Indiana announces 2022 Great Reads from Great Places selections

The Indiana Center for the Book and Indiana Humanities have announced two book selections for the annual Great Reads from Great Places program of the United States Library of Congress.

In 2022, the Indiana Great Reads selections will be “Zorrie” by Laird Hunt and “You Should See Me in a Crown” by Leah Johnson.

Every year, a list of books representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival. Each book is selected by a local Center for the Book. In 2022, the Library of Congress suggested states pick two books: one for young readers and one for adults. Books may be written by authors from the state, take place in the state, or celebrate the state’s culture and heritage.

Hunt’s “Zorrie,” a 2021 finalist for the National Book Award in Fiction, tells the story of one Hoosier woman’s “life convulsed and transformed by the events of the 20th century.” Taking place in Clinton County, the novel is a poignant study in rural Midwestern life and an exploration of the passage of time through individuals and communities. A professor at Brown University, Hunt is an Indiana native, having grown up in Michigantown and graduated from Indiana University Bloomington.

Johnson’s “You Should See Me in a Crown,” a 2020 release named by TIME magazine as one of the best 100 young adult books of all time, tells the story of a queer Indiana teenager’s senior year of high school and her pursuits to get into an elite college by winning the school’s prom queen contest as well as capture the attention of the new girl in school. Johnson grew up in Indianapolis and is a graduate of Ben Davis High School and Indiana University Bloomington.

“Picking books to represent Indiana at the National Book Festival is such a joy,” said Suzanne Walker of the Indiana State Library. “This year’s selections are so strong, and I’m delighted to shine a national light on these two worthy authors.”

The 2022 Great Reads from Great Places in books will be highlighted at the 2022 National Book Festival, which will be in person for the first time in several years and will take place on Saturday, Sept. 3, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington D.C. This year’s theme is “Books Bring Us Together.”

For more information about the National Book Festival, Library of Congress and Great Reads from Great Places program, visit here.

This post was submitted by Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book, and Marisol Gouveia, director of engagement at Indiana Humanities.

Indiana Union of Literary Clubs

The Indiana Union of Literary Clubs was started after the Indianapolis Woman’s Club was established at the Indianapolis Propylaeum. The Propylaeum, founded in 1888, was the central meeting place for many different women’s clubs in Indianapolis. At that time, there were already several different women’s literary clubs in Indianapolis alone. Although a rare men’s club is listed in the 1905 “Manual for the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs” (ISLO 374.2 NO. 7), the Union mostly consisted of women’s literary groups.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were the height of popularity for literary clubs. By 1894, there were 175 organizations in the Union of Literary Clubs around the state of Indiana, according to “Literary Clubs of Indiana” (ISLI 810.6 M 153) by Martha Nicholson McKay. Of these, there were roughly five times as many women’s clubs than men’s clubs. Of the twenty men’s clubs, half were existing organized college literary societies (McKay, p 33).

The popularity of literary clubs among women seemed to point to a growing sense of intellectual curiosity. This could have been due to women seeking to improve so that “when the day of larger social and political freedoms dawns, they will be prepared for the new duties the wider field may disclose” (McKay, p.33). The boom in literary clubs also coincided with the suffragist movement in the United States.

To organize the numerous literary clubs around the state in the early 1890s, the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs became the first state organization of clubs. In 1892, the third convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs was held in Lafayette.

Here is the cover of the Bulletin from the 1892 convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs from the Indiana Pamphlet Collection (Ip 374.2 no. 49.)

“The Bulletin,” (Ip 374.2 no. 49), a publication from the convention, provides a transcript of the inaugural address, “The Value of An Intellectual Life” by Miss Elizabeth Nicholson of the College Corner Club of Indianapolis. She indicated that there was a need for women to have intellectual pursuits in addition to their roles as homemakers. A common criticism of women’s clubs during that time period was that they took too much time and energy away from home and family responsibilities. Miss Mercia Hoagland, a representative of the Fort Wayne Women’s Reading Club responds to this type of criticism (Convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs 1892 : Lafayette, p 3):

Other speeches and discussions at the convention included, “The Moral Power of the Novel” and “Woman as a Factor in the World’s Progress.” “The Bulletin” also recounted news from literary clubs around the state.

