Talking Book and Braille Library November Book Club

There is one more chance this year to participate in the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library Book Club! The final meeting of the year will take place on Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2018, at 2 p.m. Eastern/1 p.m.Central. The book we will be reading and discussing is “News of the World” by Paulette Jiles, which is available to Talking Book patrons in audio (DB 86668), braille (BR 21741) and large print (LP 20739).

The novel follows an itinerant news reader as he escorts a ten-year-old white girl back to her family after her rescue from a Native American tribe. Participants can join the discussion by calling our toll-free dial in number, 877-422-1931, and entering the conference code 8762032518. Participants may also request that the library call them at the appointed time.

To request the book and to let us know that you are interested in attending, please contact Laura Williams via email or at 1-800-622-4970.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library. 

ISL hidden resource – Federal documents at the Indiana State Library

The Indiana State Library participates in the Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP), serving as the regional depository for the state of Indiana. Providing access to government information is only one service offered by the library. ISL is committed to promoting government information literacy to all Hoosiers. That information is found on the Indiana Federal Documents website. Created to be the resource destination for learning and locating government information, Indiana Federal Documents contains tips and resources relating on the federal government geared for both researchers and librarians.

The Indiana Federal Documents site features blog posts promoting specific government resources, services or upcoming educational events. Beyond the blogs posts are research and subject guides. The research guides cover an overview of the SuDoc classification, how to research congressional documents and reports and how to research public and private laws. The subject guides are compiled government resources on a particular topic. The guides include the site, URL and a short description of the resource. Currently, there are subject guides for the following topics: children’s resources, college resources, family history resources and popular government resources. All of the sourced information comes from an official government agency or government project.

Indiana Federal Documents also includes information specific to librarians, like Indiana’s Light Archive Agreement, Indiana’s State Focused Action Plan, procedures, guidelines, links to government information webinars and government information Listservs. Additional resources relating to government information can be found from the federal documents collection page through the Indiana State Library. In addition to linking directly to IFD, the federal documents page has information on ISL’s history in the FDLP, information on Government Information Day (GID) conferences and links to prominent government resources. For any questions, or sources not discussed, Federal Documents Librarian Brent Abercrombie is available to contact for guidance.

This blog post was written by Indiana State Library Federal Documents Coordinator Brent Abercrombie. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

IMDPLA Fest recap

IMDPLA Fest: a one day discussion of all things Indiana Memory – Digital Public Library of America. You can find the region’s best and brightest digitization minds sharing thought-provoking new projects, discussing best practices and elevating the conversation surrounding digital preservation…

…and me.

I’m not a digitization specialist in even the most generous sense of the word. But I do work with them, and I oversee a grant program that funds some of the projects. In order to better understand just what those LSTA digitization monies are paying for – and to follow the larger discussions surrounding digitization projects – I attended the fest as an onlooker with a vested interest. Turns out, you don’t have to be an expert to benefit from the expert discussion.

Keynote speaker John Bracken, executive director of DPLA, summarized recent studies on children’s increasing internet use, finding it to be a trend parents absolutely needed to embrace if they wanted their child to succeed, while simultaneously being something that should terrify them. The odd juxtaposition got a laugh, but was also a was a fitting segue to a discussion of the necessity of DPLA, and its informational gatekeepers, to adapt to changing technologies and to take quality, vetted content to people at their points of access.

There were concurrent breakout sessions on large-scale digitization projects, loosely broken into two tracks: visual resources and manuscripts. Those interested in visual resources were offered sessions on The Iditarod of Photo Digitization: Junior Achievement and Indiana: 1800s Land Records Accessed by Township Address. People like myself, who followed the manuscripts, were treated to an overview on the work of digitizing the letters and journals of Saint Mother Theodore Guerin, and one about the challenges inherent in digitizing employee records from the Pullman-Standard Railroad Car Manufacturing Company. And isn’t that food for thought: one day, your employee records, complete with notes on performance issues, could be eagerly set upon by future digital historians, preserved for all the world to see. Decades from now, a room full of scholars could be debating whether your since-expired self has any right to privacy regarding your records, or whether your history of habitual tardiness or not playing well with others now belongs to the annals of history. Or, if we’re travelling down that rabbit hole, consider those journals from the sainted Theodore Guerin. Her letters and journals are darkly humorous, somewhat pointed, deeply personal… and now preserved for future study. They are a wonderful, thought-provoking resource that brings such humanity to this particular bit of history. They are also a reminder that I might want to seriously consider setting fire to all of my overly angsty middle school writings.

