Indiana Union of Literary Clubs

The Indiana Union of Literary Clubs was started after the Indianapolis Woman’s Club was established at the Indianapolis Propylaeum. The Propylaeum, founded in 1888, was the central meeting place for many different women’s clubs in Indianapolis. At that time, there were already several different women’s literary clubs in Indianapolis alone. Although a rare men’s club is listed in the 1905 “Manual for the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs” (ISLO 374.2 NO. 7), the Union mostly consisted of women’s literary groups.

The late 19th and early 20th centuries were the height of popularity for literary clubs. By 1894, there were 175 organizations in the Union of Literary Clubs around the state of Indiana, according to “Literary Clubs of Indiana” (ISLI 810.6 M 153) by Martha Nicholson McKay. Of these, there were roughly five times as many women’s clubs than men’s clubs. Of the twenty men’s clubs, half were existing organized college literary societies (McKay, p 33).

The popularity of literary clubs among women seemed to point to a growing sense of intellectual curiosity. This could have been due to women seeking to improve so that “when the day of larger social and political freedoms dawns, they will be prepared for the new duties the wider field may disclose” (McKay, p.33). The boom in literary clubs also coincided with the suffragist movement in the United States.

To organize the numerous literary clubs around the state in the early 1890s, the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs became the first state organization of clubs. In 1892, the third convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs was held in Lafayette.

Here is the cover of the Bulletin from the 1892 convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs from the Indiana Pamphlet Collection (Ip 374.2 no. 49.)

“The Bulletin,” (Ip 374.2 no. 49), a publication from the convention, provides a transcript of the inaugural address, “The Value of An Intellectual Life” by Miss Elizabeth Nicholson of the College Corner Club of Indianapolis. She indicated that there was a need for women to have intellectual pursuits in addition to their roles as homemakers. A common criticism of women’s clubs during that time period was that they took too much time and energy away from home and family responsibilities. Miss Mercia Hoagland, a representative of the Fort Wayne Women’s Reading Club responds to this type of criticism (Convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs 1892 : Lafayette, p 3):

Other speeches and discussions at the convention included, “The Moral Power of the Novel” and “Woman as a Factor in the World’s Progress.” “The Bulletin” also recounted news from literary clubs around the state.

At the end of “The Bulletin,” there is a transcript of a discussion as to whether the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs should take an exhibit to the Columbian World Exposition in Chicago the following year. It was brought up that if they did take an exhibit, it would need to represent all the various literary clubs around the state.

Ultimately, the Union did take an exhibit to the Columbian Exposition. The Indiana State Library has the item, “Exhibit of Work at Columbian Exposition,” in the Indiana oversize collection ([q] ISLI 374.2 I385E). These pages are examples of how each club contributed a program or leaflet that represented them.

This is the page representing the Ladies’ Literary Society from Brazil, Indiana. All participating clubs had a two-page entry in the book.

In 1906, the Indiana Federation of Women’s Clubs and the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs were consolidated and were renamed the Indiana State Federation of Clubs so that they could apply to become a chapter of the National Federation of Women’s Clubs.

Some of these literary clubs still exist today. For example, the Fortnightly Literary Club, established in 1885 is still active in Indianapolis. Hopefully, the love of knowledge, books and the pursuit of intellectual curiosity will never fade.

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” Ask-A-Librarian.

Bibliography
“Convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs 1892 : Lafayette, I.” (1892). The bulletin: a collection of addresses, papers and discussions of the third convention of the Indiana Union of Literary Clubs, held at Lafayette, May 18, 19 and 20, 1892. In M. E. Hoagland (Ed.). 1, p. 18. Lafayette: Indiana : Indiana Union of Literary Clubs, 1892. (Ip 374.2 no. 49)

“Indiana union of literary clubs – Reciprocity bureau.” (1905). Manual. unknown: unknown(ISLO 374.2 NO. 7).

McKay, M. N.-1. (1894). “Literary clubs of Indiana.” Indianapolis, Ind. United States: Indianapolis : Bowen-Merrill Co., 1894. (ISLI 810.6 M153).

