Isamu Noguchi and the Interlaken School

Modernist artist Isamu Noguchi was born Nov. 17, 1904 in Los Angeles. He was the illegitimate son of acclaimed Japanese poet Yone Noguchi and his American editor, Leonie Gilmour.

A book by Yone Noguchi from the Indiana State Library’s collection, which features his signature,
dated Aug. 15, 1910. Call number: Cage ISLM 899 H436n.

Isamu and his mother moved to Japan in 1907 where he spent most of his childhood. In 1918, Gilmour sent her son thousands of miles away to be educated, landing him in Indiana at the Interlaken School. He would later reminisce that “When I was 13 years old, my mother decided that I must go to America to continue my education. She had selected a school in Indiana that she had read about in, I think, the National Geographic. I am sure that she must also have been concerned about the unfortunate situation of children of mixed blood growing up in the Japan of those days – half in and half out. She decided that I had better become completely American, and took me to the American consul, who performed a ritual, mumbling over a Bible, which I believe was my renunciation of Japanese citizenship.”

The Interlaken School was a progressive boys’ school located near La Porte, Indiana. Founded by Edward Rumely, an Indiana native who had received an extensive education in Europe throughout the early 20th century, the school was influenced by Europe’s “New School Movement” which immersed students in a balance of both intellectual and practical life skills training. In addition to a regular academic curriculum, the boys at Interlaken were expected to do the actual work of helping to run the school, often working alongside their instructors at tasks such as farming, gardening and cleaning. Physical exertion and being outdoors were also important components of the school’s ethos.

From an informational booklet dated 1915 located in the Indiana Pamphlet Collection. Call number: ISLO 373 no. 2.

By the time Isamu arrived in Indiana, however, the United States was embroiled in World War I and the school largely had been given over to the military for use as a training camp. According to Isamu, “…while all the other children went home, I was left alone to watch soldiers, trucks, mess halls and barracks take over the grounds. I became a sort of mascot. Then there was the Armistice. Winter came, and I had no place to go, since my mother could not afford to send me elsewhere. Nobody seemed to be in charge of me.”

Eventually, Rumely took Isamu under his wing and set him up with a family in La Porte, where he attended the local public school until his graduation in 1922.

Isamu went on to have an impressive career in the arts. Primarily a sculptor and landscape architect, he is probably best known for a piece of furniture he designed in 1947 which is considered a staple of mid-century modernist design and which bears his name: The Noguchi table.

A Noguchi table. Image: lartnouveauenfrance [CC BY 2.0]

Isamu Noguchi died Dec. 30, 1988 in New York City.

Isamu Noguchi ca. 1950s. From “Noguchi” published by Bijutsu Shuppan-Sha, 1953. Call number: ISLM 735 N778n.

Direct quotations from Noguchi used in this blog are from his book “a sculptor’s world” published by Harper & Row in 1968 and available at the Indiana State Library; call number: ISLM NB237.N6 F8 1698.

Inspiration for this blog post is courtesy of the 99% Invisible podcast which recently featured an episode on Noguchi’s life titled “Play Mountain” and which briefly mentioned his time in Indiana. The podcast is available 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.”

Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason: Librarian and scholar

Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason, librarian, dean and professor of library science, was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in library science.

Gleason was born in 1909 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and received her undergraduate degree from Fisk University in 1930. Gleason furthered her education by earning a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Illinois in 1931 and a Master of Library Science  from the University of California – Berkley in 1935.

Gleason began her library career as a librarian at Fisk University. She later worked in Louisville, Kentucky as a librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, currently known as Simmons College of Kentucky. She also worked at Talladega College in Alabama.

In 1940, Gleason received her doctorate degree in library science from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation was “The Southern Negro and the Public Library.” She later published her dissertation in 1941 as a book, which the Indiana State Library is fortunate to have in its collection.

“The Southern Negro and the Public Library” by Eliza Atkins Gleason ISLM 027.6 G554

She served as the dean of the Atlanta University Library Science Program from 1941-46. After that, she worked at the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Teachers College, Woodrow Wilson Junior College, Illinois Teachers College and the Illinois Institute of Technology. She also taught library science courses at Northern Illinois University.