A break for lunch was followed by some lightning sessions highlighting useful digitization tools and sites, before wrapping up the day with two practical, nuts-and-bolts overviews on issues every digitization project faces: questions of copyright and fair use and best practices for creating useable metadata.

The back half of the day gave concrete instructions for people in the field, and an appreciation of the complexity of the issues for observers like me. If you ever thought that digitization merely involved slapping down a page on a scanner and calling it a day – well, this meeting of the minds would disavow you of that idea. My appreciation of the work of digitization continues to grow, as does my need to shred a terribly mortifying childhood diaries. You know… just in case.

This blog post was written by Angela Fox, LSTA and federal projects consultant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Library Development Office at 800-451-6028 or via email.

Librarian certification by the numbers

It has been a busy quarter for the Certification Department at the Indiana State Library. In July, the Professional Licensing Agency on ISL’s behalf sent over 900 renewal notices to librarians with certificates that expire Sept. 30, 2018. As of Sept. 18, here is a tally of some of the activity that has taken place as a result:

  • 47 notices were returned as undeliverable
  • 23 libraries contacted the ISL about notices for 63 people they no longer employ
  • 6 former librarians contacted ISL directly to say they had retired
  • 175 people have renewed online
  • 192 renewals submitted by mail have been processed
  • About 40 people due to renew have upgraded their certificates instead.

There are currently 2,479 active certified librarians in Indiana. So how did we end up with well over a third of all librarian certificates expiring at the end of this month?

Indiana has a long history of certifying public librarians with the goal of maintaining the integrity of public libraries and the quality of services provided to public library patrons. Our current certification program began in 2008. The first step of that process involved issuing 2,277 grandfathered certificates to all staff working in positions requiring certification, regardless of whether or not they held the necessary credentials. This eased the transition to a new set of certification requirements by protecting those people already employed by libraries from losing their jobs due to the new requirements.

Grandfathered certificates have one significant limitation in that they are not portable. They only remain in force if the individual holding the certificate stays at the same library and in the same job classification held when the certificate was originally issued. Because of this limitation, over the years when the time came to renew most grandfathered librarians have applied for regular certificates instead.

To maintain certification a librarian must earn a prescribed number of librarian education units (LEUs) and renew their certificate every five years. This is true regardless of whether the librarian holds a grandfathered certificate or a regular certificate. Because this five-year certification cycle began by putting all librarians into the same renewal period, certification statistics ebb and flow significantly from year to year with a pronounced increase in both new certifications and renewals every five years.

The first big wave of renewals came in 2013, when 466 people renewed their certificates. We are now experiencing the second wave of renewals for that initial group of librarians certified in 2008. Though some members of this group have retired or left the profession, as of January 2018, our database still included over 400 grandfathered librarians. Many from this cohort have upgraded to regular certificates, but still fall in the same renewal cycle.

Here is a look at our certification numbers over the past ten years:

The number of new librarian certificates each year includes grandfathered librarians moving to regular certificates as well as those who are new to the profession or new to Indiana and those who have earned the credentials to move to a higher level of certification.

Librarian certification rules can be found in 590 IAC 5. They are officially promulgated by the state, but they are actually created and periodically reviewed by teams of Indiana librarians for relevancy and appropriateness. They were last reviewed in 2016, by a committee of librarians representing various professional levels and different-sized libraries throughout the state. The committee recommended some changes, but they overwhelmingly supported maintaining professional standards for Indiana librarians to ensure the public’s information needs are being met by appropriately qualified librarians.

Written by Cheri Harris, certification program director/legal consultant at the Indiana State Library. Find more information about certification on our website here.

Indiana Young Readers Center staff heads to the National Book Festival

Suzanne Walker and Caitlyn Stypa, staff of the Indiana Young Readers Center located in the Indiana State Library, attended the National Book Festival in Washington, D. C. on Sept. 1, 2018. This diary describes their time at the festival.

From the diary of Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book and Indiana Young Readers Center librarian:

8/31/2018

Dear Diary:

Caitlyn and I had a very early start the day before the festival. I am not kidding when I say that I woke up at 4 a.m. Our flight was at 6:50 a.m. Yikes. I headed to Caitlyn’s house and woke up the neighborhood when her dog decided to wish me a very good morning repeatedly. We finally got on the road. I did miss my turn to go to the airport, which I’ve never done before. I blame the fact that Caitlyn and I were chatting. We chat a lot. All that being said, we arrived at the Indy airport and were on our way with no problem. Our flight was great.

