What is a fact? Missing State Library artifacts

Carl Becker once posited the query, what is a fact? In his famous essay, his answer included the following, “And generally speaking, the more renowned a historical fact is, the more clear and definite and provable it is, the less use it is to us in and for itself.” His observations have relevance today.

Consider the steps taken to verify information laid out in a brief paragraph written by the Smithsonian Institute – in response to a survey sent out in 1849 in an effort to “capture the state of public libraries in the United States” – as reported in its 1850 Annual Report.

Included among those libraries that responded to the survey was the Indiana State Library, then consisting of four rooms on the first floor of the Indiana State House and opened daily, Sundays aside, from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. As well as its 7,000 volumes, the library had “some curious Mexican armor and arms; a portrait of Beato Simon de Cassia, painted in 1751; a painting of the ‘Tippecanoe battle-ground;’ 150-square-feet; and a small collection of minerals and fossils.”

If those same items might intrigue patrons today, we shall never know. None still reside within our collection.

Take, for example, the portrait of Beato Simon de Cassia and the Mexican suit of armor. No mention of these items can be found in the library director’s report from 1850-1852. Yet, they are regularly referenced in the Daily State Sentinel, a contemporary and manically partisan newspaper. Indeed, the items became a sort of rope in the heated tug-of-war between the town Whig and the country Democrat politicians.

The Daily State Sentinel was owned by brothers George and Jacob Chapman, who weren’t without a sense of flair. The masthead of their paper carried an image of a Rooster, soon to become the symbol of the Democratic Party in Indiana, and the words, “Crow, Chapman, Crow.”

To understand how this came to be, a little background is needed. The portrait, suit of armor and a book – apparently of less interest – comprised a gift from one John S. Simonson, a military man with one foot firmly planted in Indiana, as his wife, Elizabeth Watson, hailed from Charlestown, and the other in a stirrup riding with the U.S. Mounted Riflemen. Before being elected to the position of Indiana’s Speaker of the House in 1845, Simonson had served one term as a state senator. Soon after his election to speaker, James K. Polk appointed Simonson Captain of the Mounted Riflemen, a post he held throughout the Mexican War. He played an integral part in the siege and capture of Vera Cruz and then spent the next many years fighting American Indians in Texas.

Papers suggest that Simsonson held a good opinion of himself, which might help explain how his gift to the state of Indiana became a point of contention for Indiana Democrats, who argued that Simonson’s gifts were plunder from an aggressive war. On Jan. 30, 1852, proceedings from the State House reveal that Mr. Sleeth, a Democrat, demanded that all material stolen from Mexico during the U.S. invasion be turned over to the local Catholic Cathedral. Mr. Holloway, a Whig, insisted the spoils remain, byproducts of the nation’s defensive war with Mexico. Similar discussions resurfaced, each time less heatedly, for decades, until 1885 when the portrait and book were quietly donated to a local Catholic church.

The fate of the painting of the Battleground at Tippecanoe is uncertain. In an Indianapolis Star article from December of 1929, Kate Milner Rabb laments the condition of a George Winter painting of the Battleground at Tippecanoe, languishing at the State Library. This plea for help appears to have gone unheeded. A painting of the Battleground at Tippecanoe by George Winter is referenced in a letter from the State Museum, in 1980, which explains that if the library transfers the painting of the Tippecanoe Battleground to the Museum, the Museum can then restore it. Might the below image from the State Museum Collection be the said work from the director’s report? We may never know.

From the Collection of the Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites.

While documentation has yet to be uncovered, it seems likely that the minerals and fossils from the early days also winded their way to the State Museum.

The Mexican suit of armor is still unaccounted for. It may have trotted off with a concerned legislator, found a home in a Catholic or a Mexican cultural institution or, perhaps, stands in in a closet, waiting to be found and traced back to Captain John Simonson?

