Primary Source: November News From Indiana Historical Bureau

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Complex politics aren't all that modern

Check out our infographic to learn more about the Whigs, Know Nothings and Democrats that joined to form the Republican party in Indiana.  Click the image for a full-screen version.

Formation of Indiana's Republican Party

Even before the age of social media, television, and radio, candidates campaigned and used "spin."  

Wm. Henry Harrison 1840 Campaign

Here is an ad (left) and a song from  William H. Harrison’s 1840 campaign, depicting him as a rural cabin-dweller:

Old Tip he wears a homespun coat

He has no ruffled shirt-wirt-wirt

But Mat has the golden plate

And he's a squirt-wirt-wirt.


According to the Miller Center, Harrison's campaign "flooded the electorate with posters and badges extolling the virtues of their colorful, down-home 'log cabin and hard cider' candidate, the hero of Tippecanoe" after the incumbent's campaign derided Harrison as a backwoodsman. 

Grouseland Foyer

Actually, Harrison was born to an aristocratic Virginia family and attended university, as did the well-off incumbent Martin Van Buren. Even when he lived in then-rural Vincennes, Indiana, Harrison's home (right) was no log cabin. 

Spinning the "rustic" label to his advantage, Harrison stood in contrast to Van Buren and won the presidency in 1840.

November Happenings

November is Native American Heritage Month and plays host to many holidays.  It's a very busy month for most of us, but if you're trying to plan activities for holiday guests or looking to get away from the holiday stress, check out these historically-inspired offerings:

Follow the North Star, weekends in Nov. (Fishers)

Genealogy for Night Owls, Nov. 7 (Indianapolis)

Re-imagining the Future of Indiana Avenue, Nov. 13 (Indianapolis)

Winterfest, Nov. 15 (Portland)

Victorian Christmas, Nov. 18 (Evansville)

Thanksgivingfest, Nov. 22 (Fort Wayne)

Handmade Indiana, Nov. 24 (Indianapolis)

If your organization is hosting a history-related workshop, lecture, or program, we'd love to share it with readers.  Submit event details and a link to your website to our webmaster at

Midwest Sweet Baking History

Shop @ IHB

Get books and souvenirs for less for all the friends and family on your list in November and December.  All regularly-priced items are 20% off in our Holiday Sale.  Clearance books are 40% off

The IHB Book Shop is open Mon.-Fri., 8:00am-4:30pm, but will be closed in observance of Election Day, Nov. 6; Veteran's Day, Nov. 12; and Thanksgiving, Nov. 22-23. 

Plan your holiday shopping accordingly!


Veteran's Day, Nov. 11

The Indiana State Museum is honoring those who serve with a crowd-sourced exhibit.  They've gathered images of Hoosier veterans and active military personnel via Flickr, Facebook, and mail.  Heroes from the Heartland debuted on Nov. 1 and will be on display through Nov. 12.

Veterans and those with current military I.D. receive free admission to the museum from Nov. 1 through 11.


Educators' Corner

Celebrate the 196th anniversary of Indiana’s statehood on December 11!  Official birthday parties will be held at the Indiana State House, Indiana State Library, Indiana State Museum, and Indiana Historical Society.  IHB and many other state agencies and elected officials will have displays and interactive activities for the schools that are signed up to participate this year.  Here's how you can get involved:


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