Here we are at the D.C. airport getting ready to jump on the metro. Our first stop is the convention center to set up our booth!

Here is our booth for the National Book Festival. Indiana always tries to make a good showing at the festival. The festival is a free event with book sales, author talks and signings, multiple stages and lots of activities for visitors, including the Parade of the States. Each state shows up with their signature stamp and a book that they are highlighting. Visitors get a map of the USA and collect stamps from each state. The day is usually a blur of children pushing maps in our faces for us to stamp. This is both good and bad. The good part is that we can see a lot of people, but the bad part is it can become a bit repetitive. We are hoping that our unique decorations will make people ask us about our highlighted book, because what do lobsters have to do with Indiana? I’ll answer that later! Indiana always has great bookmarks to give away that are donated to us by Ball State University. This year was no different. We have thousands of bookmarks to give away.

Once our booth was ready, we had enough time to take in a museum before my evening meeting at the Library of Congress. We headed to the National Portrait Gallery and got to see the newest presidential portraits, a gallery of Native American portraits done by George Catlin and some more modern pieces including a map of the U.S. done in neon lights and television screens. I was really interested in the Catlin portraits because of the work we recently did on a new video describing the murals at the ISL. I was glad to see the Indy 500 represented in the modern neon map.

Caitlyn stayed at the National Portrait Gallery while I headed off to the Library of Congress for my meeting, which was primarily about Letters About Literature. It was all good stuff. Caitlyn and I met up after the meeting in an amazing location for two ISL employees to meet in D.C.

Clearly I was excited to find the Indiana Plaza. You can’t tell too much from this picture but it was HOT in D.C.

Our long day was topped off by dinner at Founding Farmers. We had a great time meeting up with old and new friends before we hit the hay to rest up before the National Book Festival tomorrow. Yawn. More tomorrow.

9/1/2018

Dear Diary:

Wow! What a great day we had at the National Book Festival! We started out with breakfast at the hotel and then did the quick walk over to the convention center. We were there by 8:30 a.m., with doors opening at 9 a.m. We said hello to lots of other states and had to run over to the Maine table to explain about the lobsters. Didn’t want any drama with a fellow state!

So here’s the story of why the Indiana booth was covered with Magic 8-Balls and lobsters: The book we chose to highlight in our booth this year was “Made You Up” by Francesca Zappia. Chessie, as we call her because we are now best friends, was only 19 when she wrote the book. She grew up in Indianapolis and is a dream to work with. The book is about a girl who has schizophrenia. She uses a Magic 8-Ball to help her decide what’s real and what’s not and lobsters also have a big role in the book.

And guess who showed up at our booth!? Chessie herself! Francesca was at our booth from 10 a.m to 12 p.m. signing books, bookmarks and helping us stamp maps. It was great to hang out with her and she loved the lobsters and Magic 8-Balls that decorated our booth. Did I mention that our decorations were drawn by an ISL staff member? True story! And they turned out great.

Here’s me and my good friend, Francesca Zappia.

People did ask about the lobsters. And we gave away all the “good stuff” by about 2 p.m. There are about 100,000 people who visit the National Book Festival each year, including Carl Harvey! Lots of Hoosiers also showed up at our table just to say hi and tell us where they are from. We talked a lot about the Indiana State Library and classic Indiana titles. We had a Magic 8-Ball that only answers one question: What Indiana classic should you read next? There are 20 possible answers in that thing! I got “Raintree County.” Caitlyn got “Princess Diaries.”

Here’s Caitlyn, stamping yet another map.

By 3 p.m. I was searching for an aspirin to help with the headache that was doomed to appear. Minnesota helped me out. We stamped more maps and at 5 p.m. we packed up our booth and heaved a sigh of relief. Another successful National Book Festival in the books (excuse the pun)!

After the festival we had dinner with representatives from Alaska, Wisconsin and Michigan. We swapped NBF stories and invited each other to see our representative state libraries. After dinner, Caitlyn and I might have gotten some gelato and then we definitely crashed. Good night!