Other matters are less shrouded in mystery. For instance, the state librarian – a job held by both men and women – was a busy person. Reports from the 1850s onwards chronicle a variety of pressing 19th-century duties. The perennial problem of keeping the library’s collection from walking away was dealt with in the 1850s by taking all books out of circulation. Theft was also discouraged by printing the names of delinquent patrons in the director’s report, with inconclusive results. Then, there was the daily foot traffic. Statistics from the librarian’s 1894 report indicate that 6,218 patrons read newspapers in the reading room.

Since the librarian maintained the Statehouse and building for a chunk of the century, their time could be consumed with non-librarian issues as well, such as how to care for the building when it became a military encampment during the Civil War.

And, what to do with the battle flags produced by Civil War regiments? After the flags were ordered to be returned to the State of Indiana by Lew Wallace, they moved around and were displayed in various places. Their time at the Statehouse was not without problems. By the 1880s, one librarian petitioned that the flags be given to either the Geological or Agricultural Department as “the library is no place for a collection of curiosities that draws visitors and creates noise and confusion.” Added to the librarian’s displeasure was the habit of patrons to “tear off bits for relics.” Eventually, the flags found a proper home at the Indiana War Memorial, where they were preserved, and a small percentage are on display.

One senses, also, that the librarian’s needs were never at the top of the legislative agenda. A raise for the state librarian came eventually, near the end of the century, but not the oft-requested iron shelves, an interesting irony as fire prevention was a top priority when the State House was constructed.

One may be dispirited to learn that records were not kept of the comings and goings of certain artifacts, but then one should be encouraged that the state librarian, despite a light salary and a heavy load, chose to answer the Smithsonian survey. As for what to make of the work undertaken to trace an array of objects listed in 1850 – work that included tours of the State House and War Memorial (trips both worth taking), time in the library’s own fourth-floor vault, correspondence with the registrar at the State Museum and an explanation for how the rooster came to represent the Democratic Party in Indiana – consider it a nod to Becker, proof that the value of a fact can be in its unraveling.

This blog post was written by Kate Mcginn, reference librarian, Indiana State Library.

Lake depth maps: 1920-1925

The Indiana State Library has been digitizing a set of historic lake maps and making them available online for free to use and download. This set of maps was created between 1922-1925, making them all around 100 years old. Have a lake house? These might make nice pieces to frame!

There were 37 lakes mapped by the Indiana Department of Conservation, Division of Fish and Game in the first half of the 1920s. The maps show lake depth, adjacent topography, cottages, access roads and vegetation. The detailed surveys were the result of labor by William Motier Tucker, a native of Ripley County and Professor of Geology at Indiana University. He always worked with a student assistant, conducting the surveys in the summer months. The maps were then available for sale from the Department of Conservation for 50 cents each. They were purchased by interested fishermen and cottage owners.

There was much interest in Indiana’s lakes in the 1920s, mostly relating to fishing and fish hatcheries. Indiana had six state owned fish-hatcheries on lakes by 1926. They were responding to requests for stocking fish for sport and food. A lot of effort went into artificially propagating fish. You can read about these efforts in the Division of Fish and Game annual reports available online through the digitized yearbooks. In 1925, the Division sold over 205,000 fishing licenses, which contributed to the Division being self-sufficient. They receive no regular appropriation from the legislature. Today, 29% of Fish and Wildlife funding comes from license funds (source, pie chart).

In addition to being interesting to fishermen, the lake maps were to serve as a reference for years to come as they show the permanent benchmark levels for the lakes. There was concern that land drainage projects were threatening to lower lake levels in the northern half of the state. The Department of Natural Resources makes modern lake depth maps available on their website. So, while these 100-year-old maps may not have much practical use and are superseded by newer maps, they remain quite interesting. My favorite details are the manmade surroundings shown on the maps – there are cottages represented, some hotels and access roads are named. Many of Indiana’s beautiful lakes are remote, located way off state and interstate highways. Many no longer have many, if any, lots open for new development, making lakefront living a special privilege. I hope you find something interesting, too!

