New manuscripts catalog available to the public

Genealogy and Rare Books and Manuscripts have successfully transitioned from Archivists’ Toolkit to ArchivesSpace, a content management system provided by LYRASIS for archival collections. Staff participated in several trainings, updated finding aids, migrated data and developed a new public user interface, here.

The catalog provides a snapshot of the Genealogy and Rare Books and Manuscripts collection areas, important resources, the opportunity to interact with social media and over 5,300 records to search. Tips are provided to help guide the user through the catalog. Patrons have the ability to receive generated citations, print PDF versions of finding aids and request materials using a generated form.

For more information, contact Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor at (317) 234-8621.

Indiana State Library awarded NHPRC grant to digitize the papers of Will H. Hays

The Indiana State Library recently received a $74,880 grant to support the digitization of Will H. Hays’ papers ranging from 1914-54. Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero awarded 31 grants totaling over $4 million dollars through the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC). The official press release can be found here.

Will H. Hays

Hays served as the Republican National Committee chairman during 1918-21 and was the campaign manager for President Warren Harding in 1920. Harding appointed Hays as postmaster general in 1921. He later became president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America from 1922-45, where he established the Hays Code of acceptable content for motion pictures produced for a public audience. A film from the state library’s collection was recently digitized and can be found here.

The Indiana State Library was the only state library to receive an NHPRC grant in the category of Access to Historical Records. Other awardees in this category included the California Historical Society, Purdue University, Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art, Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, Inc. and more.

“Hays continues to be our most frequently-viewed collection, with scholars traveling from as far as the United Kingdom to view it. Providing digital access to this collection will undoubtedly change its usage levels. Researchers not able to visit the library due to travel implications, such as lack of funding, will have unlimited access, leading to more research and discovery across multiple disciplines,” said Bethany Fiechter, project director.

For more information on the collection of Will H. Hays, contact Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, at (317) 234-8621 or via email.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Beer – It’s what’s for dinner

At least that’s what the United Brewers Industrial Foundation sought to convince the American people in 1937.

When Prohibition ended in 1933 with the ratification of the 21st Amendment, it signified the renaissance of the legal alcohol industry. In an effort to improve the beverage’s reputation, the foundation published a series of pamphlets, including “At Home with Beer“ and “Beer – The Liquid Food,” hailing beer as a smart and wholesome addition to the daily menu.

Pamphlet published by the United Brewers Industrial Foundation, ca. 1937. Source: Indiana State Library.

The pamphlet entitled “It’s Smart to Serve Beer: Menus and Recipes to Assist the Gracious Hostess” is perhaps the best of the lot. It offers up such gastronomical gems as “Liver Dumplings in Beer” and “Bohemian Beer Soup.”  Yum. Actually, “Chocolate Beer Cake” on page 24 doesn’t look half-bad. The pamphlet’s author, Helen Watts Schreiber, touted beer as “a delightful drink in moderation—yet most inexpensive.” She promised readers, “Your hospitality and your social graces as a smart hostess will be assured if you serve the sparkling amber brew throughout the entire meal.”

Despite this fresh spin, the brewing industry had a tough sell with opposition from organizations like the Indiana Anti-Saloon League, who were still calling all forms of alcohol “a narcotic poison and habit-forming drug” 10 years after Prohibition’s end.

Broadside distributed by the Indiana Anti-Saloon League, ca. 1943. Source: Small Broadsides Collection, Indiana State Library.

Brewing in Indiana

Before Prohibition, Indiana had a respectable brewing industry. In 1879, the Hoosier State ranked 12th out of 43 states, and two territories, with 191,729 barrels of beer sold and 10th in the number of breweries with 76. Some Indiana beers even achieved international renown, such as the Indianapolis Brewing Company’s Düsseldorfer, which won gold medals at the Paris Exposition of 1900, the St. Louis World’s Fair in 1904 and at Liege, Belgium in 1906.

Advertisement for Indianapolis Brewing Co.’s Düsseldorfer beer, ca. 1900. Source: Indianapolis Brewing Company and Excelsior Laundry ads (S1881), Indiana State Library.

After the Prohibition’s repeal in 1933, many of Indiana’s breweries resumed operations, including the Indianapolis Brewing Company, Drewrys Limited in South Bend, Falstaff Brewing Corp. in Fort Wayne and Sterling Brewers in Evansville. In the following decades, many local American breweries, such as these four, eventually closed or were bought out, unable to compete with the national brands like Budweiser and Coors.

25th anniversary report of the Indiana Brewers Association, 1958. Source: Indiana Pamphlets, Indiana State Library.