9/2/2018

Dear Diary:

Caitlyn and I head back to Indy at 5 p.m. today. We have just enough time to see the National Mall and one museum before we head to the airport to get checked in for our flight. We had a great time representing Indiana at the National Book Festival!

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

Papers of Indiana Representative Earl F. Landgrebe now available for research

“Don’t confuse me with the facts. I’ve got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment. I’m going to stick with my president even if he and I have to be taken out of this building and shot.”[1]

This infamous quote was given by Indiana Rep. Earl F. Landgrebe the day before President Richard Nixon formally resigned. Prior to being elected as representative for Indiana’s 2nd District, Landgrebe had served in the Indiana State Senate from 1959 to 1968. In 1968, he succeeded Charles A. Halleck as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives in the same election that also put Nixon in the White House.

After Landgrebe was defeated in the 2nd District by Floyd Fithian, the Indiana State Library acquired his political papers from his period at the U.S. House of Representatives from 1968 to 1974. Previously sealed, the papers were recently processed – a project of about 18 months – and are now open for research under the identifier L625.

A piece of correspondence from Nixon to Landgrebe.

Typical hallmarks of 20th century political papers include correspondence with other politicians and notable contemporary figures, correspondence from constituents regarding issues of the day and in-depth discussion and research into issues that were important to the politician and the population they were serving. Besides standard correspondence between Landgrebe, his constituents and other notable Hoosiers and the day-to-day functions of a U.S. representative, the collection includes material on several other notable topics. For example, the Indiana subject files give a snapshot of the strengths and needs of the Hoosier state during the early 1970s. Organized alphabetically by topic or state agency, these papers show how the state was handling anything from education to veterans’ affairs at the time and to what extent Landgrebe was involved.

A draft of a speech on Gold Star Mothers.

Series 2, pertaining to legislative affairs, is the deepest area of the collection. There is extensive coverage on notable issues from Nixon’s administration, including Vietnam, the draft, Watergate, abortion and OSHA. Another area of interest, particularly to Indiana researchers, is the material on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. After 1966, when the National Lakeshore was established, there were efforts to expand the boundaries of the park, which Landgrebe opposed, as he opposed most things! The first expansion bill wasn’t completed until 1976, but there is a great deal of information on the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore in the collection from the years 1969 to 1974 when Landgrebe was in Congress.

A piece of constituent correspondence on Watergate.

In 1974, Landgrebe returned home to Valparaiso and resumed presiding over his family trucking business. He died on July 1, 1986. Despite being a contentious presence in the U.S. House as well as in his district, Landgrebe leaves behind a wealth of information about the legislation and social debates of 1970s America. This collection serves as a fruitful resources for researchers of Indiana politicians, 1970s politics, the Vietnam War, the history of Northwest Indiana and more.

[1] Pearson, Richard, “Obituaries: Earl F. Landgrebe,” Washington Post, July 1, 1986, Accessed September 6, 2018.

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.”

Creating a title for Indiana Voices

Earlier this year, I posted a blog entry about how books are selected for inclusion into the Indiana Voices audiobook collection. This time around I thought that I might share about the process that goes into taking the selected book from its printed form and turning it into either an audiobook on cartridge or a downloadable version for the Library of Congress National Library Service BARD website.

There are multiple steps needed to complete this process, including the aforementioned title selection. After selecting a title, the next step is pairing the book with the right narrator. Many of our program’s narrators are good at reading just about anything, but there are some that just seem to have the right voice for a particular genre. I like to match them up with the types of books that they seem to best convey.

Next, we move on the heart and soul of the process; the actual narration of the book.  Narrators must read ahead to get a feel for the structure and composition of the book and how they need to approach it. Narrators also have to read ahead in order to look for unfamiliar words, names or geographical locations, in order to get the correct pronunciations down.

The narration can take anywhere from six weeks to eleven months or longer to complete, depending on the length of the book. At present, the longest I have worked on getting one title recorded was about two years, but that did include a few breaks for that particular narrator to work on other recordings.

Once a title is recorded, it moves on to the next step, which is proofreading for errors. During the recording process, the narrator and the person monitoring the recording can only catch so many errors. That’s why this step is so critical. It ensures the accuracy of the recording by having another set of ears listen to the book as they read along with the printed text. The proofreader logs any mistakes that may have occurred. These errors could include omitted words, added words, mispronunciations or other such discrepancies that may have happened during the original recording.

After a title is proofread, the log sheet is checked and the discovered errors are corrected. This usually involves having the original narrator come in and re-read some of the text from the book.

