabeth insisting that she had a right to her own beliefs and biblical interpretations and this, it seems, was her husband’s primary justification for having her institutionalized and removed from the lives of her children.

Photograph of Elizabeth Packard from Wikipedia.org.

Elizabeth spent three years in the asylum with very few means to advocate for herself and her sanity. While incarcerated, she met many other women in similar situations, women who had become inconvenient or were socially noncompliant and therefore needed to be locked away by husbands or other family members. Some women did suffer from various mental health issues and Elizabeth frequently witnessed their cruel treatment at the hands of hospital staff. She diligently wrote down her observations and hid her journals to keep them from being confiscated.

Image of the Illinois State Hospital in Jacksonville, from her “Modern Persecution” (1875).

In 1863, she was released from the asylum to the care of her husband who immediately sought to have her permanently recommitted to yet another institution, this time in Massachusetts. In a desperate bid for freedom and with the help of friends, Elizabeth was finally able to obtain legal assistance. After a multi-day trial, she was deemed legally sane in the state of Illinois. Unfortunately, before the verdict affirming her sanity was rendered Theophilus fled to another state with her children. Despite being found officially sane, as a woman she still had little legal recourse to regain custody of her children.

Bereft at the loss of her family, Elizabeth began to publicly advocate for changes to the treatment of those deemed insane with a particular emphasis on the rights of female patients. She published various books drawing from her personal experiences, shedding light on rampant institutional abuse and calling for major reforms. Of particular concern to her was the right of patients to freely correspond with those outside the asylum without said correspondence being censored – or discarded – by asylum officials. For those improperly imprisoned such as herself, communicating freely with someone on the outside meant that inmates could access the meager legal resources and other practical support available to them. It meant that women could no longer be locked up, never to be heard from again.

Title page from one of her books in the Indiana State Library Collection (ISLM RC439 .P16 1875).

Elizabeth also travelled the country lobbying individual state legislatures to change their laws. In 1891, she set her sights on Indiana and promoted a “Bill for the protection of the postal rights of the inmates of insane asylums.” She implored members of the Indiana legislature that such a law was needed as “a potent remedy for the evils of false imprisonment, unreasonably long detention and abuse of patients.” Senator W.C. Thompson of Marion County officially read and introduced the bill as Senate Bill 55 on Jan. 14, 1891 and it was referred to the Committee on Benevolent Institutions for further consideration.

Article from Indianapolis Journal, Jan. 16, 1891. From Hoosier State Chronicles.

Copy of the proposed bill dated Jan. 20, 1891 (ISLO 362.2 no. 61).

Caption to a pamphlet addressed to the Indiana legislature dated Feb. 3, 1891 (ISLI 362.2 no. 61). Note “Compliments of Mrs. Packard” written in pencil at the top of the page.

According to a subsequent news story titled “Mrs. Packard snubbed,” it appears that Elizabeth herself attended the Committee hearing on her bill but was completely ignored by the men in attendance:

“I have this morning met by appointment the Senate Committee on Benevolent Institutions, in room 113 of the Capitol at 7 o’clock, and was there completely gagged, not allowed to speak one word.”

She concluded her description of the event with a strong condemnation of the behavior of Indiana’s male law-makers:

“To the manliness and honor of the American legislators, I am proud to say that thus is the first uncourteous treatment I have ever received from any legislative committee in these United States. In appealing to forty-three different legislatures I have invariably been allowed a manly, patient hearing before they decide how they should report my bill.”

Indianapolis Times, Jan. 27, 1891. From Hoosier State Chronicles.

In addition to silencing Mrs. Packard, the committee caused further offense by severely altering the language of the original bill and stipulating that the only person an inmate could correspond with uncensored would be the Secretary of the Board of State Charities. Moreover, the committee further recommended to remove the phrase “to prevent sane persons being imprisoned in insane asylums” from the language of the bill. The resulting document was a failure as it continued to leave all the power with the very institutions responsible for committing the abuses Elizabeth sought to remedy.

