Explore the Will H. Hays Collection online

The Indiana State Library is pleased to announce that the Will H. Hays Collection is now accessible for online research in the ISL Digital Collections. A native Hoosier from a small town, Will Hays became a mover and shaker in Republican party politics, business and the motion picture industry in the first half of the 20th century.

Will Hays at Directors Club banquet, 1925

For the past two years, the entire Rare Books and Manuscripts Division of the Indiana State Library has worked diligently to digitize the most significant part of the collection. The project was made possible by a generous digitization grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission at the National Archives in 2018. A labor of love for Manuscripts staff, the grant came to an end on Aug. 31.

Lucille Ball and Will Hays at Film Critics Circle reception, 1940

The grant allowed for the hiring of two digitization and metadata assistants who, alongside full-time staff, worked tirelessly to review, scan and edit over 100,000 pages of correspondence, papers and photographs, the bulk of which ranged from 1921 to 1945. They then researched and created metadata to describe the materials, uploading 927 folders to the digital collection. The primary assistants for the project shared their favorite items discovered in the collection, in short interviews about their experiences on Sept., 13 and Sept. 25, 2019.

Telegram to Clark Gable on tragic death of Carole Lombard, 1942

The papers in the digital collection comprise Hays’ time as campaign manager for then presidential candidate, Warren G. Harding, service as Postmaster General under Harding from 1921 to1922 and his long reign as “czar of the movies,” while he held the position of president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributers Association from 1922 to 1945. Learn more about Will Hays through this in-depth timeline chronicling his life and career in politics and the nascent film industry.

Snapshot from “Will H. Hays: A Chronology of His Life” timeline

For more information about the project, including the collection’s usage and scope, contact Brittany Kropf, Rare Books and Manuscripts librarian, at 317-234-9557 or via email.

This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Defunct summer fun in Indianapolis

With COVID-19 currently afflicting the nation, many fun summer activities have been altered for sanitation and social distancing purposes or have been cancelled completely. As a result, many Hoosiers have been left with rather lackluster summer options, devoid of family vacations and fun excursions. Undoubtedly, this has caused a certain degree of wistfulness as people recall past summers and good times.

Compiled here are a few fun summer excursions in Indianapolis that no longer exist. Fortunately, there can be no fear-of-missing-out because you absolutely could not visit any of these places, even if you wanted to!

Riverside Amusement Park
This amusement park existed from the early 1900s until 1970. The park land still exists under the name Riverside and fun can be had there, but the current park is nothing like it was during its heyday when it boasted of having multiple roller coasters, a massive roller skating rink and a bathing beach.

From an item in the Program Collection (L658), Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection.

From the Postcard Collection (P071), Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection.

Wonderland Amusement Park
Another Indianapolis amusement park was Wonderland. Located on the east side of the city, the park was relatively short-lived, operating from 1906 until 1911 when it was destroyed by a fire.

Image shows park entrance in 1910. Program Collection (L658), Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection.

Like many amusement parks of the time, Wonderland hosted a variety of traveling performers who plied their death-defying feats at fairs and festivals throughout the country. In the summer of 1907, Indianapolis citizens could see stunt cyclist Oscar V. Babcock ride his bike through his thrilling Death Trap Loop.

Before and after picture of Babcock performing at Wonderland. From Oscar V. Babcock Photographs Collection (SP054), Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection.

Cyclorama
Cycloramas were a popular form of diversion in the late 19th century. They consisted of a platform surrounded by a 360 degree panoramic image. The goal was for viewers to stand on the platform and feel immersed in the scene depicted in the image, as though they were there in real life. Many popular cycloramas depicted battle scenes from the American Civil War and traveled from city to city. In 1888, the Indianapolis Cyclorama hosted a painting depicting the Battle of Atlanta. Standing at 49 feet tall and spanning over 100 yards, the painting must certainly have impressed visitors. Alas, by the turn of the century the fad for cycloramas had waned and the Indianapolis cyclorama building was eventually torn down. However, the Battle of Atlanta panorama still exists and can be viewed in person at the Atlanta History Center.

Program from Indiana Pamphlet Collection (ISLO 973.73 no. 35).

Visit the Indiana State Library’s Digital Collections to see more.

This blog post was written by Jocelyn Lewis, Catalog Division supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Introduction to Rare Books and Manuscripts

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at the Indiana State Library includes an estimated 3 million manuscripts in 5,200 different collections ranging from the early 15th century to present day. People often ask, “What is the earliest item in your collection?” Believe it or not, the earliest items are cuneiform (kyoo-nee’-uh-form) tablets dating from 2350-2000 B.C. The division hosts many more treasures, including Civil War-era letters and diaries, family papers and the records of many political figures from the Hoosier state.

