The Colonization movement

The Indiana Colonization Society, formed 1829 and based in Indianapolis, advocated for the relocation of free people of color and emancipated slaves in Indiana to settlements in Liberia, Africa. The ICS was an auxiliary of the American Colonization Society, located in Washington, D.C., which formed in 1817.

Premised on the idea that an integrated society was impractical and impossible, “colonizationists,” who were overwhelmingly white, argued that black people could find liberty only in Africa. A small portion of free people of color who agreed that justice, liberty and prosperity could not be achieved in America emigrated. Critics, such as free black people and abolitionists, voiced strong opposition to this movement. They asserted that the agenda of the society was counterproductive for racial reconciliation and integration, that it was overall an ineffective scheme to combat slavery and finally that it undermined anti-slavery efforts. Free people of color who wished to “fight against slavery and for equal rights as American citizens” viewed this plan as effectively abandoning those still enslaved.1 “Abolitionists saw the colonization movement as a slaveholders’ plot to safeguard the institution of slavery by ridding the country of free blacks.”1 Colonizationists maintained that their motives were benevolent and philanthropic, but even supporters questioned whether the idea of relocation was even practically feasible or financially realistic.

In the 1820’s and 1830’s, the movement gained support in the state legislature and with citizens throughout the state, but by late 1830’s interest and activity declined.1 Black Hoosiers opposed it vehemently, resolving at an 1842 convention that, “we believe no well-informed colonizationist is a devoted friend to the moral elevation of the people of color.” The ICS reacted with renewed efforts for the movement when, in 1845, the Rev. Benjamin T. Kavanaugh was named as its agent. He was tasked with raising awareness, organizing supporters and local auxiliaries, fundraising and emigrant recruitment.1 By 1848, the Rev. James Mitchel, a Methodist minister, abolitionist and colonization advocate, took over as agent and secretary of the American Colonization Society of Indiana. Both Kavanaugh and Mitchell recruited black ministers to raise awareness in the black community and to identify potential emigrants. These men, the Rev. John McKay and the Rev. Willis R. Revels, had limited success. “Revels won approval from black citizens… but soon gave up his post.” Kavanaugh attributed this to pressure from abolitionists.1 McKay was appointed as, “an agent for the board to purchase land in Liberia and promote colonization among Indiana black citizens.”1 In the 1850’s he traveled to Liberia with two groups of emigrants and observed the colony, reporting back enthusiastically. Escalating tension between the north and south over slavery, and increasing violence over issues such as the question over expansion of slavery into new territories, led to laws in Indiana that gave free people of color reason to consider emigration, even if the vast majority chose to remain in the country of their birth. During the period of the 1830s until the 1850’s, according to Anthrop, “increasing tensions nationally between anti-slavery and slavery factions… resulted in increasing prejudice against blacks. The culmination of this prejudice in Indiana was Article XIII of the Indiana Constitution of 1851,” which prohibited blacks and mulattoes to enter or settle in the state. Fines set for violation were appropriated to “defray costs of sending blacks in Indiana to Liberia.” Further legislation, “required all blacks already living in Indiana to register with the clerk of the circuit court.”1

In 1852, ICS advocacy led to a state initiative when the Indiana General Assembly formed the Indiana Colonization Board and began providing funds to help, “Indiana free blacks emigrate to Liberia on the western coast of Africa.”1 The state government appropriated funds to finance the purchase of land in Liberia and for the transport and support of immigrants. According to Anthrop, “eighty-three” free people of color emigrated from Indiana to Liberia, but the state board facilitated the departure of “only forty- seven” of those emigrants. During the 1840’s, 1850’s and 1860’s advocates and critics within the movement and the government squabbled over complaints about financial arrangements, funding cuts, fundraising methods, settlement location and administration and over negotiations with the government of Liberia. James Mitchell, in an 1855 “Circular to the Friends of African Colonization” apprising society members of the progress and obstacles faced by the movement, admitted the paltry sum of $65 per person for emigration was insufficient to provide for transportation, and offered nothing for support or protection of immigrants. In the final report in 1863 to the State Board by its secretary, the author William Wick, concluded that the movement had been a “total failure.” Wick attributed this failure to the ambition of formerly enslaved people to be equal in social status to white Americans.

