Sharing your family story

When my oldest brother was a toddler, my grandfather would prop him up on his lap and spoon feed him a concoction he liked to call “coffee soup.” It was made from soaking soda crackers in sugary coffee. My grandfather lived through the depression and dishes like this were popular because they made the most out of a few kitchen staples when times were tough. Grandpa Harold passed away before I was born but the coffee soup story just happens to be one of my brother’s favorite memories to share.

I heard so many stories of my grandfather’s exploits growing up that he became sort of a folk hero in the family. I’m grateful to be a part of a family of fantastic storytellers. In fact, every time my family is together we tell stories. We dig up our most precious, most hilarious and special memories and recount them together. The facts may change as we age and our memories fade, but we all work together to put the important moments of our lives into context and bond over our shared history.

I never realized the true value of these stories until recently. Research has shown some surprising psychological benefits to family story telling, particularly with the younger generation, but the advantages last through all stages of life. Stories that focus on overcoming or facing challenges build resilience and fortitude when we are faced with difficulties of our own. Strong family narratives have been shown to help mitigate both stress and anxiety during tough situations.1  They help us to form our identities and find a sense of belonging.

Right now, as we manage the challenges presented by COVID-19, many of us are searching for ways to connect and make meaningful use of the time spent with family members. One way to do this is to plan some multi-generational bonding through sharing your family story. Stories can be told almost any time and in any place. Even mundane activities, like car rides, can be opportunities to share a story. If you are looking for some inspiration here are a few storytelling project ideas you may want to try with your family.

Interview a family member

David and Margaret Worton wedding, Genealogy Division, Indiana State Library

Interview a family member and record their story to pass along for generations. With just a little preparation and time you can uncover the challenges, triumphs and adventures that make up your family member’s life story. If you need help, the UCLA library has a Conducting Oral Histories with Family Members guide. This is a fantastic resource for each step of the project from preparing for the interview, organizing questions and making a recording.

Family Tree Magazine has a list of 20 open-ended questions to ask your relative during a family history interview. For an even more extensive interview, the My Heritage Blog has a list of 117 questions. You could use these lists for inspiration by creating some questions of your own based on what you want to know most about your family member’s life. You may get more out of the experience if you send the interviewee the questions in advance so that they can think about their answers ahead of time. Always respect their decision if they choose not to share certain information. This builds trust and will make them more comfortable sharing the rest of their story with you.

For those who would like to interview a family member that doesn’t live in the same household, there are a number of technological solutions like smartphone apps that record telephone calls to recording a video interview. Just be sure that the person you are interviewing approves of being recorded first. You don’t have to have a recording device, though. A piece of paper and a pencil to write down responses is all you really need to capture their story.

Work together on a family tree craft project
If you have some paper and old magazines on hand, Kinderart offers a tutorial on how to make a family tree collage. Since trips to the craft store may be a challenge right now, it’s convenient that most of the supplies required are items that many people already have handy. As you craft the tree you can tell stories about each person represented. Discuss their lives, pass on stories you’ve been told, or talk about any memories you have of them. This is a fantastic project for all ages and the end result is a work of art that could be displayed and cherished for generations.

Explore family photos

Nancy H. Diener collection, Genealogy Division, Indiana State Library

Open up your photo albums, digital photo gallery or those boxes of photos hanging out in the closet and go through them together. Talk about the people in the photos and tell stories about their lives. Some families have many of photos going back generations that they can share while others have more recent family photos on digital devices, like phones or computers. Recent memories are just as important for story building as those passed down over time. So don’t worry if you don’t have access to older family photos. Either way, this is a great opportunity to pass on and make memories.

Through email, text or social networking sites you could share the photos electronically with those you live apart from to create a connection and conversation across distances. For example, my grandmother has been adding her family photos to her Facebook newsfeed. She recently shared photos of her grandparents and later told me stories about the pictures. I would have never heard those stories if she hadn’t added these photos on social media. An added bonus is that now multiple family members have digital copies of these pictures, too.

