Category Archives: Collections and Library

Sylvia’s World, Part II

Sylvia’s World was, especially by today’s quick and far moving standards, contained to a fairly small area- mostly her neighborhood and her workplace, peppered in with some trips to the downtown commercial center of Indianapolis. There was no talk of vacations, aside from a quick excursion on the train that would take her overnight to […]

An April Fool’s Day Joke 96 Years Later

Recently I have been reprocessing the collection of Hugh D. Studabaker (1869-1943). Studabaker was a thorough diarist and completed exactly one diary page for every day of his adult life. On particularly eventful days, like the time he and his family attended the World’s Fair in St. Louis, Studabaker simply wrote smaller and filled the […]

Where There is Food, There is a Farmworker

Indiana’s history is deeply rooted in agriculture from family farms to large-scale corporations, the last week of March is National Farmworker Awareness Week, recognizing their contributions and current issues they face. For over 100 years, foreign farmworkers would be a part of Indiana’s agricultural history. From beets to beef cattle, there is more than corn […]

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 […]