The Indianapolis Fortnightly Literary Club. (May 11, 2022). Retrieved from https://fortnightly.org/

Indiana Union of Literary Clubs. Exhibit of work at Columbian exposition. [Place of publication not  identified], [publisher not identified], [date of publication not identified] ([q] ISLI 374.2 I385E).

New webinar series announced from the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office

The Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office has announced a new series of webinars, What the Research Says, featuring academicians and their research. This series will be irregular, but the hope is to feature at least one per quarter. We invite academic librarians to reach out to us with projects they would like to present or topics they feel would make good additions to this series. Submissions may be directed to George Bergstrom, Southwest regional coordinator in the Professional Development Office.

This spring, we kicked of this new series with “Creating Informed Learners in the Classroom: Librarian Experiences of Developing a Multi-institutional Information Literacy Project,” featuring librarians from Purdue University. In this webinar Clarence Maybee, Rachel Fundator and Amity Saha presented on their three-year research project funded by an IMLS grant.

The Creating Informed Learners in the Classroom project, made possible in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (RE-13-19-0021-19), facilitated librarian-instructor partnerships to integrate information-rich student projects into disciplinary classrooms. The project was a partnership between librarians at Purdue University, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and the University of Arizona. Over the course of  four weekly online sessions, the project team trained 15 librarian-instructor teams – five from each university – to use an information literacy framework called Informed Learning Design to design student projects that enable students to use information in new ways in their courses.

In this webinar, the team gave an overview of the principles of Informed Learning design, their specific project, how they had to adapt due to COVID and some great lessons learned from this three-year effort in improving student learning. Anyone who missed this webinar is invited to view the recording on the State Library’s YouTube channel. More details can be found on the archived webinars page of the Continuing Education website.

The Professional Development Office hopes that this series will offer a venue for academic librarians to not only share their work with others in their field, but with the wider library profession. The format will most often be a one-hour panel discussion webinar, but we are open to discussing other options with interested presenters. Anyone who is curious about being a part of this new series is invited to reach out to George Bergstrom.

This post was written by George Bergstrom, Southwest regional coordinator, Professional Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Automobile Camps for “tin can tourists” in Indiana

With automobiles becoming more accessible to Americans in the 1920s, Hoosiers – like many Americans – hit the road for tourism, travel and vacationing like never before. However, there was a lack of places for automobile tourists to stay overnight. Car travelers would pull over and “camp” along the roadside. Firepits, camp cooking trash and other evidence of camp were left behind. These automobile adventurers were sometimes referred to as “tin-can tourists.” I can’t determine if that references the cars they were driving or the trash they left behind.  

Indiana tourist camp map, 1922.

Indiana Director of Conservation, Richard Lieber, advocated for federal funding so states could develop safe places for motorists to stay along the road. In 1922, the Indiana Department of Conservation, still led by Lieber, published a map showing automobile camps across the state. You can view the map online in the Indiana State Library’s Open Space Historic Places digital collection. 

Riverside/Taggart Park, in Indianapolis, is listed as one of these urban automobile camps. The entrance was at 18th Street. It had only a few amenities but was in a beautiful and accessible corner of the park. This Hoosier Motor Club map from the 1920s shows the camp and proximity to main routes. View the full map here in the Indiana State Library’s Map Collection. 

A wonderful May 13, 1922 Indianapolis Star newspaper profile of that camp mentions that there were 15-18 cars a day using the camp that year; and those visitors came from across the United States. At the time of the article, there were campers from Nebraska and Florida.

There are 30 other automobile camp sites listed on the Indiana map. Some were run by local municipalities, local chambers of commerce and some were state parks. There’s also a plea not to destroy wildflowers, most likely written by the staff of the Indiana Department of Conservation.  

The countryside had not seen many tourists prior to the automobile. City dwellers could now explore the pristine countryside. The back of the map includes a Manual for Automobile Tourists written by AAA, which includes tips for selecting a campsite, when a campground for motor tourists isn’t available. “Towards evening select a suitable spot that appeals, near a farmhouse, where usually may be procured fresh milk and eggs and probably a loaf of homemade bread or a jar of home-preserved fruits.” 