Share your own story
Begin journaling or sharing your own life experiences. You have many irreplaceable family memories that only you can share with your loved ones. If you need help getting started the FamilySearch has a blog post with nine writing tips on how to tell your personal story.

As author Robin Moore says, “Inside each of us is a natural-born storyteller, waiting to be released.” Our memories are some of the most valuable gifts that we can share with one another. They are free, easy to pass on and they have the power to connect generations of family members together. Now is a great time to think about how our family stories have shaped and guided us throughout our lives and to create new stories for the future.

1 Feiler, B. (2013, Mar 17). “The stories that bind us: Children who know their family’s history are better at facing challenges.” New York Times (1923-Current File) Retrieved from https://search-proquest-com.ezproxy.ilibrary.org/docview/1815060551?accountid=46127

This blog post is by Dagny Villegas, Genealogy Division librarian.

Johns Hopkins University – Studies in Historical and Political Science series

The Indiana State Library has in its collections the Johns Hopkins University Studies in Historical and Political Science book series dating back to 1883. The latest book we currently have was published in 2018. That’s 135 years of materials that include very in-depth research on specific topics under the general subject of historical and political science. At the library, the earlier volumes – 1883-1957 – are in bound volumes with individual writings on a common topic. For instance, volume one is titled “Local Institutions” and includes 12 individual writings. A number of them were written by Herbert B. Adams with titles such as “Saxon Tithingmen in America,” “Norman Constables in America” and “Village Communities of Cape Anne and Salem.” Titles in the 1907 volume, for example, are “Internal Taxation in the Philippines” by J. S. Hord, “The Monroe Mission to France, 1794-1796” by B. W. Bond, Jr., “Maryland During the English Civil Wars. Part II” by B. C. Steiner, “The State in Constitutional and International Law” by R. T. Crane, “A Financial History of Maryland, 1789-1848” by H. S. Hanna and “Apprenticeship in American Trade Unions” by J. M. Motley.

Table of contents from Volume 1 of the series “Local Institutions.”

Table of contents from 1907 volume of the series “International and Colonial History.”

As the series continued, the individual writings became longer. Later volumes, starting in 1958, present each individual written piece published as a separate book, which is either part of, or all of, a volume. Still cataloged as part of the series, these in-depth materials continued to cover an increasingly wide range of topics as shown by the following titles: “Search and Seizure and the Supreme Court: A Study in Constitutional Interpretation” by Jacob. W. Landynski, published in 1966; “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States” by Joseph November, published in 2012; “How NATO Adapts: Strategy and Organization in the Atlantic Alliance Since 1950” by Seth A. Johnston, published in 2017; and “The Bomb and America’s Missile Age” by Christopher Gainor, published in 2018. Each of these works can be useful in their own ways for scholars. For instance, for “The World of the Paris Café: Sociability among the French Working Class, 1789-1914” by W. Scott Haine, published in 1996, the author uses primary sources, such as marriage contracts, as well as police and bankruptcy records to investigate the café society in relation to work, leisure, gender roles and political activity. In “Juana the Mad: Sovereignty & Dynasty in Renaissance Europe” by Bethany Aram, published in 2005, the author draws on recent scholarship and years of archival research to assert that Juana was more complicated than she has previously been portrayed.

Cover of “Biomedical Computing: Digitizing Life in the United States.”

Cover of “The Bomb and America’s Missile Age.”

We encourage scholars, researchers and people who are simply interested in historical and political science to use this material. The pieces issued as separate books after 1950 can be checked out. The materials in the bound volumes can be can be viewed in the library, or in some cases we can find digitized copies online. This incredible series of materials is waiting for those who are ready for them.

This blog post was written by Daina Bohr, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference & Government Services Collections at 317-232-3678 or via email.

Summer lecture series wrapping up

There is one summer lecture remaining! Join us on Aug. 10, 2019 at 11 a.m. for the final session of our summer lecture series, as Nicole Poletika presents “Unigov: The Creation of Modern Indianapolis and Its Suburbs.” Nicole is a historian with the Indiana Historical Bureau. Her research focuses on minority history and issues of social justice. Her presentation on Unigov will explore the legislation that merged the governments of Indianapolis and Marion County, and the resulting socioeconomic disparities.