The types of records in the sub collection of the Colonization movement include government documents, such as the report to the State Board of Colonization, organization records, such as Indiana Colonization Society reports, circulars that act as newsletters to supporters, private society correspondence disseminated to influential political operatives and the society’s monthly publication The Colonizationist, as well as a campaign literature from the 1860 race for the governorship of Indiana in a the form of speech by Oliver P. Morton. These materials offer insight into the theoretical and philosophical tenets of the Colonization movement, document its efforts, successes and obstacles, provide historical context and can be used to map out its historical trajectory from a burgeoning movement to abject failure. Scholars and students will find these items to be a rich resource for exploring the history of the Back-to-Africa movement. Genealogists and historians will find in these primary sources a wealth of information on the individuals active in this movement, and on those who ultimately emigrated to Liberia.

Colonizationist May 1847, vol. 2, no.2

ISL_IND_Pam_Coloniz_1847

The Colonizationist, owned by John D. Defrees, was the monthly publication of the Indiana Colonization Society and was printed by the Indiana State Journal in Indianapolis. The ICS, formed in 1829 and based in Indianapolis, advocated for the relocation of free people of color and emancipated slaves to settlements in Liberia, Africa. The publication was edited by B.T. Kavanaugh and P.D. Gurley. Kavanaugh was a Methodist minister and the agent of the ICS. Gurley, who was the minster of the First Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis from 1840-49, and again in 1859, was appointed the Chaplain of the United States.

Twelfth Annual Report of the Indiana Colonization Society, 1847

ISL_IND_RptColSoc_1847

Report by the Indiana Colonization Society on the proceedings of its annual meeting held Jan. 6, 1847 at Robert’s Chapel in Atlanta, Jackson Township, Hamilton County, Indiana. This report includes the meeting minutes which describe the proceeds of the event, such as topical addresses and speeches given, motions made by members and resolutions adopted by the society. It also includes detailed financial proposals and cost estimates for the scheme, statistics on the organization’s success, lists of ships with the ship name and year of passage from 1843-46, and an overview of the national organization’s statistics. The official publication, The Colonizationist, and the individual efforts of members, such as the Rev. B.T. Kavanaugh are discussed. An appendix lists “twenty reasons for the success of Liberia.”

Circular to the Friends of African Colonization

ISL_IND_Pam_Mitch_CirAfCol

This 1855 circular is addressed to the Friends of African Colonization. It is comprised of a one page introduction and a long letter addressed to the Indiana State Board of Colonization. The author, the Rev. James Mitchell was the Secretary of the American Colonization Society of Indiana. In the circular, he lists reasons for inaction of the board in the past, legislative, financial and administrative obstacles faced, and lays out a detailed plan for action.

Letters on the Relation of the White and African races in the United States, and the Necessity of the Colonization of the Latter

ISL_IND_PAM_LtrsColMov1860

This pamphlet is a collection of private letters written by James Mitchell as agent of the Indiana Colonization Society, on the subject of the African Colonization movement, detailing the actions, policies and theoretical foundation of the organization. It is addressed to the candidates for the 1860 U.S. presidential election. Mitchell seeks to privately communicate the aims of the movement to popular leaders and the future president. The correspondence includes an extract from the 1852 report to the legislature of the state of Indiana titled, “The Separation of the Races Just and Politic,” an 1857 letter from Mitchell to President James Buchanan and an 1849 letter to President Zachary Taylor.

The Speech of Oliver P. Morton, the Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor, 1860

ISL_IND_Pam_Mort_Spch_1860

This is a speech by Republican candidate for Lieutenant Governor of Indiana, Oliver P. Morton, delivered in Terre Haute on March 10, 1860. The speech discusses campaign issues, such as popular sovereignty, the expansion of slavery into new territories, “sectional parties,” John Brown, the fugitive slave law, hostility between north and south, abolition, tariffs and homesteading legislation. Morton and his running mate won the election of 1860, with Lane opting to take a seat in the Senate, Morton became the 14th Governor of the state of Indiana.

