Primary Source: Spring 2016 News from the Indiana Historical Bureau


Spring 2016 |  News from the Indiana Historical Bureau

Spring 2016 Newsletter graphic


Latest from the new IHB Blog

We're excited to share in-depth historical events, Hoosier profiles and stories, along with maps, documents, photos, and other interesting primary sources with you on our new blog:

Sometimes we are sharing the stories we've gathered through the marker research process and sometimes just historical events and people we think you might not have heard about.  For example, while you might know that Susan Wallace was the wife of Civil War General and Ben-Hur author, Lew Wallace, you might not know she was a well-known writer in her own right.  Guest blogger Stephanie Cain looks into "The Evocative Poetry of Susan Wallace" in her latest post. 

In a separate post, we look back at the Lincoln Funeral Train's journey through Indiana in 1865.  Follow the funeral train from its 3 a.m. arrival in Richmond where Governor Oliver P. Morton boarded. Next, it passed through Centreville, home of abolitionist congressman George W. Julian. It continued on to Cambridge City, Dublin, Lewisville, and Charlottesville where a large number of African-American Hoosiers were gathered in mourning. It reached Indianapolis at 7 a.m. in the pouring rain.  Lincoln's coffin was placed in the State House where thousands of mourners viewed the slain president. Lincoln's body lay in state until 10 p.m. when the hearse left for the train station again followed by crowds of grieving Hoosiers. The train left Indianapolis at midnight. Find out where it went next from the post "The Lincoln Funeral Train in Indiana."

Marker Applications Due!

Intent to Apply: May 13

Do you have a person, place, event, or organization that you would like to see commemorated with an Indiana state historical marker? The Indiana Historical Bureau is accepting Intent to Apply forms (Part 1 of the marker application process) through next Friday, May 13.

Marker applications approved in 2016 will be ready for installation and dedication in 2017. Topics must demonstrate statewide significance and be supported with primary sources to be considered.

IHB encourages applications on cultural history topics, as well as topics that will celebrate notable anniversaries in 2017. The Historical Bureau also welcomes applications relating to underrepresented, minority, and ethnic groups in Indiana history, as the history of these groups is not equitably represented in the current collection of Indiana State Historical Markers.

marker program status

Need a topic idea?

Interested in applying for a marker during the state’s bicentennial year, but don’t have a specific topic in mind? Not a problem! IHB has a long list of suggested topics that we would love to see commemorated with an historical marker.

Possible topics include: James Dean – actor and cultural icon; Knute Rockne – legendary Notre Dame football coach; Booth Tarkington – Pulitzer-Prize winning novelist and dramatist; Ernie Pyle – Pulitzer-Prize winning journalist; George Ade – journalist, author, and playwright; Wes Montgomery – jazz guitarist; The Freeman Field Mutiny; Fort Wayne Pistons; The Fort Wayne Daisies or the South Bend Blue Sox; Albion Fellows Bacon – Evansville writer and social reformer

Submit your Intent to Apply form today! You can access the form at:

If you have any questions about the application process or the marker program, see: or contact Casey Pfeiffer, Historical Marker Program Manager, at  

Wes Montgomery



Hoosier Pride

The IHB shop has everything you need to show your Indiana bicentennial pride! Check out our new stickers, replicas of the Soldiers' and Sailors' Monument, magnets, keychains, bicentennial medals and flags, locally made glass paperweights, and so much more! Visit us.



Hoosier Authors in the IHB Shop

Dig into great books by Hoosier authors!  We have a great selection of Kurt Vonnegut's satirical novels, as well as a collection of his letters, and an extensive biography. See more at our shop.

Hoosier Authors on the IHB Blog

Speaking of Kurt Vonnegut, IHB intern Justin Clark recently wrote a piece about the author's connections to the philosophy of humanism. Clemens Vonnegut, Kurt's Great-Grandfather, was a prominent leader in the German-American community and freethinker whose dedication to science, reason, and criticism of religion weaved its way into his great-grandson's writing. To learn more, read Clark's blog post "The Shared Humanism of Clemens and Kurt Vonnegut."


