Category Archives: Collections and Library

Family Tradition: The Lieber Thanksgiving

Our collection in the William H. Smith Memorial Library contains its fair share of guestbooks and scrapbooks, but I think I have stumbled upon the only holiday-specific hybrid guestbook/scrapbook in the archive! From 1921-1950 the Lieber family of Indianapolis kept a Thanksgiving book that recorded their yearly family dinner. The Lieber family used Thanksgiving as […]

Indigenous History in Indiana: Treaties and the Complexity of Language Preservation

November is Indigenous History month. Indigenous communities in present-day Indiana, existed for generations, several times over, before European contact. And they continue to exist today. Early European colonizers and American settlers came west into the Northwest Territory, to occupy land now known as the State of Indiana. Indigenous communities that existed before colonization were the […]

From The Cataloger’s Desk: Return to Rare Book School, Part II

In my last blog post, Return to Rare Book School, Part I, I discussed the “Descriptive Bibliography: The Fundamentals” course I took from David Whitesell, Curator at the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library at the University of Virginia. I also touched on the following elements of a basic bibliographical description: format, collational formula, and statement […]

Collections Corner: Iva Jordan – Women’s Suffrage and Ernie Pyle

Sometimes one encounters an individual who may not be quite front and center in an archival collection, but who may connect a researcher with other places and people across the historical landscape. Iva Jordan could qualify readily as one of those Hoosier personalities. Through her acquaintances, she was positioned within range of two of the […]

Donations — One Year Later

Early last summer, I wrote a blog outlining some of the basics about contributing historical materials to the Indiana Historical Society (Thinking About a Donation to IHS? These Guidelines Will Help). After reflecting on a time unlike any other and marked by a period accentuating the highest number of prospective donor contacts and acquisitions we’ve […]

The Story of a Debonair Grifter, Stew Donnelly

“When we think of cheese, it’s Wisconsin; […] but with grifters, it’s Indiana.” So wrote linguistics professor and con man expert David W. Maurer in his popular 1940 book The Big Con. Among the very best of these criminals with the light touch and cultured manner, Maurer names longtime Indianapolis resident Stewart C. Donnelly, who […]

The Musical Career of Bertha Jasper Mehrlich

We are fortunate to have many personal accounts in the Indiana Historical Society collections that detail the experiences of women in Indiana. Diaries and scrapbooks are among my favorite sources to research the perspectives, activities and careers of Hoosier women. One of my favorite women in the collection is pianist Bertha Jasper Mehrlich (1884-1962), because […]

Basketball is Played Almost Everywhere in Indiana

When I was growing up, a local family had converted a barn loft into a basketball court. “Barnball” became a frequent afternoon excursion, with trick shots and heated competitions. Over the years I have found that basketball can be played almost anywhere in Indiana and that no matter the venue, competition is always heated. From […]

Bellevue Resort – The Prettiest Grass in Indianapolis

Bellevue Resort was a pretty little place situated where the canal and an old tow path crossed the Michigan Road, roughly where Butler University is now. Operating in the 1890’s, Bellevue was part of the Kneipp Association and employed many different water healing techniques for members, as well as a rest point along a bicycling […]