At the end of “The Bulletin,” there is a transcript of a discussion as to whether the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs should take an exhibit to the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago the following year. It was brought up that if they did take an exhibit, it would need to represent all the various literary clubs around the state.

Ultimately, the Union did take an exhibit to the Columbian Exposition. The Indiana State Library has the item, “Exhibit of Work at Columbian Exposition,” in the Indiana oversize collection ([q] ISLI 374.2 I385E). These pages are examples of how each club contributed a program or leaflet that represented them.

This is the page representing the Ladies’ Literary Society from Brazil, Indiana. All participating clubs had a two-page entry in the book.

In 1906, the Indiana Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs were consolidated and were renamed the Indiana State Federation of Clubs so that they could apply to become a chapter of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Some of these literary clubs still exist today. For example, the Fortnightly Literary Club, established in 1885 is still active in Indianapolis. Hopefully, the love of knowledge, books and the pursuit of intellectual curiosity will never fade.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division Librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian” Ask-A-Librarian.

Bibliography
“Convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs 1892 : Lafayette, I.” (1892). The bulletin: a collection of addresses, papers and discussions of the third convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs, held at Lafayette, May 18, 19 and 20, 1892. In M. E. Hoagland (Ed.). 1, p. 18. Lafayette: Indiana : Indiana Union of Literary Clubs, 1892. (Ip 374.2 no. 49)

“Indiana union of literary clubs – Reciprocity bureau.” (1905). Manual. unknown: unknown(ISLO 374.2 NO. 7).

McKay, M. N.-1. (1894). “Literary clubs of Indiana.” Indianapolis, Ind. United States: Indianapolis : Bowen-Merrill Co., 1894. (ISLI 810.6 M153).

The Indianapolis Fortnightly Literary Club. (May 11, 2022). Retrieved from https://fortnightly.org/

Indiana Union of Literary Clubs. Exhibit of work at Columbian exposition. [Place of publication not  identified], [publisher not identified], [date of publication not identified] ([q] ISLI 374.2 I385E).

Automobile Camps for “tin can tourists” in Indiana

With automobiles becoming more accessible to Americans in the 1920s, Hoosiers – like many Americans – hit the road for tourism, travel and vacationing like never before. However, there was a lack of places for automobile tourists to stay overnight. Car travelers would pull over and “camp” along the roadside. Firepits, camp cooking trash and other evidence of camp were left behind. These automobile adventurers were sometimes referred to as “tin-can tourists.” I can’t determine if that references the cars they were driving or the trash they left behind.  

Indiana tourist camp map, 1922.

Indiana Director of Conservation, Richard Lieber, advocated for federal funding so states could develop safe places for motorists to stay along the road. In 1922, the Indiana Department of Conservation, still led by Lieber, published a map showing automobile camps across the state. You can view the map online in the Indiana State Library’s Open Space Historic Places digital collection. 

Riverside/Taggart Park, in Indianapolis, is listed as one of these urban automobile camps. The entrance was at 18th Street. It had only a few amenities but was in a beautiful and accessible corner of the park. This Hoosier Motor Club map from the 1920s shows the camp and proximity to main routes. View the full map here in the Indiana State Library’s Map Collection. 

A wonderful May 13, 1922 Indianapolis Star newspaper profile of that camp mentions that there were 15-18 cars a day using the camp that year; and those visitors came from across the United States. At the time of the article, there were campers from Nebraska and Florida.

There are 30 other automobile camp sites listed on the Indiana map. Some were run by local municipalities, local chambers of commerce and some were state parks. There’s also a plea not to destroy wildflowers, most likely written by the staff of the Indiana Department of Conservation.  

