From our shelves to your computer screen, part one

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newly-digitized images from the Genealogy Division

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Return to the Future: Your 2020 Census’

It seems like years have passed since we starting preparing for the 2020 census at libraries across the state! Since then, the nation has experienced many ups and downs. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 census has continued to make headlines. In March, the Census Bureau had delayed field operations for the census until a new schedule was finalized. Data collection for the 2020 census is final on Sept.30, so now is the time to encourage the public to complete it if they haven’t already done so. Patrons can go online, call 844-330-2020 or mail back the form they received in the mail in order to complete the census. For patrons who speak languages other than English, see the responding by phone section on the census page. Census workers are now going door-to-door across the nation, making phone calls and sending email to those who haven’t responded. The goal is to get every single person counted by the deadline.

Because libraries have not been open, we’ve experienced a gap in our ability to promote the 2020 census. As we return to serving the public, libraries that are open by appointment can welcome patrons to answer the census at their library. Libraries not yet open can still create displays, offer handouts during curbside service and hang signs to encourage patrons to answer the 2020 census now. Libraries remain an essential part of the effort to notify the public that there is only one month left to finish this momentous task! We still have at least 20% of Hoosiers to count in September. Hoosiers depend on this once-in-a-decade count to shape the future of our legislative representation, public services and fiscal planning for all Indiana neighborhoods. The people won’t be counted one-by-one again until 2030.

For the past two years, 2020 census supporters have used creative strategies for reminding the public to answer the census. In Circle Pines, Minnesota, a city councilman dressed up as Census Man to bring attention to the importance of the 2020 census for apportionment. Not to be topped, the Chicago mayor announced last month that the Census Cowboy would arrive on horseback to help out in neighborhoods with low counts. It’s here that people will most need the public services funded using census counts. Here in Indiana, people can use our Race for a Complete Count graphics to view the progress of different areas of the state. If response rates aren’t measuring up in your part of Indiana, it’s not too late to make a difference. Our goal is to remind people as much as possible during this last month. Our Census in Indiana website is full of ideas and resources.

The new 2020 census deadline, while extended due to COVID-19, is still very tight. We need to amplify our message even louder for communities with low counts. We’ll share additional tools and tips on Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. in our webinar, “Return to the Future: Your 2020 Census.” Register for the webinar here. You can help census response in your community by requesting a partnership specialist from the Census Bureau to set up a mobile questionnaire assistance event. Census workers will set up socially-distanced tables for online response to the census on site. Contact the Indiana State Data Center for details.

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

Wander Indiana – Let your wanderin’ spirit come on thru

The Wander Indiana tourism campaign debuted in January of 1982 with a shoestring budget of $384,000. That year, Lt. Gov. John Mutz and the Tourism Development Division of the Indiana Department of Commerce unveiled the stylized “Wander Indiana” logo. Also released was The Wander Book, an informational guide for travelers looking for mini-vacation ideas around the Hoosier State. The guide included a form to order Wander Ware branded merchandise and souvenirs such as caps, t-shirts, coffee mugs, glasses, Fun Flyer discs and luggage.

Wander Book, 1982 edition.

Wander Wear, 1982.

In search of a theme song, the Tourism Development Division turned to the Ernie Maresca song “The Wanderer.” However, they were unable to acquire the licensing rights. Subsequently, the need for a theme led to a July 1982 call-out to songwriters for an original song. With no prize money at stake, the winner – out of 81 entries – was announced in September. Earmark, a musical production company in Indianapolis, won the contest and the bragging rights with their song based on the “Wander Indiana” campaign. With a brand new jingle, radio promotions became possible.

As the campaign rolled on, merchandise continued to be a popular means of promotion. In March of 1983, state Sen. William Dunbar introduced House Bill 1751 (P.L. 22-1983), which created a Tourism Marketing Fund. There was a desire for the Tourism Development Division to “buy Indiana” produced items, citing as an example, that the souvenir mugs were made in England. Additional items were available for purchase according to the 1986 Wander Book.

Wander Wear, 1986.

While the “Wander Indiana” campaign initially aimed to promote in-state tourism with its billboards, brochures, merchandise and a tourism hotline, the 1984 marketing phase featured television ads broadcast in Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Kentucky. A driverless classic car mysteriously rolls along Indiana’s backroads and highways. The 1950 Studebaker Champion, dubbed “Wanderer,” was the star in the television ads. There were 30 and 60 second versions of the commercial. The 1982 theme song had been modified, but similarities remained. The below video clip was transferred from VHS to DVD and posted on Indiana State Library’s YouTube channel. It shows a snippet of the television ad campaign.

