Suffrage materials in the Indiana Digital Collections

“We are convinced that the time has arrived when the welfare of the nation would be most effectually conserved by conferring upon women the privilege of voting and holding political office.” – Ida Husted Harper from “Suffrage – A Right”

In conjunction with the 100-year anniversary of the passing of the 19th Amendment, the Indiana Division has digitized many of our materials about the suffrage movement of the late 19th and early 20th century.

You can find materials in the “Women in Hoosier History Digital Collection,” one of many collections at the library. Once there, you can click on “Women’s Suffrage” under “Browse these suggested topics.” The collection can be found here. Below is a sampling of some of the collection.

One of the earliest items is a pamphlet from 1888 during the presidency of Benjamin Harrison. It includes an article written by Susan B. Anthony.

The collection also includes two pamphlets by Ida Husted Harper. One pamphlet is about suffrage, in general, from 1906 and other about the international suffrage movement from 1907. Born in 1851, and raised in Indiana, Harper was a nationally-know writer, lecturer and suffragist. Her works include a three-volume biography of suffrage leader, Susan B. Anthony, and part of a six-volume “History of Woman Suffrage.” She also served as secretary of the Indiana chapter of the National Woman Suffrage Association.

Organized in 1911, The Women’s Franchise League of Indiana began when the Indianapolis Franchise Society and Legislative Council of Indiana Women merged together. The League was associated with the National American Woman Suffrage Association and was the prominent suffrage group in the state. Their membership was 1,205 across the state. Their constitutions, programs and directories provide information about the league and its members.

The Leagues’ publication, The Hoosier Suffragist, was “a monthly newspaper published in the interest of the woman suffrage cause in Indiana.” First published on Aug. 22, 1917, it provided information about the activities and people involved in the movement across the state.

The Women’s Franchise League of Indiana remained the prominent suffrage group until 1920, when it became the Indiana League of Women Voters, which remains in existence today. Their first congress was held April 6-8 in 1920 at the Claypool Hotel in Indianapolis. You can find their first program in the collection.

These are just some examples of what one may find in the “Women in Hoosier History Digital Collection.” Explore the collection to see what you can find.

For additional information:
Indiana Women’s Suffrage Centennial
League of Women Voters of Indiana

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

Nelson and Gilly Ann Perry in antebellum Indiana

When Indiana was established as a state in 1816, its very first constitution explicitly banned slavery. Decades later, attitudes had soured. While many white Hoosiers disavowed the institution of slavery, they did not necessarily want populations of free blacks living in the state. Thus, when citizens convened for a constitutional convention in 1850, this issue was hotly debated. Many delegates, all of whom were white, expressed concern at the influx of blacks migrating to the state, particularly from southern slave states. The result was Article 13 in the 1851 Indiana Constitution which declared “No negro or mulatto shall come into or settle in the State, after the adoption of this Constitution.” A further stipulation of this exclusionary act “instructed the county clerks to notify all Negroes who were residents before November 1, 1851 to register, ordered the creation of the register of negroes and mulattoes, and empowered the clerks to subpoena witnesses and to issue certificates attesting to the registration of legal residents.”1 In addition to name, age and place of birth, these registers also listed physical descriptions of each settler. The registration certificates served as proof that the bearer was a citizen of Indiana and therefore allowed to be in the state legally, but it’s impossible to ignore that the creation of these registers served as further persecution against an already marginalized group, making them even more vulnerable in a country that was bitterly divided over the issue of slavery.

Notice alerting Gibson County citizens of the registration requirement. From the Princeton Clarion-Leader (Princeton, Indiana), May 14, 1853

On Aug. 23, 1853, two settlers named Nelson and Gilly Ann Perry registered with Andrew Lewis, the county clerk of Gibson County, and received their official registration certificates. These documents are now in the Indiana State Library’s Rare Books and Manuscripts collection. According to the papers, Nelson was 33 years old, slightly over 6 feet tall, of stout build and dark complexion and was born in Pennsylvania. Gilly Ann was 28 years old, 5 feet 6 inches tall, of light build and light complexion. She was born in North Carolina.

Nelson and Gilly Ann Perry registration certificates, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library (Collection S1906)

Not much is known about Nelson and Gilly Ann, but some of their life together can be reconstructed from public records.

Years before they were required to register as free blacks, they were entered in another official Indiana registry, albeit for a more innocuous and mundane reason: On July 26, 1848 they were married in Posey County. According to the official registry, Gilly Ann’s maiden name was Eddy.

Marriage record from Familysearch.com

A couple of years later, they appear in the 1850 Census living in Mount Vernon in Posey County, Indiana. Nelson’s occupation is listed as a “cooper” which is a person who made wooden barrels and tubs. They also are living with a 50-year-old black female named C. McCalister,  but no further information could be found on her. Unfortunately, it is very probable that if she registered as a free black in Indiana, it was in Posey County and that registry is known to be missing.

Census entry from Ancestry.com

On Jan. 4, 1864, Nelson Perry enrolled in the United States 28th Colored Infantry Regiment, Company D. By this stage of his life, Perry was in his 40s but still willing to serve for the Union cause. A note on his military record indicated he had been “absent sick in hospital at New Orleans, LA since 7/15/65.” He was officially discharged on Nov. 8, 1865.

Later, Nelson’s name shows up in miscellaneous military paperwork including a list of Union Civil War veterans who were given official government-provided headstones.

Headstone application from Ancestry.com. Photograph of Nelson Perry’s tombstone from findagrave.com

 

No date can be found for his death. Presumably, he died prior to 1894 since that is the date on the headstone application. He is buried in Princeton, Indiana in Gibson County.

Gilly Ann is largely unaccounted for during the Civil War years and there is no evidence that she and Nelson had children. She shows up again in public records in the 1875 Wisconsin State Census, living in Beloit, Rock County near the Illinois border. She also appears in the 1890 United States Census of soldiers and widows, again in Beloit.

