New EBSCO eBooks added to INSPIRE

This year, the Indiana State Library has added over 75,000 new EBSCO eBooks to INSPIRE. The eBooks are divided into the following collections: K-8, High School and Public Library. These are in addition to the eBooks previously offered in INSPIRE.

You can access these collections by visiting the Databases A-Z list in INSPIRE. Scroll down to the E section and you will find a link to each of the eBook collections. Once you access the eBook collection that you’re interested in, there are three ways to find eBooks you are looking for: use the search bar at the top of the page; search by category on the left side of the page; or click on the cover of a book included in the Highlights or Featured eBooks sections located in the middle of the page.

EBSCO recently launched a free app for mobile devices that allows you to search for and download the eBooks available in INSPIRE. The EBSCO app can also be used to search for articles related to your topic of interest. Find the EBSCO app in the App Store for Apple devices or Google Play for Android devices. For more info about the EBSCO app, click here.

Once you set up an EBSCOhost account – you will be prompted to do this when you download a book for the first time – and have the EBSCO app installed, you can download books to your mobile device. Also, make sure you have downloaded Adobe Digital Editions to your device so that you can read the eBooks once you have downloaded the book you want. We have an unlimited use license for these book collections which means you will never have to wait for or put a book on hold. For example, 100 or more people could check out the same book at the same time! This is a true gift for schools and public libraries.

EBSCO Connect provides access to free promotional materials for librarians to use when promoting these new eBook collections. You can find these promotional materials listed under the Tools & Resources tab on the landing page of EBSCO Connect. Promotional materials provided for EBSCO eBooks include things like a web banner or logo to use on your library website, posters and handouts. Librarians can also access eBook training documentation by going to the “Learn More” button under the eBook Support Information section located in the bottom left corner of each collection’s search page.

In addition, a training video will soon be available on the Indiana State Library’s Archived Webinar page. To learn more about training opportunities related to EBSCO eBooks, please contact Kara Cleveland, Professional Development Office, Indiana State Library.

Please note that during the week of May 5-12, 2021, EBSCO will be upgrading key pieces of the EBSCO eBook system. This will cause some service disruption. During this timeframe, users will still be able to read eBooks online, download chapters and read previously downloaded eBooks. However, users will not be able to download full eBooks to read offline from EBSCOhost, EBSCO Discovery Service and New Discovery Service. Additionally, hold ready alerts will not be sent to end users during the downtime.

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

Duplication on Demand transition complete!

In March, the Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library completed the transition of its service model from sending patrons one book on one cartridge to Duplication on Demand, which sends patrons up to ten books per cartridge based on their requests and subject preferences. The same player and cartridge are used as before. Each cartridge includes a mailing card that lists its contents. Patrons should not attempt to return this card with the cartridge, but instead discard it or keep it for their records. There is an address sticker on each cartridge that ensures its return to the library.

There are many benefits to this change for both staff and patrons. Staff can duplicate up to 20 cartridges at a time. The number of physical items circulating through the library has decreased, allowing mail to be processed more efficiently. Patrons now have access to newly-published books more quickly, and there are no wait lists for popular titles. Cartridges can be easily customized for patrons wanting a series of books, or several books by the same author. Thousands of older titles that previously had to be ordered from offsite are now available immediately. All the Indiana Voices titles are also available through Duplication on Demand.

To access the titles on DoD cartridges patrons can either use the player’s bookshelf mode or the sequential play feature. Sequential play will play books in the order they have been loaded on the cartridge, while bookshelf mode lets the patron pick what book they want to listen to.

To use the sequential play feature, patrons put the cartridge in and listen to the first book as usual. At the end of the book, closing announcements will play; when they are finished a voice will say “end of book, press play/stop to go to the next book”. Patrons press the play/stop button and the next book on the cartridge will begin playing. They can repeat this step until all the books have played

To use bookshelf mode, patrons turn the player on and put the cartridge in. Next, they hold down the green “play/stop” button for ten seconds, or until the player beeps and says, “bookshelf mode.” Once in bookshelf mode, they use the fast forward and rewind buttons to scroll through the books or magazines recorded on the cartridge. After reaching the desired title, they press the green play/stop button again and it will start to play.

Any patron having any difficulties with Duplication on Demand should contact the Talking Book and Braille Library via email or at 1-800-622-4970.

