Indiana State Library helps create headstone for Civil War veteran

In April, a staff member at the Mount Hope Cemetery in Topeka, Kansas contacted the Indiana State Library with a special request: In 1916, a Union Civil War veteran from Indiana had been laid to rest without a headstone and they were seeking out information in order to provide one for him.

It became my task to compile as much information as I could on the deceased, Thomas J. Raybell, in order to ensure a proper and accurate headstone.

I set to work on researching Raybell, first verifying his full name: Thomas Jefferson Raybell. I also researched his vital statistics. He was born in 1846, most likely in Miami County, Indiana and died June 22, 1916 in Topeka, Kansas. Ancestry.com is a great resource for finding this kind of information. Although, you do need to know the person’s name and have an idea of where they were born, lived, or died and/or a ballpark of those dates; especially if the name is common.

Photo credit Fred Holroyd

Discerning his regiment and company was more difficult. In order to determine and verify his regiment, I cross-checked a combination of the muster rolls, the military records at the Indiana Archives and Records Administration and the Civil War Index website. Eventually, I was able to confirm that Raybell enlisted in Peru, Indiana, serving in Company F of the 109th. This was more difficult in part because the 109th was only in service for seven days in July of 1863! The 109th was organized to combat Morgan’s Raid, an incursion by the Confederate cavalry into Northern states by Captain John Hunt Morgan. They used two captured steamboats in order to cross the Ohio River and there was a battle in Corydon before the raiders moved toward the Ohio border. In the end, federal troops captured Morgan’s raiders in southeastern Ohio.

I’m proud to say that thanks to Fred Holroyd at the Mount Hope Cemetery, the Sons of Union Veterans Topeka and in a small part, the Indiana State Library—Thomas J. Raybell’s headstone has been created and will be installed after 102 years. I hope this gives a small snapshot into what archivists can do!

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.”

Late 19th century and early 20th century school textbook drawings

As May nears its close, children across the state are getting ready for the end of the school year. Most students in Indiana rent their textbooks and are expected to return them in a condition similar to that in which they were received. Alas, books are often returned with minor additions, such as small artistic drawings doodled in page margins during bouts of boredom. Others may contain acerbic commentary on school life written on any blank spot the student can find.

The need for students to creatively enhance their textbooks is hardly a recent phenomenon. The Indiana State Library holds a large collection of school primers and textbooks from the 19th and early 20th centuries and many of these contain numerous drawings, doodles and humorous anecdotes.

The earliest example comes from a textbook published in 1853 and features several small drawings done in a sort of pointillism style with the images created by small ink dots.

Horses seem to be a popular artistic subject for 19th century students. This image came from a writing primer published in 1886.

Some drawings were very elaborate and were colored with crayons or colored pencils such as this railroad scene dated 1940.

This drawing of a schoolhouse is dated 1938.

This portrait of an elderly man, perhaps the student’s grandfather, was found in a spelling book published in 1901.

Less artistically-inclined students enhanced their textbooks in other ways such as the rather scathing caption on this image from an 1896 English textbook declaring the picture subject as being “not a pretty girl.”

Then there is this example found in the margin of a 1920s spelling book in which the sentence, “Ruth Fox is the best girl in school” is crossed out twice and the words “not so” are added to underscore the point. One can only imagine what poor Miss Fox did to fall from grace!

School textbooks and primers can be found by searching the Indiana State Library’s catalog.

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

Donating manuscripts

http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16066coll13/id/1018/rec/483

Sledding in Broad Ripple Park, circa 1900.

This time of year usually brings snow and ice, an overindulgence of baked goods (sugar cream pie, anyone?), tax refund shopping – and hopefully, spending quality time with family and friends. Perhaps you’ve had a conversation with a relative about whether or not to keep Grandpa’s letters from the Korean War? Maybe you opened a couple moving boxes and wondered if you should trash high school photographs?

Think about it.

You are a key part of defining Indiana’s history and culture. Help us preserve it by donating your collection to the Indiana State Library. As the season of spring cleaning quickly approaches, contact us if you find yourself in a dilemma. For more information on what we collect, visit the library’s Donating Manuscripts page.

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.”

The Barbara Stahl Collection’s fascinating journey within the Indiana State Library

We’re often asked, “What happens when materials make their way to Indiana State Library?” In this post, we’ll explore a collection’s journey with a recent acquisition from local artist, Barbara Stahl. The Barbara Stahl collection includes the first abstract work by a female artist to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.