The countryside had not seen many tourists prior to the automobile. City dwellers could now explore the pristine countryside. The back of the map includes a Manual for Automobile Tourists written by AAA, which includes tips for selecting a campsite, when a campground for motor tourists isn’t available. “Towards evening select a suitable spot that appeals, near a farmhouse, where usually may be procured fresh milk and eggs and probably a loaf of homemade bread or a jar of home-preserved fruits.” 

It was an opportunity to show hostility or hospitality. Dr. Morrison, of Clinton County, urged hospitality. He wrote to the Indianapolis Star, “forty-seven miles north of Indianapolis there is a church yard of about one acre that contains 85 shade trees. At the approach from both ways you will see the following signs: ‘Tourists Welcome, drive in.’ Tourists from most all parts of the United States and Canada have accepted the invitation of welcome.” He continued in his letter to the editor, “let us all do what we can to help Mr. Lieber in bringing about the roadside camp for the tourists all over the grand old state of Indiana…” 

The map and articles about the development of the autocamps are fascinating. They sit in an idyllic sweet spot of the automobile era – seemingly full of optimism, freedom, comradery and adventure. Happy trails and cheers to that! 

The Denver Public Library has some photographs of what the autocamps looked like. This photo shows the City Park motor camp in Denver. This one shows the Overland Park motor camp, also in Denver. Find more images online through the Digital Public Library of America 

This post was written by Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor.

‘Graphic Arts and the Reading Experience’ with Nate Powell

The Indiana Center for the Book at the Indiana State Library and the Arkansas Center for the Book at the Arkansas State Library are partnering to present a program featuring Nate Powell on the theme “The Graphic Arts and the Reading Experience.”

  • Date: Feb. 17, 7:30 p.m. Eastern Time/6:30 p.m. Central Time
  • Location: Zoom
  • Cost: Free of charge

Participants must register online. Registered participants will be sent a Zoom link upon registration. The program will also be livestreamed on ASL’s YouTube page.

About Nate Powell
Nate Powell is the first cartoonist ever to win the National Book Award. He is from Little Rock, Arkansas and lives in Bloomington, Indiana. Powell’s work has also received a Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, three Eisner Awards, two Ignatz Awards, four YALSA Great Graphic Novels for Teens selections and two Los Angeles Times Book Prize finalist selections.

This program will focus on the use of comics/graphical arts to communicate as a mass medium as well as how a graphic writer envisions, creates and curates the reading experience. Teens as well as adults will enjoy hearing from Nate.

This blog post was submitted by Indiana Young Readers Center librarian Suzanne Walker.

Indiana State Prison trade goods

Indiana’s first state prison opened on Jan. 9, 1821, in Jeffersonville, taking in inmates regardless of age, sex, offense or sentence. In 1847, a new prison was built in nearby Clarksville as well as one in Michigan City. Inmates were divided between the two and they became known as the Indiana State Prison South and the Indiana State Prison North.

By 1897, due to the belief that young males should not be housed with older males, they were divided by age between the southern and northern locations. The Indiana State Prison South became home to inmates between the ages 16 to 30 and was renamed the Indiana Reformatory.

On Feb. 6, 1918, during the night, a fire damaged most of the buildings at Indiana State Prison South. After this, the Governor’s Commission decided to build a new a more centrally located prison in Indiana. A site near Pendleton was selected since the Fall Creek provided a source of running water. The construction commenced in 1922 and opened in late 1923.

As part of the early 20th century prison acts, the offenders at the Indiana State Prison South were taught trades and manufactured various goods for state institutions and agencies across the state. This is the trades building at Pendleton.

In the Indiana State Library’s digital collections, you can explore examples of the printed catalogues. We have ones from 1905-10, 1915, 1925 and 1938.

The catalogs show what was manufactured by the inmates in these trade schools at the Indiana Reformatory in Jeffersonville and Pendleton. They include cooking utensils, clothing, shoes, brooms and furniture. Here are some example pages. The first from the 1905-10 catalog and the second from the 1915 catalog.

In the 1925, wicker furniture was added and probably made available to the various state park inns which were built during this time.