Image from ancestry.com

Interestingly, the Indiana State Library was given both Nelson and Gilly Ann’s Indiana registration papers from Beloit College where, presumably, Gilly Ann had donated them for posterity.

Official documents provide merely a rough outline of the lives of Nelson and Gilly Ann. What we know about Indiana history during the antebellum era can help flesh out their story even if, ultimately, any conclusions we draw are pure conjecture. For example, we know from her registration papers that Gilly Ann was born in North Carolina. Many free blacks and former slaves migrated to Indiana from North Carolina with assistance of North Carolina’s Quaker community. Quaker led caravans – sometimes made up of hundreds of people – made the long trek west. Migrating in such a manner was a safer alternative to escaping through other means, such as the Underground Railroad, because travelers were under the protection of their Quaker traveling companions. When the caravans reached Indiana, the free blacks would either continue to head further north to Michigan or Canada or they settled in Indiana, often within or near Quaker communities. It is quite possible that Gilly Ann was brought to Indiana from North Carolina in such a caravan.

In 1848 and 1850 we know that both Nelson and Gilly Ann were in Posey County. Based on the 1850 census, we know they were living in Mount Vernon, Indiana, a town situated directly on the Ohio River with Kentucky – a slave state – nearby on the other side of the river. In September of that year, the United States Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 which further compromised the rights of free blacks in northern states and made them more susceptible to kidnapping and being sold off to southern slave owners, even if they had never been enslaved before in their life. Being situated on the Ohio River, Nelson and Gilly Ann’s home was located in an especially perilous place as bounty hunters constantly roamed the area surrounding the river looking for escaped slaves or others who they could bring in for a financial reward. Bounty hunters could abduct people suspected of being runaway slaves with little or no evidence.

Clipping from Indiana State Sentinel (Indianapolis, Ind.), Jan. 25, 1848

Living so close to the Ohio River, it is entirely possible that the Perrys were involved in the Underground Railroad to some degree and like many other free blacks were instrumental in assisting others on their journey north. However, in 1853 the couple had moved a bit north to Gibson County. Perhaps they wanted to get farther away from the Kentucky border. Or perhaps they made the move because Gibson County was home to a larger number of free blacks and had several established black rural settlements. According to the 1850 census, Posey County’s black population was 98 while Gibson County’s was 217, almost double the size. Whatever the reason, it seems to have been a permanent relocation since we do know that Nelson Perry eventually ended up being buried near Princeton, a town located in Gibson County.

While all this is merely speculation, contextualizing what little is known about Nelson and Gilly Ann from public records within the broader narrative of general U.S. history allows for a richer and more complete story to emerge. That these registration papers were saved for decades, journeyed from Indiana to Wisconsin and were left in the care of a local college only to make their way back to Indiana is remarkable and a testament that Nelson and Gilly Ann must have wished their story to be remembered.

The Indiana State Library has numerous resources documenting this period of Indiana history. Some used for this blog post are:

Brown, Maxine F. “The role of free blacks in Indiana’s Underground Railroad” (2001). ISLI 973.7115 B879r
Hudson, J. Blaine. “Fugitive slaves and the Underground Railroad in the Kentucky borderland” (2002). ISLI 973.7115 H885f
LaRoche, Cheryl Janifer. “Free black communities and the Underground Railroad” (2014). ISLI 973.7115 L326f
1. Robbins, Coy D. Indiana negro registers, 1852-1865 (1994). ISLR 977.2 I385nr
Thornbrough, Emma Lou. “The negro in Indiana : a study of a minority” (1957). ISLI 325.26 T497n
“Underground Railroad : the invisible road to freedom through Indiana” (2001). ISLI 973.7115 U55

Online resources
Indiana Dept. of Natural Resources. Underground Railroad
Indiana Historical Society: Early black settlements

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.”

Indiana Library Leadership Academy member project recaps

My first year as Professional Development Office supervisor at the Indiana State Library started with me taking over the planning of the 2018-19 Indiana Library Leadership Academy. This past week I sent out the applications for the 2020-21 cohort. With the next academy on the horizon, I would like to highlight some 2018-19 INLLA cohort members’ projects. Below, some of the 2018-19 INLLA members describe their projects.

Jennifer Taylor, Hagerstown Library
“[My goal] was increasing the number of teen workers at the library, and we’ve hired two more teenagers to work in the library. I’ve increased my involvement at our local high school to get more teen programs occurring in the local high school. I also capitalized on International Games Week to increase the game programs in the library at the high school, which met two times there that week. I had 50-54 high school students at each of those programs. Since then, I have been at the high school once a week, and still kept 48-50 students at each game session. There was also a feature about the gaming programs that I have done, including the junior high school program, in a local paper that was then featured in the Indiana Library Federation newsletter in October about “Great Things in Libraries.”

Because of her involvement with the area schools, Jennifer’s library saw a 60% increase in participation in their Summer Reading Program. She is slated to do three webinars related to gaming for the Indiana State Library this year.

Julie Wendorf, Crown Point Community Library
“I wrote and got a grant to fund the TumbleBooks database for the next two years. The use at the schools started in November 2018. I worked with the school’s central office to promote the resource and coordinate adding the database to the school’s integrated one-on-one instruction and content management system. I am thrilled to share that that the use of the database went from 8 views in September, 86 in October and to almost 8,800 views in November. This success will be great as I move forward in the push to get digital library cards for all students in the school system. We will push out staff outreach visits to all the elementary schools during lunch time to issue library cards to all teachers in the district and further share library resources with individual teachers. The successful use of the database will help show the need for more partnerships between school and library. We’re looking at doing targeted visits to the high school to share about INSPIRE when we get those digital cards in place. It would be great to share other databases, too. I’m excited to go to the auto repair class and share Chilton’s. The library also created a bookmark for sensitive teen issues and had the library designated as a Safe Place.”