Wander Book, 1986 edition.

The 1984, the “Wander Indiana” campaign also reached motorists by way of new license plates. In a pre-specialty plate era, with few license plate choices, the slogan “Wander Indiana” on everyone’s bumpers evoked many opinions. Critics did not like the red, yellow, green and white colors. The word Wander at the top was prominent while Indiana was less noticeable at the bottom. Detractors wondered if there was a state called “Wander.” After its three-year run was concluded, the “Wander Indiana” license plate was retired and replaced in January of 1987 with “Back Home Again.”

While the Bureau of Motor Vehicles was done with “Wander Indiana,” the Tourism Development Division continued the marketing campaign for two more years. Incrementally, Indiana raised its national and world reputation by hosting the 1987 Pan American Games and 1988 U.S. Olympic trials. The red Studebaker Champ made its rounds to special events such as Hoosier Celebration ’88. With the change of administrations in 1989, “Come on IN” replaced the “Wander Indiana” campaign. Overall the seven-year run of “Wander Indiana” was deemed a successful marketing campaign, and it laid the groundwork for subsequent tourism promotion efforts with even more funding. Quirky or nostalgic, “Wander Indiana” has its place in Hoosier history.

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

River city maps

Town maps can certainly be beautifully done, but they are at the mercy of the grid of streets to give them visual interest. Throw in a variable, like a winding river, and they become ever more interesting. The way the water meets the land and how a town is forced to bend along the banks adds lines and color to the maps. Where waterways meet cities the grid breaks down and leaves behind some visually rich maps.

Sometimes the river makes the city, both in development and in character. Indiana’s most famous river city is probably historic Madison, along the mighty Ohio River. Kentucky is usually omitted from maps, making it look like the town is situated at the edge of a cliff. The river is impossible to ignore there.

Likewise, Huntington was built up along a river. The Wabash, Little Wabash and the canals; waterways were ever important to its development. The maps are beautiful in the way the angled streets disorient the buildings. Especially lovely with the illustrations is this detailed map from 1879.

Other times, the city seems to develop while almost ignoring the river. Columbus seems to just dip a toe into the East Fork of the White River. Indianapolis, too, seems to be shying away from the White River and looking inward toward the circle center. Both of these towns have had interesting relationships with their rivers, but now Columbus Riverfront and Indianapolis are looking for ways to embrace their beautiful waterways.

It seems Logansport’s not afraid to straddle and nestle within the arms of the Wabash and Eel rivers. And Elkhart, too, appears not to have shied away from the St. Joseph and Elkhart Rivers. The river seems to be coming and going, swirling and whirling on the page.

If you enjoyed looking at these maps, take time to explore some of the great digital map collections available online. Don’t we all need something for our minds to linger on right now?

David Rumsey Historical Map Collection
American Geographical Society Library
Osher Map Library
New York Public Library

This post was written by Indiana Collection Supervisor Monique Howell

Suffrage materials in the Indiana Digital Collections

“We are convinced that the time has arrived when the welfare of the nation would be most effectually conserved by conferring upon women the privilege of voting and holding political office.” – Ida Husted Harper from “Suffrage – A Right”

In conjunction with the 100-year anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, the Indiana Division has digitized many of our materials about the suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

You can find materials in the “Women in Hoosier History Digital Collection,” one of many collections at the library. Once there, you can click on “Women’s Suffrage” under “Browse these suggested topics.” The collection can be found here. Below is a sampling of some of the collection.

One of the earliest items is a pamphlet from 1888 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. It includes an article written by Susan B. Anthony.

The collection also includes two pamphlets by Ida Husted Harper. One pamphlet is about suffrage, in general, from 1906 and other about the international suffrage movement from 1907. Born in 1851, and raised in Indiana, Harper was a nationally-know writer, lecturer and suffragist. Her works include a three-volume biography of suffrage leader, Susan B. Anthony, and part of a six-volume “History of Woman Suffrage.” She also served as secretary of the Indiana chapter of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

Organized in 1911, The Women’s Franchise League of Indiana began when the Indianapolis Franchise Society and Legislative Council of Indiana Women merged together. The League was associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was the prominent suffrage group in the state. Their membership was 1,205 across the state. Their constitutions, programs and directories provide information about the league and its members.