This is our first year offering these free summer lectures, and we hope to continue them in the future. If you haven’t been able to join us yet, the series began in June with “How Did We Get Here?: Why History Matters and How to Start Researching It” where  Dr. Michella Marino and Jill Weiss Simins discussed the importance of taking a look at the past, as well as why and how to research history. Our July session included lectures that entailed digging deep into land records, deciphering clues those records provide and how it all fits into your genealogical research, as professional genealogists John Barr and Amber Oldenburg presented “Map Reading for Genealogists: When North isn’t…” and “Land Records: A Family Historian’s ‘Bread and Butter.’”

“Unigov: The Creation of Modern Indianapolis and Its Suburbs” is worth one LEU.  Registration is required. You may register here, or see our events page for more information.

This blog post was written by Stephanie Asberry, deputy director of public services, Indiana State Library.

Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason: Librarian and scholar

Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason, librarian, dean and professor of library science, was the first African-American to earn a Ph.D. in library science.

Gleason was born in 1909 in Winston-Salem, North Carolina and received her undergraduate degree from Fisk University in 1930. Gleason furthered her education by earning a Bachelor of Library Science from the University of Illinois in 1931 and a Master of Library Science  from the University of California – Berkley in 1935.

Gleason began her library career as a librarian at Fisk University. She later worked in Louisville, Kentucky as a librarian at the Louisville Municipal College for Negroes, currently known as Simmons College of Kentucky. She also worked at Talladega College in Alabama.

In 1940, Gleason received her doctorate degree in library science from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation was “The Southern Negro and the Public Library.” She later published her dissertation in 1941 as a book, which the Indiana State Library is fortunate to have in its collection.

“The Southern Negro and the Public Library” by Eliza Atkins Gleason ISLM 027.6 G554

She served as the dean of the Atlanta University Library Science Program from 1941-46. After that, she worked at the Chicago Public Library, Chicago Teachers College, Woodrow Wilson Junior College, Illinois Teachers College and the Illinois Institute of Technology. She also taught library science courses at Northern Illinois University.

Gleason passed away on Dec. 15, 2009 at the age of 100.

The ALA Library History Round Table has a research award named in her honor, The Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award. This award is given every three years for the best books written about library history:

Gleason was inducted into the University of Louisville’s College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Honor in 2010. A video of the ceremony is available on YouTube.

This blog post was written by Michele Fenton, monographs and federal documents catalog librarian.

Pearl Harbor: The day and its place in our history

Dec. 7, 1941 is the day the Japanese military bombed Pearl Harbor. The event and America’s subsequent entry into World War II are a part of our history, but it is a history many only know from a high school class or from movies. The materials in our collection could be used to add depth to your knowledge of the day “that will live in infamy” or even change your understanding of it.

The Indiana State Library has over 200 items on Pearl Harbor in various formats throughout our collections. The Federal Government Documents Collection includes hearings and reports on, and by, the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association, as well as materials such as “Pearl Harbor revisited: United States Navy Communications Intelligence, 1924-1941” by Frederick D. Parker and the United States National Security Agency/Central Security Service Center for Cryptologic History, which is part of the United States Cryptologic History series. Of particular interest is the book “From Pearl Harbor Into Tokyo: the Story as told by War Correspondents on the Air.” Published in 1945, it is best described by the following information, which is on the title page:

“The documented broadcasts of the war in the Pacific as they were transmitted by CBS throughout America and the world, are taken verbatim from the records of the Columbia Broadcasting System.”

The library’s general collection has a wide variety of materials on Pearl Harbor written from different angles and viewpoints. These include the book “Remember Pearl Harbor” by Blake Clarke, published in 1942. This book has accounts of the attack in snippet style, firsthand viewpoints of military and civilians, that give the feel of what happened that day. There is also “Pearl Harbor,” a 2001 National Geographic Collector’s Edition book that along with quotes from survivors, has photographs of a time leading up to that day, the attack itself and its aftermath.