Bonus interesting information: William M. Tucker, the Indiana University professor who created the maps, left Indiana for a position at Fresno State College in the late 1920s. In 1937, he discovered the vertebra of huge prehistoric sea lizard, 50-million-years old. A few months later, the skull was found, making it one of the most valuable fossils discovered in the area.

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

TALK early literacy text program launched

The Indiana State Library is working with the Midwest Collaborative for Library Services and pilot libraries in Michigan to launch a new program called TALK – an acronym for Text and Learn for Kindergarten – for Indiana parents and caregivers. TALK promotes early literacy and kindergarten readiness through fun activities texted to parents each month. TALK has been developed using grant funds from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Although this program started in Michigan with Indiana coming on board recently, the hope is that this program could be replicated in states across the nation.

TALK sends texts with fun activities parents can do with their babies, toddlers and preschoolers to make any time learning time. The program was developed by librarians and is based on the already well established Every Child Ready to Read program which encourages parents to read, write, sing, talk and play with their children every day. TALK activities are designed to prepare kids, ages up to 5, for school success.

After signing up for TALK, the parent will receive up to 8-10 text messages per month with entertaining activities they can do at home with their child. TALK activities increase back and forth parent and child conversations. Research shows that when parents and caregivers talk and listen to young children, they develop cognitive and language skills they will need to succeed in school. Parents may sign up for messages in English or Spanish. The activities are then geared for their child’s developmental level and age. To see example texts for babies, toddlers and preschoolers, click here.

Public libraries can sign up as well to promote the TALK program in their communities with promotional toolkits provided for their use. Libraries who sign up can send texts about library events such as story times to parents.

The Indiana State Library will be hosting an informational webinar on Wednesday, Jan. 18, titled “Launching TALK in Your Community,” for Indiana public libraries interested in signing up for the program. The webinar will show how to use the online toolkits to access promotional materials and give tips on how to reach parents who aren’t regular library users. There will also be a demonstration of the TALK portal used to send text messages about upcoming library events. Libraries interested in learning more may register here. For more information about the TALK program, visit here. You may also contact Beth Yates, children’s consultant, or Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor – both of the Indiana State Library – with any questions.

This blog post was submitted by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.

Recent acquisition: Albert J. Beveridge collection

This fall, the Rare Book and Manuscripts Division of the Indiana State Library accessioned additions to the Albert J. Beveridge collection. Compiled by his second wife, Catherine Eddy Beveridge (1881-1970), and including instances of her notes, it comprises correspondence, manuscripts, publications and artifacts. These items supplement the existing correspondence, speeches and one portrait, as seen below.

Albert Jeremiah Beveridge was born on Oct. 6, 1862 near Sugar Tree Ridge, Ohio. In 1885, he graduated from Indiana Asbury College (DePauw University). In 1887,  Beveridge married Katherine Langsdale, was admitted to the Indiana bar and began practicing law in Indianapolis. Beveridge married Catherine Eddy in 1907, seven years after the death of his first wife. In 1899, Beveridge was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Republican and served six terms as a senator, during which time he was known for, among other things, fighting for child labor legislation.

In 1911, he returned to Indianapolis, starting a new career as a biographer and penning works on the lives of John Marshall and Abraham Lincoln after an unsuccessful bid for the Indiana governorship as a Progressive candidate in 1912. In the same year, he was the chairman of the National Progressive Convention at Chicago. He died on April 27, 1927 in Indianapolis.

Highlights of the recent acquisitions include a photograph of Beveridge with President Theodore Roosevelt, his wedding invitation and political badges.

This post was written by Victoria Duncan, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor.

Sources
Banta, Ray E., comp. “Indiana Authors and their Books, 1816-1916.” Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1949.

United States Congress. “Beveridge, Albert J. Biographical Directory of the United States Congress.” Dec. 13, 2005.