The Leagues’ publication, The Hoosier Suffragist, was “a monthly newspaper published in the interest of the woman suffrage cause in Indiana.” First published on Aug. 22, 1917, it provided information about the activities and people involved in the movement across the state.

The Women’s Franchise League of Indiana remained the prominent suffrage group until 1920, when it became the Indiana League of Women Voters, which remains in existence today. Their first congress was held April 6-8 in 1920 at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis. You can find their first program in the collection.

These are just some examples of what one may find in the “Women in Hoosier History Digital Collection.” Explore the collection to see what you can find.

For additional information:
Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial
League of Women Voters of Indiana

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

The Samara House in West Lafayette, Indiana

There are several buildings designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the state of Indiana. Possibly the best known example of a private home design is the John E. Christian home, called Samara, in West Lafayette, completed in 1956. Samara is named for the winged seeds that come from pine cones. I found a book about the Wright-designed Samara in the Indiana State Library’s Indiana Division collection titled “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara Winged Seeds of Indiana” by Wallace J. Rogers (ISLI 720 R731f). The forward to the book is written by John E. Christian, PhD, the home owner who worked with Wright in designing and building Samara. Christian was a professor at Purdue University, and for that reason wanted the house to be built in West Lafayette near the Purdue campus. He intended to hold gatherings of students and professors there, as well as live there with his family.

After John, his wife Kay and daughter Linda visited Taliesin, Wright’s summer home and studio, Kay decided that she wanted Wright to design a home especially for their family’s needs. However, they could not afford a house at that time. Luckily for John and Kay Christian, once Wright found out that they had more than an acre of property on which to build a house, he agreed to design their home.

Wright had begun advertising his Usonian home plans that began at $5,000. Samara was meant to be one of Wright’s Usonian designs, during the post-World War II era.  Usonian design was an idea Wright had for functional but stylish homes for middle-class customers. Several entire communities around the country were designed around the Usonian ideal.

Working with Wright was not for the faint of heart. Wright reportedly had a difficult personality and liked to dictate what types of furniture, down to the lampshades, should be included in the homes he designed. In the Rogers book, there is a glossary of furniture designed especially for Samara in the back of the book. John and Kay Christian were committed to following Wright’s directives as far as décor.

In Roger’s book, the details of the designing and building process, along with pictures of the plans and furniture are abundant. Unfortunately, though the cover is in full color, the pictures in the book are all in black and white. Samara has a website which indicates that it is in the process of being updated. However, the photographs of the house are spectacular. The furniture is colorful and also looks useful as well as comfortable. There are soaring windows and intricate woodwork for which Wright’s designs are famous. Samara is open for tours during parts of the year, even though it is a private residence.  The website indicates that the house is open for tours April through November, although by appointment.

If you are interested in other Wright-designed structures in Indiana, you may want to look at “Frank Lloyd Wright and Colleagues: Indiana Works.” The picture above is a program from the event organized by Barbara Stodola that was held July through September in 1999. The exhibition was held at the John G. Blank Center for the Arts in Michigan City.

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.

Do a browse! It’s fun and everyone is doing it!

Here at the Indiana State Library – and at many public libraries across the state – we make commercial newspaper databases available for research. The great thing about these databases is that they are keyword searchable. Need to find Uncle Ned’s obit? Done. Need to find articles about the 1960 election? Done. Want to pull up everything the Indy Star has ran on elephants? Done. Research has been revolutionized. I support it 100%.

However, one thing these databases take away is the joy of browsing. Will students know the stumbling dumb fun of coming across something they weren’t even looking for?

If you enjoy the hunt, we have two resources here that keep the browse tradition alive: the clippings files and the Indianapolis Newspaper Index.

The Indianapolis Newspaper Index offers some great moments of discovery. For example, do you know about George and Perry? 

Now you want to know more!

What about Mount Lawn, where folks are living in pioneer log cabins!? Mount Lawn has a sad little Wikipedia page, and not much to be found with a Google search, but here in the card file it called out to me, a lover of log homes, and I wanted to know more.