Report on colonization for 1863 to the state board

ISL_IND_Gov_SBC_Rpt_1863

This 1863 report on the Colonization movement is authored by the Secretary of the State Board of Colonization William W. Wick. It is addressed to the Colonization Board, but is intended for all members of the legislature and the public. Wick writes to report the “total failure” of the Colonization movement.

References
1. Anthrop, M. (March 2000). Indiana emigrants to Liberia. The Indiana Historian, March 2000. Indiana Historical Bureau.
Retrieved from https://www.in.gov/history/files/inemigrants.pdf.

Notes on other resources
The American Colonization Society Collection at the Library of Congress – letters from Indiana emigrants
American Colonization Society Collection
http://www.loc.gov/rr/print/coll/007-b.html
American Colonization Society records, 1792-1964
https://lccn.loc.gov/mm78010660

This blog post was written by Ricke Gritten, Indiana Division intern at the Indiana State Library.

Crown Hill Cemetery

There is a book about Crown Hill Cemetery that I recently ran across in the Indiana State Library’s collections. The book has a particularly long title – “The Origin, Organization and Management of Crown Hill Cemetery with Observations on Ancient and Modern Modes of Burial, together with a List of Officers, Corporators and Lot-holders for 1875” – but it was the latter part of the title that piqued my interest. A list of lot-holders sure sounds like a useful resource for researchers looking for names of the earliest purchasers of burial plots. There are also two later editions of the book published in 1888 and 1896, containing growing lists of lot-holders.

Organized in 1863, Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis was incorporated as a non-profit, non-denominational and non-sectarian cemetery with a board of thirty corporators. At the time, there was a critical need for a new city cemetery for Indianapolis. The old Greenlawn Cemetery had become inadequate for future expansion and its proximity to the flood-prone White River was no longer desirable. The collective civic-mindedness of James Blake, Calvin Fletcher, Sr. and James M. Ray helped them form a group to select a site and draw up plans for a new cemetery. The Daily State Sentinel newspaper announced the June 1, 1864 formal dedication of Crown Hill Cemetery and that a public sale of lots would then begin on June 8, 1864.

 

The 1875 edition of the book, with 65 pages, was issued in both a plain cloth binding and also a more ornate embossed cover with gilded edges. The 1888 edition was issued as a paperback pamphlet and expanded to 92 pages. Unlike the 1875 and 1896 editions, there are no photographs in the 1888 edition.

The 1896 edition expanded in both page size and length to include 217 pages, mostly consisting of lot-holder names, and it originally included a folded map of the cemetery grounds.

The map is dated 1895 and the Indiana Division’s copy will require some conservation treatment before it is ready to be digitized. However, the entire 1896 book can be viewed at Internet Archive.

In all three volumes, the surnames are only arranged alphabetically by the first letter and are not in strict order. After a bit of hunting, I was pleased to find my ancestor, George Buchter, listed in all three editions as the owner of Lot 57 in Section 16. Keep in mind that finding a person’s name listed in the books does not imply that person was living, dead or buried in the lot. His wife Barbara was buried there in 1871, and George died in 1879 and was buried there. His children continued to use the family burial lot until 1945. Since these books are not lists of all the burials in the cemetery, better resources for discovering all Crown Hill burials are Find-A-Grave, the Crown Hill burial locator or the Crown Hill office.

For more information, read the facts and events on the timeline of Crown Hill history. View select photographs of tombstones and buildings at Crown Hill in the Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology’s digital collection available through Indiana Memory. Take a look at the April 1896 article in Park and Cemetery, a monthly journal devoted to parks and cemeteries. Even in the nineteenth century, Crown Hill was nationally recognized as an excellently planned and maintained cemetery, as it remains today.

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.”

Authors’ ‘love letters’ hidden in Indiana library books

The Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award is celebrating 10 years this year! To help celebrate the award, there are over 15 letters from Indiana authors being tucked into books in public libraries all around the state. Lucky readers will find these notes and will get to keep them. The program is called “Love Letters to Our State’s Readers” and is coordinated by the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award and the Indiana Center for the Book at the Indiana State Library.