By 1938, old hickory-style furniture appeared, probably also used at the state park inns. Other additions included licenses and tags, soaps and cleaners, brooms of all kinds and bricks.

The Indiana State Agency Documents Digital Collection has publications from various state agencies, including departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, councils and committees that carry out various functions of the Executive Branch of Indiana state government. The Indiana State Library has state publications that span from the 19th century to present. To help preserve the older materials, digitized copies are being made available so the collection will continue to grow, not just in this collection, but also throughout our digital collections.

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

Indiana Letters About Literature writing contest submissions now open

The Indiana Letters About Literature writing contest is now open! Students in grades four through 12 are invited to write a letter to an author, living or deceased, whose one work has made a difference in how the student sees themselves or the world. Indiana students can write about works of literature including fiction, nonfiction, short stories, poems, essays or speeches – including TED Talks.

Last year over 800 letters were submitted to the contest. Students wrote about lots of books including “Wonder” by R. J. Palacio, “Out of My Mind” by Sharon Draper, “Harry Potter” by J. K. Rowling, and, as students were reflecting upon current events, books about viruses including “The Girl Who Owned a City” by O. T. Nelson and “Five Feet Apart” by Rachael Lippincott. Students were not shy about tackling heavy topics in their letters including the COVID-19 pandemic, racism and immigration. Letters are not actually delivered to the authors, but for the past nine years about 100 letters have been selected for inclusion in an annual anthology. That will continue this year.

First, second and third place winners are selected from amongst the top 100 letters in three levels: grades 4-6, grades 7-8 and grades 9-12. In addition, a special award is given to the top letter written to an Indiana author.

The top letters from the 2020-21 contest are as follows:

Noelle Carey, McCutchanville, was the first-place winner from Level One. She wrote a letter to Kelly Yang, author of the bestselling novel for children, “Front Desk.” This is a selection from her letter:

“Mia Tang and her family went to America to have a better life, but when they arrived it wasn’t anything like what they expected. Her family worked for very little money and willingly did so to hopefully get the ‘American Dream.’ They worked for a boss that repeatedly made them feel meaningless and replaceable. This brings to light another imbalance in our communities. People of color are sometimes forced to take any job available, and sometimes for very little pay, to survive. Immigrant families like Mia’s look for a fresh start but sometimes don’t get what they imagined. Our world needs to be better, know better, and do better.”

Melani Martinez Blanco, Jasper, was the first-place winner from Level Two. She wrote a letter to Alan Gratz, author of the novel, “Refugee.” This is a selection from her letter:

“I was an immigrant, a foreigner to a country where I had no idea of the language or its system. I was made fun of constantly when I didn’t know certain words or phrases, but then I started to get the hang of it. I am now fourteen years old, and I cannot imagine never having come to this country that I and many immigrants call home. Isabel and her journey were the first time I didn’t feel alone in a long time. We would discuss this in class and many students would listen to my family’s journey and how I felt personally connected to Isabel and her many obstacles. Alan Gratz, I want to personally thank you for having this character whose story made me feel stronger and more connected to my roots and the way I came to be the person that I am today.”

Badreddine Bouzeraa, Wheeler, was the first-place winner from Level Three. He wrote a letter to George M. Johnson, author of the memoir, “All Boys Aren’t Blue.” This is a selection from his letter:

“In the first act of ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue,’ your unique storytelling of struggling to find a way to express yourself allowed me to realize that many LGBTQ+ members struggle with the same ordeal. Many are taught that there are only two genders and one sexuality. However, there are a plethora of unique orientations. On page 23 of ‘All Boys Aren’t Blue,’ you state, ‘However, I was old enough to know that I would find safety only in the arms of suppression – hiding my true self – because let’s face it, kids can be cruel.’ Millions in the non-heterosexual orientation continue to suppress themselves, and I beg to question, why must we?”