Indianapolis Star Magazine December 6, 1953, page 21

You can also come into the library to browse our clippings files on the second floor. These are literally articles “clipped” from newspapers. They aren’t just tossed in a drawer; we have subject headings – which are fun to browse and useful, too. The subject headings under “charities” points us to some other ideas:

Charities
– 1939, 1940-49, 1950-59, 1960-69, 1970-79, 1980-89, 1990-99, 2000-
– Community Centers (contains material on American Settlement, Kirshbaum Center, Boys Club, Northeast Community Center, Lawter Boys Club, Hawthorne Community Center)
See also
Indianapolis, Flower Mission
– Community Centers – Christamore
– Community Centers – Flanner House
– Community Centers – Fletcher Place
– Goodwill Industries
– Indianapolis Day Nursery
– Salvation Army
– Suemma Coleman Home
– Wheeler Mission

Did you know you can also browse our online catalog? While you can’t enter our stacks, you can browse the Evergreen Catalog by call number. Say you find a book that looks relevant to your research topic and want to “look” at the shelf around it. Select Advanced Search, then select the Numeric Search tab, then utilize the “Call number (shelf browse)” option and plug in the call number of the book you found.

Happy hunting!

This post was written by Indiana Collection Supervisor Monique Howell

“Fall & Winter along the South Shore Line” on display at Indiana State Library

Out of the vault and on display, “Fall & Winter along the South Shore Line” is now ready to be viewed at the Indiana State Library. The exhibition includes ten of the library’s collection of colorful large-scale Chicago South Shore & South Bend Railroad posters. The South Shore Line commissioned artists in the late 1920s and early 1930s to design their eye-catching advertising posters. The posters on display were designed by artists Ivan V. Beard, Emil Biorn, Otto Brenneman, Oscar Rabe Hanson and Leslie Ragan.

Featured with the poster exhibit is a display of Hoosier artists’ holiday cards depicting vibrant and festive scenes. The cards, designed by such notable artists as Wayman Adams, Gustave Bauman and Floyd D. Hopper, were given to their friends and family for Christmas and New Year’s during the 1920s and 1930s.

The South Shore posters, and many others in the library’s collection, are being digitized for online access through the Indiana State Library Broadsides Collection.

The “Fall & Winter along the South Shore Line” exhibit is free and open to the public during regular business hours and will remain on display in the Exhibition Hall through January 2020. The Indiana State Library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. For hours of operation, directions and parking information, click here.

The South Shore Line continues providing service as an electrically powered interurban commuter rail line under the authority of the Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District between Millennium Station in downtown Chicago and the South Bend International Airport in South Bend.

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

A city with a heart: Charitable organizations and philanthropy

Due to such a large collection of historical materials and resources relating to philanthropy and charitable organizations in the Indiana State Library’s collections, I was stumped on where to start my search. By browsing the stacks, I could see many materials on various organizations that focused on the betterment of people, society and communities. Annual reports, brochures and newsletters from various societies and organizations fill our shelves. Ultimately, by pure serendipitous discovery, my starting point found me.

With the impending bicentennial of Indianapolis, I had been focusing on adding materials to our digital collections from, or about, Indianapolis. So, while browsing our vertical files, I stumbled across a hefty file with lots of pamphlets, brochures, reports and so on. I pulled the file, and one particular item caught my eye: one about a Red Feather campaign.

I recognized the name from my work digitizing company employee newsletters. The campaign was a way of gathering up monetary donations to give to the Indianapolis Community Chest. From there, I found myself searching our collections and unearthed a range of materials about the Community Chest from its beginnings in the 1920s up to the 1950s. This became the starting point for our newest digital collection, “Charitable Organizations and Philanthropy.” The collection’s focus will be on the various organizations across the state.

Currently, I’ve only added materials about the Indianapolis Community Chest.

The Community Chest began in the early 1920s as a unified way to raise money for various social agencies around the city. It eventually became the Community Fund, and by the 1950s, was renamed the Indianapolis Community Chest.

The Community Fund was the financial arm of the Indianapolis Council of Social Agencies. Eventually, the organization morphed into what is currently called the United Way of Central Indiana. Its goal was to provide funds for various social agencies and groups such as the YMCA, YWCA, Salvation Army and the Girls and Boys Scouts, to name a few. After their fundraising, the Community Fund would give the money to the Indianapolis Council of Social Agencies for distribution.

The Red Feather campaigns, popular in the ’40s and ’50s, were being promoted in many company employee newsletters, such as Ayrograms and the Serval Inklings.

In the future, I will be adding more materials about other similar organizations across the state, as well as information about the Indianapolis Council of Social Agencies.

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