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Missed Vacations? Travel Vicariously with IHS Collections

May 4, 2020

Have you missed a vacation due to the pandemic? My family cancelled our trip, and recently I have been reflecting on missing out on this vacation. Getting to take a vacation is a privilege no matter the timing. Luckily, with the digital collection at the Indiana Historical Society, I was able to take my trip vicariously, sort of. It’s certainly a different trip than I planned, but it’ll do for now.

Our planned vacation was to Charleston, South Carolina. I did a quick search in the digital collection to see if our library had anything for that particular location. I found several items related to the Civil War. If you read my earlier blog, Exploring Civil War Sites, you know that these particular locations are a draw for me. The results included imagery of the bombardment of Ft. Sumter and other related moments in Civil War history. Also available is an image of the officers at Ft. Sumter including Jefferson Columbus Davis (not to be confused with the Confederate president, Jefferson Davis), a Clark County, Indiana native.

Fort Sumter Officers, Indiana Historical Society, M0080

While my family most certainly would have explored Civil War sites while in South Carolina, more of a draw for me than the imagery from the 1860s, are the tourist materials from our Clowes Family Collection. The Clowes, well known for their philanthropy, helped the Indiana Historical Society to make this diverse and interesting collection available with grants from The Clowes Fund, Inc., and the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.

The snapshots from vacations the Clowes took are much more likely to resemble the photographs I would have snapped while on my trip. Including these highlights:

St. Philip’s Church, 1950s, Indiana Historical Society, M1058

Fort Sumter, 1950s, Indiana Historical Society, M1058

Sailing Scene, 1950s, Indiana Historical Society, M1058

Brochure page for Cypress Gardens,
1960s, Indiana Historical Society, M1058

I don’t know that my family would have had the same experiences as the Clowes. It’s more than half a century since the trips they took. Times have changed, and so have the locations, to some extent. What I do know is that it is fun to look at the photographs of the place I was planning to visit, and to think about what that trip will look like when we take it in the future.

Go ahead, search the collections and see if you can travel to your planned destination. Didn’t have a trip planned, maybe our collections will inspire you to plan one now from the comfort of your couch. #FromYourCouchToOurCollections

Amy Vedra

Amy Vedra is the director of reference services. She is currently reading her way through the Great American Reads list.

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