Government information games

Learning government information can be viewed as a daunting task. Most people know government information exists, or can name a government document, but struggle to properly explain or grasp the sheer scope of it. Government information typically gets associated with politics, political science or history. Often viewed as a subject rather than a type of information, government information covers all subjects and is considered a credible and reliable resource. Educators can trust the information presented to be accurate. Government information is also presented in fun engaging ways specifically designed for adults and children. One of the engaging techniques used for children are games.

Many federal agencies create education resources specifically for children and educators. Tracking down all these learning activities can be laborious. Luckily, there are some tricks and resources available to make the process easier. The Indiana State Library’s Indiana Federal Documents blog recently published a Games & Activities page within the Children’s Resources subject guide. Most of the games are targeted for elementary and middle school students and are either standalone games or activities with a accompanying lesson plans. It is important to note that some games require a specific internet browser (e.g., Google Chrome) in order to play. Below are just a few examples of federal agencies creating games designed to engage and educate children.

Recognized by the American Library Association as A Great Website for Kids, Ben’s Guide to the U.S. Government features learning adventures and games create improve student’s understanding of the federal government. The games test students’ knowledge of geography and understanding of the three branches of government. It also has activities designed for various age groups. The website is an excellent resource to begin teaching children about the federal government and civics.

NASA Kid’s Club is a great website that is presented in a fun and engaging layout with games and activities for elementary age kids to learn about NASA and space. The clubhouse has five games that range from easiest,  level 1, to hardest, level 5. All the games support national education standards in science, technology, engineering and mathematics, also known as STEM. The Kid’s Club also includes Info for Parents, Teachers and Caregivers that provide an overview of the games along with related resources to explore.

Ready.gov Kids was created to teach children about natural and manmade disasters. Through games and activities, the website helps them learn about how to prepare themselves and their family in case a disaster occurs. The games page tests kids on a wide range of emergencies and explains how to build an emergency kit through Disaster Master and Build a Kit online games. Ready Kids also features a Resource Library filled with helpful activities, resources and tools.

These three examples represent just a sample of games available on federal web sites. The Games & Activities page also includes links to games from the U.S. Mint, CIA, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. census and more. All the games are designed to educate children on a particular subject or topic. The page does not represent every game or activity available online. It is not uncommon for webpages or games disappear or get moved to a new site, so keeping a guide current can sometimes be challenging. There are tips one can use to search for a particular game or agency.

Targeted searching can help potentially uncover new resources or activities. USA.gov is an excellent starting point to search for government information. The site allows researchers to search through all available government websites to find information. Keyword searches for “game” or “kids” yield several results from federal – and some state – agencies. One can also use Google to search for a particular government department or agency and include kids in their keyword search to see if a children or education section exists. If those searching tips do not yield a positive outcome, contacting a federal documents librarian can help confirm what is available. Happy playing!

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.”

Upcoming webinars from the Indiana State Library’s Professional Development Office

Greetings this holiday season! The Professional Development Office is busy planning a wide range of webinar topics for the coming year.

Below you will find the important dates for the Indiana State Library’s training and professional development events taking place in 2023. You’ll notice that we will feature a What’s Up Wednesday webinar training series on the last Wednesday of each month and our new webinar training series called What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology will take place on the second Wednesday of each month. Some topics are still being developed, but we hope you can find some areas of interest in the list below. Best wishes from the Professional Development Office.

January 2023
Jan. 11
 “What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Dementia Friendly Libraries.” Hosted by Thrive Alliance and Bartholomew County Public Library.
Jan. 25 “What’s Up Wednesday – INDiPres.”

February2023
Feb. 8
 “What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – How to do a Presentation, Best Practices.” Presented by Paula Newcom, Northeast regional coordinator at the Indiana State Library.
Feb. 22 What’s Up Wednesday: Topic to Come!