Participating authors include Ray Boomhower, Sarah Gerkensmeyer, John Green, Norbert Krapf, Lori Rader-Day, Scott Russell Sanders and Barb Shoup. The notes range from short and sweet handwritten postcards to long typed letters to the reader. Participating libraries were chosen based on geographic areas where the authors are from. When a reader finds a note in a book, they receive a postcard about the program as well. The postcard says:

“When reading a story, do you ever wonder about the author who created it? They think about you! And many of them are even Hoosiers like yourself, including the author of the book you’re reading now. As we celebrate 10 years of the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award, some of our past winners wanted to thank you for your role in keeping their stories alive. Enjoy this note from them. You’re welcome to keep it!”

Readers interested in finding a note should watch the #INauthor hashtag. As notes are being hidden, clues as to their whereabouts will be posted on Twitter and Facebook. Readers who find the notes are welcome to post out as well using the #INauthor hashtag to share their excitement. Notes will hit library shelves as early as Aug. 6, 2018 and will continue to be hidden in the weeks leading up to the Indiana Authors Award Dinner on Oct. 13, 2018. Caity Withers, development officer at the Indianapolis Public Library Foundation, had this to say about the program, “If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the 10 years of this award program, it’s that the relationship between readers and writers is symbiotic. Writers start as readers who fell in love with a book and we need writers to keep creating books readers will fall in love with. Indiana is full of book lovers, both readers and writers, and we’re excited to celebrate them through this initiative.”

Want to learn more about authors in your own community? Check out the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award or The Indiana Center for the Book.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian at the Indiana State Library and director of the Indiana Center for the Book.

Indiana Center for the Book partners for webinar series about books and authors

The Indiana Center for the Book and the Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award are partnering on a series of webinars focused on authors and reading. All webinars are offered in partnership with the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office (PDO) and are each eligible for one LEU. The Indiana Center for the Book promotes interest in reading, writing, literacy, libraries and Indiana’s literary heritage by sponsoring events like these. The Indiana Authors Award seeks to recognize the contributions of Indiana authors to the literary landscape in Indiana and across the nation.

The Care and Feeding of Authors: Planning a Successful Author Visit – 1 LEU
Date: August 7, 2018 Time: 10 a.m. EST  Format: Adobe Connect Webinar
Looking to book an author at your library? Learn how to put your library’s best professional foot forward and avoid common pitfalls. Join Indiana author Kelsey Timmerman and Indiana’s Letters About Literature Coordinator Suzanne Walker for this discussion about best practices when booking an author. From making sure their dietary needs are met to paying them efficiently, there’s more to booking an author than just deciding on a date. This webinar is hosted by Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award Program Coordinator Caity Withers. Be sure to bring all of your questions regarding booking authors.
Presenters: Kelsey Timmerman, author; Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book; Caity Withers, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award

Indiana Authors: What’s New in Kids Lit? – 1 LEU
Date: August 15, 2018 Time: 10 a.m. EST Format: Adobe Connect Webinar
Indiana continues to produce great authors for kids. Join Shirley Mullin, owner of Kids Ink Children’s Bookstore in Indianapolis, for a conversation about books by new Indiana authors who write for children and discover great authors to book at your library.
Presenters: Shirley Mullin, owner of Kids Ink Children’s bookstore; Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book;  Caity Withers, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award

Diversifying Your Book Club by Selection and Membership – 1 LEU
Date: September 11, 2018 Time: 10 a.m. EST Format: Adobe Connect Webinar
Are you tired of reading the same books for your book clubs? Are you hoping to reach new audiences? Join Tiffani Carter, the manager of the West Indianapolis Branch of the Indianapolis Public Library (IndyPL) for some tips and best practices to consider when choosing your book club selections and to learn how to recruit new participants.
Presenters: Tiffani Carter, manager of the West Indianapolis Branch of IndyPL; Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book; Caity Withers, Eugene & Marilyn Glick Indiana Authors Award

Please register to attend. Registration links can be found above. All three webinars will be recorded and available on the Indiana State Library’s Archived Webinars page within 30 days of their production. Find other free webinars from the Indiana State Library here.