This blog post was written by Laura Williams, Indiana Talking Book and Braille Library supervisor. 

Discovering census history at the Indiana State Library

The 2020 census data for congressional apportionment – released every 10 years – is due to be released one month from now, on April 30. The Census Bureau will deliver official 2020 census counts to the president on this date so these numbers can be used to determine the number of representatives each state receives in the U.S. House of Representatives. For the method used in determining these figures, see the Census Bureau’s Computing Apportionment. This year, the delivery date was extended due to COVID-19. You can find details about changes to the timeline on the Census Bureau’s website. Typically, congressional apportionment numbers are due to the president on Dec. 31, following the decennial census, in accordance with the U.S. Constitution. A history of this process is available on the Proportional Representation webpage from the U.S. House of Representatives.

The 2020 Census is not the first census to be disrupted by national concerns. The Earth spins and the nation moves forward through time as the American people are counted every 10 years. Let’s take a trip back in time to the fourth U.S. census, in 1820, when census enumeration was planned to take place during the six-month period from August 1820 to February 1821. Back then, the nation was going through its first major economic depression following the Panic of 1819.

What was the Panic of 1819, you ask? Good question! Last week was the first time I’d heard of it, and it’s not until recently that current scholarship has caught up with history. I decided to start my research using our free online newspaper databases and by searching for journal articles using INSPIRE, the Indiana State Library’s free database resource.

Here is what I discovered:

Late last year, Scott Reynolds Nelson wrote in his Journal of the Early Republic article, “The Many Panics of 1819,” that the causes were several:

Fundamentally, a trade war between the United States and Great Britain triggered the crisis, and that trade war over the Caribbean produced many panics – in the New England shipbuilding industry, in the southern provisioning trade, in the plantations of the British Caribbean where enslavers increasingly faced a hungry workforce.

…Though the land office failures were important. The Land Office was effectively a mortgage bank, the biggest in the world. On the significance of the land office in the American South, see Daniel S. Dupre, Transforming the Cotton Frontier: Madison County, Alabama, 1800–1840 (Baton Rouge, LA, 1997). Farmers borrowed on a four-year mortgage from the land office, a competitor to the Bank of the United States created by Jefferson’s Democratic Party. The rapid drop in provision prices led farmers to fail and abandon their mortgages and lands.

Additionally, Jessica M. Lepler explained the nationwide effect last year in her article, “The Panic of 1819 by Any Other Name:”

…North and South, East and West, urban and rural, young and old, male and female, bound and free, the hard times were national. This was no single-year crisis; the Panic of 1819 lasted about a decade.

These two authors were part of a 2019 panel discussing the subject.

Historical evidence can be collected here at the State Library through primary and secondary sources. Newspaper articles, history books and other ephemera explain how the 1820 census was affected by the economic state of the nation at the time. The 1820 census itself was extended by an extra seven months, until September of 1821. At the time, the United States would have been in recovery from fallout due to its first major economic crisis.

James Monroe was president on Census Day, Aug. 7, 1820. Courtesy of the United States Census Bureau.

Two centuries apart, the 1820 Census and the 2020 Census, and in both cases the process of the census was affected by major events impacting U.S. society.

As the pandemic draws closer to a solution and more people become vaccinated, we’ll see more books and articles written that compare our recent experiences to past events. The State Library has many resources that can help us delve into census history, both published and unpublished.

Visit our library to do research in the State Data Center Collection by calling us at 317-232-3732 to make an appointment. You can also use online resources like INSPIRE and the Census Bureau’s elaborate history website. Call or email the State Data Center for assistance. We are here to help you discover census history!

This blog post by Katie Springer, reference librarian. For more information, contact the Reference and Government Services Division at 317-232-3678 or submit an Ask-A-Librarian request.

Upcoming Get INSPIRED! sessions

This year, the Indiana State Library is hoping to help library employees across the state to Get INSPIRED! The Professional Development Office has added a second series to our webinar offerings, What’s Up Wednesday – Get INSPIRED! This series is on the second Wednesday of every month and will be a focused look at some aspect of the INSPIRE suite of tools. The remaining 2021 webinars in this series are below:

April 14 – “Ebooks”
Learn how to use the different features available in the new and expanded EBSCO Ebook collections in INSPIRE.

