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From The Cataloger’s Desk: Selections For My Mother

May 7, 2021

Just over a year ago, my beloved mother, Lynne Calvin Borman, passed away. She played so many important roles in my life: teacher, role model, confidante, cheerleader and companion … just to name a few. Simply put, Mom was my best friend. Although I miss her terribly, I am incredibly grateful for the time we had together and the special memories we created. She and I had so much in common, especially a love of books and history. In honor of her, and Mother’s Day, I have selected a variety of printed items from the IHS collection that she most certainly would have enjoyed. I hope you enjoy them, too!

Every body’s cook and receipt book: but more particularly designed for Buckeyes, Hoosiers, Wolverines, Corncrackers, Suckers, and all epicures who wish to live with the present times, Philomelia Ann Maria Antoinette Hardin, 1842.

Not only was Mom an excellent cook, but she was also a Buckeye (Ohioan), Wolverine (Michiganian), and Hoosier (Indianan) at various points in her life. Some of her ancestors were Corncrackers (Kentuckians), too; therefore, she would have gotten a real kick out of this regional cookbook, said to have been the first of its kind published west of the Alleghenies. The measurements and portions might be a little big by today’s standards, but many of the recipes still sound delicious. (And in case you’re wondering, Suckers are Illinoisans – a rather unfortunate nickname which, thankfully, seems to have gone by the wayside!)

Learn to knit the easiest way, Elaine Boyd, 1967

Mom was one of the most artistically talented people I have ever known. She excelled at pretty much everything she tried: drawing, painting, sewing, beading, quilting, basket weaving … the list goes on and on. During the last years of her life, knitting brought her a great deal of joy. From socks, scarves, and hats to purses, baby blankets, and afghans, Mom produced items in great quantity and even greater quality. She would have found this book to be an excellent resource, especially with its simple instructions and helpful illustrations.

Field and laboratory manual in biology, Alfred C. Kinsey, 1927.

After graduating from college, Mom worked as a high school biology teacher in the Cincinnati area. In fact, this is how she met my dad. He was working as an art teacher in the same school. Even though Mom chose to leave the teaching profession to raise children, she never lost her love of the subject of biology. Needless to say, this came in handy whenever my brother and I needed help with our science homework! She would have found Kinsey’s manual, with all its creative classroom, laboratory, and field exercises, particularly interesting.

The Eclectic primer: with progressive lessons for young children, William Holmes McGuffey, 1837.

When my brother and I were older, Mom returned to teaching. This time, however, she worked with preschoolers. She absolutely loved this job, as it allowed her to fully tap into her creativity and love for children. Mom would have thoroughly enjoyed this gem, one of many charming primers and school books for elementary students we have in our collection. I must admit, they’re some of my favorite printed items, as well!

The house of a thousand candles, Meredith Nicholson, 1905.

Mom was a voracious reader. The bookshelves in our family home’s “computer room” are overflowing with her collection of books, which was pieced together with lots of love, care, and thoughtful consideration over the decades. As a librarian, she would sometimes enlist my help whenever she needed to reorganize or make room for new acquisitions. Mom particularly loved mystery novels. I don’t know if she was familiar with Meredith Nicholson’s work, but this book sounds very intriguing, and I think she would have been more than happy to give it a go. In fact, knowing her, she probably would have finished it in just a day or two!

The pig: a treatise on the breeds, management, feeding, and medical treatment, of swine; with directions for salting pork, and curing bacon and hams, William Youatt, 1847.

Last, but certainly not least, Mom was obsessed with pigs. Ever since I can remember, they were her favorite animal. Pigs are everywhere in our family home: pig paintings, pig figurines … even pig-shaped lamps, mugs, measuring cups, and salt and pepper shakers! Therefore, I think Mom would have appreciated this book – except, of course, the parts about cooking and eating the animals. She would have skipped those bits and focused instead on the wonderful illustrations throughout. In fact, I can just see some of these drawings hanging on her walls, framed nicely and fitting in perfectly with the rest of her porcine treasures.

I hope these selections show just how wonderfully interesting, talented, and special my mother was. I hope they also highlight the wide variety of materials and subject areas we collect here at the IHS Archives and Library. Thank you for allowing me to reminisce, and I wish all of you mothers out there a very happy Mother’s Day!

Lindsay Borman was the former Coordinator, Cataloging and Technical Services at the Indiana Historical Society. Her claim to fame: she can name all of the U.S. presidents … in order!

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