So, if you’re interested in “the date that will live in infamy,” according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, or simply want to impress your teacher or professor with your next history project, come to the Indiana State Library and we’ll help get you the resources you need.

This blog post was written by Daina Bohr, Reference and Government Services librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at (317) 232-3678 or via email.

Picture it… Indianapolis… 1852.

Image traveling through a forest so thick that you could do it without ever touching the ground. You could go from tree limb to tree limb, with very little visible grass or flowers, just climbing along. Now imagine this area being Indianapolis, circa 1780. Up until around 1820, the area we now know as the capitol of Indiana was exactly that, a massive dense forest. Settlers then moved in, cleared land, began farms and started to form a community.

Several maps of early Indianapolis show the layout of the mile square, but it wasn’t until 1852 that we saw the first map of the city with any detail.

When we first got this map out and saw exactly what we had to deal with, we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task to digitize it. In fact, the two pictures below show what the book looked like. It had been dissected, glued onto linen and folded to fit on the shelf, which was a very common library practice early on. Nowadays, we don’t do that.

Rebecca, our conservator, painstakingly took pictures of each section, then recreated the completed image that you now see in our digital collections. This was a several day process. Now this extremely rare map has come back together and we can study it and learn what the layout of the city was like in the early 1850s.

For example, the railroad lines and their depots beeline the map, showing how the trains moved merchandise, goods and passengers in all directions. Passengers might have seen a map like this hanging at the train station. Checking the legend, they could have found several houses for accommodations, such as The Palmer House (H) or The Bates House (J), both at the corners of Illinois and Washington Streets, just a few blocks up from the station. After getting settled in, they might have walked up to the governor’s residence to pay a call on Joseph Wright, Indiana’s governor in 1852.

The map also shows the small portion of the massive 296-mile planned canal system and its path through the city; only eight miles of the canal were completed. Beginning at the White River, the canal ran east, then headed north and south. The canal helped facilitate interstate commerce and also provided alternative transportation for passengers.

Most of the transportation routes, such as the canals and railroads, are south of the residential areas, including the current Lockerbie Square and the old Northside neighborhoods. Oftentimes, residential areas grew north of the industrial areas as winds would blow the smoke and pollution south.

Later maps, such as those published in 1855 and 1866, show fewer details. Both maps can be viewed on the Library of Congress’s website. We have the maps at the state library, but the Library of Congress has done such a great job digitizing their copies that we just refer researchers to those digitized maps. Our copies, sadly, are in need of much repair.

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

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.”

Indianapolis Times photograph collection now available for public viewing

In October of 2017, the Indiana State Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Division acquired the photograph morgue of The Indianapolis Times, comprising of over 150,000 photographs dating from 1939-65. Also included were thousands of clippings and brochures, relating to international, national, state and local topics.

 

The Indianapolis Times exposed the Ku Klux Klan and its influence on Indiana state politics during the 1920s, resulting in journalism’s highest award, the Pulitzer Prize. It advocated for children’s needs during the Great Depression and helped over 4,000 Indiana residents find jobs by publishing free advertisements during the 1960s. The newspaper ran its final issue on Oct. 11, 1965. Daily circulation totaled 89,374 with a Sunday circulation of 101,000. For more information about the newspaper’s history, the Indiana Historical Bureau created a post within the Hoosier State Chronicles blog.

 

Researchers can request to view the collection by calling Rare Books and Manuscripts at (317) 232-3671 or submitting a question via Ask-A-Librarian. The newspaper is available on microfilm in the Indiana Collection. For more information about the library’s newspaper holdings, visit here.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library.

Beer – It’s what’s for dinner

At least that’s what the United Brewers Industrial Foundation sought to convince the American people in 1937.

