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Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, IN 46202
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When in Doubt, Just Search for “Puppies”

April 3, 2020

Until about six months ago, the walls of the west freight elevator at the Indiana Historical Society were depressingly blank. Then a photo of a puppy appeared on the wall. Soon, each of the sides were dotted with a parade of staff pets: dogs, cats and even the occasional fluffy white rabbit, each accompanied by an equally adorable name.

As we, as most of you, have transitioned to remote video meetings, I have met even more of my team’s pets: the sleepy beagle, boisterous yorkies, and one very energetic golden retriever who insisted on a game of catch mid-meeting. As many of us are hunkered down at home with our furry (and sometimes uncooperative) co-workers, I thought I would introduce you to a few best furry companions from our collections:

McNutt Family Collection.

This puppy makes even the most dashing of future politicians can look downright cute. Here, future Governor of Indiana Paul McNutt, as a very young man.

Booth Tarkington and Figaro, Booth Tarkington Collection,

Meet Figaro, the comical canine owned by avid dog-lover and two-time Pulitzer Prize winning author Booth Tarkington. Booth had quite a few black poodles which he said “are made of black sunshine… the friendliest humorists in the world.” Tarkington talked often of his pets, even crediting a dog with stopping a fist fight in a Paris bar.

James Whitcomb Riley with his dog Lockerbie, Indiana Historical Society.

This is Lockerbie, the beloved pup of Hoosier icon, James Whitcomb Riley. As a poet, Riley put Indiana on the map with his “uncomplicated, sentimental, and humorous” writing, in a distinctly midwestern dialect. Riley had a few pets over his life, including a parrot, cats, and apparently one trainable flying squirrel. His favorite though, appears to be Lockerbie who was his constant companion.

Clowes Family Collection, Indiana Historical Society

Sometimes friendships start quite young. This is Babu, family collie of stalwart philanthropists Edith and George Clowes. Babu appears in many family photographs, including this one with young Alexander Templeton Clowes.

So in these unique and rather trying times, give yourself a break and take a little trip into our collections to meet the award-winning Pomeranian, the hard working dogs, and these energetic pups. I think we can all agree they are very good boys.

Callie McCune is a fierce researcher, expert crafter, connoisseur of great ice cream, and a firm believer that Abraham Lincoln is from Illinois (despite the claims of everyone around her). She can usually be found at Indiana History Center planning public programs on the seedy, fascinating, delicious, and overlooked parts of Indiana’s history (often with matching earrings).

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