Ultimately, Senate Bill 55 never progressed passed its second reading. Despite this failure, Elizabeth Packard’s entreaties did lay the groundwork for Hoosier legislators to begin considering similar reforms. Eventually, the General Assembly would pass progressive legislation, such as an act in 1895, which required those accused of insanity to stand for an official inquest with proper legal representation.

Elizabeth Packard was reunited with her children – but remained estranged from her husband – and financially supported them with her earnings from writing and public speaking. She died July 25, 1897.

An excellent biography of Elizabeth by Kate Moore titled “The woman they could not silence” was released in 2021 and is available to circulate from the Indiana State Library.

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.”

Sources
Indiana. “Journal of the Indiana State Senate, 57th session,” Jan. 8, 1891. (ISLI 328 I385Ljs 1891)

Indiana. “Laws of the State of Indiana, 57th regular session,” Jan. 8, 1891. (ISLI 345.1 I385 1891)

Indiana. “Laws of the State of Indiana, 59th regular session,” Jan. 10, 1895. (ISLI 345.1 I385 1895)

More, Kate. “The woman they could not silence: One woman, her incredible fight for freedom, and the men who tried to make her disappear.” Naperville, Illinois: Sourcebooks, 2021. (ISLM HN80.P23 M66 2021)

Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware. “Modern Persecution, or Insane Asylums Unveiled, as Demonstrated by the Report of the Investigating Committee of the Legislature of Illinois.” Hartford: Case, Lockwood & Brainard, 1875. (ISLM RC439 .P16 1875)

Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware. “Mrs. Packard’s argument in support of the bill for the protection of the postal rights of the inmates of insane asylums.” Indianapolis, 1891. (ISLI 329 I385 v.2, no. 12)

Packard, Elizabeth Parsons Ware. “A bill for the protection of persons confined in the insane asylums of this state in their rights to communicate by letter with their friends; and to prevent sane persons being imprisoned in insane asylums; and to punish persons violating the provisions of this act.” Indianapolis, 1891. (ISLO 362.2 no. 61)

The Booker T. Washington Grade School in Shelbyville, Indiana

For much of its early existence, Shelby County maintained a very small population of African American citizens. Prior to the Civil War, their number was less than 100. The 1851 Indiana Constitution prohibited the settlement of “Negro or Mulatto” people in the state which caused the African American population of Indiana to stagnate for over a decade. However, with the conclusion of the Civil War and the removal of the 1851 restriction, Blacks began to migrate into the state. By the early 1900s, Shelbyville was home to over 600 African Americans.1

Picture of students in front of an unidentified schoolhouse from the late 1800s. From the Indiana Picture Collection, Rare Books and Manuscript Collection.

The Indiana General Assembly mandated that separate schools be set up for Black communities in Indiana and the first such school for Shelbyville was created in 1869. By the early 1900s, this school was renamed Booker T. Washington School No. 2 and was located at the corner of Howard and Harrison streets where it served the community for several decades until it became so dilapidated it was officially condemned by the State Board of Health in 1914.

Photo of the Booker T. Washington School. From “Getting open: the unknown story of Bill Garrett and the integration of college basketball” by Tom Graham.

Despite suffering from official condemnation, the school continued to operate as both funds and perhaps the inclination to repair or replace the building were not forthcoming. The situation was so dire that a journalist for the African American newspaper the Indianapolis Recorder declared in 1930, “There is a number of citizens in our city who have stables that are palaces beside this old building.”

Indianapolis Recorder, May 10, 1930. From Hoosier State Chronicles.

In response to the situation and at the urging of the school’s principal Walter S. Fort – often affectionally called “The Professor” – plans to create an entirely new school building were put in place in October 1931. A copy of the proposed building’s specifications is held in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection at the Indiana State Library.

Cover, Booker T. Washington Grade School building collection (S3327), Rare Books and Manuscript Collection.

The specifications for this building were diligently typed up into a 78-page booklet created by the architecture firm of Henkel & Hanson from Connersville, Indiana. This plan maintained the school’s location at the corner of Harrison and Howard streets. The new school building would have a stage, a gymnasium, skylights, stone window sills made of “Indiana Oolitic limestone” and “jade green American method asbestos shingles.” The document describes a utilitarian and modern building that would have been a vast improvement over its predecessor.