Barbara contacted the division in September 2016 after she learned about the library’s services through a friend. At the time, WISH-TV published an article about her work in downtown Indianapolis with the Indiana Pacers. For those of you who might not know, Barbara is the artist and owner behind Stahl Studios Inc., specializing in commercial and public art in Indianapolis and the surrounding area.

In October 2016, staff met with Barbara about the possibility of displaying her artwork at the Indiana State Library. A short time later, we made a site visit to Stahl Studios and discussed her career as well as the process behind creating her new series of large-scale oil paintings titled “Skybridge.” The paintings are a release from her earlier, more chaotic works; a metaphor for reaching one’s higher self.

The exhibit was well-received and led the Indiana State Library Foundation to purchase “Consciousness Rising,” one of six paintings from the series. Notably, this was the first purchase of abstract work created by a female artist for the permanent collection. Stahl mentions “Being included in this prestigious collection is very special and something I am extremely proud of.”

Further conversation led to the acquisition of her drawings, photographic prints and personal papers to the division. At this time, Barbara’s collection includes over four cubic feet of material. Rare Books and Manuscripts staff have thoroughly enjoyed working with her on the project – an opportunity she describes as “creating her legacy.”

The collection items are carefully looked over during the accessioning process. An inventory and record is created with temporary housing selected for the library’s secure, temperature and humidity controlled vault. The conservator creates special housing to ensure the longevity of her complex formats, particularly wax on wood panels and mud paintings completed in Belize.

Simultaneously, staff begin processing and creating the finding aid for Barbara’s collection. The finding aid or guide is a detailed record providing an intellectual overview of the collection as well as a detailed list of its items. Once the finding aid is complete, we add it to the online public access catalog, Evergreen, our Finding Aid Index and digitize the items for our digital repository, the Indiana State Library Digital Collections. These services provide top-notch accessibility to Barbara’s collection in our library and around the world.

Patrons can stop by the second floor of the library during regular business hours to see the Barbara Stahl collection in-person. As a bonus, the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division is now open until 7 p.m. on Thursday evenings for research needs. Not only will you love seeing her work up close, you’ll also enjoy sitting in the beautiful, 1930s art deco inspired reading room.

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.”

Humor-mongering: Or, an 18th century joke book

The Indiana State Library is home to a number of fascinating items, including an excellent 19th century facsimile of the original “Joe Miller’s Jests.”

First published in London in 1739, the joke book offers 247 of the “most brilliant jests; the politest repartees; the most elegant bon mots, and most pleasant short stories in the English language,” according to the full title. The reprint duplicates the original typescript and title page down to listing the price of one shilling. The book’s compiler, John Mottley, under the nom de plume Elijah Jenkins, Esq., exploited the cachet of the recently deceased actor and comedian, Joe Miller, to sell copies.

“The Wits Vadecum,” as it was alternatively titled, proved quite popular. A vademecum is a handbook or guide, the sort you consult so often you keep it in your purse or on the bedside table. Joe Miller’s Jests grew so well-known that a worn-out or clichéd joke was often called “a Joe Miller.” An example of a Joe Miller today would be:

Q: How do you make a tissue dance?
A: Put a little boogie in it.

Cue eye roll.

Let’s look at a few types of witticisms found in “Joe Miller’s Jests” that still elicit the odd chuckle or guffaw even today.

Fart Jokes

“When the Duke of Ormond was young and came first to Court, he happen’d to stand next to my Lady Dorchester, one Evening in the Drawing-Room, who being but little upon the Reserve on most Occasions, let a Fart, upon which he look’d her full in the Face and laugh’d. What’s the Matter, my Lord, said she : Oh! I heard it, Madam, reply’d the Duke, you’ll make a fine Courtier indeed, said she, if you mind every Thing you hear in this Place.” (5)

Puns (a.k.a. plays on words)

“One of the foresaid Gentlemen, as was his Custom, preaching most exceedingly dull to a Congregation not used to him, many of them slunk out of the Church one after another, before the Sermon was near ended. Truly, said a Gentleman present, this learned Doctor has made a very moving Discourse.” (32)

“A Beggar asking Alms under the Name of a poor Scholar, a Gentleman to whom he apply’d himself, ask’d him a Question in Latin, the Fellow, shaking his Head, said he did not understand him: Why, said the Gentleman, did you not say you were a poor Scholar? Yes, reply’d the other, a poor one indeed, Sire, for I don’t understand one Word of Latin.” (54)

“A famous Teacher of Arithmetick, who had long been married without being able to get his Wife with Child : One said to her, Madam, your Husband is an excellent Arithmetician. Yes, replies she, only he can’t multiply.” (234)

Political Humor

“Sir B—ch—r W—y, in the Beginning of Queen Anne’s Reigh, and three or four more drunken Tories, reeling home from Fountain-Tavern in the Strand, on a Sunday Morning, cry’d out, we are the Pillars of the Church, no, by G–d, said a Whig, that happened to be in their Company, you can be but Buttresses, for you never come on the Inside of it.” (60)

“The Tories and the Whigs – Pulling for a Crown” cartoon, 1789. Source: Library of Congress.

