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.”

In a bind; Indiana counties collection to be temporarily limited

Over the years, our genealogy print collection has seen a lot of use from library patrons. The Indiana Counties Collection in the genealogy division, in particular, remains one of our most popular resources for researchers. Continued usage over the years has left several books in a need of repair. In order to provide family historians, researchers and genealogy enthusiasts with high quality materials, we will need to send out several items from our genealogy counties collections to a bindery for some tender loving care and rebinding.

This process to improve our collection will mean that some materials may not be readily available and at certain times access to books in the county collection will be limited. The first part of this project will take place in June of 2018. During the month of June access to materials from Adams, Allen, Bartholomew, Benton, Blackford, Brown, Carroll, Cass, Clark, Clay, Clinton and Crawford counties may be limited. Researchers in these counties are strongly encouraged to contact Crystal Ward before June to discuss utilizing the books before they are sent to the bindery. The books will be returned shortly and we do not anticipate a delay in returning the books. The project will continue until all the repairs are completed. After we rebind books in counties A through C, we will move on to the next set of books in counties D through H until all repairs are made in every county from A to Z.

We appreciate your patience during this project. We will make every effort possible to accommodate your request for materials. We will provide updates in the future to notify you when counties become available for use and when access is limited.

This blog post was written by Crystal Ward, librarian in the genealogy department. If you would like more information, please contact the genealogy department at (317) 232-3689. 

An intern’s preservation experience at the Indiana State Library

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

To read part one, click here.

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

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

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

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

Maps of the counties.

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

Map of Columbia Township.

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

Map of Shelby Township.

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

Notes on Aztecs.

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

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

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

Indexes moving into Legacy

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

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

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

Original location of the Biography Index.

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

Stay tuned!

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

 

Audio book choices for Indiana Voices

Indiana Voices, part of the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library at the Indiana State Library, records Indiana-related materials for residents of Indiana who cannot use standard printed materials due to visual or physical disabilities. In the past few years, the reach of the Indiana Voices program has expanded as the National Library Service (NLS) has allowed the inclusion of locally recorded materials to their Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) service for patrons nationwide to download and enjoy.

Since the process of recording a book is so time consuming, we put a lot of thought into each book we choose for recording. Just because a book meets the Indiana-related criteria for the program does not mean that we will be able to record it. When choosing books to record we take into account positive reviews for a book, whether the book covers a subject of interest to our patrons, whether the book covers a subject our collection is lacking in and whether the books is available in an accessible format elsewhere.

Emmy Award-winner Dick Wolfsie of WISH-TV visited the Indiana Voices studio in January.

The most important criteria for what books should be added to the collection is rather simple: What do our patrons want to read? Our patrons tend to enjoy mysteries, westerns, religious fiction and historical fiction, along with non-fiction topics like war diaries, biographies and true crime. Patrons also always enjoy books by classic Hoosier authors such as George Barr McCutcheon, Meredith Nicholson, Booth Tarkington and Gene Stratton-Porter. These titles are easily available by simply perusing the book collection located in the Indiana Authors Room here at the state library.

Indiana Voices is always open to input from Talking Book and Braille Library patrons as to what types of titles they would like to see added to the collection. If you would like to make a suggestion, please feel free to contact Linden Coffman via email or via phone at (317) 232-3683.

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.

INSPIRE gets a makeover

INSPIRE, our statewide collection of databases, is celebrating its 20th birthday, and for a gift, we’ve given its homepage a fresh new makeover.

The new interface is powered by EBSCO Stacks and has a clean “tiled” appearance featuring some of our most popular resources, including:

  • Rosetta Stone
  • Consumer Reports
  • Health and Medicine
  • Test Preparation
  • Current News
  • Historic Newspapers
  • Digital Collections
  • Genealogy

Library users and staff can select one of these pre-selected topics and quickly navigate to that area. These databases will rotate as needed, and we welcome any suggestions you may have. There is also a scrolling menu of other subjects (e.g. biographies, business and student resources) below the tiles.

The search box and results page have not been changed, and you can easily start your search by typing in keywords in the box at the top of the homepage. If anyone prefers the previous interface, that can still be accessed here or by clicking on the TeachingBooks.net and Newspapers.com graphic on the new homepage.

Watch for new “how-to” videos, as well as an updated FAQ page, coming later this year.

INSPIRE is free for use for all Indiana residents, and is made possible by the Indiana General Assembly through Build Indiana Funds, The Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, and in partnership with the Academic Libraries of Indiana.

This post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office. For more information on INSPIRE, visit here or send an email

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.”

Spring water cure-alls

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This blog post was written by Leigh Anne Johnson, Indiana Division librarian, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

 

Old Settlers and pioneers in Indiana

Throughout the year many Hoosiers visit local festivals, heritage days and other events celebrating pioneer settlers. It is an opportunity to learn about history and share a spirit of community. While Indiana was not settled in the same manner as the original colonies, there were many pioneering people who moved into the territory that would become the Hoosier state. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, a pioneer is “one of the first to settle in a territory.” By the mid-1800s, Indiana was mostly settled, and many of those first pioneers began gathering at “old settlers” meetings where they recalled their history and honored the oldest among them.

According to the September 1907 issue of the Indiana Magazine of History, the earliest recorded old settlers’ meeting in Indiana took place in 1852 at the city of Madison, inviting all who had lived in Jefferson County as of 1820 or before. Old settlers’ meetings were announced in town and city newspapers around the state. Luckily for researchers, it is becoming easier to find accounts of those meetings as more and more historical newspaper issues are added to digital collections such as Hoosier State Chronicles, Newspaper Archive and Newspapers.com.

As the old settlers’ meetings were organized into formal associations and societies, this drew the interest of the Indiana State Board of Agriculture, the organizers of the Indiana State Fair. In the summer of 1878, the Board of Agriculture formed a committee to plan a State Pioneer Convention for Oct. 2, 1878 during the state fair. The announcement of the Pioneer Association of Indiana stated that “all pioneers seventy years of age, who have been residents of the state forty years, will be admitted free to the state fair.” This was the first statewide effort to recognize and enumerate Indiana’s pioneers. Notable speakers attending were poets James Whitcomb Riley and Sarah T. Bolton, and their poems were reprinted in the 1878 proceedings that were included within the Board of Agriculture’s annual report. Of particular interest to family researchers is the “List of applicants for membership,” twelve pages listing, name, address, age and years in state.

The success of the inaugural meeting led to another gathering of the renamed Indiana Pioneer Society at the 1879 Indiana State Fair. Four pages of members are listed in the 1879 proceedings. While the Indiana Pioneer Society did not have a third convention, its board continued meeting at least through 1885. The organization’s legacy continues because it raised the profile of local old settlers’ associations and promoted their efforts to compile county histories, many being printed in the 1880s. Various other relics of old settlers’ meetings can be found in the Indiana State Library’s collections, including souvenir programs, proceedings, pamphlets and bound compilations. In addition, look for links to digitized books in the County History Holdings guides.

A letter printed in the May 13, 1896 Indianapolis Journal from J. W. Hervey, of Indianapolis expressed a wish to restart the state pioneer association. However, this did not happen until the 1916 state centennial celebration, when an interest was re-kindled by descendants of Indiana’s old settlers. As a result, the Society of Indiana Pioneers was formed and exists to this day.

This blog post was written by Indiana Division Librarian Andrea Glenn. For more information, contact the Indiana Division at (317) 232-3670 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”