Submitted by Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian at the Indiana State Library and director of the Indiana Center for the Book.

Scholarship, experience and Christian character: Ridgeville College

In December of 1866, Rev. John Collier, a group of Free Will Baptist ministers and a few enterprising citizens of Ridgeville, Indiana founded Ridgeville College, nestled in Randolph County. Despite local interest and promising enrollment, the college started off slowly due to lack of funds and the absence of an endowment from the ministers’ Free Will Baptist denomination.

Eventually, without funds and slowly heading toward closure, the Congregational Church of Indiana took over the college in 1892. With a faculty of eight men and women, William C. Kruse served as acting president.

Initially, the five-acre campus was donated by local citizen Arthur McKew. In the 1870s, the four-story main building was completed. It housed class rooms, a 400-seat college hall, a 150-seat chapel, a 2,000-plus volume library and a large basement kitchen.

The building not only served the students, but it served the community as well by acting as a local social and entertainment venue.

Originally, the college offered two courses of study: the classical course that would lead to a Bachelor of Arts or the scientific course that would lead to a Bachelor of Science. However, when the new leadership began, the college focused on three main principles: scholarship, experience and Christian character. Commercial, normal, music, stenographic, typing and writing departments were later added with specifically-qualified teachers.

The students published the first issue of the college newspaper, The College Cycle, in May of 1892, with its motto being “Coup de Plume,” translated as “Stroke of the Pen.”  The newspaper included school announcements, faculty activities, a several-page essay and a section of advertisements of local businesses.

Ridgeville College closed after the spring term in May 1901. The main building stood empty for a period until the Lay Brush and Broom Company occupied it. Eventually, the company vacated and the building was razed in 1932.

The Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library has a small collection of materials from the closed college. They can be found in our newest digital collection, Education in Indiana.

Sources:
Indiana State Digital Collections
Randolph County, Indiana, 1818-1990, compiled by the Randolph County Historical Society.

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

An intern’s preservation experience at the Indiana State Library

I am a graduate student in library science at Indiana University Bloomington. When the time came to complete an internship, I decided to learn about government documents by applying to intern with the Indiana State Library – our regional depository of federal documents. The Indiana State Library joined the preservation steward program early. This program asks libraries to commit to keeping and preserving government documents of their choice. As their intern, I had the opportunity to sort through a large collection of oversized documents in order to add them to ISL’s preservation stewardship agreement.

The best part about working with large, old documents is that they are full of beautiful maps, drawings and other images.

The documents I handled were all from 1965 or earlier. The oldest document that I handled was the Laws of the United States of America printed in 1796.

In addition to working on the stewardship program, I worked on lists of documents posted to the Indiana Needs and Offers Database. These are documents that a library wants to remove from their collection, but first offers them to the regional library, then other libraries. The Indiana State Library will claim any document posted to these lists that is not currently part of their collection. My job was to find these items on the shelves – easier said than done! I spent hours hunting down public document call numbers and checking shelves to ensure that the library did not miss a chance to add new documents to the collection.

Finally, I learned about digitization, a critical skill for a new librarian as libraries all over the country have ongoing digitization projects. I digitized a series of Indiana state elections results from 1960 to the 1980s. It is great to be a part of the preservation of Indiana history.

My internship at the Indiana State Library has been informative and given me important experience with the everyday work of government documents librarians. Thank you to all of the talented librarians who took the time to teach me over the last few months!

This blog post was written by Rachel Holder, a graduate student in library science at Indiana University Bloomington and the Federal Documents Intern with the Reference and Government Documents Division.

Maps of Jennings and Ripley County, by William W. Borden (c. 1875): Part 2

To read part one, click here.

When this handmade plat book made its way to me to be scanned, I discovered a very interesting story. It started with the description and metadata creation. In layman’s terms, in case you’re not familiar with “creating metadata,” it means assigning subject terms to an object so you, me and other researchers can find the item when you search the collections, and often through a Google search.