When Prohibition ended in 1933 with the ratification of the 21st Amendment, it signified the renaissance of the legal alcohol industry. In an effort to improve the beverage’s reputation, the foundation published a series of pamphlets, including “At Home with Beer“ and “Beer – The Liquid Food,” hailing beer as a smart and wholesome addition to the daily menu.

Pamphlet published by the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, ca. 1937. Source: Indiana State Library.

The pamphlet entitled “It’s Smart to Serve Beer: Menus and Recipes to Assist the Gracious Hostess” is perhaps the best of the lot. It offers up such gastronomical gems as “Liver Dumplings in Beer” and “Bohemian Beer Soup.”  Yum. Actually, “Chocolate Beer Cake” on page 24 doesn’t look half-bad. The pamphlet’s author, Helen Watts Schreiber, touted beer as “a delightful drink in moderation—yet most inexpensive.” She promised readers, “Your hospitality and your social graces as a smart hostess will be assured if you serve the sparkling amber brew throughout the entire meal.”

Despite this fresh spin, the brewing industry had a tough sell with opposition from organizations like the Indiana Anti-Saloon League, who were still calling all forms of alcohol “a narcotic poison and habit-forming drug” 10 years after Prohibition’s end.

Broadside distributed by the Indiana Anti-Saloon League, ca. 1943. Source: Small Broadsides Collection, Indiana State Library.

Brewing in Indiana

Before Prohibition, Indiana had a respectable brewing industry. In 1879, the Hoosier State ranked 12th out of 43 states, and two territories, with 191,729 barrels of beer sold and 10th in the number of breweries with 76. Some Indiana beers even achieved international renown, such as the Indianapolis Brewing Company’s Düsseldorfer, which won gold medals at the Paris Exposition of 1900, the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and at Liege, Belgium in 1906.

Advertisement for Indianapolis Brewing Co.’s Düsseldorfer beer, ca. 1900. Source: Indianapolis Brewing Company and Excelsior Laundry ads (S1881), Indiana State Library.

After the Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, many of Indiana’s breweries resumed operations, including the Indianapolis Brewing Company, Drewrys Limited in South Bend, Falstaff Brewing Corp. in Fort Wayne and Sterling Brewers in Evansville. In the following decades, many local American breweries, such as these four, eventually closed or were bought out, unable to compete with the national brands like Budweiser and Coors.

25th anniversary report of the Indiana Brewers Association, 1958. Source: Indiana Pamphlets, Indiana State Library.

Old becomes new again

Beer has endured as a staple throughout human history, for both nourishment and enjoyment. The oldest surviving recorded “recipe” for beer making is found in an ancient Sumerian tablet called the “Hymn to Ninkasi”—the goddess of beer and brewing—dated 1800 B.C.E., but brewing practices originated much earlier. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of beer and brewing in Mesopotamia and China going back at least 5,000 years, and suspect its existence as early as the Neolithic period.

Sumerian cuneiform tablet recording beer rations, ca. 3100-3000 BCE. Source: Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Historically, beer making often began in the home. In ancient Sumer, the first brewers were the priestesses of Ninkasi and brewing, typically associated with baking, became part of women’s regular meal preparation. By and large, beer in the Western world was homemade until the Renaissance period when brewpubs and monasteries became the focal point of brewing activities. Brewing practices changed once again when, as in other trades, industrialization made large-scale commercial operations profitable in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The growing trend of home brewing in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to the modern craft beer movement, could be considered a throwback to older brewing traditions, even while employing modern beer making methods. As a result, today’s beer industry is a hodgepodge of massive beer enterprises and thousands of smaller brewing operations, such as microbreweries and brewpubs. The craft beer movement reinvigorated an otherwise stagnant brewing industry, infusing innovation and new flavor into a timeless beverage.

Today’s proliferation of diverse drafts and bottled brews would surely have pleased these Indiana soldiers clearly in need of a pint, if the graffiti is any indication. Ironically, these thirsty Hoosiers in want of beer returned from fighting a war in 1919 only to discover that Indiana had gone completely dry the year before their return.