May 12 – “Live Q&A”
This will be an informal question and answer session about all things INSPIRE. If you have specific questions, please add them to this form and they will be answered during this session.

June 9 – “Business Databases”
Learn how to use the various business databases available in INSPIRE to access valuable business information.

July 14 – “INSPIRE for Career Prep”

Aug. 11 – “Live Q&A”

Sept. 8 – “Top INSPIRE Databases for Assisting Students”

Oct. 13 – “Digital Collections with Justin Clark”

Nov. 10 – “Live Q&A”

These webinars are all worth one TLEU each for Indiana library staff. Keep an eye on the PDO calendar of events and the INLibraries Listserv for more details. January’s “Introduction to INSPIRE” webinar can be found on the archived webinars page. March’s webinar “INSPIRE Search Strategies” will be archived soon, so be sure to check the archived page for this great opportunity.

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

Federal CARES grants help Indiana libraries safely reopen

Shortly after the COVID-19 pandemic reached the United States in early 2020, libraries began to close as a precaution for their communities and staff. The federal government rushed into action to aid industries affected by the virus and subsequent closures. On March 27, 2020, President Trump signed the CARES Act, which designated $50,000,000 for libraries and museums through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services.

IMLS distributed these CARES Act funds to state libraries based on the population served and to other library and museum grant applicants based on need. In Indiana, a portion of the funds received were used at the State Library to ensure book delivery and other statewide services could continue. However, a majority of the funds were made available as grants to public and academic libraries to reimburse COVID-related expenses.

Allowable reimbursements through Indiana’s CARES Act grants for libraries included:

Personal protective equipment and facilities supplies and services, including:

  • Masks, facial shields, gloves, sanitizer and wipes.
  • Plexiglass shields.
  • Washable keyboards and mice.
  • Webcams.
  • Curbside service stanchions and signage.
  • And all other items related to preventing and protecting staff and patrons against COVID-19.

Hotspots and digital inclusion supplies and services, including:

  • Mobile devices.
  • Signal boosters and antennae.
  • Wireless routers and corresponding subscriptions for the duration of the grant.
  • Remote learning and videoconferencing platforms for the duration of the grant.

E-content, including:

  • E-books, digital movies and music.
  • Databases.

There was a great demand for these grants and to date the Indiana State Library has awarded two rounds of 336 CARES Act grants to Indiana libraries. Over $200,000 has already been reimbursed to Indiana communities through the program.

These grants will help libraries recover from the unexpected costs of new hygiene and distancing needs, while enabling library staff to try new service models including curbside pickup, delivery and virtual programming. Additionally, libraries were able to expand their e-book offerings to better serve patrons enjoying library services from home.

Many libraries have since reopened their doors to the public and will continue to reintroduce in-person services as the virus wanes. However, many of the items purchased through these grants will continue to benefit libraries by helping them to operate safely and expand their new virtual and curbside services.

Questions about CARES Act grants for Indiana Libraries may be directed to LSTA grant consultant Angela Fox.

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

Explore Brown County

Brown County can be found in the center of the southern half of Indiana. It is known for its arts and crafts, food and wine and beautiful hilly vistas. The area was formed from two treaties regarding land ceded by Native Americans – the Treaty of Fort Wayne and the Treaty of St. Mary’s. Many of the early white settlers were from Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia and the Carolinas and already had familiarity living in mountainous or hilly country. Until the railroad and cars arrived in the area in the early 20th century, the whole of Brown County was very rural. People farmed and harvested lumber from forests to survive. As transportation opened more options for the county, the beginnings of the art community began to form as well.

T. C. Steele and Selma Neubacher Steele built their home, House of the Singing Winds, in 1907. It is now a state historic site. Adolph and Ada Schulz relocated to Nashville, Indiana from Chicago around 1917 and founded the Brown County Art Association. Two organizations, the Brown County Art Gallery and Museum and the Brown County Art Guild still work today to build the legacy of fine art in the community.

Brown County Art Gallery, 1926.

Interior of T. C. Steele’s home and studio.

In 1931, the Brown County State Park opened, inviting visitors to explore the Yellowwood State Forest, Hoosier National Forest and Lake Monroe amongst many other natural and recreational activities. This cemented the area as a tourist destination and that reputation continues to grow to this day.

Picnickers in Brown County State Park.

Explore more of Brown County in our Digital Collections.