It was an opportunity to show hostility or hospitality. Dr. Morrison, of Clinton County, urged hospitality. He wrote to the Indianapolis Star, “forty-seven miles north of Indianapolis there is a church yard of about one acre that contains 85 shade trees. At the approach from both ways you will see the following signs: ‘Tourists Welcome, drive in.’ Tourists from most all parts of the United States and Canada have accepted the invitation of welcome.” He continued in his letter to the editor, “let us all do what we can to help Mr. Lieber in bringing about the roadside camp for the tourists all over the grand old state of Indiana…” 

The map and articles about the development of the autocamps are fascinating. They sit in an idyllic sweet spot of the automobile era – seemingly full of optimism, freedom, comradery and adventure. Happy trails and cheers to that! 

The Denver Public Library has some photographs of what the autocamps looked like. This photo shows the City Park motor camp in Denver. This one shows the Overland Park motor camp, also in Denver. Find more images online through the Digital Public Library of America 

This post was written by Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor.

Government Information Day 2022

Registration is now open for Government Information Day 2022. The free one-day in-person conference will take place on Friday, May 20 at the Indiana State Library. GID22 will feature presentations on topics relating to state, federal and census data information.

This year’s theme is “Building Connections. Discovering .GOV” and features speakers from the U.S. Government Publishing Office, Indiana University Wells Library and the Indiana State Library. The keynote speaker for GID22 is GPO director Hugh Halpern, the agency’s chief executive officer. The other GID22 presenters are:

  • Suzanne Walker, Indiana State Library – “Quick Guide & Helpful Resources for Indiana Homeschooling”
  • Kate Pitcher, Government Publishing Office  – “Learning to Love Federal Documents”
  • Katie Springer and Jamie Dunn, Indiana State Library – “Swinging into the 1950s! NARA Releases 1950 Census”
  • Andrea Morrison, Indiana University – “Science.Gov: Gateway to U.S. Government Science Information”
  • Chris Marshall, Indiana State Library – “State Documents in the Indiana State Library Digital Collections”
  • Emily Alford, Indiana University – “Sustainable Strides: Efforts & Open Resources toward Environmental Preservation”

The conference will feature three concurrent presentation sessions, a keynote address and two conflict free breaks to allow attendees the opportunity to meet with exhibitors. The first sessions begin at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time with the keynote address scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. After lunch, there are two more concurrent sessions, followed by the closing remarks.

The conference program will be forthcoming. Government Information Day is an excellent opportunity learn about new government information resources, improve one’s literacy of government information or network with other Indiana librarians. Additionally, Indiana public librarians will be eligible to earn up to four LEUs at the event. For more information about the conference, click here to get the latest updates. Please contact Indiana regional depository coordinator, and GID22 Planning Committee chair, Brent Abercrombie with any questions, or if you are interested in volunteering at GID22.

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 via “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Looking for staff training? Let us help!

Did you know that the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office provides free training for library directors and their staff? Continuing education is a vital part of the success of any library professional. There are dozens of ways to earn library education units (LEUs), network with others in the profession, and learn new skills to help advance the field of libraries in Indiana. We encourage you to stay on top of current trends and deepen foundational library knowledge by taking advantage of the free resources on our Continuing Education page.

Our available training spans a wide variety of topics including, but not limited to the following: communication, customer service, difficult situations, challenging coworkers, soft skills, teambuilding and many technology-related trainings. Some examples of technology-centered offerings are Google Drive, Google Apps, Google Docs and INSPIRE training. Another exciting new offering we have are Oculus Quest 2 VR Kits, which can be borrowed for 30 days for library use for staff to test drive and/or use for library programming. To reserve a kit, please contact your regional coordinator. On the Continuing Education page are upcoming webinars, a face-to-face training menu (which can be adapted to virtual), archived webinars, information about the Difference is You Conference for library support staff, information about the Indiana Library Leadership Academy, youth services centered training and so much more.