Old becomes new again

Beer has endured as a staple throughout human history, for both nourishment and enjoyment. The oldest surviving recorded “recipe” for beer making is found in an ancient Sumerian tablet called the “Hymn to Ninkasi”—the goddess of beer and brewing—dated 1800 B.C.E., but brewing practices originated much earlier. Archaeologists have discovered evidence of beer and brewing in Mesopotamia and China going back at least 5,000 years, and suspect its existence as early as the Neolithic period.

Sumerian cuneiform tablet recording beer rations, ca. 3100-3000 BCE. Source: Trustees of the British Museum (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).

Historically, beer making often began in the home. In ancient Sumer, the first brewers were the priestesses of Ninkasi and brewing, typically associated with baking, became part of women’s regular meal preparation. By and large, beer in the Western world was homemade until the Renaissance period when brewpubs and monasteries became the focal point of brewing activities. Brewing practices changed once again when, as in other trades, industrialization made large-scale commercial operations profitable in the 19th and 20th centuries.

The growing trend of home brewing in the 1970s and 1980s, which led to the modern craft beer movement, could be considered a throwback to older brewing traditions, even while employing modern beer making methods. As a result, today’s beer industry is a hodgepodge of massive beer enterprises and thousands of smaller brewing operations, such as microbreweries and brewpubs. The craft beer movement reinvigorated an otherwise stagnant brewing industry, infusing innovation and new flavor into a timeless beverage.

Today’s proliferation of diverse drafts and bottled brews would surely have pleased these Indiana soldiers clearly in need of a pint, if the graffiti is any indication. Ironically, these thirsty Hoosiers in want of beer returned from fighting a war in 1919 only to discover that Indiana had gone completely dry the year before their return.

WWI soldiers returning home to Indianapolis, May 7, 1919. Source: Harry Coburn, World War I, 1917-1918 film, Indiana State Library.

Bibliography:
Kohn, Rita. “A History of Indiana Beer: Repeal through Today.NUVO, September 16, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2018.

Kohn, Rita. “A History of Indiana Beer: Settling Indiana and Indianapolis.NUVO, September 14, 2016. Accessed June 18, 2018.

Ostrander, Bob and Derrick Morris. Hoosier Beer: Tapping into Indiana Brewing History. Charleston, SC: The History Press, 2011.

Salem, F. W. Beer: It’s History and Its Economic Value as a National Beverage. Hartford, CT: F. W. Salem & Company, 1880.

Schreiber, Helen Watts. “It’s Smart to Serve Beer: Menus and Recipes to Assist the Gracious Hostess.” New York, NY: United Brewers Industrial Foundation, ca. 1933.

Smith, Peter. “A Sip from an Ancient Sumerian Drinking Song.Smithsonian.com, June 18, 2012. Accessed June 18, 2018.

This blog post was written by Rare Books and Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian.

Donating manuscripts

http://cdm16066.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/compoundobject/collection/p16066coll13/id/1018/rec/483

Sledding in Broad Ripple Park, circa 1900.

This time of year usually brings snow and ice, an overindulgence of baked goods (sugar cream pie, anyone?), tax refund shopping – and hopefully, spending quality time with family and friends. Perhaps you’ve had a conversation with a relative about whether or not to keep Grandpa’s letters from the Korean War? Maybe you opened a couple moving boxes and wondered if you should trash high school photographs?

Think about it.

You are a key part of defining Indiana’s history and culture. Help us preserve it by donating your collection to the Indiana State Library. As the season of spring cleaning quickly approaches, contact us if you find yourself in a dilemma. For more information on what we collect, visit the library’s Donating Manuscripts page.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

Recent acquisition: Local abstract art and papers of Barbara Stahl

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division recently acquired a collection of drawings, photographic prints and personal papers from notable Indianapolis artist, Barbara Stahl. The collection will continue to grow and be available for public viewing after processing is complete.

Barbara Stahl portrait, 2000

A native of Vincennes, Indiana, Stahl moved to Indianapolis in 1992 after receiving her MFA in painting from the University of Pennsylvania. Stahl is the founder and owner of Stahl Studios Inc., which specializes in commercial and public art. She is well-known for her Indiana Pacers schedule wall near Bankers Life Fieldhouse and the commemorative Super Bowl XLVI art project “Morning Magnolias” mural along the White River Canal.

Barbara Stahl, Morning Magnolias mural, 2012 Image Source: http://magazine.iupui.edu/12Spring/impact/46forXLVI.shtml

The Barbara Stahl collection is the first donation of abstract work by a female artist to the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division. It comprises over four cubic feet of material, including clippings, photographs, undergraduate artwork slides, wax paintings on wood panels, screen and intaglio prints, charcoal drawings and mud paintings completed in Belize. Her 2014-2015 “Tiny III” artwork is pictured below.