Uruk votive cone, circa 2100 B.C.

Our unit comprises of four full-time staff, two volunteers and one part-time contract position. We provide reference services, instructional sessions, scanning and photocopying, collection guides and digital resources for anyone to use. The Manuscripts Catalog, a new database to search our collections, allows patrons to receive generated citations, print PDF versions of collection guides and request materials using an online form.

Rare Books and Manuscripts staff at Crown Hill Cemetery, 2019. Left to right: Lauren Patton, Bethany Fiechter, Brittany Kropf and Laura Eliason.

In 2018, the division was awarded a National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant to digitize the papers of Will H. Hays. Hays served as the Republican National Committee chairman during 1918-21, campaign manager for President Warren Harding in 1920 and later became president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America from 1922-45, where he established the Hays Code of acceptable content for motion pictures. Providing digital access to this collection will enable researchers unlimited access, leading to more research and discovery across multiple disciplines. To view our progress, visit the Will H. Hays digital collection.

Lucille Ball and Will Hays at the Film Critics Circle Reception, 1940.

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division continues to acquire material defining Indiana’s history and culture. Help us preserve it by donating to the collection. For more information, visit our new Donating Manuscripts page.

For more information, please contact  Rare Books and Manuscripts at 317-232-3671 or via email.

Sonny Wharton: ‘Southern Indiana’s best-known bartender’

During this time of social distancing, some of us are likely missing our favorite watering holes and beloved bartenders. What better time to tell one of their stories? Bartender extraordinaire, William “Sonny” Wharton was born around 1905 in Nashville, Tennessee. Our story finds him much later on in Evansville, Indiana, where Wharton was mentioned in the Evansville Argus when that newspaper first began its run in 1938. The Evansville Argus was a weekly African American newspaper published in Evansville from 1938 to 1945 and included local, national and international news. By the end of 1938, Wharton began an informal column on liquor and mixing drinks. At the time, he was likely working at the Lincoln Tap Room, located at 322 Lincoln Avenue, per articles from early 1939. It’s clear that “Sonny” had much to say and a wealth of knowledge on the fine art of imbibing. His column began with insight into the importance of garnishes, the premiere liquors to choose for your cocktails and the etiquette of glassware amongst other topics. As time went on, he also began sharing more recipes.

Wharton was best known for working at the Green Room at the Palm Hotel, which was located at 611 High Street. He was a mainstay in Evansville’s black community and his expertise behind the bar at the Palm Hotel was advertised heavily. He was “night time head bartender” in the Green Room for most of the early 1940s. By early 1939, his Argus column had developed into “Tid-bits from Sonny” and featured regular cocktail recipes. While many spirits were in limited supply due to wartime restrictions, rum was readily available during the 1940s due to trade with Latin America and the Caribbean. Rum’s availability and popularity is reflected in Sonny’s columns and recipes.

In his personal life, Wharton had a daughter with Leola Marshall of Indianapolis. Both Leola and their daughter, Juanita Oates – later Johnson – worked for the Madam C.J. Walker Company in Indianapolis. Johnson later became the manager of the Madam Walker Theatre Center. Additionally, “Sonny” was married to Naomi Wharton, but they divorced in 1941.

The lifetime of the Palm Hotel could not be determined by the author at this time, but it was advertised with “Sonny” as its bartender into 1943. Wharton’s obituary notes that he had lived in Indianapolis for 19 years upon his death in 1961, so it’s clear that he left Evansville around this time, although the reason is not known.

Thankfully, the legacy of good times and good drinks continues and Wharton left behind his column for us. I decided it was only right that one evening after work I re-create, to the best of my ability, one of the cocktails he noted as a favorite. I chose the commodore, which was referenced twice in his column. A brief internet search on this drink notes that it also appeared in “The Old Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book” from 1935. While I had most of the ingredients on hand, mixing this drink did involve a commitment to making fresh raspberry syrup. Not as difficult as you’d think, actually! I used aquafaba in lieu of egg white and eliminated the additional half teaspoon of sugar surmising that it would push the drink over the edge in terms of sweetness for my taste. Served in a martini glass, the commodore is sweet, frothy and certainly boozy. It’s sure to brighten your day and maybe even make you forget your troubles. If fruit and rum aren’t your game, you can find more “Tidbits from Sonny” in the Evansville Argus via Hoosier State Chronicles. Cheers!