Jack Egan, Michigan City, won the Indiana Author Letter Prize for the top letter written to an Indiana author. He wrote a letter to Ernie Pyle, war correspondent and author of the article, “The Death of Captain Waskow.” This is a selection from his letter:

As in your day, today we are also combating difficult times due to a pandemic called COVID-19. By describing Captain Waskow’s life and sacrifice so beautifully, you also brought to life all the other men and women who died for the freedom we enjoy today. I am not so sure that the society in which I live today is as willing to sacrifice for others as your generation was so willing to do in your time. Unfortunately, today our society is not even willing to wear a mask to protect others from COVID-19, let alone be willing to be placed on the front lines of a war to protect their freedoms.”

The deadline to enter the 2021-22 contest is Jan. 10, 2022. Details, entry forms and official rules for the contest can be found on the Letters About Literature website.

Get your students excited to enter the contest by sharing this video with them:

This blog post was submitted by Indiana Young Readers Center librarian Suzanne Walker.

A map of the Wabash and Erie Canal from the Ohio state line to Terre Haute

In its collections, the Indiana State Library has a map of the Wabash and Erie Canal from the Ohio state line to Terre Haute. The library’s copy of this map is a reproduction made in the 1920s from the original map held at the Library of Congress. The map shows the route of the Wabash and Erie Canal from the Ohio state line to Terre Haute. The base map is compiled from surveys done by the Federal Government in the early 1800s.

The canal ran through the wilderness of a largely unsettled part of Indiana. The canal period was crucial to the development and colonization of Indiana, especially to remote parts of the state north of Indianapolis. Ultimately, the Wabash and Erie Canal would connect Lake Erie to the Ohio River in Evansville.

We realize the map is not beautiful, but take a moment to examine the digitized map closely. The canal period coincides with Indian removal in the state. Clearly mapped are the reserve lands set aside for the Miami during the removal of Indians from the state – Jean Baptiste de Richardville, Little Turtle, Godfroy. Most of the reserve lands shown on these maps can be found in the treaty made at St. Mary’s with the Miami, Oct. 6, 1818 and a treaty signed at the Mississinewa in 1826.

By 1840, all this granted land was recollected, and tribes moved west.

Learn more about the Wabash and Erie Canal from the Indiana Historical Bureau’s “The Indiana Historian: Canal Mania in Indiana.” Especially interesting is an account of early travel along the canal recorded in J. Richard Beste’s published travel book, “The Wabash; or, Adventures of an English gentleman’s family in the interior of America” (London, Hurst and Blackett, Publishers, 1855). They take off from Terre Haute on Aug. 12, 1851. Available in full text from the Library of Congress, beginning on page 191 of Volume 2.

Click here to view a hi-res version of the map of the Wabash and Erie Canal from the Ohio state line to Terre Haute, and visit the Indiana State Library Map Collection to examine maps, county atlases, plats maps and other land descriptions.

This post was written by Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor.

This woman’s work

It is easy to forget that women’s rights and suffrage efforts in the U.S. began much earlier than most of us realize. One such intrepid pioneer for women’s rights was the indomitable May Wright Sewall. Although born in Wisconsin, she and her husband moved to Indiana in the early 1870s. She was well-known around the state for being a proponent for equal and better-quality education for women. She later established the Indianapolis Classical School for Girls, which became a prestigious preparatory school.

May Wright Sewall, standing at the left end, and a group of women at Mount Vernon in Virginia. from the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections.

Sewall believed women should have lives outside the home that included educational and cultural opportunities. She was a founder and first president of the Indiana Woman’s Club, which was founded in 1888. Sewall was instrumental in establishing the Indianapolis Propylaeum, which was a house built specifically for the cultural and educational edification of women’s clubs, including the Indiana Woman’s Club. A patron of the arts throughout her life, she was an officer in the Art Association in Indianapolis and was instrumental in helping establish the John Herron School of Art. Sewall was also a nationally known suffragist, and from 1899-1904, she was president of the International Council of Women.