Melissa Hunt, Morrisson-Reeves Library
“My senior library card [project] is going well. I am established at three senior living facilities. The card gives seniors a slightly longer checkout. Staff at the facilities are working with this project and are trained to help the residents place holds so that they are getting items ready ahead of time and between myself and the staff we are getting the books to the members. One facility has declined to participate in the program, but we were able to take some weeded materials and our Friend’s group is allowing me to take some materials from their donations to that center as well. Because of this project, the senior center asked me to give a presentation about Morrison-Reeves Library and its resources. They would also like to set a book club or library help time. We are working out those details. Maybe I will train some senior center volunteers to run the club and a few staff at Morrison-Reeve Library are willing to go and help at a scheduled time about every 4 to 6 weeks at the center. I am also running two book clubs at two of the senior facilities. Going to the senior center sparked a youth services staff member to visit preschools and elementary schools to promote library cards and do story times.”

Leslie Sutherlin, South Dearborn School District
“My schools, the middle school and high school in South Dearborn, are hosting author Alan Gratz. I’ve created a packet of resources for teachers on Alan. We are also having a few guest speakers and possibly a panel. I have been in contact with an immigration lawyer as one of the guest speakers. We are also having someone from the Holocaust and Humanities Center in Cincinnati speak. When Alan comes, we may have him present in the evening at our local public library.”

Becca Neel, David L. Rice Library, University of Southern Indiana
“The overall goal of my project was to expand online library instruction and research support for students and instructors in Indiana high schools offering dual credit through USI’s College Achievement Program. To accomplish this goal, I’ve been working closely with our infinitely helpful and supportive CAP administrative team on campus to collaborate on training, communication and promotional efforts. This partnership has afforded me a myriad of opportunities to exchange ideas and to share resources and services with a diverse group high school CAP instructors via LibGuides and Zoom instruction sessions. A list of CAP LibGuides resulting from recent instructor collaborations can be found here.

“More recently, this project has connected me with some incredibly innovative and energetic media specialists from CAP partner high schools who have been instrumental in providing me with both a context for approaching information literacy in a non-university environment and an audience willing to listen to incessant gushing over INSPIRE database content and navigation.

“As the result of these various partnerships, and with the support and supreme event-planning expertise of the USI Rice Library’s head of public services, library support for the CAP community will continue its expansion through a day-long Linking Information Literacy Across CAP workshop aimed at bringing together USI librarians, media specialists and public librarians connected with the CAP high schools.

“This workshop is intended to foster long-term network of collaboration among librarians and media specialists, and will feature info-sharing and brainstorming sessions, as well as resource and technology training to provide school librarians with editor privileges for school-specific LibGuides. An example of one such collaborative LibGuide can be found here.”

Carrie Vrabel, Allen County Public Library
“My project became the creation and promotion of a free, web-based resume generator especially designed for patrons with beginner-level computer skills.

“This resume generator creates a formatted, printable and saveable resume. There are instructions for printing at the top of the page. Many of the fields auto-capitalize for patrons with beginner-level computer skills and there are examples of wording that can be used in the qualifications and skills fields.

“I sent the link to ALA’s ThinkTank on Facebook and received overwhelmingly positive feedback. I also presented this new resource at the ILF Regional Conference in Mishawaka on Monday, April 22, 2019. To my knowledge, Resume Generator is the only free web-based resume generator on the internet, so I hope to get the word out to as many librarians as possible!”

Jenna Anderson, Kendallville Public Library
“Following an inspirational conference session on a STEM program for teens in 2017, as the Kendallville Public Library Marketing specialist I thought, ‘What if I took some of these ideas, added more topics, put the program online and expanded it to everyone?’

“In June 2018, the Kendallville Public Library unveiled Design Your Climb, an online, points-based system for learning and fun. At the time, the challenges included library skills, makerspace experiences, robot programming and other library-related activities. It generated some excitement in the community, especially because participants could win prizes as they earned points.

“Once again, that ‘what if’ question took over. What if the library expanded Design Your Climb so people could not only experience the library, but experience the community? Through the Indiana Library Leadership Academy, I learned valuable leadership skills and developed a plan of attack for involving the community in Design Your Climb.

“I approached local organizations and nonprofits, offering them the benefits of the library’s exposure at no cost to them. In exchange for working with the library to develop a challenge track specifically for them and promoting it through their own marketing channels, the library would support the challenge on its online system, promote the challenges as well and award prizes. Many recognized a win-win when they saw it, and took the library up on the offer. To date, three organizations have four on-going challenges among them, while several more are developing their challenges. The number of Design Your Climb participants continues to grow, while the awareness of the services in the community increases, as well.

“Design Your Climb is a partnership between the Kendallville Public Library and the East Noble School Corporation. KPL handles the Personal Growth portion of the initiative, while East Noble is unveiling the Educational Growth portion of Design Your Climb to its second grade students. Design Your Climb Personal Growth can be found here.”

Jenna was so inspired by INLLA, and specifically speaker Cathy Hakala-Ausperk, that she says it literally changed her life. Her approach to her job has expanded, she has pursued additional leadership training and is now moving herself and her library in new and exciting directions. She was also recently promoted to support services manager.

Charles Rude, Kewanna-Union Township Public Library
“I am attempting to digitize a collection of my home town newspapers. I have the library’s support with some budget funds, legal ownership of the papers for the library and a loose commitment of funds from the community foundation. At this point, I am still hoping to get other local organizations on board and expand my scope. I am in discussions with the historical society and my library neighbors and towns. I am asking them for contributions or whatever they can do to support the project and they seem very positive. I still feel strongly that we need to preserve our history for future generations so I will be working with these organizations to get the ball rolling.”