This blog post was written by Lauren Patton, Rare Books and Manuscripts librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

28th United States Colored Troops

War Department General Order 143 officially created the Bureau of Colored Troops on May 22, 1863. Maj. Charles Foster was put in charge of recruitment, training, placement of troops and officer selection.[1] At the beginning of the war, offers to recruit troops of color had been refused, but after 1862 and the Emancipation Proclamation, liberation of enslaved people became a stronger driving force of the war.[2] Allowing African Americans to enlist also helped states meet their enlistment quotas, which became more difficult to do as the war went on. Gov. Oliver P. Morton wavered on whether to recruit black troops in Indiana for political reasons – one of the main risks being that as a border state the outcome could result in losing Union support from Hoosiers in the southern part of the state.[3] Prior to the official order, it wasn’t uncommon for black men to leave their home states to enlist in states where they could fight.[4] On Nov. 30, 1863, Morton finally gave the order to form a regiment of black troops in Indiana, one of the few black regiments formed in a Northern state, the 28th United States Colored Troops was born.[5]

Nathan Wilson letter to Adj. Gen. Lazarus Noble, Dec. 7, 1863, L548 Anna W. Wright collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library.

The 28th USCT departed Indianapolis for Virginia in April of 1864 to a positive reception from the local press. They were assigned to the Fourth Division of the Ninth Corps – part of the Army of the Potomac – under Maj. Gen. Ambrose Burnside and commanded by Gen. Edward Ferrero.[6] From there, they were involved in some of the most famous events of the Civil War, including the Petersburg Campaign, Battle of the Crater and the fall of Richmond. On their way toward Petersburg, they were involved with a number of skirmishes which allowed them the chance to prove their mettle amongst the other troops, both boosting morale and reputation. In summer of 1864, the Army of the Potomac planned another siege on Petersburg with most of the existing troops exhausted from weeks on end of combat. This situation left the Fourth Division in a position to lead a charge that could potentially end the war. It was also, unfortunately, the ill-fated Battle of the Crater.[7]

Petersburg, Virginia. Gen. Edward Ferrero and staff photograph. 1864, Sept. From Library of Congress: Civil War photographs, 1861-1865. Accessed Feb. 27, 2020.

The Battle of the Crater was supposed to clear the road to Richmond and the end of the War. The Fourth Division had trained for weeks while others dug a mine shaft underneath a Confederate fort where explosives would be utilized to commence the battle. Less than 24 hours before the anticipated explosion, Maj. Gen. George Meade told Burnside to have one of his white divisions lead the charge instead. This decision was backed up by Lt. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant.[8] The morning of July 30, 1864 was riddled with snafus including communication errors, delays and issues lighting the fuse on the explosives. By the time the Fourth Division entered battle, two hours after it had commenced, there was a veritable bloodbath in the crater that was left behind by the explosion. Leading Union troops were unable to climb out of the crater. The black troops charged forth gallantly into the battle with valor that none could deny, but met a storm of bullets from Confederate troops and few white soldiers were willing or able to back them up.[9] With African American troops officially part of Union forces, the Confederate soldiers fought with increased fury and atrociousness. Massacre of black soldiers trying to surrender was commonplace and very few black soldiers were taken prisoner.[10] Reports of the losses of the 28th USCT from the Battle of the Crater vary, but have been noted to be between 40-50%, not including officers.[11] Afterwards, there was a Court of Inquiry looking into the calamity at the Battle of the Crater and Burnside was relieved of command. Racism is frequently brought up as a primary factor in the Fourth Division being re-assigned at the last minute before the Battle of the Crater. Burnside was the only leader who had faith that the black troops could succeed at the time. In the Court of Inquiry, blame was even placed on the Fourth Division for the chaos of the Battle of the Crater. It is clear that the USCT were never fully accepted as brothers in arms during the Civil War.[12]

“What Eight Thousand Pounds of Powder Did” photograph. In Civil War, through the camera. McKinlay, c. 1912, p. 193.

After the Battle of the Crater, the 28th USCT was assigned to the Army of the James – as part of the 25th Corps they helped make up the largest formation of black troops in American history.[13] They weren’t put in active service until the spring of 1865 when they were moved to the front lines between Petersburg and Richmond.[14] On April 1, 1865, the Confederate government fled the city of Richmond. With the Army of Northern Virginia defeated, the road was clear for Union troops to march into the city. The 28th USCT advanced and was one of the first to enter Richmond at the end of the war.[15] After a brief stint in Texas, they were mustered out of service on Nov. 8, 1865.