The final step of the process is to add the electronic markers onto the completed recording so titles, annotations, chapter headings and such can be accessed during playback. The finished audiobook it is now ready to be either transferred to a cartridge or uploaded to the NLS BARD website.

Learn more about Indiana Voices by visiting this link.

This blog post was written by Linden Coffman, director of Indiana Voices. For more information about the Talking Book and Braille Library, call 1-800-622-4970 or send an email.

Janet Flanner: A writer of not so few words

“I love writing. I’m just nuts on writing. Just give me an inkpot and a paper and a pen, and away I go.” – Janet Flanner

Janet Flanner was born March 13, 1892, in Indianapolis, to a prominent Quaker family. Flanner’s father, Frank Flanner, Indiana’s first licensed embalmer1, co-owned a mortuary, currently known as Flanner-Buchanan, and also ran the first crematorium in Indiana. Her mother encouraged her to be an actress, but Janet had no passion for the stage. Instead, Flanner followed her own passion and became a writer.

After traveling abroad with her family and then studying in Indianapolis at Tudor Hall School for Girls, now known as Park Tudor School, she enrolled at the University of Chicago in 1912, leaving the school in 1914. Flanner returned to Indianapolis and became the first cinema critic for the Indianapolis Star. Starting in 1918, her column “Comments on the Screen” was one of the first of its kind – a review of films.

Indianapolis Star (1907-1922); Jun 2, 1918; ProQuest Historical Newspapers: Indianapolis Star pg. B1

In late 1918, Flanner left Indianapolis and headed to New York and eventually on to Paris where she pursued the life of a writer and journalist. She served as the Paris correspondent of The New Yorker magazine from its humble beginnings in 1925, with her first column appearing in the September issue. She wrote under the pen name “Genêt.” During this time, Flanner also published her one and only novel, “The Cubical City,” set in New York City.

Janet Flanner, c. 1925

Working as a foreign correspondent during World War II, Flanner lived in New York City, later returning to Paris in 1944. Her work in The New Yorker not only included her famous “Letter from Paris” columns, but also a seminal three-part series profiling Adolph Hitler in 1936 and coverage of the Nuremberg trials in 1945. She also participated in a series of weekly radio broadcasts for the NBC Blue Network during the months following the liberation of Paris in late August 1944.

Ernest Hemingway with Janet Flanner, circa 1944.

Flanner continued to cover major events such as the Suez crisis, the Soviet invasion of Hungary and the strife in Algeria which led to the rise of Charles de Gaulle.

Janet Flanner in correspondent’s uniform, c. 1944, Janet Flanner Collection, Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress (137) LC-USZ62-112977

In 1975, Flanner permanently returned to New York City where she was cared for by her long-time companion, Natalia Danesi Murray. Flanner also retired from from The New Yorker at this time. Among her books are “Paris Journal,” “Paris Was Yesterday,” “London Was Yesterday,” “An American in Paris” and “Men and Monuments.” Most of them made up of her columns from The New Yorker.

An exhibit of Janet Flanner materials from the Indiana State Library’s collection currently on display on the second floor of the library.

Flanner died on Nov. 7, 1978, of undetermined causes and was cremated. According to Murray’s son, William Murray, in his book “Janet, My Mother, and Me,” Flanner’s and Murray’s ashes were spread over Cherry Grove in Fire Island where the two had met in 1940.

Further Readings:
Women Come to the Front
Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame
Encyclopedia Britannia
Wikipedia

1. https://flannerbuchanan.com/history/

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

Genealogy for kids

Are you looking for a fun, meaningful and ongoing activity you can do with your children? Here’s an idea the whole family will enjoy and it just might turn into a lifelong adventure! Why not get the family involved in some genealogy research by connecting your children to their grandparents, great grandparents and other ancestors down the line?

First of all, it is best to define genealogy in easy to understand terms. It’s the story of the family members that came before them. Explain that these people are their ancestors. Genealogy entails tracing back your family lines and studying your family history and family relationships. It is the story of where they lived, who they married and how many children they had. Genealogy can begin with a search for the vital records of ancestors. These records include the dates and places of birth, marriage and death. Ask children why these might be called vital records and why they are considered so important.