WWI soldiers returning home to Indianapolis, May 7, 1919. Source: Harry Coburn, World War I, 1917-1918 film, Indiana State Library.

Bibliography:
Kohn, Rita. “A History of Indiana Beer: Repeal through Today.NUVO, September 16, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2018.

Kohn, Rita. “A History of Indiana Beer: Settling Indiana and Indianapolis.NUVO, September 14, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2018.

Ostrander, Bob and Derrick Morris. Hoosier Beer: Tapping into Indiana Brewing History. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011.

Salem, F. W. Beer: It’s History and Its Economic Value as a National Beverage. Hartford, CT: F. W. Salem & Company, 1880.

Schreiber, Helen Watts. “It’s Smart to Serve Beer: Menus and Recipes to Assist the Gracious Hostess.” New York, NY: United Brewers Industrial Foundation, ca. 1933.

Smith, Peter. “A Sip from an Ancient Sumerian Drinking Song.Smithsonian.com, June 18, 2012. Accessed June 18, 2018.

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.

Textile art: Embroidery – the craft, the art, the history

The Indiana State Library has an abundance of books on a variety of types of textile art. I found 127 on embroidery alone in our catalog. These include not only instruction books, but books showing how embroidery can be high art, as well as texts that tell its history.

The brief history of embroidery in “Design for Flower Embroidery” by Elisabeth Geddes (ISLM 746 G295d) mainly focuses on how floral patterns were used throughout the history of embroidery. The book states that textiles were first produced in the New Stone Age, also known as the Neolithic Era, and that a “later development was the addition of patterning worked into the warp threads with a needle.” It also mentions that bone needles were being used thousands of years before woven cloth was created. The author suggests that floral patterns were significant due to the fact that people would have seen the flowers as a sign of easier living and the hope of a good harvest. There are illustrations of floral patterns from different eras, such as the Egyptian Amratian period, as well as a few geometric patterns from similar time periods. The book also includes detailed descriptions of the items shown as examples. Included are descriptions of the colors of the items, which is good since the photos are in black and white. The evening bag shown below is one of these examples.

The book “A World of Embroidery” by Mary Gostelow (ISLM NK 9206 .G67) contains examples of works of embroidery from around the world. An embroidered cap from Nigeria, a whitework kappie from South Africa and a gargoush mezzahar, which is the ceremonial headgear of Jewish women of Sana’a, Yemen, are included as a few examples of headgear. The book also contains a number works that are exquisite works of art from different countries, as well as brief descriptions of the types of embroidery done in those countries. The image below is of an unusual item of embroidery; it is a flour sack embroidered in Belgium. These were the sacks from food sent to Belgium by the United States during World War I. So, to show their appreciation to President Wilson and the Belgian Food Relief Committee, groups of Belgians embroidered the logo on the flour sack. It was then sent to the president and the committee as a gift.

The two images below are examples of everyday items being made more beautiful. The first is of a pillowcase used by the Russian Princess Zeneide Warvaszy, who left Russia to go to England before the Russian Revolution. The second image is of an elaborately embroidered waistcoat that would have been worn by someone who had the money to have such an artistic expression created.

If you are inspired to possibly do a bit of embroidery yourself, we have instruction books with detailed descriptions of different stitches. One of these books is “Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches” (ISLM 746 T459m). It contains instructions and illustrations for 210 different stitches. The stitches are arranged alphabetically, but the book also has a “Uses at a Glance” section so you can find out which stitches to use if you want outline stitches, insertion stitches, border and band stitches, etc. We also have “Art Nouveau Embroidery” by Lewis F. Day and Mary Buckle (ISLM TT 770 .D27 1974) that has more in-depth descriptions of the types of stitches, rather than the individual ones. Come take a look at our collection of embroidery materials to see which ones will work for you.

Also, you can check our catalog for other textile art materials. Weaving, rug-making, knitting and more… we have it all here at the Indiana State Library.

This blog post by Daina Bohr, Reference and Government Services Collection librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services department at (317) 232-3678 or email us at Ask-a-Librarian.