Fat Jokes (on par with blonde jokes and their ilk)

“Dr. Tadloe, who was a very fat Man, happened to go thump, thump, with his great Legs, thro’ a Street, in Oxford, where some Paviers had been at Work, in the Midst of July, the Fellows immediately laid down their Rammers, Ah! God bless you, Master, cries one of ‘em, it was very kind of you to come this Way, it saves us a great deal of Trouble in this hot Weather.” (66)

Religious Humor

“Michael Angelo, in his Picture of the last Judgment, in the Pope’s Chappel, painted among the Figures in Hell, that of a certain Cardinal, who was his enemy, so like that every-body knew it at first Sight : Whereupon the Cardinal complaining to Pope Clement the Seventh, of the Affront, and desiring it might be defaced : You know very well, said the Pope, I have Power to deliver a Soul out of Purgatory but not out of Hell.” (74)

Dirty Jokes

“A Country Farmer going cross his Grounds in the Dusk of the Evening, spy’d a young Fellow and a Lady, very busy near a five Bar Gate, in one of his Fields, and calling to them to know what they were about, said the young Man no Harm, Farmer, we are only going to Prop-a-Gate.” (85)

Old Age Jokes

“A Lady’s Age happening to be questioned, she affirmed she was but Forty, and call’d upon a Gentleman that was in Company for his Opinion; Cousin, said she, do you believe I am in the Right, when I say I am but Forty? I ought not to dispute it, Madam, reply’d he, for I have heard you say so these ten Years.” (99)

And my personal favorite…

Library Jokes

“A Nobleman having chosen a very illiterate Person for his Library Keeper, one said it was like a Seraglio kept by an Eunuch.” (90)

(A seraglio is another word for harem.)

Engraving of a library by Richard Bernard Godfrey, ca. 1700s. Source: Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.

Many “jests” referred to well-known personages and their foibles, much like modern comedians poke fun at prominent politicians and celebrities today. It was the common practice of 18th-century journalists and satirists referencing a real, living person to censor most of the name (e.g., Lord C—by) to sidestep pesky charges of libel. Contemporaries of daily newspapers and scandal sheets would have understood the allusion, while present-day readers are left to puzzle it out using historical research or just remain in the dark.

The Duke of A—ll could refer to the Duke of Argyll or the Duke of Atholl, but 18th-century readers would easily have identified the culprit.

Other jokes and anecdotes featured famous historical figures like Henry VIII, Sir Thomas More, Oliver Cromwell, Caesar Augustus and Michelangelo.

Print of Sir Thomas More by Jacobus Houbraken, 1741. Source: Yale Center for British Art; Yale University Art Gallery Collection.

Though something is lost in translation without knowledge of historical society or slang, the roots of what makes people laugh remains the same. So, maybe it’s not too surprising that “Joe Miller’s Jests” has been reprinted and republished over and over in the 278 years since its original publication.

You can read more on the continuity of humor in this piece in the New York Post.

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.”

Meet the intern: Julia Deros

Meet one of the newest Indiana State Library interns, Julia Deros. Julia is originally from Cockeysville, Maryland and went to Gettysburg College, where she graduated with a bachelor’s in environmental studies and history.

Which school are you currently attending?
IUPUI.

What is your major?
Dual degree in library and information science and public history.

What is your job here at the Indiana State Library?
I am an intern with the Rare Books & Manuscripts Division.

Favorite part of the library or favorite thing about working at the library?
I really enjoy getting to work with documents from different time periods and helping visitors access history for their research.

How will this internship further your career?
I hope to one day work as an archivist, so this internship is a great experience for learning new skills and ways of thinking I’ll need as I start my career.

What is your favorite band?
Panic at the Disco.

Favorite movie?
The “Lord of the Rings” trilogy.

Finally, the best place to eat in Indy?
Nine Irish Brothers.

Thanks!

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director.

Recent acquisition: Local abstract art and papers of Barbara Stahl

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division recently acquired a collection of drawings, photographic prints and personal papers from notable Indianapolis artist, Barbara Stahl. The collection will continue to grow and be available for public viewing after processing is complete.