Maybe you have a staff training day or professional development day set up annually, but you need a few sessions filled at no additional cost to your library. Look no further than your regional coordinator from the Indiana State Library. Your regional coordinator can provide training sessions over a wide range of topics at no charge, either in person (we come to you!) or virtually. Below is a chart showing which regional coordinator you should contact based upon your library location, as well as the coordinator’s contact email.

Northeast Regional Coordinator – Paula Newcom, 317-447-0452, pnewcom@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Adams, Allen, Blackford, Dekalb, Elkhart, Grant, Hamilton, Howard, Huntington, Jay, Kosciusko, LaGrange, Marion (Speedway), Miami, Noble, Steuben, Tipton, Wabash, Wells and Whitley.

Northwest Regional Coordinator – Laura Jones, 317-691-5884, laujones@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Benton, Boone, Carroll, Cass, Clinton, Fulton, Jasper, Lake, LaPorte, Marshall, Montgomery, Newton, Porter, Pulaski, St. Joseph, Starke, Tippecanoe and White.

Southeast Regional Coordinator – Courtney Brown, 317-910-5777, cobrown@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Bartholomew, Brown, Clark, Dearborn, Decatur, Delaware, Fayette, Floyd, Franklin, Hancock, Harrison, Henry, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Johnson, Madison, Ohio, Randolph, Ripley, Rush, Scott, Shelby, Switzerland, Union, Washington and Wayne.

Southwest Regional Coordinator – George Bergstrom, 317-447-2242, gbergstrom@library.in.gov
Acts as liaison for the Indiana State Library and libraries of all types in the following counties of Indiana: Clay, Crawford, Daviess, Dubois, Fountain,  Gibson, Greene, Hendricks, Knox, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Morgan, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vermillion, Vigo, Warren and Warrick.

Southwest regional coordinator, George Bergstrom

Additionally, contact information for the PDO supervisor/regional coordinator for the Indianapolis Public Library system and the state children’s services consultant is listed below.

PDO Supervisor – Kara Cleveland, 317-232-3718, kcleveland@library.in.gov
Oversees the work of the Professional Development Office. Acts as the regional coordinator for the Indianapolis Public Library.

Children’s Services Consultant – Beth Yates, 317-517-1738, byates@library.in.gov
Provides consulting and programming support in the area of children’s and young adult services.

Again, our trainings can be completed either in person or virtual,  and they all qualify for pre-approved LEUs. Whether your staff size is small or large, we can accommodate all your training needs. If you have a small staff, you might even consider partnering up with a similar sized library in your area to host training with a few more individuals together. All offered free training opportunities, including upcoming webinars as well as many archived past webinars and trainings can be found on our Continuing Education page here.

Submitted by Laura Jones, Northwest regional coordinator, Indiana State Library.

Savings opportunities for Indiana libraries

Indiana Public Libraries can save money on commonly purchased goods and services by leveraging the power of quantity purchasing agreements. Here are several opportunities that libraries may not be aware of:

LibraryIndiana
LibraryIndiana is a purchasing portal created by the Indiana Department of Administration and Spendbridge for use specifically by Indiana Public Libraries. School libraries can make their purchases through K12Indiana.

LibraryIndiana allows users to shop statewide-negotiated contracts, organized into convenient online catalogs. Some of the items available through LibraryIndiana include:

  • DEMCO Library supplies – Library supplies, furniture, carts, books and more.
  • Office Depot – Office supplies, computers and electronics, cleaning supplies and more.
  • Verizon – Wireless plans and accessories.

There are even contracts for janitorial supplies, rental cars, maintenance and other services. There is no cost for libraries to use the portal, and they may even enjoy cost savings.

Library staff interested in browsing the offerings should send an email to request a login.

Midwest Collaborative for Library Services (MCLS)
The Midwest Collaborative for Library Services works with more than 70 library vendors to provide central licensing and discounted pricing on over 2,000 library products and services including databases, eJournals, eBooks, library supplies, software and equipment.