March2023
March 8
 “What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Powered by Sunshine: How Solar Projects Benefit Libraries and Their Communities.” Hosted by the Brown County Public Library and Pendleton Community Public Library.
March 29 “What’s Up Wednesday – All Free for the Finding: Digging up Family History for Free on the Internet.” This presentation is a sampling of the best, free websites for genealogy. Attendees will become versed in research tips, general genealogy websites, Indiana genealogy websites, immigrant genealogy websites, British genealogy websites and newspaper websites. Presented by Angela Porter, Genealogy librarian at the Indiana State Library.

April 2023
April 12 “What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Enhancing Services with Outreach.” Hosted by Floyd County Public Library.
April 26 “What’s Up Wednesday – LaPorte County Public Library and The Exchange.” Hosted by the LaPorte County Public Library.

May 2023
May 10
 What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Topic to come!
May 31 What’s Up Wednesday – Topic to come!

June 2023
June 14
What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Topic to come!
June 28 “What’s Up Wednesday – Bendable.” Hosted by St. Joe County Public Library.

July 2023
July 12
 What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Topic to come!
July 26 “What’s Up Wednesday – Edelweiss & Libraries.”

August 2023
Aug. 9
 What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Topic to come!
Aug. 24-25 (tentative) “Indiana Library Leadership Academy 2023.”
Aug. 30 “What’s Up Wednesday- What’s New in INSPIRE.” Presented by Paula Newcom, Northeast regional coordinator at the Indiana State Library.

September 2023
Sept. 13
 “What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Building Back After the Fire.” Hosted by the Eckhart Public Library.
Sept. 15 The Difference is You Conference.
Sept. 27 What’s Up Wednesday – Topic to come!

October 2023
Oct. 11
 What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – Topic to come!
Oct. 25 What’s Up Wednesday- Topic to come!

November 2023
Nov. 8
 “What’s Up Wednesday: Trends & Technology – The Bridge: Noble County Public Library’s Makerspace.” Find out how The Bridge Makerspace evolved at the Noble County Public Library. Presented by Derrick Leatherman, IT services manager at the Noble County Public Library.
Nov. 29 What’s Up Wednesday – Topic to come!

December 2023
Happy holidays from the Professional Development Office!

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

Visit the Lego Monument this holiday season! It’s free!

Visitors to the Indiana Young Readers Center located in the Indiana State Library will get a treat this holiday season. For the fourth time since 2018, a 7-foot-tall replica of the Indianapolis Soldiers and Sailors Monument is on display from now until Valentine’s Day, 2023. Startlingly similar to the real monument, the replica is made from Legos, over 75,000 Legos to be precise.

Jeffrey Smythe of Center Grove, Indiana is the artist behind the Lego sculpture. Smythe attended the Herron School of Art and Design and graduated from IUPUI with a degree in interior design. He loves sharing his piece with the Indiana public, especially with field trips who visit the Indiana Young Readers Center.

The initial construction back in 2017-18 lasted 15 months, including three months of planning and sketching. Lego bricks used to create the sculpture, which includes a roughly 6-foot circular base area, were obtained from existing kits, Goodwill stores, auction houses and via online retailers and resellers. The piece was constructed at a 1:48 scale to accommodate Lego minifigures.

Since the initial build, Smythe has tweaked the design and grouped different combinations of characters around the base of the monument to tell different visual stories and provide lots of opportunities for viewers to seek and find.

This year, visitors will be delighted by a Muppet rock concert and a very familiar mystery solving dog. Let’s just say that we Scooby-Dooby-Doo hope you bring your families to visit the monument. “It’s one of my very favorite parts about working downtown in December,” said Indiana Young Readers Center librarian, Suzanne Walker. “The Lego Monument is beautiful, quirky and so very ‘Indiana.’”

The Indiana Young Readers Center is free and open to the public Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. The library is located at 315 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis. Visitors can also view the monument on select Saturdays; Dec. 10, 2022, Jan. 14, 2023 and Feb. 11, 2023 from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. If you have questions about viewing the Lego Monument, reach out to Suzanne Walker, Indiana Young Readers Center librarian.