Indianapolis Recorder, Dec. 26, 1931. From Hoosier State Chronicles.

While the old school enjoyed an outdoor basketball court behind the building, the inclusion of an actual gymnasium would have delighted students such as Bill Garrett, who attended Booker T. Washington in the 1930s and would later go on to have a successful basketball career first at Shelbyville High School and later at Indiana University where he became one of the first Black basketball players in what would become the Big Ten Conference.2

Unfortunately, this building was never actually constructed. No definite reasons can be discerned as to why the project got so far along in the planning process only to be abandoned, but it can be surmised that by 1932 the economic fallout from the worsening Great Depression made utilizing public money on a school intended for African American children a low priority for the city of Shelbyville. It’s also possible that Shelbyville school officials knew that complete school integration was on the horizon. By the end of the 1930s, older students were already integrated into the local high school and Booker T. Washington functioned solely as an elementary school. While the new building was never constructed there is evidence that the City eventually secured money to fix the old one through the Public Works Administration, a federal program intended to both fund building projects and provide employment to thousands of workers during the Great Depression. Instead of building an entirely new building, the PWA money was used to make some basic repairs to the already existing structure. The school remained in operation until it was closed in 1949 when all Shelbyville schools were officially integrated.

The man labeled 33 in the above picture is possibly principal Walter S. Fort, a well-loved and respected advocate for his pupils. He was instrumental in attempts at improving the school building. From “Shelbyville: a pictorial history” by Beverly Oliver.

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.”

Sources
2. Graham, Tom. “Getting open: the unknown story of Bill Garrett and the integration of college basketball.” New York:  Atria Books, 2006. (ISLI 927 G239gr)

1. McFadden, Marian. “Biography of a town: Shelbyville, Indiana, 1822-1962.” Shelbyville: Tippecanoe Press Inc., 1968. (ISLI 977.201 S544sm)

3. Oliver, Beverly. “Shelbyville: a pictorial history.” St. Louis: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., 1996. (ISLI 977.201 S544Zso)

Shelby County Historical Society. “Shelby County, Indiana: history & families.” Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1992. (ISLI 977.201 S544sc)

Indiana’s dilapidated rural bridges

On Monday, Nov. 15, 2021, President Joe Biden officially signed the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act into law. This law will inject an unprecedented $1 trillion into various public infrastructure projects throughout the country, including here in Indiana. Of principal concern is the improvement and repair of roads and bridges. In Indiana, this will include money toward the state’s numerous rural bridges.

Image ca. 1910 of the Fredricksburg Bridge, Salem, Indiana. From “Reinforced Concrete Bridges of Luten Design” (ISLO 624 no. 5).

According to a 2014 report from Purdue University, over 3,000 county bridges in the state were built prior to 1960.[1] Since that time, agriculture equipment has become larger and much heavier rendering many older bridges incapable of serving their function as an essential component in the movement of agricultural goods from farms to markets.

Image of a modern tractor on an older truss bridge. From Purdue Extension Report PPP-91 (ISLI 668.65 P894 no. 91).

Indiana bridges undergo thorough inspections on a regular basis. The Indiana State Library houses hundreds of bridge inspection reports dating back to the 1970s. These reports provide highly-detailed analysis of all aspects of a bridge’s design and construction and use rating systems to identify problem areas. Some reports include diving teams who perform underwater investigations of bridge support structures.

Image from Bridge inspection report: Boone County, Indiana, phase II, final report, 2011 (ISLI 624.2 N724bcr 2012).

Based on the findings from these reports, a troubling picture of the state of Indiana’s bridges emerges. According to the 2021 bridge profile of Indiana from the American Road and Transportation Builders Association, over 1,000 of Indiana’s bridges are deemed structurally deficient.[2] Almost 2,000 bridges have posted load limits meaning that the larger and heavier vehicles and machinery necessary for modern farming cannot cross them without risking further damage to the bridge.