More than 200 Indiana libraries are currently MCLS members and can take advantage of these savings. For more information, contact Chrystal Pickell Vandervest at via email or at 800-530-9019 ext 401.

Indiana Department of Administration QPAs
Many of the State of Indiana’s general quantity purchasing agreements (QPAs) are open to other governmental units like public libraries. Some of the purchasing agreements include: interpretation services, office equipment and copiers, wireless service, and vehicles. A list of all current state QPAs can be browsed here.

NASPO
Finally, libraries who send a lot of books and packages out of state may be able to take advantage of reduced rates on small package delivery services through NASPO, the National Association of State Procurement Officials. FedEx and UPS currently have contracts to provide discount shipping services through the State of Indiana. More information can be found here.

This post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office.

The Booker T. Washington Grade School in Shelbyville, Indiana

For much of its early existence, Shelby County maintained a very small population of African American citizens. Prior to the Civil War, their number was less than 100. The 1851 Indiana Constitution prohibited the settlement of “Negro or Mulatto” people in the state which caused the African American population of Indiana to stagnate for over a decade. However, with the conclusion of the Civil War and the removal of the 1851 restriction, Blacks began to migrate into the state. By the early 1900s, Shelbyville was home to over 600 African Americans.1

Picture of students in front of an unidentified schoolhouse from the late 1800s. From the Indiana Picture Collection, Rare Books and Manuscript Collection.

The Indiana General Assembly mandated that separate schools be set up for Black communities in Indiana and the first such school for Shelbyville was created in 1869. By the early 1900s, this school was renamed Booker T. Washington School No. 2 and was located at the corner of Howard and Harrison streets where it served the community for several decades until it became so dilapidated it was officially condemned by the State Board of Health in 1914.

Photo of the Booker T. Washington School. From “Getting open: the unknown story of Bill Garrett and the integration of college basketball” by Tom Graham.

Despite suffering from official condemnation, the school continued to operate as both funds and perhaps the inclination to repair or replace the building were not forthcoming. The situation was so dire that a journalist for the African American newspaper the Indianapolis Recorder declared in 1930, “There is a number of citizens in our city who have stables that are palaces beside this old building.”

Indianapolis Recorder, May 10, 1930. From Hoosier State Chronicles.

In response to the situation and at the urging of the school’s principal Walter S. Fort – often affectionally called “The Professor” – plans to create an entirely new school building were put in place in October 1931. A copy of the proposed building’s specifications is held in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Collection at the Indiana State Library.

Cover, Booker T. Washington Grade School building collection (S3327), Rare Books and Manuscript Collection.

The specifications for this building were diligently typed up into a 78-page booklet created by the architecture firm of Henkel & Hanson from Connersville, Indiana. This plan maintained the school’s location at the corner of Harrison and Howard streets. The new school building would have a stage, a gymnasium, skylights, stone window sills made of “Indiana Oolitic limestone” and “jade green American method asbestos shingles.” The document describes a utilitarian and modern building that would have been a vast improvement over its predecessor.

Indianapolis Recorder, Dec. 26, 1931. From Hoosier State Chronicles.

While the old school enjoyed an outdoor basketball court behind the building, the inclusion of an actual gymnasium would have delighted students such as Bill Garrett, who attended Booker T. Washington in the 1930s and would later go on to have a successful basketball career first at Shelbyville High School and later at Indiana University where he became one of the first Black basketball players in what would become the Big Ten Conference.2

Unfortunately, this building was never actually constructed. No definite reasons can be discerned as to why the project got so far along in the planning process only to be abandoned, but it can be surmised that by 1932 the economic fallout from the worsening Great Depression made utilizing public money on a school intended for African American children a low priority for the city of Shelbyville. It’s also possible that Shelbyville school officials knew that complete school integration was on the horizon. By the end of the 1930s, older students were already integrated into the local high school and Booker T. Washington functioned solely as an elementary school. While the new building was never constructed there is evidence that the City eventually secured money to fix the old one through the Public Works Administration, a federal program intended to both fund building projects and provide employment to thousands of workers during the Great Depression. Instead of building an entirely new building, the PWA money was used to make some basic repairs to the already existing structure. The school remained in operation until it was closed in 1949 when all Shelbyville schools were officially integrated.