The Indiana State Library Foundation recently purchased “Consciousness Rising,” a large-scale oil painting from her 2017 “Skybridge” series. The painting is on permanent display at the library and can be viewed during regular business hours.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts supervisor, Indiana State Library. For more information, contact the Indiana State Library at (317) 232-3678 or “Ask-A-Librarian.”

‘Happy Birthday, Indiana’ Bicentennial Manuscript Collection: An Introduction

Between June 10th and June 29th, 1816, the first Indiana Constitutional Convention met at the territorial capital, Corydon, and created the Constitution for admission to the Union. Friday, December 11, 2015, marked the 199th anniversary of the day President James Madison signed the act admitting Indiana as the 19th state.

Constitutional Elm 1921-1925

Constitutional Elm, Corydon, Indiana, circa 1921-1925; Delegates to the 1816 constitutional convention worked under the shade of this tree.

The official countdown to Indiana’s 200th birthday began when over 120 fourth grade students participated in several Statehood Day activities at the library, including the creation of birthday cards. To learn more about the day, please visit our previous blog post.

Statehood Day 2015 Coloring_web

Statehood Day, December 11, 2015;Students participate in creating birthday cards for Indiana’s birthday

The bicentennial manuscript collection project was drafted in April 2014 and endorsed by the Bicentennial Commission in late 2014. Beginning in January 2016, fourth grade students from around the state will be asked to decorate special, acid-free birthday cards supplied by the library while briefly explaining “Why do you love Indiana?” andIBCLegacyProject_web “What does being a Hoosier mean to you?” The completed collection will include around 10,000 cards from each county and will be preserved for many generations with other notable collections, including William Henry Harrision, Abraham Lincoln and Helen Keller correspondence as well as the Treaty of St. Mary’s.

The first 500 cards received by June 1, 2016 will be on display in the Indiana State Library Exhibition Hall during the summer of 2016. If your class or student would like to participate, please contact a regional planner from the map or Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts Division Supervisor at bfiechter@library.IN.gov.

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Bicentennial Manuscript Regional Coverage Map_web

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts Supervisor. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm

 

Rare Books and Manuscripts Division: Recent Civil War-Era Acquisition

The Indiana State Library Rare Books and Manuscripts Division recently acquired two Civil War-era handwritten letters by Henry B. and Sarah Ann Wilson Conn Looker. During March 1893, the couple wrote to L. T. Hewens, a medical doctor located in Oakalla, Illinois, regarding the use of an abortifacient.

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Henry was born in Fountain County, Indiana to George L. Conn and Nancy Bishop Conn in 1831. He enlisted in the 113th Illinois Infantry, Company D, and was stationed at Camp Butler near Springfield, Illinois. Conn died on July 4, 1863 due to an inflammatory disease while serving.

Sarah was born on July 23, 1831 and married Henry, having two children: Charles Henry (1857-1933) and Ella Gertrude (1860-1928). After his death, she married Robert O. Looker and had two children: Cora May (1870-1952) and Edwin Otis (1872-1952). Sarah died on January 4, 1911.

This blog post was written by Bethany Fiechter, Rare Books and Manuscripts Supervisor. For more information, contact the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division at (317) 232-3671 or “Ask-A-Librarian” at http://www.in.gov/library/ask.htm

Rare Books in Indiana

We’re so lucky, Indiana. Did you know we have one of the first Indiana-printed books in our collection? Henry, William E State Librarian 1897-1906

After a little research, a fascinating story emerged about an item in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division titled, “The life of Bonaparte: late Emperor of the French, from his birth until his departure to the Island of St. Helena.” The book was discovered by William E. Henry, State Librarian (1897-1906), on a visit to Salem, Indiana in 1897. Henry knew right away it “was doubtless the first literary work published in the State.” The book was published by a small print shop called, Patrick & Booth, in 1818. If you’re from Washington County, Indiana, you’ve probably heard about the successful duo. Continue reading

A One-on-One Conversation with Brittany Kropf

I recently had a conversation with our new Rare Books & Manuscripts Librarian Brittany Kropf. Brittany recently started working at the Indiana State Library full-time and was an intern here while she studied at IUPUI in the Master of Library Science program. The following is an excerpt from our interview.
BrittanyKropf_pic_croppedRB: Please give a brief description of what your job is at the library…

BK: I work a lot with the Rare Books and Manuscripts collection, processing and getting them ready for patrons to access. Eventually we will be getting more collections, so I will be working with donors and any events that we need to do. Also, I’ll be helping digitize a lot of our collections. Part of my job is going to be working with the state-wide services side – Indiana Memory – and be the liaison between them and the public services. We will put together work flows and standardized procedures so that we can get materials digitized for the future. Continue reading