Barbara Stahl portrait, 2000

A native of Vincennes, Indiana, Stahl moved to Indianapolis in 1992 after receiving her MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania. Stahl is the founder and owner of Stahl Studios Inc., which specializes in commercial and public art. She is well-known for her Indiana Pacers schedule wall near Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the commemorative Super Bowl XLVI art project “Morning Magnolias” mural along the White River Canal.

Barbara Stahl, Morning Magnolias mural, 2012 Image Source: http://magazine.iupui.edu/12Spring/impact/46forXLVI.shtml

The Barbara Stahl collection is the first donation of abstract work by a female artist to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division. It comprises over four cubic feet of material, including clippings, photographs, undergraduate artwork slides, wax paintings on wood panels, screen and intaglio prints, charcoal drawings and mud paintings completed in Belize. Her 2014-2015 “Tiny III” artwork is pictured below.

The Indiana State Library Foundation recently purchased “Consciousness Rising,” a large-scale oil painting from her 2017 “Skybridge” series. The painting is on permanent display at the library and can be viewed during regular business hours.

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.”

‘Hoosiers at War!’ reception to take place at Indiana State Library

Visit the Indiana State Library on Monday, Nov. 20, 2017, from 4:30 to 7 p.m., for a special open-house reception to coincide with the “Hoosiers at War! From the Homefront to the Battlefield” exhibit that is currently on display throughout the library.

Over 150,000 people from Indiana answered the call to serve when the United States entered the Great War on April 6, 1917. “Hoosiers at War! From the Homefront to the Battlefield” showcases publications, correspondence, diaries, photographs and other materials detailing the experiences of Hoosiers during World War I, both at home and abroad.

The installation process.

The library will present artifacts of every day Hoosier heroes from the Great War, as well as some specially-selected treasures from the library’s collections. Library tours will also be available and light refreshments will be provided. Click here to register for this free event. Registration is encouraged, but not required.

The library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Parking is available in the Senate Ave. parking garage across from the library for $10 beginning at 4:30 p.m. The garage accepts credit cards only. No cash payments will be accepted. Street parking is also available.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director.

Two World War I stories: Newly digitized collections from World War I and the Hoosier Experience

With the World War I centennial upon us, library staff have been hard at work digitizing the collections of Hoosier heroes of all walks of life from wartime. While we are taking the time to highlight collections of those who served both at home and abroad, here are two new additions from the past few months: S0091 Joe Rand Beckett Collection and L359 Franklin Newton Taylor Collection.

A 1912 advertisement for Franklin N. Taylor as a voice teacher at the Metropolitan School of Music.

Both men were from Indianapolis, though Taylor was originally born in Danville, Ind. Taylor was a singer and, as part of the Y.M.C.A., traveled France entertaining the troops mostly throughout the Bordeaux region. Aside from his war work, he served as music director at the Central Avenue Methodist Episcopal Church, choir director at Irvington Methodist Episcopal Church and was a voice instructor at Metropolitan School of Music (later Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music at Butler University) from 1908 until 1949. His collection includes a plethora of personal correspondence and newspaper clippings, as well as Y.M.C.A. and World War I travel ephemera and interesting personal effects that he collected.

Seashells collected by Franklin Taylor in La Rochelle, France while overseas with the Y.M.C.A., dated Jan. 30, 1919.

Beckett was an Indianapolis architect, lawyer, philanthropist, member of the Indiana Senate and captain of the 326th Field Artillery, Battery D during World War I. Shortly before the war, he had passed the bar and formed the law firm, Beckett and Beckett, with his father. At the beginning of his service, Beckett’s rank was first lieutenant and rose to captain in August 1918. The battery sailed from New York to Scotland the following month, arriving in France at the end of September only a few weeks out from Armistice. His senatorial career took place during 1929 and 1931; afterwards he became known for pioneering low-income housing in Indianapolis, specifically Lockefield Gardens. His collection contains several photographs, correspondence during and after the war and military papers, including the roster and movements of 326th F.A., Battery D.

A photograph of Joe Rand Beckett (right) in uniform in 1918; location unknown.

This postcard was sent to Captain Joe Rand Beckett’s wife, Mary Ann Beckett, to notify her that he had arrived safely overseas; ca. September 1918.

 

Sources:

“Joe Rand Beckett.” Indiana Legislator Database. Accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

Barrow, Robert G. “The Local Origins of New Deal Housing Project The Case of Lockefield Gardens in Indianapolis.” Indiana Magazine of History 103, no. 2 (2007): 125-151, accessed Sept. 1, 2017.

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.”

Marie Stuart Edwards: Suffragist and social reformer

Indiana engendered more than one leader of the U.S. women’s suffrage movement. The most recognized of these Hoosier suffragists today are probably May Wright Sewall and Ida Husted Harper. Marie Stuart Edwards of Peru, Ind. was among the next generation of activists to take up the cause.