The man labeled 33 in the above picture is possibly principal Walter S. Fort, a well-loved and respected advocate for his pupils. He was instrumental in attempts at improving the school building. From “Shelbyville: a pictorial history” by Beverly Oliver.

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

Sources
2. Graham, Tom. “Getting open: the unknown story of Bill Garrett and the integration of college basketball.” New York:  Atria Books, 2006. (ISLI 927 G239gr)

1. McFadden, Marian. “Biography of a town: Shelbyville, Indiana, 1822-1962.” Shelbyville: Tippecanoe Press Inc., 1968. (ISLI 977.201 S544sm)

3. Oliver, Beverly. “Shelbyville: a pictorial history.” St. Louis: G. Bradley Publishing, Inc., 1996. (ISLI 977.201 S544Zso)

Shelby County Historical Society. “Shelby County, Indiana: history & families.” Paducah, Kentucky: Turner Publishing Company, 1992. (ISLI 977.201 S544sc)

Understanding and accessing Indiana state censuses and other enumerations

Like many states, Indiana conducted state censuses in various years. However, locating and accessing these records can be difficult for researchers. Especially confusing is the varying ways in which the censuses were conducted over time, as this affected what information enumerators recorded as well as where the records came to be stored.

Indiana Territorial Census, 1807

According to John Newman, former State Archivist, many early state censuses were strict enumerations, where the number of people living in a township or county were tallied, but names and personal information was not recorded. Although some censuses in the early to mid-1800s in Indiana did ask for names, they enumerated only males over the age of 21. These records were usually filed with the county auditor in each county and were never collated at the state level.

So where else can we look for enumerated information on our Hoosier ancestors to fill in the gaps not covered by state censuses? There are several options, actually. While the availability of records varies by time period and by county, on the whole these are very useful resources for genealogists.

Enumerations of African Americans

Harrison County Register of Negroes and Mulattoes, ca. 1850

These enumerations cover the 1850s and 1860s and were created as part of an attempt to prevent free African Americans from moving to Indiana and to document those who already lived here. Although these efforts were eventually declared invalid by the Indiana Supreme Court, the records created provide a valuable resource for pre-Civil War African American research in Indiana.

School enumerations

School enumeration, Fulton County, 1896

School enumerations list all the children of school age in a school district, township or county. They were created so that school officials knew how many students they would potentially need to serve and also to help enforce truancy rules. Some school enumerations include just the head of household and the number of school-aged children, while others name each student along with their age and other information. These are particularly useful to genealogists who are researching children.

Enumerations of registered voters

Index to Registered Voters, Pike County, 1919-1920

These enumerations list the people who were registered to vote in a given township or county. The records were kept so that officials knew who was eligible to vote in elections. Since most of the publicly available voter rolls predate the 19th Amendment, they contain far more information on men than women.

Enumerations of soldiers, widows, orphans and/or pensioners

Card index to enrollments of soldiers, widows and orphans, Indiana State Library

Officials conducted these enumerations to determine how many veterans lived in Indiana in various years, as well as the widows and orphans of veterans who were receiving military pensions or benefits due to the service of their deceased husband or father. The largest enumerations took place in 1886, 1890 and 1894 and focused on Civil War veterans. The 1890 enumeration is particularly valuable since the 1890 federal census was lost in the aftermath of a fire.

Other enumerations
These are miscellaneous enumerations that were conducted for various reasons, some of which are no longer known. They often cover only a township or two and may be part of a larger enumeration where the bulk of the records were lost.

To see the Indiana State Library’s holdings for state censuses and other enumerations, please visit our Enumerations Research Guide here.

This blog post is by Jamie Dunn, Genealogy Division supervisor.