Ask your children, “If you want to discover your own genealogy and family history, who do you think you should start with?” Should you start with grandparents? Parents? Of course, they should begin with themselves because they know the most about themselves. It is also logical to start with themselves to be able to see how they connect to other family members down the line. A packet, “My Journal: All About Me,” can be accessed here. Finding out facts and other information about you and your family involves research and a good researcher should gather the appropriate supplies to help them be successful. They will need a notebook or paper and pencil to write down the information they find. A folder will come in handy to hold the notebook and any papers. Some optional items might include a computer, a camera or a video or audio recording device. The linked packet also contains helpful definitions related to genealogy and helpful websites and books. A list of starter questions to ask family members is included in the above mentioned packet. Children should also be encouraged to come up with some of their own questions to ask about the things they would like to know regarding their family members.

Kids will have fun answering questions about themselves and recording the information. Once they have answered the basic questions about birth date and where they were born, they can then delve a little deeper with answering questions like, “My name was chosen for me because…” or “I was named after…”

Their next steps will involve asking questions about parents. It’s important for children to know that it’s okay if they are not able to find out information about a parent or grandparent. It’s good to emphasize that everyone has one or more “holes” in their family genealogy that can’t be filled in at the moment. Some searches for family members can be ongoing for many years. Encourage children to just continue on with the family members they do have information about.

Now it is time to move on to gathering information about grandparents. Sometimes a visual chart can help children understand the connections between themselves and their parents and grandparents. Explain that maternal grandparents are the parents of the mother. This is easy to remember with the “ma” at the beginning of the word maternal, as in your “ma.” The paternal grandparents are the parents of the father. This is easy to remember with the “pa” at the beginning of the word paternal, as in your “pa.”

A very basic beginning family tree example.

By learning about grandparents and understanding what their lives were like, children learn and understand more about themselves and their immediate family. Hopefully, children will discover that they share some of the same traits, characteristics and talents that a grandparent might have. Helping children see similarities and connections will make it fun and relevant for everyone.

An interesting project that children will enjoy is gathering pictures of family members at approximately the same age and making comparisons between the family members.

A baby picture comparison of a grandfather, two of his children and three of his grandchildren.

As mentioned before, the linked packet has a list of suggested questions to ask. Questions such as “What kinds of games did you play?,” “What part of childhood do you think most about now?,” “How is the world different today than it was when you were growing up?” and “What is the most important thing that has happened to you?”

At this point, much information has been gathered. The concept of a family tree or pedigree chart can now be introduced. Some people show their family history using a family tree or a pedigree chart, which are diagrams of the members of a family. With each of these, lines are used to show how people are related. For example, the lines show people who are married or have children. There is an unlimited variety of family tree and pedigree chart templates that can be downloaded for free from the internet.

Example of a family tree.

Example of a pedigree chart.

For older children, you can now add in a discussion and some research about the immigration of ancestors. With the subject of immigration currently in the news daily, there could be some great discussions about immigration in the past and present. Ask about the connections between immigration and genealogy. Probe a bit and ask what they think are some of the causes for people immigrating in the past and now. Perhaps life may have become too difficult in their native country. It could be because of lack of means for earning an income and needing to live in a place where there would be better work opportunities available. Immigrants come because of violence, war or religious persecution in their native country. They may come looking for a better life and future for themselves and their children. They may come to join other family members that came before them.

For many of us, all of our long ago ancestors were immigrants to North America at some point in time, with the exception of those who are full-blooded Native Americans. The immigration story of each of our ancestors is part of each person’s family history. It can be powerful for children to learn about their ancestors’ struggles and stories of survival.

It’s important to ask children questions before, during and after their research. It will help deepen their critical thinking skills. Bloom’s taxonomy of learning progresses from remembering, understanding, applying, analyzing, evaluating and creating. Helping children engage in higher level thinking skills will help them develop into stronger learners and critical thinkers.

Here are just a few example questions that could be asked:

  • How can I connect this information to my own life? How are my ancestors similar; dissimilar?
  • What would you do if you lived in another country in 1800 and could not find a job to support and take care of your family? Explain your answer.
  • Why do you think your ancestors settled in a particular region or city? Explain.

I hope these tips will help you engage your children and family by facilitating a personal connection to learning about your family’s past. I also encourage you and your family to check out the genealogy titles for kids featured throughout this blog post. You can find the titles and authors by clicking on the pictures.

This blog post was written by Alice Winslow, librarian, Genealogy Division. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library Genealogy Division at (317) 232-3689.

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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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.