Clemens (Left) was the Vonnegut family patriarch and lifelong freethinker. Kurt, Jr. (Right) was the great-grandson who carried his humanist heritage into his writing. Images courtesy of IUPUI University Library, Special Archives and Collections/



Polly Strong Slavery Case Historical Marker Dedicated

A new marker has been added to IHB's collection! On Wednesday, April 20, we traveled to Corydon to help dedicate a marker that commemorates Polly Strong’s successful effort to end her enslavement in Indiana. The Indiana Supreme Court ruled in Strong’s favor in 1820, stating: “slavery can have no existence in Indiana.”

Prior to the dedication, current Indiana Supreme Court justices heard a modern day oral argument in the original Corydon Supreme Court Courtroom. Afterwards, the justices and over 100 attendees gathered around the new marker (located near the First State Capitol building) to help dedicate it. Thanks to everyone who attended and helped get this marker installed!

Here is the full text of the new marker:

Polly Strong Slavery Case

Side 1:
Polly Strong was born into slavery circa 1796 in the Northwest Territory. Vincennes innkeeper Hyacinthe Lasselle purchased her circa 1806. Although 1816 Indiana Constitution prohibited slavery and involuntary servitude, in 1820, Strong and attorney Amory Kinney had to pursue her freedom in the Knox County Circuit Court. This Court ruled that Strong remain enslaved.

Side 2:
Strong appealed to Indiana Supreme Court in Corydon which ruled in State v. Lasselle, July 22, 1820: “slavery can have no existence” in Indiana. This decision did not free remaining slaves in Indiana; it did establish 1816 Indiana Constitution as the authority for decisions in Indiana courts regarding slavery and involuntary servitude, including 1821 Mary Clark case.

Hoosier History Hunt

treasure map

Thanks for helping us keep the markers looking good!

This year, during Indiana’s bicentennial, IHB is working to complete a comprehensive survey of every Indiana state historical marker installed since the mid-1940s – over 600! We want to extend a big thank you to all of the county historians, bicentennial coordinators, and volunteers across the state who have already sent in photos of the historical markers in the northern counties of the state the last few months.

Keep sending those photos!

We are now beginning to focus on the north central, south central, and southern regions of Indiana. If you come across a state historical marker in these areas during your travels, please snap a few photos and send them to us at or tweet them to us @in_bureau and help us preserve this history for future generations!


women at work

The 2016 Hoosier Women at Work Conference was a Success!

On March 26, 2016, more than 110 attendees came together at the Indiana State Library to learn about and discuss Indiana women's work and how it contributed to the history of the state. We got great feedback from both our speakers and attendees. Let's do it again next year! The conference planning committee and supporting partners have committed to a bigger and better conference in 2017! We'll be putting together a website and keeping you updated over the next few months.  Stay tuned!

Vincennes, C'est si bon! The Historic Preservation Conference

Our Book Shop Manager, Lindsey Beckley attended the 2016 Historic Preservation Conference in Vincennes. According to the Indiana Division of Historic Preservation and Archaeology:

From the early saves of French architecture and territorial landmarks to a recent adaptation of a school into a residence, Vincennes offers a timeline of Indiana architecture and displays the evolution of preservation from the 1940s to today. Indiana’s oldest city struck us as the perfect place for the Preserving Historic Places Conference in 2016, the year of Indiana’s bicentennial and the 50th anniversary of the National Historic Preservation.

According to Lindsey: Vincennes is a great town with a rich history and the people were beyond welcoming…It didn’t hurt that the food was amazing as well!

Thanks to DNR for having us.  See you again next year.


Stay in touch with IHB!


We'll be sending out our newsletter quarterly from now on instead of monthly, but with much more content.  Join us on our blog for more in-depth Hoosier history.  Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter and you'll get Hoosier history facts, stories, and resources.  Leave us comments too. We love hearing from you!