Indiana State Prison trade goods

Indiana’s first state prison opened on Jan. 9, 1821, in Jeffersonville, taking in inmates regardless of age, sex, offense or sentence. In 1847, a new prison was built in nearby Clarksville as well as one in Michigan City. Inmates were divided between the two and they became known as the Indiana State Prison South and the Indiana State Prison North.

By 1897, due to the belief that young males should not be housed with older males, they were divided by age between the southern and northern locations. The Indiana State Prison South became home to inmates between the ages 16 to 30 and was renamed the Indiana Reformatory.

On Feb. 6, 1918, during the night, a fire damaged most of the buildings at Indiana State Prison South. After this, the Governor’s Commission decided to build a new a more centrally located prison in Indiana. A site near Pendleton was selected since the Fall Creek provided a source of running water. The construction commenced in 1922 and opened in late 1923.

As part of the early 20th century prison acts, the offenders at the Indiana State Prison South were taught trades and manufactured various goods for state institutions and agencies across the state. This is the trades building at Pendleton.

In the Indiana State Library’s digital collections, you can explore examples of the printed catalogues. We have ones from 1905-10, 1915, 1925 and 1938.

The catalogs show what was manufactured by the inmates in these trade schools at the Indiana Reformatory in Jeffersonville and Pendleton. They include cooking utensils, clothing, shoes, brooms and furniture. Here are some example pages. The first from the 1905-10 catalog and the second from the 1915 catalog.

In the 1925, wicker furniture was added and probably made available to the various state park inns which were built during this time.

By 1938, old hickory-style furniture appeared, probably also used at the state park inns. Other additions included licenses and tags, soaps and cleaners, brooms of all kinds and bricks.

The Indiana State Agency Documents Digital Collection has publications from various state agencies, including departments, boards, bureaus, commissions, councils and committees that carry out various functions of the Executive Branch of Indiana state government. The Indiana State Library has state publications that span from the 19th century to present. To help preserve the older materials, digitized copies are being made available so the collection will continue to grow, not just in this collection, but also throughout our digital collections.

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

Poetry from the collections of the Indiana State Library

There is no shortage of poetry in the collections of the Indiana State Library, from published works to ephemeral poems, many tucked away in letters or scrapbooks. This is a look into pieces left by the amateur poets of Indiana – every day Hoosiers creating with language based on their lives, loves and experiences.

Many of the poems within the Manuscripts Division exist as collections unto themselves. They are often a single poem with little information about their creation or author. This further lends to the idea that they existed solely as a personal exercise for their creator or perhaps a gift to someone. The themes represented in a selection of the poems in the Manuscripts Division are some of the most quintessential in poetry: love and relationships, war and loss. These are all topics that have driven humans to create songs, ballads and other forms of poetry throughout history.

The following two poems are examples of themes on love and relationships – mostly the complicated variety. They are both anonymous. “Song of a Fellow” is signed by “Eva” and tells of an unimpressive suitor who failed to woo her. “The Reconcilement” is about the ups and downs in a marriage. Both poems are also written on small scraps of paper.

“The Watchmen of Dover” is a poem about England in World War II by Wilbur Sheron of Marion, Indiana. Sheron’s biography indicates he wrote a number of poems. It’s likely that this may have been intended for other readership as he lists himself as the author as well as his contact information.

“At Early Candlelight” tells the tale of an older man reminiscing in the early evening about his lost family and how he will meet them in heaven. It is on two small scraps of paper, but is also entitled and signed by the author, Robert McIntyre. No information is available about him.

This next poem was found in the scrapbook of Caroline Furbay, saved from her friend Charles William Alber, both also from Marion, Indiana. What a pleasant way to say, “It’s the thought that counts!”

Poets have formed groups in Indiana to share their work, such as the Poetry Society of Indiana, first formed as the Indiana State Federation of Poetry Clubs in 1941. The Manuscripts Division holds collections from some of these groups and the writers involved, such as the aforementioned club and the Poets’ Study Club of Terre Haute. The INverse Poetry Archive is also part of the Manuscripts Collection and collects poems submitted by Hoosiers on an annual basis.

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.”