This blog post was submitted by Indiana Young Readers Center librarian Suzanne Walker.

Resource sharing in Indiana libraries

There are 236 public library systems and nearly 90 academic libraries in Indiana. Most have their own catalogs and own their own materials. However, for the benefit of their readers, most of these libraries participate in at least one method of resource sharing. Resource sharing, or interlibrary loan as it is sometimes called, is when one library provides materials for users of another library. For example, if you visit your small town’s public library and can’t find any books about 3D game design, your library can probably borrow several from another library within a few days. Or, if you’re writing a research paper for a psychology course, rather than paying $24.95 to download the article from the publisher, your university’s academic library can likely quickly request a scanned copy from another library. School libraries, institutional/prison libraries, and even some special/corporate libraries are welcome to participate in many of Indiana’s resource sharing services.

The goal of resource sharing is to help patrons get access to the materials they need as quickly and reliably as possible, at a cost as low as possible and with as little intervention needed from staff. In addition to the Evergreen Indiana consortium which connects the holdings of over 100 Indiana public libraries, here is a description of some of the other services available to facilitate interlibrary lending in Indiana.

Indiana Share
Indiana Share is a statewide resource sharing service that connects participating libraries to all the materials available though OCLC’s WorldCat. Many larger libraries in Indiana have their own individual OCLC subscription, but through Indiana Share, smaller public and school libraries can benefit from the state’s subscription and request these same materials. An ILL staff person at the Indiana State Library reviews incoming requests and sends them to potential lenders, who then ship the books. With Indiana Share, we are able to borrow items from libraries all over the United States.

SRCS
Indiana’s Statewide Remote Circulation Service, or SRCS, debuted in Indiana in 2016 and has since connected readers with nearly 300,000 books at no cost to them. SRCS works similarly to Share, where library staff and patrons search a catalog of available holdings and select items to borrow. SRCS is unmediated, which means the requests go directly to the potential lenders. Staff at the library receiving the requests then locate the materials and ship them to the requesting library. The patron is then notified when their item arrives. This service is limited to participating Indiana public and academic libraries and is offered at no cost to those libraries.

InfoExpress
Indiana public libraries have benefited from InfoExpress, the dedicated statewide courier service, for decades. This involves a fleet of cars, vans and trucks that pick up materials from and deliver materials to hundreds of libraries statewide. The Indiana State Library currently contracts with Indianapolis-based NOW Courier to provide courier service, and participating libraries pay a subscription fee for service. The courier company maintains a schedule of which libraries receive service each day and then bills the Indiana State Library per stop – not per book, or based on weight. Over half a million parcels are shipped each year, bringing hundreds of thousands of books and other materials.

INSPIRE
Known as the lifelong learning library for Hoosiers, INSPIRE is the statewide virtual library available 24/7. The Indiana State Library sponsors access to dozens of databases and publications for residents of all ages to complete personal, academic or work-related research.

The future of resource sharing
The Indiana State Library’s Resource Sharing Committee, comprised of library staff from all types of libraries and supporting organizations around the state, meets regularly to discuss these existing services while planning for the future. While the future is unknown, the committee continually seeks to secure more efficient methods of lending with increased collaboration. The committee also continues to host informational webinars and conferences for staff working in resource sharing.

For information on any of these services, please contact the Library Development Office.

This blog post was written by Jen Clifton, Library Development Office director. She can be reached via email

Hoosier occupations in the U.S. census

In the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library, I learn about fascinating people and their equally fascinating jobs each day by researching U.S. census records. Those who live and work in the Hoosier state are eclectic individuals with wide-ranging career choices. It seems fitting to highlight some of the quirky, adventurous and even adorable occupations that I have found over the years:

Frank Liebtag
Frank Liebtag, a 5-year-old boy living at 905 Eugene St. in Indianapolis in 1910, was probably a delightful little clog dancer. About a year earlier, he was voted prettiest baby in the baby show at the Marion County Fair. There is no mention of him dancing for the judges, but I have a suspicion that may have been what won them over.