Gleason passed away on Dec. 15, 2009 at the age of 100.

The ALA Library History Round Table has a research award named in her honor, The Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award. This award is given every three years for the best books written about library history:

Gleason was inducted into the University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Honor in 2010. A video of the ceremony is available on YouTube.

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

Dr. E. J. Josey: A library leader

Dr. E.J. Josey was a librarian, activist, professor and the founder of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.

Born in 1924, Josey grew up in Portsmouth, Virginia. He received his undergraduate education at Howard University in Washington, D.C. He then went on to earn a master’s degree in history from Columbia University. Josey later earned his master’s in library science at the State University of New York in Albany, New York.

Josey held several librarian positions in New York, Delaware, and Georgia. He was very active in the civil rights movement and was a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He authored a resolution during the 1964 American Library Association Conference forbidding the organization’s staff and officials from participating in state library associations that discriminated against African-American librarians. This action led to the desegregation of library associations across the Southern United States. In addition, Josey became the Georgia Library Association’s first African-American member.

In 1970, Josey founded the Black Caucus of the American Librarian Association during the ALA Midwinter Conference. He was the association’s first president, serving from 1970 to 1971. He also served as president of the ALA from 1984-85. In addition, Josey was a library science professor at the University of Pittsburgh from 1986 to 1995.

Josey authored numerous articles and books during his lifetime. The Indiana State Library has several of his books in its collection:

 

In April of 1998, Josey delivered an address at the National Sankofa Council on Educating Black Children Conference in Merrillville, Indiana. You can read the text of his speech here.

On July 3, 2009, Josey passed away at the age of 85. ALA issued a statement mourning his loss.

In 2012, in honor of Josey and his work, a collection of essays, “The 21st Century Black Librarian in America: Issues and Challenges,” written by and about African-American librarians and the services they provide to the African-American community was published.

This book is also in the Indiana State Library’s collection. Members of BCALA served as editors and contributors; two of the book’s essays were authored by three Indiana librarians.

As an additional honor to Josey, BCALA offers the E.J. Josey Scholarship Award for African-American library science students. The scholarship is offered each year.

In 2020, BCALA will celebrate the 50th anniversary of its founding by Josey. It will also mark the commencement of its 11th National Conference of African-American Librarians in Tulsa, Oklahoma. To learn more about BCALA, you can visit its website.

BCALA also has affiliate chapters across the country. In Indiana, the BCALA affiliate is the Indiana Black Librarians Network. Founded in 2001, IBLN is an organization for African-American librarians and support staff to network, share ideas, work together on projects and to invest in professional development, research and scholarship to better serve the communities and organizations in which they work.

To learn more about Josey and his work, there is a video from YouTube.

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

Horne family collection

Edwin Fletcher Horne Sr. (1859-1939) was an African-American journalist who helmed the newspaper Chattanooga Justice and was politically active throughout the late 19th century. Prior to his time in Chattanooga, he resided and taught school in Indiana, living in both Evansville and Indianapolis. While in Indiana, he became a supporter of then Senator Benjamin Harrison. In 1887 he married Cora Calhoun (1865-1932), a college-educated and civically-minded woman from a prominent Atlanta family.

Faced with segregation and increasing racial violence in the South, the couple and their family eventually relocated to Brooklyn, New York where they thrived in the upper echelons of New York’s Black social elite. Cora was a distinguished community leader who was heavily involved in numerous clubs and charities. Edwin eventually finished his career as a fire inspector for the New York Fire Department.

Edwin and Cora Horne around the time of their marriage.

Together they had four children. Through their son Edwin “Teddy” Fletcher Horne Jr. (1893-1970), Edwin and Cora were the grandparents of legendary jazz singer and civil rights activist Lena Horne (1917-2010).

From inscription on back of photo: “Easter 1928, Uncle ‘Bye’ and Little Lena.”

The Indiana State Library’s Horne Family Collection (L327) contains numerous photographs of the family, newspaper clippings concerning Edwin’s career and various correspondence including a letter from Benjamin Harrison dated 1884 which indicates that Harrison was considering a run for the presidency of the United States. Harrison eventually would be elected in 1888. Also among the documents are Cora’s passport, souvenir travel mementos and letters she wrote home while on a lengthy trip to Europe in the late 1920s.