This plat map book shows land ownership in townships in Jennings and Ripley Counties. It was hand-written by William W. Borden of New Providence (now Borden), Indiana, in 1875.

As I looked at the inside of the front cover, I thought “Who is W.W. Borden of New Providence, Indiana?” and even more so “Where is New Providence?” I had no idea. It wasn’t on a map. So, with a quick internet search, I found that New Providence is now called Borden, located in Clark County.

From there came a flood of information. William W. Borden was a well-known state geologist, a collector and a curator. In fact, his will specifically directed his heirs to maintain a museum of his collection. Alas, the museum didn’t last and his collection dispersed. Somewhere over time, this handmade plat book made its way to the Genealogy Collection here at the Indian State Library. You can learn more about Borden here.

Maps of the counties.

I can imagine Borden, on a horse, wondering the hilly back roads of Jennings and Ripley counties on a summer day drawing up maps showing the locations of rivers,  laying out the townships and asking the locals “Who lives there?,” while jotting down the names of the land owners.

Map of Columbia Township.

My theory is that Borden was out learning how to plat maps, studying the geological landscape and collecting local specimens. Little did he know that someday his note book would end up being a genealogical resource for researchers. Although probably not complete, each township map shows the owners of the land at a specific point in time – 1875. On a personal note, I had family in Ripley County and even though I still haven’t found them on any of Borden’s maps, I wonder if he rode by and waved.

Map of Shelby Township.

I also can’t help but wonder if he would stop for some lunch under a shady tree and read since there are two sections of notes: One on the Mound Builders and the other on the Aztecs.

Notes on Aztecs.

Regardless, this is one example of the great items waiting to be discovered in the collections at the Indiana State Library. One man’s creation has become a wealth of information for researchers, be it someone studying genealogy, someone wondering how one geologist learned about his surroundings or even someone wanting to study cartography. I’m sure Borden would be pleased.

The Indiana State Library’s Digital Map Collection continues to grow and new maps are being added all the time. To see more of our general digital collections, check this out.

This blog post was written by Christopher Marshall, digital collections coordinator for the Indiana Division, Indiana State Library. For more information, email Christopher.

Indexes moving into Legacy

The librarians in the Indiana Division are working hard to move two of our most used guides into the Indiana State Library’s Legacy database. Legacy is a searchable database for many of our library’s indexes. The Newspaper Holdings guide and the Biography Index are moving.

Newspaper Holdings on Microfilm: The state library has the largest collection of Indiana Newspapers on microfilm. While digitization allows access to old newspapers online, we continue to archive Indiana newspapers on microfilm. This searchable index will allow users to search our microfilmed holdings by title, city, county or date range. Until all the records have been moved, it’s still advisable to use the online holdings guides.

Biography Index: The Biography Index points users to biographical sketches of Hoosiers from dozens of print sources available in our collection. Originally on cards located in the Great Hall, they were later scanned and put online. Now the index is making a new home for itself on the Legacy platform. We had stopped indexing about 15 years ago, but this new platform will allow us to once again grow this amazing resource.

Original location of the Biography Index.

Legacy can now be found via direct link on the main page of the library’s INSPIRE website.

Stay tuned!

This blog post was written by Monique Howell of the Indiana Division at the Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or Ask-A-Librarian.

 

Spring water cure-alls

Many of us have probably already broken our New Year’s resolutions. If one of your resolutions was to live healthier in 2018, you may be interested in some of the health “cures” of yesteryear.

Two of the most popular Indiana historic hotels and spas, the French Lick Springs Hotel and the West Baden Springs Hotel, heavily advertised the healing properties of “taking the waters” during the early part of the 20th century. This involved bathing in the spring water and imbibing the sulfur-smelling water several times per day. French Lick Springs bottled the water and sold it internationally as Pluto water. West Baden’s version was Sprudel water. The spring waters were thought to help health conditions like diabetes and arthritis, as well as everyday ills such as irregularity and fatigue.

If you were thinking of trying to lose weight this year, you are not alone. In fact, this resolution is nothing new.

