Primary Source: January news from the Indiana Historical Bureau

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    New Year's Day 2013 coincided with the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation, January 1, 1863.

    "Emancipation Day" is not a national holiday, and is actually celebrated in various localities at different times of year.  The Emancipation Proclamation did not affect the slaveholding border states that were loyal to the Union, only freeing slaves in Confederate States, over which President Lincoln had no official power.  Immediate emancipation was, consequently, only a reality for some slaves in Union-held regions of the Carolinas, Virginia, Georgia, and Alabama.

    The District of Columbia celebrates the anniversary of the April 16, 1862 Compensated Emancipation Act as Emancipation Day.  This localized act freed 3,100 individuals, reimbursed those who had legally owned them, and offered the newly freed women and men money to emigrate. 

    Florida celebrates Emancipation Day in May, commemorating the first public reading of the Emancipation Proclamation in the state, May 20, 1865.

    Indiana was a free state, but one with strong pro-slavery leanings, says historian Steve Towne.  Emancipation fueled fear among anti-abolition Democrats and threatened Republican control in the state.


Learn more

See signed copies of the Emancipation Proclamation and 13th Amendment at the Indiana State Museum.

PBS contextualizes slavery and abolition in Africans in America

See the handwritten Emancipation Proclamation and get more information from the Library of Congress and the National Archives

Read "Lincoln, the Emancipation Proclamation, and Freedom," part of the Bury Me in a Free Land exhibit.

The Two-Day Governor

     In light of the upcoming inauguration of a new Indiana governor, let’s take a look back at one of Indiana’s more bizarre gubernatorial elections.  That is, the election of Henry S. Lane, who still holds the title of shortest term in office. He served only two days, January 14-16, 1861, as part of a Republican strategy to win state offices.

     While Oliver P. Morton was the party’s choice for governor in 1860, they nominated Lane to run instead because he had a better chance to win.  However, Lane was also likely to win if he ran for U.S. Senate.  Thus, to gain as many offices for the party as possible, Lane ran for governor (with Morton as lieutenant governor), knowing that he would step down if elected to the Senate.  Lane won his senate seat two days after being sworn in as governor and stepped down, making Oliver P. Morton Governor of Indiana. At this time, U.S. Senators were elected by the Indiana General Assemblynot by popular vote.

     While seeking the U.S. senate seat, Lane wrote to sympathetic members of the Indiana Legislature:

“I frankly confess that it was because I desired a reelection as senator, that I hesitated about being a candidate for Governor . . . it was urged by the Republicans of the State that my nomination was essential to our success in the October election . . . I yielded to their wishes and the result is known[.] It is now in the power of a Republican Legislature to give me such a certificate of election as cannot be disregarded by the Senate . . . now if you can give me your support for the Senate consistently with your sense of duty to the public such support will be fully appreciated by your friend.”

Source: Henry S. Lane to Members of Indiana Legislature, November 27, 1860, Henry S. Lane Manuscript Collection, Lilly Library Manuscript Collection, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Make History

Participate in this year's inaugural activities!

Inaugural Family Fun Day is Saturday, January 12, 2013 11am-2pm at Dallara IndyCar Factory.  

The Inaugural Ceremony is Monday, January 14, 2013  11am, at the Indiana State House.

Free tickets for both events are available at


Ayres cover

Shop @ IHB

New Year, New Books!

Ayres was more than just a department store. At its helm across three generations was a team of visionary retailers who took the store from its early silk-and-calico days to a diversified company with interests in specialty stores and discount stores (before Target and Wal-Mart). At the same time, Ayres never lost sight of its commitment to women's fashion that gave the store the same cachet as its larger competitors in New York and Chicago.  Learn more about this Indiana icon in L.S. Ayres & Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America by Kenneth L. Turchi. More New Books.


Educator's Corner

The Indiana State Museum has excellent resources for teaching about the Emancipation Proclamation, including a multimedia presentation, and digital collection of Proclamation-related artifacts from the Lincoln Financial Foundation Collection.

The museum is also offering an educator open house: a complimentary sneak peek of the new The Lincolns: Five Generations of an American Family exhibition on Feb. 13 from 4 to 7 p.m.  To pre-register, call 317.232.1637. 


Attention, writers

In celebration of the Society's centennial and the upcoming bicentennial of the State of Indiana, the Society of Indiana Pioneers has launched an award for the promotion of the highest quality of scholarship, research and writing about Indiana Pioneer History from pre-history to and including the year 1851. Click for details.


More Things to Do

Jan. 13 (Indianapolis) - A bust of former governor Edgar D. Whitcomb will be dedicated at 5PM on Sunday in the Indiana State House.  The West entrance of the State House will be open for public access at 4:30PM.

Jan. 13 (Ft. Wayne) - Lincoln's Gamble: The Emancipation Proclamation, 2PM-3PM, Allen County Public Library.  Call 260-421-1225 for more information.

Jan. 26 (Corydon) - Old-Time Winter on the Farm, O'Bannon Woods State Park, 10AM-2PM.

Jan. 26 (Ft. Wayne) - Living History Days, Old Fort Park.

Through Apr. 22 (Indianapolis) - Steele Concealed, Mysteries Revealed exhibit, Indiana State Museum.

Anytime - Take the new virtual tour of the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis. 



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