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.”

The polio vaccine in Indiana

As hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers begin to receive their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, it is worth remembering that many of them have gone through a rapid mass vaccination program before. When many of today’s senior citizens were children, poliomyelitis – more commonly known as polio – emerged as one of the most dreaded childhood diseases on the planet. While most who contracted the virus survived it, polio could have serious and long-term effects on the central nervous system and could also lead to muscle paralysis.

Much like COVID-19, treatment for polio patients focused on respiratory assistance. Instead of being intubated with modern respirators, children with polio often found themselves in a long, formidable cylindrical tube known as an iron lung which would assist with their breathing.

Image and instructions on operating an iron lung from “Recommendations on nursing procedures and techniques in hospitals treating poliomyelitis cases of the Indiana Polio Planning Committee” (Indiana Collection, ISLO 610.73 no. 32).

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, outbreaks of polio across the United States caused widespread panic. Schools were temporarily shuttered, public swimming pools closed and other activities for children were cancelled as parents desperately tried to prevent their children from contracting the disease. The country was desperate for a vaccine.

Headline from the Indianapolis Star, Sept. 15, 1952.

Herald (Jasper County), Sept. 18, 1952. From newspaperarchive.com.

Jonas Salk first developed his polio vaccine in 1952. Mass testing began in 1954 and on April 12, 1955, the vaccine was declared successful and ready to be distributed to the general public, a medical feat which made the front page of many Indiana newspapers.

The Kokomo Tribune, April 12, 1955. From newspaperarchive.com.

Then as now, public health officials had to decide how to prioritize vaccine distribution. Children under 10 years of age, particularly those in grades 1-4, were considered most vulnerable to contracting the disease and were therefore scheduled to receive the vaccine first. And like the current iterations of the COVID-19 vaccine, multiple shots were needed to achieve full immunity.

Advertisement from the Rushville Republican, Jan. 20, 1956. From newspapers.com.

Once the vaccine was deemed effective, manufacturing went into overdrive. Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly was one of a handful of U.S. pharmaceutical companies to produce the vaccine. In 1955, Lilly produced over half of the vials used in the United States during the initial vaccination push.

Article describing vaccine manufacturing at Eli Lilly (Indiana Collection ISLO 614.473 no. 4).

Beginning soon after the public proclamation of the vaccine’s effectiveness in 1955, Hoosier school children quickly lined up at county hospitals, health clinics, or – in many cases – their school gymnasiums to receive their first shot.

The Brook Reporter, April 28, 1955. From newspapers.com.

Thanks to the vaccine and the mass mobilization of public health officials, healthcare workers, pharmaceutical companies, parents and children, polio was dramatically reduced in the United States by 1961 and is no longer considered the threatening childhood disease it once was.

Many of the children who lined up in their school gymnasiums in the 1950s are now in their seventies and are considered most vulnerable to the debilitating effects of COVID-19. They once again find themselves near the head of the line for a brand-new vaccine created to stop a dire public health pandemic. Instead of standing in literal lines at their local school, they must now navigate a virtual line to sign up for an appointment at a local health facility. As of this writing, nearly a million Hoosiers have received the vaccine.

For more information on the COVID-19 vaccination program in Indiana, click here.

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.”

Treatment of 3 rare 19th century maps at the Indiana State Library

1855 Map of Jeffersonville, Clark Co. Indiana
Jeffersonville, being positioned along the Ohio River and just north of Louisville, came out of the pioneer era as a metropolis by Indiana standards. This map shows the Jeffersonville and Indiana railroad, as well as the Clark County Plank Road. Jeffersonville was a gateway to southern markets; and later the movement of troops and supplies during the Civil War. Notice all the commerce along the riverfront: sawmills, meat packing and shipyards. Hart and Mapother Lithographers out of Louisville, have a rich body of work surviving in maps, but also print ads, pamphlet cover illustrations and letterhead. The detail on this map is really engaging.

This map came to the lab in extremely poor condition. Like most large 19th century maps, it had been adhered to a large sheet of fabric, which was very dirty. The map was also very deteriorated with lots of missing pieces. It was extremely fragile. Even handling it would cause pieces to fall off. The front of the map was also varnished, which had caused the entire map to darken and discolor. At some point, book cloth was glued to all four edges of the front. Finally, to the entire map had been “silked.” A large sheet of silk had been glued to the entire front of the map making the map appear cloudy and discolored.