Katie Lehman, Muncie Public Library
“My educational resource boxes are being built by a local Eagle Scout and will be installed at our south side branch and at a partnering location. Inside the boxes there will be educational tools and supplies that anyone can take and utilize. This will include things like crayons, glue sticks and different educational activities assembled by Ready Readers staff. I am looking at partnering with either the YWCA or YMCA as the second location for a box.

“Many of the children in my program talk about not having items such as crayons, markers, glue, dice, etc. at home. While many locations give these things out at the beginning of the school year, the supplies often must stay at school. Even when they do go home, they are used up quickly, lost or thrown out in a quick move.

“While it is not specific to my INLLA project, I did want to share that since INLLA, I have secured two grants for Muncie Public Library’s Ready Readers Program. One through Psi Iota XI to update the furniture in the room to make sessions more comfortable and one through Delta Kappa Gamma for teaching supplies to use with students in sessions.

“I feel that I gained a lot out of my INLLA experience. One thing that really stuck with me was a response from one of the panel members who said, ‘Keep your head down and do the work. I’ve kept that mantra and it’s paid off! I was recently promoted to director of academic enrichment and now supervise 10 staff and more than 85 kids.”

If you would like to apply to be a part of the 2020-21 INLLA Cohort, click here for the application. The application is due Friday, Feb. 28. If you have any questions, please contact Kara Cleveland at 317-232-3718 or via email.

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

The Samara House in West Lafayette, Indiana

There are several buildings designed by famous architect Frank Lloyd Wright in the state of Indiana. Possibly the best known example of a private home design is the John E. Christian home, called Samara, in West Lafayette, completed in 1956. Samara is named for the winged seeds that come from pine cones. I found a book about the Wright-designed Samara in the Indiana State Library’s Indiana Division collection titled “Frank Lloyd Wright’s Samara Winged Seeds of Indiana” by Wallace J. Rogers (ISLI 720 R731f). The forward to the book is written by John E. Christian, PhD, the home owner who worked with Wright in designing and building Samara. Christian was a professor at Purdue University, and for that reason wanted the house to be built in West Lafayette near the Purdue campus. He intended to hold gatherings of students and professors there, as well as live there with his family.

After John, his wife Kay and daughter Linda visited Taliesin, Wright’s summer home and studio, Kay decided that she wanted Wright to design a home especially for their family’s needs. However, they could not afford a house at that time. Luckily for John and Kay Christian, once Wright found out that they had more than an acre of property on which to build a house, he agreed to design their home.

Wright had begun advertising his Usonian home plans that began at $5,000. Samara was meant to be one of Wright’s Usonian designs, during the post-World War II era.  Usonian design was an idea Wright had for functional but stylish homes for middle-class customers. Several entire communities around the country were designed around the Usonian ideal.

Working with Wright was not for the faint of heart. Wright reportedly had a difficult personality and liked to dictate what types of furniture, down to the lampshades, should be included in the homes he designed. In the Rogers book, there is a glossary of furniture designed especially for Samara in the back of the book. John and Kay Christian were committed to following Wright’s directives as far as décor.

In Roger’s book, the details of the designing and building process, along with pictures of the plans and furniture are abundant. Unfortunately, though the cover is in full color, the pictures in the book are all in black and white. Samara has a website which indicates that it is in the process of being updated. However, the photographs of the house are spectacular. The furniture is colorful and also looks useful as well as comfortable. There are soaring windows and intricate woodwork for which Wright’s designs are famous. Samara is open for tours during parts of the year, even though it is a private residence.  The website indicates that the house is open for tours April through November, although by appointment.

If you are interested in other Wright-designed structures in Indiana, you may want to look at “Frank Lloyd Wright and Colleagues: Indiana Works.” The picture above is a program from the event organized by Barbara Stodola that was held July through September in 1999. The exhibition was held at the John G. Blank Center for the Arts in Michigan City.

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

Professional development in the new year

The Professional Development Office is excited about the new year and all of the things we will be offering to Indiana librarians. We are starting a new series of webinars called What’s Up Wednesday?, which are scheduled for the last Wednesday of every month – except December – at 10 a.m. EST. The first one will feature one of our own Indiana librarians, Jennifer Taylor, from Hagerstown Public Library and the webinar is called “Quick Play Gaming for Teen Outreach.”

The next thing we are doing is offering the first Indiana online conference, “Hot Topics for a Cold Winter’s Day.” It will take place online Monday, Feb. 17 from 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. EST. Our keynote speaker will be Julius Jefferson, Jr., ALA’s 2020-2021 president-elect. Also speaking will be Cyndee Landrum of IMLS, Pam Seabolt of MCLS, ILF President Susie Highley and Kelly Krieg-Sigman, retired director of the LaCrosse Public Library in Wisconsin. Stay tuned for registration information.

The Difference is You conference is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 18 at the Indiana State Library and is in the early planning stages. This year we will also present our 2020 Indiana Library Leadership Academy on Oct. 28-30. Participants are selected through an application process so keep your eye out for the application. This opportunity is open to librarians from all types of libraries – public, academic, school, special and institutional.

We are also happy to announce that we have hired a new Northwest regional coordinator, Laura Jones. She will be working remotely from Argos. Laura has experience in both public and school libraries.

We have updated and added to our Face to Face Training options. There are several new options: “Teambuilding 101,” “Soft Skills for Librarians,” “Developing Community Partnerships” and some new subject-specific INSPIRE trainings. We are excited that we have been able to redo our tech kits with new choices and we will have three kits now instead of two. We have added the littleBits Star Wars Droid Inventor Kit, Squishy Circuits, Dash Challenge cards and the Code and Go Robot Mouse Activity set. Checkout for the updated tech kits will begin in February. Please talk to your regional coordinator if you would like to reserve one. In addition, we purchased two Breakout EDU kits which we will also be circulating this year.

Of course, we will continue offering webinars at various times throughout the year so please check our calendar so you don’t miss out. I hope you are as excited about 2020 as I am! It’s going to be a great year!

