The Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau established the County Historian Program in 1981 in an effort to improve the historical communication network in the state. Each county has one county historian. IHS’s Local History Services Department coordinates the program.
Anyone who is well acquainted with the county and its history, able to travel in the county, available for contact and interested in local history can be a county historian. County historians are full-time teachers, dry cleaners, attorneys, librarians, farmers, history professors, stay-at-home parents and retired citizens. While some county historians have advanced degrees in history, the majority are high school graduates or have bachelor’s degrees in subjects unrelated to history.
Local historical organizations in each county nominate county historians to renewable three-year terms. The Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau appoint the nominees as official county historians.
No. County historians are volunteers and receive no compensation for their work. However, county historians can charge their patrons for postage or time spent researching the answer to a query. When responding to a request initially, county historians should make sure any fee expectations are fully explained. At a minimum, county historians are expected to reply to a request for help with a list of resources available in the area which may include paid researchers (including the county historian, if desired).
Each Indiana county historian acts as:
Absolutely! County historians are encouraged to take stock of the historical needs in their counties and address them as they develop. Examples of projects county historians have begun are:
Yes. County historians may appoint associate county historians to add more depth to the
gathering and documenting of local resources.
For more information about the County Historian Program or if you are interested in becoming a county historian, please contact us.
Local History Services – County Historian Program
Indiana Historical Society
Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center
450 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202