The goal for treating this map was to get it to a state where it was stable and could be handled and eventually digitized. The varnish and silk were first removed, along with all the book cloth. The map was then washed, and all the fabric was then removed. The map was then lined onto a sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment image of the front of the map.

Before treatment image of the back of the map.

Removal of silk from the front of the map.

After treatment image of the front of the map.

After treatment image of the back of the map.

1872 Map of Logansport, Indiana
Logansport is another Indiana city with a strong railroad tie. This 1872 map of Logansport shows many rail lines crossing through the city. This map also shows many of Indiana’s internal improvements of the era, Wabash and Erie Canal, and the unlabeled Michigan Road (Burlington Road). Another great data set on this map is the list of “Leading Business Houses of Logansport.” Something of a boomtown, Logansport’s population tripled between 1860 and 1870, going from 3,000 to almost 9,000 people. The map and the text make a wonderful snapshot of what appears to be a bustling town in 1872. Compiled from records of Julius C. Kloenne, city engineer, the subdivisions and out lots are represented in detail, showing names of additions and large landholders edging the town. Kloenne would make his own map of the city in 1876. As neat as the map is, little to be found about the publisher Barnard, Hayward and Company. In contrast, the engravers H.J. Toudy and Company, out of Philadelphia, made a fine business specializing in maps, atlases and birds-eye views until a fire in 1878 destroyed their business.

When this map was first assessed it showed a lot of problems. It was in extremely poor condition suffering from years of heavy use and prior attempted repairs. The entire map had been cut into smaller sections, in what my assume was an attempt to make the map more easily stored. Like the Jefferson map, this map was also adhered to its original fabric and varnished. Significant amounts of clear packing tape was also applied to large areas of the front, and paper had been glued to all four edges.

As with the Jefferson map, the goal for the Logansport map was to repair it for stability, safe handling and digitizing. This would mean removing all the varnish, all the tape and glued on paper, washing the map to remove discoloration, putting the sections back in their correct placement and re-lining the map onto a new sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment of the front of the map.

Before treatment of the back of the map.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing tape from the front of the map on a tacking iron.

All of the tape removed.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing varnish from the map sections on a suction table.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan washing and cleaning sections of the map.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan removing the backing fabric.

Conservation intern Lily Duncan pasting out Japanese tissue for relining.

Treated section next to the untreated sections.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

After treatment images of the front of the map.

1876 Ohio County Centennial Map
Small in size, but rich in details, this map of Ohio County, Ind. was published to celebrate America’s centennial in 1876. The Ohio County Historical Society notes there were perhaps only 250 made. Surviving copies are quite rare. Ohio County was established just 30 years before this map was made. Notable are references to Native American sites at the time in Ohio County. George W. Morse, the mapmaker, is noted in the Ohio County history books as being present at the archeological digs in the area. He also delivered a historical address at the major Centennial Celebration held in Rising Sun the summer of 1876. The Centennial Independence Day was observed with cannons, bells and a parade. And this map!

This map was in an extremely fragile state. It had suffered lots of losses due to years of use. Like the other two maps it had also been varnished. The map had also suffered extensive water damage at some point resulting in staining throughout the entire sheet. Like the Jefferson map and Logansport map it was also adhered to its original fabric which had become very dirty and frayed.

As with the Jefferson and Logansport maps, the goal for this map was to repair it for stability, safe handling and digitizing. All of the varnish was removed, the map was washed and then re-lined onto a new sheet of Japanese tissue.

Before treatment of front of the map.

Before treatment of back of the map.

The map being washed.

After treatment of the front of the map.

After treatment of the back of the map.

This blog post was written by Conservator Seth Irwin and Monique Howell, Indiana Collection supervisor, both of the Indiana State Library.

Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award nominees announced; voting begins

The Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Committee has released its list of nominees for the 2021 Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award. The nominees are “The Box Turtle” by Vanessa Roeder, “Brown Baby Lullaby” by Tameka Fryer Brown, “How Do You Dance?” by Thyra Heder, “Red House, Tree House, Little Bitty Brown Mouse” by Jane Godwin and “Who Has Wiggle Waggle Toes?” by Vicky Shiefman.