This blog post was written by Lauren Patton, Rare Books and Manuscripts librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

[1] Moore, Wilma L., “The Trail Brothers and their Civil War Service in the 28th USCT”, Indiana Historical Bureau. https://www.in.gov/history/4063.htm. Accessed February 13, 2020.

[2] Forstchen, William R., “The 28th United States Colored Troops: Indiana’s African-Americans go to War, 1863-1865”, Ph.D., diss., (Purdue University, 1994), p. 21, 36.

[3] Forstchen, p. 21.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Ibid., p. 8, 42.

[6] Ibid., p. 9.

[7] Ibid., p. 99.

[8] Williams, George W. A History of the Negro Troops in the War of the Rebellion, 1861-1865. New York: Harper, 1888, p. 244-245.

[9] Forstchen, p. 129.

[10] Ibid., p. 132.

[11] Williams, p. 250 and Forstchen, p. 146.

[12] Forstchen, p. 161-162.

[13] Ibid, p. 10.

[14] Ibid., p. 193.

[15] Ibid.

Haugh, Ketcham and Company Iron Works

Benjamin Franklin Haugh was born on Aug. 19, 1829 in Maryland and moved to Indianapolis with his parents by 1850. He and his brother, Joseph R. Haugh, formed a partnership in the manufacturing of architectural iron work and fencing, specializing in iron fronts, roofs, stairs, furring and lathing. In 1880, the company expanded and relocated from downtown Indianapolis to the city’s near west side due to the close proximity of rail transportation. John Lewis Ketcham, a prominent Indianapolis businessman, became a proprietor and later secretary to the Haugh, Ketcham and Company Iron Works.

OB065 Boston Photogravure Company, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library

Notably, ornamental iron from the Haugh, Ketcham and Company Iron Works could be found in the façade of the When Building located at the 30 block of North Pennsylvania Street. The structure was built in 1875 and housed specialty clothing as well as the Indianapolis Business College and the Indianapolis Law College. In 1946, the building was renovated and much of the exterior ornamentation was removed. It was demolished in 1995.

OB065 Boston Photogravure Company, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library

Haugh, Ketcham and Company Iron Works lamp posts adorned the Indiana Statehouse grounds along a retaining wall as seen below in a photograph from the Gov. Oliver P. Morton statue dedication along Capitol Avenue in 1907 and in an exterior photograph of the Statehouse taken from sometime between 1907 and 1930. The posts were removed from their limestone bases as part of a renovation project during 1946-48.

Morton statue dedication, 1907, P0 General Photograph Collection, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library

In 1889, the company dissolved and became known as Brown, Ketcham and Company. Benjamin F. Haugh moved to Anderson and died on Sept. 3, 1912. Ketcham died shortly after on Dec. 27, 1915.

For more information about Benjamin F. Haugh and the Haugh, Ketcham and Company Iron Works, please visit this Hoosier State Chronicles blog post.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or Ask-A-Librarian.

An interview with Kristin Lee, digitization and metadata assistant

Kristin Lee, Rare Books and Manuscripts digitization and metadata assistant, has been digitizing and creating metadata for the Will H. Hays Collection since October 2018. This project is funded by a National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Access to Historical Records, Archival Projects grant.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to work on this project.
My name is Kristin and I’m originally from Turlock, California, but I’ve been living here with my cat Josephine for about four years. I moved to Indianapolis to pursue a master’s degree in Public History at IUPUI. While in grad school, I had the opportunity to work with the Rare Books and Manuscript Division at the Indiana State Library as an intern and I was excited to work at ISL on another project. I was also interested in this project because the Will Hays Collection is one of the Library’s most-viewed collections and I knew that digitization would help broaden its use and accessibility for researchers outside our immediate community.

What have you learned about Hays or the film industry that you didn’t know?
One of the things that surprised me was how negatively people reacted to Hays’s move to the film industry and the film industry as a whole. Particularly during his last weeks as Postmaster General. Hays received so many letters from people who begged him to stay at his post and who saw movies as corrupt and immoral or just a passing fad. A few years later when “talkies” started getting produced, people again reacted with suspicion. I remember one critic writing that talking pictures would be the downfall of the film industry because movie actors, while excellent pantomimes, had terrible voices! It was really interesting to learn that people had such a negative outlook for the film industry when it’s a form of entertainment that is so normal to me.