Image showing Jay County bridge number 008 (left) and close-up images (right) showing heavy corrosion. From Bridge inspection report, phase II, Jay County, Indiana (ISLI 624.2 J42ba 2012).

While Indiana recently allocated millions of dollars to local bridge and road development as part of its Next Level Indiana initiative, the passage of the federal bill should add further resources thus ensuring rural communities remain able to conduct business in the 21st century.

The Indiana State Library’s extensive collection of bridge inspection reports can be searched in our online catalog.

Information on Indiana’s Bridge Inspection Office can be found here.

Access the full text of the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act here.

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.”

[1] Tian, Yu, Haddock, John, Hubbard, Sarah. (2014). Focus on the Infrastructure: Indiana’s Local Bridges. Purdue Extension Center for Rural Development EC-775-W.

[2] American Road and Transportation Builders Association. (2021). National bridge Inventory: Indiana: 2021 bridge profile.

 

Dorm life

As summer draws to a close, thousands of college students will begin their migrations to campuses throughout the state. Both Indiana University and Purdue anticipate having their largest incoming freshman classes ever with Purdue expecting over 10,000 new students and IU planning for over 9,000. Many of these students will be moving into dorms and some of those dorms have seen multiple generations of students pass under their roofs. While the basic tenants of dorm living remain the same – providing a place for students to eat, sleep and study – much has changed in dorm life over the years.

Purdue University’s Wood Hall – now part of Windsor Halls – housed female students and in the 1940s featured several unique amenities:

“Much care has been given to meeting the personal needs of the residents. The laundries are equipped with electric washers, clothes driers, stationary tubs, ironing boards and electric irons… The shampoo rooms contain convenient sprays and electric hair dryers. The sewing rooms are equipped with electric machines, cutting tables and panel mirrors for those who do their own sewing or are majoring in clothing in the School of Home Economics.”

Additionally, the dorm featured a dedicated radio room as students were not allowed radios in their own rooms.

From Residence halls for women at Purdue (ISLO 378 P985 no. 175 [1942]).

Dorms often have their own set of rules and codes of conduct and these often reflected the social norms of the time. According to a 1950s-era guide for residents of the Cary Quadrangle at Purdue – which continues to exclusively house male students – each resident had to ensure his bed was made by noon each day. Since this particular dorm featured maid service, failure to make one’s bed or to leave the room untidy would result in the maid reporting the student which could ultimately lead to disciplinary action.

Another rule from the Cary Quad guidebook set out strict dress guidelines for eating at the dining hall:

From Men’s residence halls: guide for residents (ISLO 378 P985 no. 500).

Oddly, the 1971/72 issue of Indiana University’s guidebook to dorm living contains a very specific entry on its rules for serenading which must have been a popular enough social endeavor to warrant inclusion in the guidebook:

From Your key to residence hall living (ISLO 378 Iu385 no. 212).

Students have always been encouraged to personalize the small amounts of living space allotted to them. In past eras, this often involved decorating the walls with posters and maybe having a few personal items out on display. By necessity, modern students must cram much more into their rooms. Mini refrigerators, computers, televisions and gaming systems now all compete for space.

Dorm room at Indiana State College ca. 1964. From Opportunities for you (ISLO 378 IS385 no. 38).

Dorm scenes at Indiana University, early 1970s. From Your key to residence hall living (ISLO 378 Iu385 no. 212).

Dorm room at Valparaiso University, ca. 2004. From The Beacon (ISLI 378 V211be 2003/04).

One aspect of dorm life which hasn’t changed much over the years is the tradition commonly called Move-In Day where hundreds of students haul all their personal belongings to their new home. Often chaotic, sometimes emotional, and usually requiring the extra hands of parents and other family members, Move-In Day marks the official beginning of the school year for many students.

Move-In Day at Ball State University, ca. 1980. From The Orient (ISLI 378 B187o 1981).

The Indiana State Library contains an extensive collection of materials such as yearbooks, course catalogs, promotional materials and other publications related to the many colleges and universities in the state.

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.”