In its seventh year, the literacy award recognizes picture books that serve an important role in the first years of a child’s life and encourages parents, caregivers and very young children to interact together with exceptional picture books.

Voting is limited to children who live in Indiana and who are under age 6 as of July 31. It is expected that most Indiana children will require help from a parent, caregiver or librarian. Children should circle their favorite Firefly nominee on their ballot and turn it in to their local voting location. This year, every public library system in Indiana will receive 15 print copies of the ballot and six sheets of Firefly stickers for marking nominees and winning titles. Packets of printed materials should arrive by late February or early March. Tallies will be accepted through July 31 and the award winner will be announced on Aug. 9. Voting locations should tally the votes and send them in an email to the Indiana Center for the Book.

The Indiana Center for the Book will be releasing a program guide by March 1. The calendar year for the Firefly Award changed last year as a result of the COVID-19 health crisis. The award nomination period now runs through the summer, allowing librarians to do Firefly programs throughout the run of their summer reading programs.

Click here for a PDF version of the ballot. Click here to learn more about the award.

The committee would like to thank TeachingBooks who supported printing and who put together additional Indiana Early Literacy Firefly Award book information.

Please contact Suzanne Walker, director of the Indiana Center for the Book, with any questions.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library.

Charles H. Kuhn, Hoosier cartoonist

Charles Harris “Doc” Kuhn was not a native Hoosier, but much of his career as a cartoon artist occurred during his more than 40 years of residence in Indiana. He was born in 1892 in Prairie City, Illinois and studied at the Chicago Academy of Fine Arts. He worked for the Chicago Journal and the Rocky Mountain News in Denver before joining the staff at the Indianapolis News in 1922 as an editorial cartoonist. Here’s one of his first cartoons for the News:

Indianapolis News, Jan. 21, 1922. Available from Newspapers.com.

If you are an adult of a certain age, you probably remember advertisements for drawing contests like this one:

The Kokomo Tribune, Jan. 19, 1969. Available from Newspapers.com.

In 1934, the Indianapolis News offered its readers a chance to get free drawing lessons created by Kuhn. A coupon like the one below was printed each day in the newspaper. After clipping six coupons, readers could send them in to receive a chart containing two lessons. The lessons continued for 10 weeks, for a total of 20 lessons.

Indianapolis News, March 29, 1934. Available from Newspapers.com.

With cold weather and continued social distancing, this winter might be a great time to try your hand at learning to draw cartoons. The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division has digitized all twenty lessons and they available to view and download here.

Charles H. Kuhn collection (S0792), Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library.

For 25 years, Kuhn’s editorial cartoons appeared in the Indianapolis News. He was often quoted as saying that “the main thing in a cartoon is the idea. If you haven’t got a good idea, you’re just drawing a pretty picture. Political cartoonists have to read all the time and keep up with current events.”

Indianapolis News, April 19, 1947. Available from Newspapers.com.

He left the Indianapolis News in 1947 and began creating comic strips for Richardson Feature Service of Indianapolis. His drew a two-column panel called “Hoosier Life” (published as “Sparks of Life” in newspapers outside of Indiana) and it ran for a couple years.

Indianapolis Star, May 4, 1948. Available from Newspapers.com.

The Daily Oklahoman, Jan. 30, 1948. Available from Newspapers.com.

Kuhn is best known for his “Grandma” comic strip. Originally published using his middle name, Harris, he went back to signing his work as Chas. Kuhn after King Features Syndicate picked it up in 1948.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Nov. 4, 1947. Available from Newspapers.com.

The Hammond Times, Sept. 21, 1950. Available from Newspapers.com.

According to the World Encyclopedia of Cartoons, his “Grandma” comic depicted the adventures of a “tomboyish, mischievous old lady who was a friend to the neighborhood boys.” His own mother was his model for Grandma, and he noted that she “was always full of pep and vigor. One time at 75 years of age, she dressed up in my old Navy uniform, danced a jig and played a piece on her French harp just to help the neighborhood kids put on a backyard show.” He also credited his wife, Lois Stevens Kuhn, with supplying many of the ideas for the comic strip.

“Grandma” was syndicated nationally until Kuhn’s retirement in 1969.  He died at his home in Florida on Jan. 16, 1989 at the age of 97.

This blog post was written by Laura Eliason, Rare Books and Manuscripts assistant, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at 317-232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”