Indianapolis Star (Indianapolis), Aug. 20, 1909. Available from ProQuest.

Hellena Thiers
Hellena Thiers, a 33-year-old woman residing with family in Fulton County in 1880, toured the country as a “celebrated lady aeronaut” during her career as a balloonist. She directed the construction of a balloon named General Grant that was taken to Woodward’s Gardens amusement park in San Francisco in 1879.

It was a dangerous profession. It is reported in the Oct. 16, 1878 Angola Herald that after a cancelled balloon race between Theirs and a Professor Harry Gilbert, he was injured in a crash when he took to the air during bad weather conditions. “Thence the air-ship veered to the top of another tree, striking with such force that it was ripped wide open, and descended like a ball of lead…”

Angola Herald (Angola, Ind.), Oct. 16, 1878. Available from Newspapers.com.

San Francisco Examiner (San Francisco), June 12, 1879. Available from Newspapers.com.

Nellie Pine
In 1870, a Mrs. Nellie Pine from South Bend was practicing as a clairvoyant physician. Her services were advertised frequently in the local papers at the time.

In the July 1, 1867 New Albany Daily Ledger, someone going by A. Citizen writes advertising her services, “Are you sick? Yes, I am sick, and sick of humbug Doctors…Go and see Mrs. Pine if you want health; I have proved her power.”

New Albany Daily Ledger (New Albany, Ind.), July 05, 1867. Available in Newspaper Archive.

Professor Zoe Zoe
Another clairvoyant going by the name of Professor Zoe Zoe got into a bit of trouble shortly after he was enumerated in the 1900 Terre Haute census.

He was arrested for stealing the ring of Laura Wright, the woman he was lodging with at the time. This tongue-in-cheek article from the Evansville Courier mentions the census by incorrectly reporting:

An enterprising census enumerator got Zoe Zoe’s real name before the fortune teller was taken back to Terre Haute, but nobody else did as none of the police officials are able to perform his feats and give names unless the person will talk – and Zoe Zoe wouldn’t. The local police do not think the Terre Haute officials have a very strong case against the clairvoyant, and expect to see him back here lifting the veil for gullible Evansvillians at a liberal price per lift.

In reality, the suspected thief’s true identity remained a secret, even to the census enumerator.

Evansville Courier (Evansville, Ind.), June 14, 1900. Available in Newspapers.com.

Naitto Sisters
Circus performers were enumerated at the Fair Grounds Hotel on April 8, 1940. Walja Yu, also known as Ala Ming or Ala Naitto, came to town with her family to perform a high wire act.

In the newspaper article below, she is shown walking the wire with her sister, Nio. “Sisters who walk a straight line, are the Naittos, who do new and startling feats on the tight wire in the middle ring of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Circus…They are the only girls in the world accomplishing somersaults on the tight wire.”

Evening News (Harrisburg, Pa.), May 25, 1938. Available in Newspapers.com.

Chester and Jewell Austin

Chester and Jewell Austin, in Randolph County in 1930, listed their occupations as barnstormers, a term for those that performed airplane stunts such as wing-walking and parachuting. Based on the description in the April 27, 1930 Star Press, their act was quite the sensation. Chester would hang from a rope ladder as he picked a handkerchief up from the ground. Jewell was a parachute jumper, and she piloted the plane used in the act.

The Star Press (Muncie, Ind.), April 27, 1930. Available in Newspapers.com.

Palladium Item (Richmond, Ind.), Aug. 23, 1929. Available in Newspapers.com.

Joseph Burkholder
It’s likely whoever reported Joseph Burkholder, a 47-year-old in 1870 Whitley County, Indiana as, “too lazy for anything,” was having a little bit of fun at his expense or didn’t think much of his work ethic. Either way, the enumerator recorded the disparaging comment and now its history.