What’s your favorite item you’ve discovered within the collection?
My favorite item from the collection is an invitation to the premiere of the film “Don Juan” on Aug. 5, 1926. “Don Juan” was the first feature film to use the Vitaphone sound system to create a moving picture with synchronized sound. The film included a musical soundtrack and sound effects, but no spoken dialogue; the first actual “talkie,” “The Jazz Singer,” would premiere in 1927. “Don Juan” also included several shorts before the film that showed off Vitaphone sound. One of these shorts was of Hays introducing the Vitaphone and talking about the future of sound in films; a copy of this short is available to watch on YouTube – it’s fun being able to hear Will Hays and watch him speak. He liked using a lot of hand gestures!

Will H. Hays’ invitation to “Don Juan,” 1926

How has working on this project shaped your views of providing access to and preserving collections?
Working on the Will Hays project has only reinforced my views on the importance of making digital versions of historical sources. Digitization increases the availability of collections to researchers who are not able to visit the Indiana State Library in person. As more people have access to this collection, we will continue to learn new information about Will Hays and the early film industry. Also, because some of the correspondence has become brittle and crumbly with age, digitization will help us preserve these items for researchers for years to come. Lastly, I have also come to really appreciate the work of all the people who digitized the records that I used as a student in college and grad school for my research… I know how much work goes into it now!

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, and Kristin Lee, Rare Books and Manuscripts digitization and metadata assistant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

An interview with Lydia Lutz, digitization and metadata assistant

Lydia Lutz, Rare Books and Manuscripts digitization and metadata assistant, has been digitizing and creating metadata for the Will H. Hays Collection since October of 2018. This project is funded by a National Historical Publications and Records Commission, Access to Historical Records: Archival Projects grant.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and why you decided to work on this project.
I earned my Master of Library Science from Indiana University in 2017. Before realizing my passion for digitization and preservation of various artifacts, I always enjoyed watching shows on the History Channel and National Geographic about ancient papers and pieces being restored and shared with the public. Prior to coming here, I prepped materials for the Media Digitization and Preservation Initiative and digitized a collection for the Glenn Black Laboratory of Archaeology at Indiana University. I have worked with analog audio-visual and paper-based media. I was mostly drawn to this project because of the Hays Code. It’s a term I’d heard in passing and its definition was somewhat familiar to me. I wanted to learn more about the man behind Hollywood’s moral code and about the code’s influence on the industry. Having just come from the world of antique audio formats and watching their transformation into their modern form, I was curious about the world of film. I also knew that by digitizing the Hays Collection I would be a part of someone’s introduction or further exploration into Hays and his era. It is nice to know that your work makes difference and can be useful to others.

What have you learned about Hays or the film industry that you didn’t know?
I didn’t realize how complex the shift from silent films to films with sound – even just background music – was. I saw a documentary a few years ago that addressed the shift from actors’ and actresses’ viewpoints. From their positions, some didn’t like their voices or their voices didn’t fit the characters they portrayed. Other times their production companies would have them in a contract forbidding them from using their voices in films. The documentary did not discuss society’s viewpoint on the shift though. Judging by the correspondences and the news articles in this collection, one of the most problematic consequences of this shift was moviegoers and companies fearing the watching experience would be ruined by sound and that audio should be left to the theater. I can’t fathom living in an era where sound films would be considered a poor distraction. Seeing the transition play out through the collection was certainly fascinating.

As for Hays, I have learned that he could be very sassy in his letters to friends, which is lovely because it makes him seem less like a myth and more like a human being.

What’s your favorite item you’ve discovered within the collection?
My favorite item was a letter written on Christmas Eve 1931 to Mr. Hays regarding a highway that was going to essentially remove Santa Claus, Ind. from the map. The author was pleading that Santa Claus remain a town name because future generations of children would miss out on the wonder of passing through Santa Claus’s home. It was an eye-opening piece because I grew up going to Holiday World to see Santa and my parents went to Santa Claus Land for the same reason. Without the town these parks may never have been conceived. Perhaps this letter played a role in maintaining the magic of Santa Claus for past, present and future children and dare I say, adults.

My favorite film-related item would be production information about Lon Chaney’s silent film, “The Phantom of the Opera” simply because I love that movie.