In 1881, Sewall started writing a bi-weekly column in the early iteration of the Indianapolis Times. The column’s title was Woman’s Work. In the first article, which ran on Oct. 29, 1881, she states the reasons for the existence of the column and her goals in creating it. She notes that often, women’s names were not mentioned in newspapers or indeed in public unless they were the subject of a scandal or had died. She hoped that through her column, she could bring the importance of women’s “invisible” work in and outside the home to the forefront of the public’s attention.

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division newspaper librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at 317-232-3670 or via  “Ask-A-Librarian.

Post road map of Indiana, 1904

Two regular questions that come across the reference desk can be answered using post office resources. The first common question is about a place name. The researcher may have a reference to a place, but that “place” is not a city or town. We often discover it’s a post office name. The Indiana State Library has a card file of post offices in Indiana. The card contains details including date the post office opened and when it may have been discontinued. These post office cards were used in making the handy reference book “From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History” (Baker, 1995). Perhaps your library has this book.

The other request is to locate a modern address when all they know is the rural route, which is often the only detail a county farm directory would have listed. This is much more difficult to answer. There are a couple maps we can use to help find the mail route, but not the exact home. We have two sets of Post Office department maps by county, we have a set from about 1910 and another set from about 1940. The State Library has made the set from 1910 available online here. Additionally, a 1904 statewide post route map of Indiana is available online here.

The 1904 post route map is nice because one can get a larger picture of the mail system than the county maps offer. The map shows post offices, mail routes and frequency of service. According to this map, most post offices and rural routes were getting mail up to six times a week; however, some little hamlets got mail only three times a week. Mail routes were added from year to year. Using a searchable newspaper database, one may be able to find detailed route descriptions. Take for example the Salem Democrat in 1903. They published the postmasters’ detailed reporting of how many houses are on the route, how many people are served and the length of the route. Here is an example of how Rural Route 11 out of Pekin is described.

Visit the USPS website for more history about rural routes. The development of the postal system is interesting and gives context to rural life and road improvements. Rural mail delivery was thought to help keep young people on the farm since they could receive reading materials and catalogs, perhaps diminishing the appeal of town.  Additionally, rural postal routes are credited with road development throughout the nation. This article from the Fort Wayne News makes sure to lay the blame for lack of mail service on the road supervisor. Once the roads are improved, mail service will resume.

Finally, for the adventurous researcher, National Archives holds the records from the Post Office Department. Among the records are correspondence, reports and supporting documents regarding proposed rural route establishments and changes, filed by state and county. These unique tools will offer researchers geographic information for years to come.

This post was written by Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor.

Introducing the born-digital Indiana state documents collection

Archive-It is a web archiving service that the Indiana State Library first started using in the spring of 2020 to collect online publications from Indiana state agencies. Archive-It is built at the Internet Archive, the digital library that is also the home of the Wayback Machine, where old websites are saved. For organizations that wish to save selective online content and create curated collections, Archive-It provides the tools necessary to capture, store and access.

The Indiana State Library collects printed publications from state agencies, but until recently we did not have a good solution for capturing and preserving online versions. Working from a priority list of Indiana state agencies and their web pages with known born-digital publications, we created the separate collections. Then test crawls were done to see if the Archive-It web crawler captured the desired content and linked documents. Test crawls are an opportunity to make sure the web page will play back correctly in the Wayback archive and that the amount of data collected stays within our subscription’s allocation.

Once the Indiana State Library Archive-It collections hold content, metadata is added for specific web pages, continuing publications or specific reports. For example, in December 2020, the Final Report of the Next Level Teacher Compensation Commission was issued online. A copy of this born-digital report resides in the collection Governor, Indiana. The screenshots below show the steps to access the report at the Wayback archive.

Click the “Captured 2 times” link

Click one of the date links

Access the full PDF of the report

For our new online state documents collection, we’ve been able to capture many state agency web pages and their linked publications. This is a continual work-in-progress as content is regularly captured through new crawls of the web pages. As this collection grows, we hope that these reports, brochures, newsletters, maps, fact sheets and online content will complement our historical collections of printed Indiana state documents.

This blog post was written by Indiana Division librarian and state documents coordinator Andrea Glenn. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at 317-232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”