David A. Readfield
In 1850 in Marion County, a Mr. David A. Readfield has the perplexing title of pain killer listed as his occupation. What does a professional pain killer do for a living?

After a bit of research, I found out he was likely the same individual listed in the Nov. 4, 1852 Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel as a distributor of Perry Davis’ Vegetable Pain Killer. It was a mixture of opium, alcohol and other various ingredients. It was marketed at the time to both adults and children to treat pain caused by anything ranging from cuts and bruises to cholera.

According to the notice in the paper, Redfield had an injunction against him for not paying debts owed as an agent of Davis’ Pain Killer. This bit of trouble may be why he is not listed as a pain killer on later censuses.

Indianapolis Daily State Sentinel (Indianapolis), Nov. 4, 1852. Available in Newspaper Archive.

Monroeville Breeze (Monroeville, Ind.), Sept. 24, 1885. Available in Newspapers.com.

Cheerful Gardener
It’s fitting that a man with an attention-grabbing name like Cheerful Gardener would have an equally noteworthy career. Surprisingly, he wasn’t actually a cheerful gardener by profession. He, his wife Mary and a boarder named Violet Clement were elephant trainers for the circus in Miami County in 1930. He trained them to do a number of tricks, including carrying people about with their head in an elephant’s mouth. Cheerful later moved to Los Angeles to train elephants for Hollywood films. He was inducted into the International Circus Hall of Fame in Peru, Indiana where one of his uniforms is on display.

Portage Daily Register (Portage, Wis.) July 11, 1921. Available in Newspapers.com.

Here are some other interesting Indiana occupations from U.S. census records:

U.S. census records are available through these online resources:

In addition, the library has a guide to the Genealogy Division’s Census Collections by State if you prefer to see what the library has in other formats, such as print or microfilm. You never know, you may learn you have an acrobat, clairvoyant or other remarkable profession in your own family tree!

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

Difference Is You conference recap

The Indiana State Library was thrilled that the annual Difference Is You conference was finally able to be held in-person. The theme “Refresh and Recharge” was chosen for the 2022 conference because we wanted to focus on wellness topics to complement the library topics.

David Seckman, director of the Jeffersonville Township Public Library, appeared as our keynote speaker. David shared his philosophy regarding public libraries and work. The following is a description of his keynote speech:

Three Wishes for You
David has three simple, but important, wishes for you based on his years of study in positive and organizational psychology and his experience leading libraries. Have you ever wondered why some teams are highly productive, creative and innovative while other teams with similar levels of talent and experience seem to be stuck in neutral?

He answered those questions when he talked about how practicing “kind communication” can help determine the success of your interactions with co-workers and customers alike. Discover the most important ingredient to improving team dynamics, according to a large research project sponsored by Google. Gain an understanding about the three types of collaborative styles at work and which one is the most beneficial to organizational and personal success.

David Seckman, Jeffersonville Public Library Director, and keynote speaker.

After the keynote, Jacob Speer, State Librarian, revealed the winner of the Difference is You Award as Maureen Haub, cataloger and clerk, at the Milford Public Library. The people that nominated her were excited when they were notified. He also reported the names of all those who were nominated for the DIY Award and asked them to stand for recognition.

The rest of the day was spent learning about various databases or resources that libraries use. Wellness topics included yoga, mindfulness and a session from two representatives of NAMI Indiana that spoke about mental illness. Of course, we had to make sure we had a genealogy session to round out the offerings so Angela Porter, genealogy librarian at the Indiana State Library, presented free internet resources that patrons and librarians can use in their genealogy research.

Heather Barron, yoga and mindfulness teacher.

There were many comments made afterwards about how nice it was to be back in-person and one person relayed that it was “one of the best conferences she had been to in 26 years.”

This blog post was submitted by Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library.