The entire collection provides extraordinary insight into a remarkable and influential African-American family.

Lena Horne on the cover of The Crisis, the official magazine of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

To view the collection or for more information, please contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.

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 Tabard Inn Library

Over the course of its long history, many book donations have come to the Indiana State Library and have been incorporated into the collection. These books often contain personal inscriptions, decorative bookplates or other ephemera from previous owners.  A first edition of the novel “The Cost,” authored by Hoosier David Graham Phillips and published by Bobbs-Merrill in 1904, bears the following handwritten note on the inside cover:

“This book traveled all over Italy, France, Switzerland, Germany, Belgium and Holland, 1913.”

It also has a colorful bookplate for something called The Tabard Inn Library. The Tabard Inn Library was a membership library founded in 1902. For a fee, people could obtain a membership which would allow them to borrow books from designated book stations throughout the country, many of which were located in public places such as stores. Members could exchange an old book for a new one by depositing five cents into the book station. The books were encased in black cardboard bearing distinctive red bands on the spines, hence the company’s motto: “With all the RED TAPE on the BOX.”

A magazine advertisement for the Tabard Inn Library program from 1905.

It is tempting to imagine the original owner of this book selecting it from dozens of other titles at a Tabard Inn book station located in a hotel lobby prior to embarking on their European adventure.

For more information on the Tabard Inn Library venture, including pictures of the book stations, visit here.

The Library of Congress has an entire special collection of books that, like ISL’s copy, were once part of the Tabard Inn program.

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.”

United States Marine Band materials

United States Marine Band, also known as “The President’s Own,” was created on July 11, 1798 through an act of the United States Congress. The band is made up of active military officers and is part of the United States Marine Corps. It is the oldest military musical ensemble in the United States and the country’s oldest musical organization of professional musicians. The band performs at various government-related events, including the presidential inauguration. In addition, the United States Marine Band has its own concert tour, giving annual performances in various cities across the nation, a tradition since 1891.

Interesting facts:

John Philip Sousa, noted composer and musician, served as leader of the United States Marine Band from 1880 until 1892.

The United States Marine Band played its first inauguration in 1801, when Thomas Jefferson became the third President of the United States.

Famous songs of the United States Marine Band included “Hail to the Chief,” “Semper Fidelis,” “Stars and Stripes Forever,” and “The Washington Post.”

The Indiana State Library is fortunate to have in its federal documents collection two of the United States Marines Band’s albums in CD format, “Arioso” and “Picture Studies.”

The following slideshow shows other United States Marines Band items in the Indiana State Library’s federal documents collection.

 

You can learn more about the United States Marine Band here and on Facebook. In addition, you can listen to performances on the band’s YouTube channel and view the United States Marine Band’s full discography here.

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

John H. Holliday Civil War pamphlets

Among the many special collections housed at the Indiana State Library is the Holliday Collection, named for its donor and prominent Indianapolis citizen, John H. Holliday.  Born in 1846, Holliday was raised and educated in Indiana and eventually founded the Indianapolis News, one of the city’s largest newspapers at the time. He briefly served with the 137th Regiment, Indiana Volunteer Infantry during the Civil War. He died in 1921 and afterward his estate donated numerous books, letters and other materials to the Indiana State Library.

The donated collection contains hundreds of pamphlets covering issues of both local and national interest. These pamphlets were loosely grouped together by topic and bound into large and unwieldy books. Recently, State Library’s Preservation Department has been hard at work painstakingly removing them from their old bindings and fixing any damage. Afterward, they are sent to the Catalog Division to ensure that they can be searched via the online catalog.

Here are some examples of recently added pamphlets covering various issues related to the American Civil War.

One of the earliest pamphlets in the collection is this tract by abolitionist Theodore Parker in which he defends John Brown’s attempt in 1859 to initiate an armed slave revolt after conducting a raid on the United States arsenal at Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

This pamphlet is a compilation of vignettes critical of the military actions of U.S. Army General George McClellan. It was written by George Wilkes, a war correspondent who was present at many battles and whose public criticism of McClellan contributed to the latter being removed from command in 1862 after the Battle of Antietam.