Bicycle catalogs from the Indiana State Library’s Trade Catalog Collection

Spring has arrived! With warmer temperatures and longer days, many Hoosiers will be flocking to various retailers to purchase bicycles so they can enjoy time outdoors. Modern bicycles are usually designed and manufactured in faraway places, but in the late 19th and early 20th centuries many bicycle companies operated here in Indiana.

The Indiana State Library has several lavishly illustrated catalogs from many of these companies as part of our Trade Catalog Collection. The collection includes catalogs from H.T. Conde Implement Co., Marble Cycle Mfg., Damascus, Acme, Central Cycle Manufacturing Co., Swan, Indiana Bicycle Company, Ariel and the Progress Manufacturing Company.

The Indiana State Library’s Trade Catalog Collection is a large collection of trade and advertising catalogs and literature – ranging from the 1880s to present – from various Indiana businesses and companies. The catalogs include topics such as bicycles, automobiles, furniture, decorative arts, glass and agricultural equipment.

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.”

The polio vaccine in Indiana

As hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers begin to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is worth remembering that many of them have gone through a rapid mass vaccination program before. When many of today’s senior citizens were children, poliomyelitis – more commonly known as polio – emerged as one of the most dreaded childhood diseases on the planet. While most who contracted the virus survived it, polio could have serious and long-term effects on the central nervous system and could also lead to muscle paralysis.

Much like COVID-19, treatment for polio patients focused on respiratory assistance. Instead of being intubated with modern respirators, children with polio often found themselves in a long, formidable cylindrical tube known as an iron lung which would assist with their breathing.

Image and instructions on operating an iron lung from “Recommendations on nursing procedures and techniques in hospitals treating poliomyelitis cases of the Indiana Polio Planning Committee” (Indiana Collection, ISLO 610.73 no. 32).

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, outbreaks of polio across the United States caused widespread panic. Schools were temporarily shuttered, public swimming pools closed and other activities for children were cancelled as parents desperately tried to prevent their children from contracting the disease. The country was desperate for a vaccine.

Headline from the Indianapolis Star, Sept. 15, 1952.

Herald (Jasper County), Sept. 18, 1952. From newspaperarchive.com.

Jonas Salk first developed his polio vaccine in 1952. Mass testing began in 1954 and on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared successful and ready to be distributed to the general public, a medical feat which made the front page of many Indiana newspapers.

The Kokomo Tribune, April 12, 1955. From newspaperarchive.com.

Then as now, public health officials had to decide how to prioritize vaccine distribution. Children under 10 years of age, particularly those in grades 1-4, were considered most vulnerable to contracting the disease and were therefore scheduled to receive the vaccine first. And like the current iterations of the COVID-19 vaccine, multiple shots were needed to achieve full immunity.

Advertisement from the Rushville Republican, Jan. 20, 1956. From newspapers.com.

Once the vaccine was deemed effective, manufacturing went into overdrive. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly was one of a handful of U.S. pharmaceutical companies to produce the vaccine. In 1955, Lilly produced over half of the vials used in the United States during the initial vaccination push.

Article describing vaccine manufacturing at Eli Lilly (Indiana Collection ISLO 614.473 no. 4).

Beginning soon after the public proclamation of the vaccine’s effectiveness in 1955, Hoosier school children quickly lined up at county hospitals, health clinics, or – in many cases – their school gymnasiums to receive their first shot.

The Brook Reporter, April 28, 1955. From newspapers.com.

Thanks to the vaccine and the mass mobilization of public health officials, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies, parents and children, polio was dramatically reduced in the United States by 1961 and is no longer considered the threatening childhood disease it once was.

Many of the children who lined up in their school gymnasiums in the 1950s are now in their seventies and are considered most vulnerable to the debilitating effects of COVID-19. They once again find themselves near the head of the line for a brand-new vaccine created to stop a dire public health pandemic. Instead of standing in literal lines at their local school, they must now navigate a virtual line to sign up for an appointment at a local health facility. As of this writing, nearly a million Hoosiers have received the vaccine.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Indiana, click here.

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.”

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.”

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.