In his pamphlet from 1931, How to Slenderize the French Lick Way (Ip 613.12 no. 11), William Edward Fitch, MD, prescribed a plan which includes taking French Lick Salts mixed in water each day.

Two of the ingredients of French Lick spring water include sodium chloride and magnesium sulfate, both of which have laxative properties. The French Lick slenderizing program includes a low-calorie diet and some calisthenics, some of which are similar to yoga poses that are still done today. This pamphlet illuminates notions about diet and exercise popular during that time period. How to Slenderize the French Lick Way is digitized in the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections.

The French Lick Springs Hotel, bought by Thomas Taggart in 1901, published regular advertising brochures touting the water cure. Here is an example from our digital collection:

This early 20th century brochure for the hotel featured indoor and outdoor springs so that people could take the water cure no matter the weather. The brochure includes a very detailed list of the ailments the water can help heal along with beautiful photos of the hotel and grounds. Other amenities advertised included a lush golf course and even a bowling alley. Exercise was strongly encouraged as part of the “cure.” There was even an outdoor pool that was put under a dome so that guests could swim outdoors in wintertime. The dome has been removed in recent years.

The West Baden Springs Hotel developed by Lee Sinclair was advertised as the “Carlsbad of America,” in trying to align the hotel with famous European spa resorts. In this digitized pamphlet, West Baden Springs: The Carlsbad of America (Ip 613.12 no. 52) published in the early 1900’s, Sprudel Spring Water as a health aid and an onsite medical facility are advertised.

You can still visit many of the outdoor springs at the West Baden Springs Hotel today.  The grounds have been partially restored, including some of the spring houses. The main attraction to the West Baden Springs Hotel was then, and still is, the beautiful and unique indoor dome, nicknamed the Eighth Wonder of the World. This hotel is regularly named one of the most luxurious both in Indiana and in the United States.

Both hotels still have spas attached in which you can still bathe in the spring water. The spas also feature massages and skin treatments among many other amenities. Even if you abandon your New Year’s resolutions altogether, visiting French Lick and West Baden will appeal to your interests in history and architecture. The beauty and glamour of these resorts will restore your spirit even if you decide not to “take the waters.”

More information is available at the Indiana State Library about French Lick and West Baden among other Indiana health spas. See this Indiana Collection Subject Guide to Mineral Spring Spas in Indiana.

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.”

 

Education, not censorship: The Indiana Indorsers of Photoplays

Organized by Mrs. Gertrude Ross of Indianapolis in 1915, the Indiana Indorsers of Photoplays, a volunteer organization, had one mission – promote, support and advertise motion pictures of good quality, especially for children.Beginning with only twenty members, by 1917 the Indorsers grew and incorporated in 1922, influencing other the creations of similar groups across the state and the nation. Working together, the members would attend motion pictures, then meet and vote as a group rather than as individuals to determine which ones they would endorse or not.

The Indorsers invited speakers to their meetings and to general groups to educate people of how to judge motion pictures for themselves and published pamphlets listing recommended movies.

They published The Bulletin News, a monthly bulletin with information about the motion picture industry, reviews of films and listings of local theatres. It was sent to homes, libraries, colleges, universities and other interested organizations.

Eventually, the Indorsers worked with Will Hays, the first chairman of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America.

In her 1945, biography, “Coming Down the Highway: Recollections of Mrs. David Ross,” she recalled their work as educational rather than censorship. “…We were the first to start a constructive program of motion picture appreciation, which has been taken up all over the country. We were not reformers, but educators.” Ross would serve as the group’s president for 19 years until her death.

The Indorsers lasted until the 1970s with their motto being “We indorse the best and forget the rest.”

To learn more about the Indiana Indorsers of Photoplays, you can find materials published by them in our digital collections. Annual reports, issues of The Bulletin News, and Ross’ autobiography are all available here.

In our Rare Books and Manuscripts collection, we have the Will Hays Collection, which houses materials from his time as president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America (MPPDA). The collection includes meeting minutes, statements about censorship, annual reports and speeches regarding the motion picture industry. The collection also includes information about the motion picture industry during World War, the use of motion pictures for educational purposes and much more. You can find our collection finding aid here.

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