How has working on this project shaped your views of providing access to and preserving collections?
My views on accessibility and preservation only continue to be strengthened through projects such as this. It is important for the public to have the opportunity to see how society has been shaped in order to boost their understanding of how we got to where we are. It seems cliché, but knowing the timeline of our history can change perspectives on our present. It is also fun to learn for the sake of learning. On a more serious note, though, without preservation historical cultural practices could go unnoticed by future generations and movements, such as moral codes in cinema,  could be erased from living memory.

This project has also made me realize how much work needs to be done with text-to-speech software, however. Currently, the technology has the accuracy of public TV subtitles: sometimes whole sentences are omitted and words are often unrecognizable. The technology is great and certainly useful but it has a long way to go. I hope in the near future more intelligent technology can be created in order to share even more of this and other collections.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, and Lydia Lutz, Rare Books and Manuscripts digitization and metadata assistant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Grace Julian Clarke papers now online

One of Indiana’s most noteworthy manuscript collections on women’s suffrage is now available to the public in the ISL Digital Collections. Researchers can freely access letters from leaders of the American suffrage movement such as Susan B. Anthony, May Wright Sewall and Carrie Chapman Catt, along with other materials, in time for the women’s suffrage centennial in 2020.

Grace Julian Clarke, age 43, 1909 (OP0).

Grace Julian Clarke was a noted clubwoman, journalist and suffragist hailing from Irvington, now a neighborhood on Indianapolis’s east side. Clarke came by her political and social activism honestly, due to the examples set by her father, George Washington Julian, and grandfather, Joshua Reed Giddings, both abolitionists and U.S. congressmen. She helped establish and lead several state women’s organizations, including the Indiana General Federation of Women’s Clubs, the Legislative Council, and the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana, the forerunner to the League of Women Voters of Indiana.

Pledge to pay $5 a year to the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana “until Suffrage is won in Indiana,” 1915 (L033).

Before the 19th Amendment granted women the right to vote in 1920, Clarke demonstrated her agency as a woman in politics on numerous occasions, such as this 1912 women’s suffrage automobile tour and the GFWC presidential race in 1915. After passage of the suffrage amendment, she contributed to the American peace movement as a staunch proponent of the League of Nations.

Letter from Susan B. Anthony to Grace Julian Clarke, January 20, 1900 (L033).

Explore the Grace Julian Clarke collection and many more items regarding women’s suffrage in the state library’s Women in Hoosier History digital collection, which holds a diversity of materials “from and about Indiana women, both ordinary and extraordinary.” More information on the upcoming women’s suffrage centennial in Indiana can be found here.

This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or via the “Ask-A-Librarian” service.

From the vault: “Commentary of the Four Books of Sentences (Scriptum super IV libros Sententiarum)”

“The Four Books of Sentences (Libri Quattour Sententiarum)” is a comprehensive theology book written by Peter Lombard, Bishop of Paris, during the 12th century, circa 1150. Lombard’s four books cover the following topics: the mystery of the trinity; on creation; on the incarnation of the word; and on the doctrine of signs. During the high-to-late Middle Ages of the 13th to 15th century, it was considered one of the most important theological textbooks. Philosophers, theologians and other scholastics drafted their own writings based on open-ended questions left by Lombard.

Around 1252, Saint Thomas Aquinas, an Italian philosopher and theologian, began his study for a master’s degree in theology. Aquinas taught at the University of Paris and lectured on the Bible as an apprentice professor and bachelor of the “Sentences.”[1] Aquinas’s “Commentary of the Four Books of Sentences (Scriptum super IV libros Sententiarum),” contains original thought of Saint Thomas as he departs at times from the text he is commenting on to explore other facets of the teaching set forth by Peter Lombard.[2]

The Indiana State Library is fortunate to have a copy of the “Commentary of the Four Books of Sentences” in its possession. The incunabula, with vellum bound in as inner back strip, was printed by Hermann Lichtenstein on April 26, 1490 in Venice, Italy. It includes 150 pages with hand drawn gothic style capitals penned in a red and blue color. A notation within the front inner cover reads: “Imported from Leipsic, May 15, 1847. St. Thomas Aquinas. Printed at Venice, A.D. 1490. Joseph R. Paxton.”

This 529 year old incunabula has been visited by bookworms and contains extensive termite damage to the front cover. Despite its appearance, it’s a wonderful example of book construction and artistic expression from the early years of printing.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

[1] Davies, Brian. The Thought of Thomas Aquinas. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 2009. Pg. 5.

[2] “Commentary on the Sentences.” Aquinas Institute. October 31, 2018. Accessed May 17, 2019. https://aquinas.institute/operaomnia/sentences/.