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

A year in the life of a librarian in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library

Have you ever wondered what the librarians in the Genealogy Division at the Indiana State Library do all day and all year long? I sometimes get a glazed over response from people when I tell them what I do for a living. Most times, though, people react with great interest and they have many questions. I feel like I could talk about genealogy and what I do for hours! There are always new and interesting questions we receive from patrons who are inquiring about one or more of their ancestors.

We recently researched individuals who were performers in the travelling circuses and vaudeville acts of the late 1800s. Talk about a challenge in trying to research people who were constantly on the move and went by several different stage names! We are definitely always up for a challenge and happy to guide and help any patron with their research. Due to time constraints, we are sometimes unable to conduct in-depth research, but we are most definitely available and happy to help with less comprehensive research on ancestors.

In this case, we were able to find information about a particular travelling circus they were performing in throughout the states of Indiana, Illinois and Ohio around the year 1900. With the ancestors using stage names sometimes as their real names, it has been difficult trying to track down their places of death and burial.

Sometimes we uncover unfortunate incidents, like when we learned of the demise of two-thirds of a 12-generation family tree chart that included an ancestor who arrived in America on the Mayflower in 1620. A rodent that may or may not have been the family pet escaped his caged home and was thought to have gone on to rodent heaven. However, several weeks later said rodent was found living the life in a cozy little nest of shredded family tree material! He was most assuredly on a mission to erase 12 generations of a family tree. Thankfully, though, those brave people aboard the Mayflower have been well documented along with five to six generations that followed after them. Piecing together the names on the one-third of the salvaged family tree chart and researching in our numerous books about the people on the Mayflower has made this research not as daunting as one might think.

Speaking of books in our Genealogy Collection, we have some very intriguing books to complement our death record index books. Several of the Indiana counties have published coroner record books. Most of the entries I’ve read in the coroner’s reports are descriptive and they don’t mince words. For example, one ancestor I researched this year has an entry in the Decatur County Indiana Coroner’s Inquest Record Book 1, 1873-1900. Herman Demer, born June 9, 1852 in Germany, came to America and made his way to Indiana where he married and eventually became the father of six children. He died on April 1, 1896 in Greensburg in Decatur County, Indiana. The coroner’s entry reads:

“Report and verdict of the Coroner of Decatur County as to the cause of the death of Herman Demer at crossing of Vine Street and the track of CCC & S & L Railroad in the city of Greensburg, Indiana on May the 1st 1896 after hearing the evidence of 10 witnesses in this case…

 

“I do find that as the mail train No 11 from Cincinnati came into this city on said date running at the rate of 20-25 miles an hour and at the crossing above named the engine of said train struck the deceased Herman Demer together with his horse and wagon, killed the horse instantly and demolished the wagon, and so injured and mangled the deceased Herman Demer that he died in a few minutes after being hurt and I do find that the accident was due to the fast rate the train was being run by engineer William Nagle at the time of the accident.

 

Would call the attention of the authorities to the fact that all trains are being run at to great speed through this corporation. May 7, 1896. Signed, George W. Randall, Coroner Decatur County Indiana.”

Old newspaper articles also could be very blunt in their accounts of events. There was another ancestor research I helped with that became quite a gripping tale as I searched in our online newspaper databases. The female ancestor had been a well-beloved fixture in the community for years. One morning on the farm, sometime in the 1880’s, she went out to feed the pigs and had her apron pockets full of pig feed. The newspaper article stated they believed she suddenly had a heart attack and collapsed in the pig pen. In the process of collapsing, the feed was scattered all over her upper torso and hands. I’ll leave it at that and let you figure out the rest. The newspaper article went into very gruesome detail, as was the custom of the times.

Another book we have with an entirely fascinating title is “The Georgia Black Book: Morbid, Macabre & Sometimes Disgusting Records of Genealogical Value” by Robert Scott Davis. The title either grabs your senses and pulls you in or it repulses you as you firmly say, “No thank you!” The contents include names of horse thieves, liars, convicts, murderers, murder victims, insane asylum inmates and more. It covers the period of 1754 through 1900 mostly. A few chapters on murders cover the 1823-1969 time frame. It contains the names of over 13,500 people. I haven’t actually researched inside this book for any patrons, but earlier in the year I got pulled in by the title alone. This is just one of many intriguing books we have of genealogical value.

As librarians in this division, we are always searching different types of indexes looking for particular ancestor names for our patrons. Reading through these lists of names can sometimes be quite amusing and charming at the same time, along with coming across some tongue-twisters, too. Here is just a small sampling of the names we’ve come across: Mr. Orange Lemon, Methusala Stickie, Mrs. Pearl Wilkymackey, Thomas Batman, Mary Popsichal, Cincinnati Meek, Pierre A. Poinsette, Balthazar Zumwald, Reason Shook, Adonijah Rambo, Rosebud Alcorn, Sophronia Boeckelman, Waty Winkler, Hannah Hairclipe, Fergus Snoddy, Permelia J. Threldheld, Dorman E. Stufflebeam, Thomas Cottongin, Lucy Meltaberger, Landrum Leak, Woods Cotney, Orval Fifield Upthegrove, Knotley Tansel, Peyton/Paten Tansel and Stark Tansel.

I think it’s safe to say that librarians who work with genealogy love history. Having the opportunity to research during different time periods of our country’s history and also learn about the history of countries where people emigrated from makes history come alive. Learning about history from our school books is one thing but then delving into the lives of real people that lived through particular times, makes history more authentic and palpable. For instance, in researching an American Civil War Soldier from Putnam County, Indiana who died of dysentery in a makeshift hospital far from home, brought a human realness to history for me. In this research I also learned that during the American Civil War, 95,000 soldiers died from dysentery.

