Category Archives: Collections and Library

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 […]

Resources to Celebrate Black History Month

In 1979, a collecting effort was formalized at the Indiana Historical Society to address the concern for the lack of records available for doing research on the history of African Americans in the state. The purpose of that effort continues to be to collect, preserve and share information related to the history of Black Hoosiers. […]

Solutions for a Sticky Problem, Part 2

As I wrote in Part 1, I recently learned about a clever conservation technique that turned out to be the solution to a complicated treatment problem I’ve been mulling over. Conservator Elsa Thyss at The Metropolitan Museum of Art developed a method for consolidating severely flaking emulsion on glass plate negatives using minimal moisture, which […]

Lost Landmarks of Indiana Avenue

It’s that time of the year when we reflect and start seeing things like new resolutions, countdowns and Top 10 lists. As an architectural historian, I keep thinking about the success of the recent Reclaim Indiana Avenue project, which launched a massive, public engagement campaign to challenge us to critically think about how community memory […]

Living the Legacy: Our Upcoming Sept. 29 Redlining Program

We’ve kicked off our new Indianapolis bicentennial exhibit, You Are There 1920: Celebrate Indianapolis with a four-part program series on the history of redlining. Redlining is the discriminatory practice in which banks, mortgage lenders, and insurance companies refused or limited loans, mortgages, and insurance within specific geographic areas, particularly in older and city center neighborhoods, to Black […]