This leaflet describes the execution of Robert Gay, believed to be the first instance of an execution of a U.S. army soldier on the grounds of desertion. Gay, a member of the 71st Indiana Volunteers, was found guilty of defecting to the Confederacy and was executed March 27, 1863 at Camp Morton, located in Indianapolis.

To find more materials on the Civil War, please search the Indiana State Library’s online catalog.

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.”

Tarkington’s masterpiece turns 100

Booth Tarkington’s Pulitzer Prize winning novel, “The Magnificent Ambersons,” celebrates its 100th birthday this year. Originally published in 1918, the novel traces the dramatic rise and fall of a prominent American family and is set in a fictionalized version of Tarkington’s hometown of Indianapolis. Dubbed one of the 100 best novels of the 20th century by the Modern Library, the book has been in print since its debut and has gone through numerous editions by a wide variety of publishers.

The Indiana State Library owns many copies of this important literary work including several first editions. One first edition was donated by Indianapolis artist Blanche Stillson and features the following inscription from Tarkington:

“Inscribed for Miss Blanche Stillson by her across-the-street neighbor, miles north of the Amberson Mansion – Booth Tarkington, March 21, 1939”

In 1939 Tarkington was living on North Meridian in the residential district which now bears his name, the Butler-Tarkington Neighborhood. In his novel, the Amberson Mansion was located in a district called the Amberson Addition, a fictional neighborhood modeled after Woodruff Place.

The novel has inspired three films. The earliest was a 1925 silent film called “Pampered Youth.” The more famous version directed by Orson Welles was released in 1942 and garnered numerous Oscar nominations. A made-for-television miniseries appeared in 2002.

Tarkington was one of the most prolific American writers of the early 20th century and the Indiana State Library houses numerous editions of all of his works. To search our holdings, please visit our catalog.

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.”

 

Armed Services Editions @ ISL

Providing recreational and entertainment outlets for American servicemen overseas was a paramount concern during World War II. The United Services Organization (USO) is perhaps the most well-known and enduring of these endeavors, supplying troops with live shows and revues performed by major Hollywood celebrities. Less famous but equally as important was the work of The Council on Books in Wartime, an organization formed by booksellers, publishers, authors and libraries whose main focus was to supply reading materials to troops. Americans happily donated books to the cause in numerous community book drives, but most books in the 1940s were heavy large hardcovers and could not be transported easily by troops. To remedy this, the council took bestselling books and fashioned them into a paperback format dubbed Armed Services Editions, which were distributed free of charge to servicemen. These books were purposefully designed to be small and flexible enough to fit into cargo pockets. The program was incredibly successful and paved the way for the rise of paperbacks as a popular and inexpensive book format in the post-war era.

Despite being manufactured by cheap materials, many Armed Services Editions survived the war and are now highly collectible. The Library of Congress has all 1,322 titles that were produced. Here at the Indiana State Library, we have three in our collection that represent works by Indiana authors.

“Here is Your War” by Ernie Pyle. This photo shows the size difference between the original version of the book and the Armed Services Edition.

“Little Orvie” by Booth Tarkington.

“Our Hearts were Young and Gay” by Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough.

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.”

Geekspotting 2.0

The annual Indiana Library Federation (ILF) conference is right around the corner which means it’s time to check-in with Alex Sarkissian of the Allen County Public Library and Jocelyn Lewis of the Indiana State Library to see what’s going on in the ever-changing world of pop culture. Join us Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2017 at 1:15 p.m. for “Geekspotting 2.0: Building a Popular and Diverse Collection for Your Library.”

This year’s topic will focus on diversity and representation in pop culture. Diversity has been a major concept lately and the demand to include traditionally marginalized voices in comics, movies, TV and gaming has led to an explosion of material. We’ll help you sift through it all and make collection development recommendations that are sure to be a hit with your local community.

Registration for ILF 2017 is now open.

For those who can’t make it to ILF this year, we will also be offering a live webinar version of this program on Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2017 at 10 a.m. You can register for this event here.

Both presentations are LEU-eligible!

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.”