We all learned long ago in school that the pilgrims came to America in search of a place to live peacefully without religious, and other forms, of persecution. Later, people came to America fleeing cultural persecution, political upheaval, land and job shortages, famines and continued religious persecution. When I research actual people that left their families and homes in the only country they probably ever knew, it most definitely makes history come alive. It has brought a new sense of awe and utmost respect to all of the immigrants that came here in search of a better life. I can’t even begin to imagine the bravery it must have taken to leave everything they ever knew for the dream of a better life.

We have the following book, and many more like it, that are great history and genealogy resources: “History for Genealogists: Using Chronological Time-Lines to Find and Understand Your Ancestors” by Judy Jacobson.

In the preface of this book, I fully agree with what the author states about the importance of seeing ancestors in the historical context in which they lived:

“…In my research I try to understand why people made the choices they made, what type of people they were, and how they came to be that was. I like to see their world through the eyes of those ancestors. … This book is designed as a handy reference to provide researchers with what I consider to be a critical but often overlooked dimension to their genealogical research: an historical context.”

For example, hundreds of years ago, and even more recently, there were many occupations that no longer exist today. If you would like to read through an entertaining list of occupations from yesteryear, you can access that link here. I am including a small list of some of the more curious names of occupations below.

I hope you have enjoyed reading about a few of the interesting research topics and related items that we conduct year round in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library. There’s always some new topic or ancestor that is fascinating and intriguing.  Come in and visit us sometime or send us a question through the Ask-A-Librarian interface on our library website. We are happy to help.

This post was written by Alice Winslow, librarian in the Genealogy Division of the Indiana State Library.

“Wake Up, Woods” chosen as Indiana’s National Book Festival title

Every year, a list of books for children and youth representing the literary heritage of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands is distributed by the Library of Congress’s Center for the Book during the National Book Festival, which takes place annually in Washington D.C. Indiana’s selection is always by an Indiana author and usually includes other Indiana connections, like being set in Indiana or celebrating Indiana’s culture and heritage.

The 2020 National Book Festival selection from Indiana is “Wake Up, Woods” published by Rubber Ducky Press, written by Michael A. Homoya and Shane Gibson and illustrated by Gillian Harris.

“Wake Up, Woods” pairs informational text with clever verses to inform and delight the reader about plants native to North American forests. “Wake Up, Woods” is not only written and illustrated by Hoosiers, but each of the plants highlighted in the book are native to Indiana and can be found in the spring time in parks and preserves – and even in shade gardens around yards. Detailed illustrations, lilting verses and scientific explanations make “Wake Up, Woods” an important text for anyone wanting to wake up to the wonder around them when visiting the woods. This is an excellent nature book to share with young readers and is perfect for the classroom, or to tuck in a backpack before a hike.

Bloodroot, an Indiana native plant, is the first plant featured in “Wake Up, Woods.”

Adriane Doherty, owner of Rubber Ducky Press, said, “It is such an honor for Rubber Ducky Press to have ‘Wake Up, Woods’ selected by our state’s Indiana State Library’s Indiana Center for the Book to represent Indiana at the Library of Congress National Book Festival. We are so very proud of all the work done by the contributors and, especially, illustrator Gillian Harris and authors Michael A. Homoya and Shane Gibson. And, of course, none of this would have been possible without the drive and determination from the people of the Indiana Native Plant Society.”

The book came about through the diligent work of the Indiana Native Plant Society, whose dream it was have a picture book celebrating Indiana’s native plants in the springtime.

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

INverse poetry archive now accepting submissions

INverse, Indiana’s poetry archive, celebrates and preserves a diverse range of Indiana poetry for future generations of Indiana writers and readers. The archive is a collaboration of Indiana Poet Laureate Adrian Matejka, the Indiana State Library and the Indiana Arts Commission.

Residents of Indiana are encouraged to submit poems to the archive annually between Feb. 1 and April 30. During the current inaugural year, submissions are being accepted from now until April 30, 2020. The archive is conceived to be a repository for all Hoosier poets, from amateur to professional.

For information about the annual timeline, eligibility criteria, the eligibility review process and for instructions on how to submit poetry, please visit the INverse poetry archive website. Questions about the submission process can be directed to Stephanie Haines, arts education and accessibility manager at the Indiana Arts Commission. Questions about the state library’s plan to make the archive available to the public can be directed to either Bethany Fiechter or Brittany Kropf of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division.

Funding for this program comes from the Indiana General Assembly.

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director.

So, what does the Indiana State Library actually do?

“So, what is the Indiana State library?” As the communications director at the State Library, this is a question I often hear at conferences immediately after the person who asked the question realizes that we’re not the Indianapolis Public Library. It’s a fair mistake. After all, not many cities are privileged enough to have two large downtown libraries. More importantly, though, it’s a great question. What do we do here at the Indiana State Library? Predictably, the answer to that question is “a lot.” All libraries do a lot. However, the Indiana State library functions a little bit differently than a public or academic library.

The Indiana State Library from W. Ohio St.

For starters, the Indiana State Library is a state government agency. Yes, we are all government employees of the State of Indiana, which is why we all have cool badges with our pictures on them. As a state agency, the library operates using a two-pronged approach. One prong is public services, the side of the library which, as the name implies, serves the citizens of Indiana and preserves the state’s history. The other prong is statewide services, the side of the state library which supports libraries throughout the state. Our mission statement sums up these two operational divisions: “Serving Indiana residents, leading and supporting the library community and preserving Indiana history.”

The Indiana State Library from Senate Ave.