Marie Stuart Edward, circa 1910s. (SP021)

In many ways, Edwards was typical of women’s suffragists from Indiana. Born on Sept. 11, 1880, she was one of two children in an upper middle-class family from Lafayette, Ind. Edwards received a first-class education, having graduated from Smith College in 1901 and had a supportive husband, Richard E. Edwards (1880-1969), who she married in 1904.

Over six feet in height with brown hair and eyes, Edwards was described as “a woman of brilliant, buoyant personality” in the Carroll County Citizen-Times. Not one for idle hands, Edwards oversaw designing and decorating for her husband’s business, the Peru Chair Company, while raising her only child, Richard Arthur (1909-1984), and taking an interest in social reform.

Marie Stuart Edward and her son, Richard Arthur, 1912. (SP021)

Alongside her contemporaries Grace Julian Clark and Luella McWhirter, Edwards belonged to various women’s clubs and desired the right to vote so she might effect social change. Also, like many Hoosier suffragists, Edwards lent her support to the mainstream suffrage movement, carefully keeping away from the more radical factions, such as Alice Paul’s National Woman’s Party.

Map of states where women could vote in 1914. From NAWSA pamphlet (S3355).

In 1917, Edwards was elected president of the Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana, an organization associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association (NAWSA). That same year, the Indiana General Assembly passed the Maston-McKinley Partial Suffrage Act, granting Hoosier women the right to vote in municipal, school and special elections.

Woman’s Franchise League of Indiana leaflet before repeal of partial suffrage law, 1917. (S3355)

Between 30,000 and 40,000 women registered to vote in Indianapolis alone within a few months. However, Indiana suffragists soon suffered a bitter disappointment. On October 26, 1917, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled the law was unconstitutional.

The court’s decision shocked Edwards, but she declared that Indiana women would continue to fight for equal enfranchisement. She was right. Although the women of the state seemed shaken by the setback, they soon recovered, gaining confidence as momentum for a national suffrage amendment mounted.

Cartoon from NAWSA leaflet promoting pro-suffrage parades in Chicago and St. Louis, 1916. (S3355)

While managing her husband’s chair factory during his war service, Edwards also served as the Franchise League’s president until 1919, when she became more heavily involved with NAWSA working for the passage of the 19th Amendment. The Susan B. Anthony Amendment, as it was then called, was ratified on August 18, 1920. It stated, “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”

Carrie Chapman Catt and Marie Stuart Edwards on either side of the next U.S. president, Warren G. Harding, Social Justice Day, October 1, 1920, Marion, Ohio. (SP021)

In February of 1920, months before the amendment’s passage, Edwards helped found the League of Women Voters, in preparation for helping women exercise their new rights as voting citizens. A non-partisan organization, approximately 2 million women joined the League by 1921. Edwards served as the first treasurer of the National League of Women Voters and then as the organization’s first vice president until 1923. As part of her duties as treasurer and manager of the national speakers bureau for the League, she traveled widely across the United States.

Marie Stuart Edwards (front row, middle) volunteering with the Red Cross during World War II. (SP021)

In Indiana, Edwards remained heavily invested in civic responsibility. She was the first woman to sit on the Peru Board of Education and in 1922, Governor Warren T. McCray appointed her to the Indiana State Board of Education. Later, Edwards led the local Works Progress Administration board in Miami County during the Great Depression. In 1937, she served as vice president of the Indiana Board of Public Welfare, as well as chairman of the drafting committee for the Indiana Civil Service bill. Edwards was also a member of Miami County Board of Public Welfare (late 1940s-1955) and served on state women’s prison parole board during the 1950s. She died in Peru, Indiana on November 17, 1970.

Sources:
Wilson, Mindwell Crampton. “Thoughts in Passing.” Carroll County Citizen-Times, November 17, 1917, 3.

Dice, Nellie Waggoner. “Forum: The Readers Corner.” Indianapolis Star, July 16, 1977, 63.

Harper, Ida Husted, ed. “Indiana.” In History of Woman Suffrage, 1900-1920, vol. 6. New York: National American Woman Suffrage Association, 1922.

Kalvaitis, Jennifer M. “Indianapolis Women Working for the Right to Vote: The Forgotten Drama of 1917.” MA thesis, Indiana University, 2013.

Images from the Mary Smiley Small Photograph Collection (SP021) and Women’s Suffrage Movement Collection (S3355), Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library. These items are available online in Women in Hoosier History collection in the ISL Digital Collections.

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.