Public Services
On the public services side, we operate in a similar fashion to a public library. A special research library, the Indiana State Library is a beautiful Art Deco building, opened in 1934, that sits on the Canal Walk in downtown Indianapolis near the Indiana Historical Society, the Eiteljorg Museum and the Indiana State Museum. Two of the library’s four floors are open to the public. However, we differ from a traditional public library in that the majority of our materials are Indiana-related. We do not carry many of the latest popular fiction and nonfiction titles – unless they are Indiana-related – but we do have the largest collection of Indiana newspapers in the world. In the state, our genealogy collection is second to only the Allen County Public Library in terms of size, and our collection is one of the largest in the entire Midwest. We also house the Indiana Young Readers Center, the only young readers center within a state library in the country. The center is modeled after the Library of Congress Young Readers Center and features Indiana authors and illustrators, including Jim Davis, Meg Cabot, Norman Bridwell and John Green. The state’s Talking Book and Braille Library is also part of the Indiana State Library. TBBL provides free library service to residents of Indiana who cannot use standard printed materials due to a visual or physical disability. TBBL also operates Indiana Voices and hosts the biennial Indiana Vision Expo.

Letters About Literature workshop in the Indiana Young Readers Center

On the subject of events, in addition to Vision Expo, the state library also hosts the annual Indiana Poetry Out Loud finals, Letters About Literature, the Genealogy Fair and Statehood Day. Furthermore, the library offers INvestigate + Explore summer programming for children; Genealogy for Night Owls; monthly one-on-one DNA testing consultations with the Central Indiana DNA Interest Group; various history and genealogy lectures and programs, highlighted by our recent lecture series; and even the occasional art opening in our Exhibit Hall. Yes, we even showcase fine art when our many display cases throughout the library aren’t already put to use featuring some of the wonderful items in our collection – which are often featured in this blog.

Dolls created by the Work Projects Administration in 1939 for the Indiana Deaf History Museum on display as part of the “Welcome to the Museum!” exhibit in the library’s Exhibit Hall.

Wait, there’s more! The Indiana State Library is a DPLA hub via Indiana Memory, a collection of digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, maps and other media. Indiana Memory is a collaborative effort between Indiana libraries, archives, museums and other cultural institutions. The library also maintains its own digital collection, covering a wide range of topics such as the arts, environment, sports and women.

We participate in the Federal Depository Library Program and serve as the congressionally-designated regional depository of Indiana. As the regional depository, the library is required to collect all content published by the U.S. government. The library is also the home of the Indiana State Data Center. State data centers across the country assist the Census Bureau by disseminating census and other federal statistics. The data center provides data and training services to all sectors of the community including government agencies, businesses, academia, nonprofit organizations and private citizens.

The Indiana Center for the Book is a program of the Indiana State Library and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The center promotes interest in reading, writing, literacy, libraries and Indiana’s literary heritage by sponsoring events and serving as an information resource at the state and local level.

The Martha E. Wright Conservation Lab

The Martha E. Wright Conservation Lab is the center for all things preservation and conservation at the Indiana State Library. Preservation and conservation services aims to improve and ensure long-term, ongoing access to the cultural and historical collections of the Indiana State Library. The department, staffed by one full-time conservator as well as volunteers and occasional interns, fulfills this primary goal by providing conservation treatments of collections items and implementing preventive care and administrative policies.

Finally, our Ask-a-Librarian service offers an opportunity for anyone to, well, ask a librarian a reference or research question. Questions may be submitted 24/7 to Ask-a-Librarian and all questions will be answered within two business days.

All of these services come courtesy of our divisions: Genealogy, Indiana, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Catalog, Talking Books and Braille and Reference and Government Services.

Pretty simple, right? Shall we move on to statewide services?

Statewide Services
Nearly every single library patron in the state of Indiana has benefited from the Indiana State Library’s statewide services. While some programs and services are offered directly to Indiana residents, the vast majority of statewide services could be considered behind-the-scenes. Not many patrons ponder how their interlibrary loans travel from one location to another or how librarians keep up with their required continuing education, but statewide services makes them possible. Statewide services consists of two divisions, the Library Development Office and the Professional Development Office, or LDO and PDO, as they are known to many library employees throughout the state.

LDO supports the improvement and development of library services to all Indiana citizens. The aforementioned Indiana Memory, Hoosier State Chronicles – which is Indiana’s digital historic newspaper program with nearly a million digitized Indiana newspaper pages – and INSPIRE are three programs freely available to Indiana residents that are maintained by LDO.

Hey, that’s us!

INSPIRE, also known as “Indiana’s virtual library,” is a collection of vetted databases provided to the residents of the state at no cost. INSPIRE offers a diverse collection of reference materials, such as free access to level one of Rosetta Stone in 30 languages, a small business resource database, the latest issues of Consumer Reports and much more. If you attended high school or college in Indiana in the last 20 years and needed online resources, there’s a good chance you’ve used INSPIRE.

Hey, that’s us, too!

Let’s get to the behind-the-scenes stuff from LDO. The Library Development Office administers over $3 million of LSTA grant money each year. This federal funding, distributed from the Institute of Museum and Library Services as part of the Grants to States program, is intended for projects that support the Library Services and Technology Act signed into law Sept. 30, 1996. The purposes and priorities of the LSTA include increasing the use of technology in libraries, fostering better resource sharing among libraries, and targeting library services to special populations. While the Indiana State Library does set aside an allotment to be awarded directly to libraries as competitive LSTA sub-grants, the majority of the funds are funneled into services meant to benefit the entire state.

Remember those interlibrary loans? Well, they travel from library to library via a combination of SRCS, Indiana Share and InfoExpress. SRCS, Indiana’s Statewide Remote Circulation Service, links together catalogs of over 150 libraries containing over 30 million items. These materials are delivered to your library using the InfoExpress courier service. Indiana Share also allows libraries to request interlibrary materials though the Indiana State Library.

In addition to LSTA-supported programs, LDO supports E-rate, the discount telecommunication program available to schools and libraries from the federal government; the PLAC card program, which allows an individual to purchase a Public Library Access Card, thus permitting them to borrow materials directly from any public library in Indiana; and Read-to-Me, a cooperative effort between LDO and the state’s correctional facility libraries to enable incarcerated parents an opportunity to share the joys of reading with their children.

The complete list of services provided by the Indiana State Library and administered by LDO are far too expansive to cover in a single blog post, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that LDO also provides consultation to libraries across the state in the areas of library finance, management, planning, evaluation, grants, board training, trustees, expansion, library standards, certification, statistics, new director information and unserved communities.

PDO supports the advancement and development of library staff in all Indiana libraries for improved services to the citizens of Indiana. The Professional Development Office includes specialists in the areas of programming, children’s services and continuing education. The four regional coordinators and the children’s consultant travel the state to provide support for library employees in Indiana.

Staff working at Indiana public libraries who spend at least 50% of their time on professional library work are required by law to be certified; they gain and maintain certification by earning a certain amount of library education units, also known as LEUs, every five years. PDO frequently oversees, creates or produces these webinars, which cover a wide range of topics. “So, You Want to Start a Library Podcast,” “Serving Adults with Disabilities” and “Teaching iPad and iPhone to Seniors” are just as few examples of recent webinars. Additionally, PDO assists librarians in locating other sources of continuing education outside of the state.

Legos!

The Professional Development Office provides five types of kits for use by youth librarians across the state: book club kits, LEGO kits, DUPLO kits, storytime kits and Big Idea storytime kits. PDO also maintains the wildly-popular VR kits. The kits are shipped to schools and libraries via InfoExpress and may be kept for a specified duration of time.

Connect IN, the program that provides free high-quality and functional websites to public libraries without a current online presence, and to those having difficulty maintaining their existing site, is managed by PDO. Connect IN provides a modern and high-quality website, tech support and training, content management system training, free website hosting and free email for library staff.

The 2019 The Difference is You conference

In addition to the daily consultation and educational support offered by PDO staffers, the department spearheads larger initiatives throughout the year to honor and develop current library employees. These initiatives include the Indiana Library Leadership Academy and the The Difference is You library support staff and paraprofessional conference. Whether it’s working with individual librarians or entire gatherings, PDO puts the continuing education of Indiana librarians at the forefront of all they do.

Does your local library use the Evergreen catalog? That’s also a service provided to more than 100 Indiana libraries from the Indiana State Library that falls under the statewide services banner. Evergreen is funded by the Indiana State Library through LSTA monies and participant membership fees. The services provided by the State Library include purchasing and maintaining the central servers, personnel costs in operating the system, training, software development, data conversion and other related expenses.

The Indiana Historical Bureau and the Statehouse Education Center
The Indiana State Library has within its walls the Indiana Historical Bureau and the Statehouse Education Center. In 2018, the Indiana Historical Bureau, previously its own agency, merged with the Indiana State Library. The historical markers you might see while travelling the state are part of the Indiana Historical Marker Program administered by the bureau. Additionally, the Indiana Historical Bureau regularly publishes a detailed history blog, digitizes many historical items, organizes the Hoosier Women at Work conference and produces the award-winning podcast Talking Hoosier History. In 2017, the 120th Indiana General Assembly passed HB1100 mandating that the Indiana Historical Bureau “establish and maintain an oral history of the general assembly,” leading to the Indiana Legislative Oral History Initiative. Also, keep an eye out for a re-vamped shop opening in the near future on the first floor of the state library.

Courtesy of the Indiana Historical Bureau

The Statehouse Education Center is a project of the Indiana Bicentennial Commission, a commission that was assembled to spearhead the strategic plan behind the celebration of Indiana’s 2016 bicentennial. As part of the Statehouse Tour Office under the Indiana Department of Administration, the center sees thousands of students, families and individuals each year who learn how state government works for them through interactive exhibits on voting, urban versus rural landscapes and the architecture of the statehouse.

Thank You
Hopefully, I’ve given you a sense of the many services the Indiana State Library provides publicly and behind the scenes. Everything the library does would not be possible without our many volunteers and employees, the Indiana Library and Historical Board, the Indiana State Library Foundation, the General Assembly, our financial office and the work of our many committees, including the INSPIRE Advisory Committee, the IMDPLA Committee and the Resource Sharing Committee… just to name a few. Indeed, we all do “a lot.”

This blog post was written by John Wekluk, communications director, Indiana State Library. For more information, email the communications director.

‘Ladies Speak Up!’ – Film discovered and shared

We found an uncatalogued film in our vault! Without a working reel-to-reel player, we were left just staring at the reel, which is probably why it was stored away at the time.  Happily, our amazing film volunteer, Brian Wells, was able to digitize the film. Turns out it’s a television program from 1960 called, “Ladies Speak Up” – an Indiana Republican booster program for women voters which aired in the months leading up to the election in November of 1960. The hosts asks the women to vote, bring their neighbors to vote and reminds them to vote for Richard Nixon and Crawford Parker.

Parker was the Indiana Republican candidate for Governor in 1960. He was Lt. Gov. at the time, and former Indiana Secretary of State. He went on to lose this election to Matthew Welsh. Nixon also lost.

Parker seems stiff and this is definitely scripted to fit the paid programming slot, which was paid for by the Republican State Central Committee. The women in the audience chant on cue and have signs to hold up at the end of the program. There is a panel of six Hoosier women onstage, dressed in pearls, with handbags and hats. Of course, their questions are softballs lobbed at Parker. The issues? Flood control, tax reform, highway safety, education, mental health facilities and reapportionment of the General Assembly.

I think the women in the film are the real highlight here. Not for what they say, but their poise and presence is striking. Do you know these women? They are introduced as Helen Cox, the mayor’s wife from Peru; Julia Tindall, a doctor’s wife from Shelbyville; Peg Crowder, a PTA member with four children from Indianapolis; Betty Marr, former school teacher from Columbus; Fannie Posey-Jewell, bookkeeper and housewife; and Virginia Barst, from Ridgefield, Indiana.

Enjoy this bit of moving film and keep your eye out for more films as they are added to our Digitized Archives playlist on the library’s YouTube channel.

This post was written by Indiana Collection Supervisor Monique Howell