Winter News from the Indiana Historical Bureau

New IHB Primary Source Header


Winter 2019  |  News from the Indiana Historical Bureau


Suffrage Centennial is Here

Get involved

Americans from all corners of the nation are commemorating the centennial anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution throughout 2020. Indiana has gotten in to the action. Find out how to get involved: check out to see upcoming suffrage events, find resources like teacher materials and program toolkits, and more!

Hoosier Women at Work for Suffrage and Citizenship History Conference



Join us for the fourth Hoosier Women at Work History Conference on Saturday, March 7, 2020. In commemoration of the 19th Amendment centennial, we’re making the conference better than ever with extra sessions, awards, a reception, and two keynote speakers: Dr. Anita Morgan, Senior Lecturer at Indiana University School of Liberal Arts at IUPUI and author of the forthcoming book about Indiana women's suffrage, “We Must Be Fearless;” and Jennifer Scott, Director and Chief Curator of the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Register here to hear talks on topics ranging from Madame C.J. Walkter to mapping Hoosier suffrage to spirituality and suffrage at Camp Chesterfield and more! 


IHB Edited

Public History Division

IHB's Public History Division's (PHD) newest project, which launched on January 6, 2020 is called Indiana History In Session. In partnership with the Indiana Archives and Records Administration and Legislative Services Agency, the PHD staff has produced historical slides to be featured on the monitors in and around the House and Senate chambers on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Tursdays during the regular legislative session. Each slide highlights key historical events, figures, places, and stories that have shaped the State of Indiana over the past two centuries. 


The purpose of this project is to foster a collective Hoosier identity and connect legislators to our shared past, through local and state history. The slides demonstrate the continued relevance of history to the challenges faced by Hoosiers today and the work of the Indiana General Assembly. By connecting the past to the present, the project showcases how history can help lawmakers navigate the complexities of the modern era and face the challenges of the future. The slides are able to be seen in the Indiana Statehouse on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Thursdays, prior to the Legislative Session beginning. 

Sewall Marker

Indiana State Historical Markers

Since our last newsletter, the Public History Department has dedicated nine new Indiana State Historical Markers.

September 14: City Church

September 14: Taft Rally at Ade Estate

September 21: William Jacob Cuppy

September 21: Kingsland Interurban Wreck

September 29: Old Pathology Building

October 4: May Wright Sewall

November 1: Melba Phillips 

November 5: IU East

November 9: Willard Park

Public History staff have been hard at work on upcoming historical markers, which include topics as diverse as silent era film star John Bowers, African American attorneys J. Chester and Elizabeth Allen, and Golden Age of Indiana Literature author Meredith Nicholson. 

Join us on Thursday, March 12, 2020 for our first dedication of the year. This marker will commemorate the Franklin Wonder Five, who dominated Indiana basketball in the 1920s. 

Interested in applying for a new marker? Information about the 2020-2021 program will be available later this spring.

To learn more about the Indiana State Historical Marker program, contact Indiana State Historical Marker Program Manager Casey Pfeiffer at



Indiana Legislative Oral History Initiative

In October 2019, IHB welcomed new staff member Ben Baumann as the oral historian for the Indiana Legislative Oral History Initiative. Baumann will continue the work of interviewing former members of the Indiana General Assembly for the project, which was launched in 2018.

These interviews will delve into the political process in Indiana, and provide insight into how the legislation that shapes many aspects of Hoosiers lives was created. These interviews as well as transcripts of the interviews will be made available online within the year. 

To learn more about this project, contact Oral Historian Ben Baumann at


LGBTQ+ Landmarks Committee 


The Indiana LGBTQ Landmarks Committee graciously welcomed IHB as a member. We are asking for volunteers to help with the monumental task of documenting & researching hundreds of historically significant LGBTQ people, places, and events identified in Indiana Landmarks’ 2016 survey. If you have an interest in preserving this Indianapolis history, please sign up to help with research. You don't have to have research experience or be a historian, as training will be provided. Please email if you are interested in participating.

Indiana History Blog

IHB staff, along with our wonderful guest bloggers, have been working hard to bring you fantastic and informative posts via The Indiana History Blog. Want to write for the Indiana History Blog? Learn about being a guest writer here or contact editor Nicole Poletika at


Indiana Congressman Louis Ludlow and the Balance of War Powers

Who has the right to declare war: Congress or the President?

In 1935, Indiana Representative Louis Ludlow believed that the people who would have to fight the conflict should have a direct vote on the issue.

Learn more about Louis Ludlow and the balance of war powers that’s still being debated in Congress with this new blog post:

Did an Indianapolis Local Inspire "Uncle Tom's Cabin"?

Harriet Beecher Stowe’s 1851 "Uncle Tom’s Cabin" galvanized public support for abolition. It’s a distinct possibility that Indianapolis resident and free person of color Tom Magruder helped inspire the revolutionary book.

Learn more via historian Steve Barnett’s guest post for blog :





Bennett-Tinsley Award

The Bennett-Tinsley Award encourages undergraduate research in a broad range of subjects related to Indiana and rewards excellence in history research and writing. Many areas of the state’s past, especially related to the history of women, minorities, refugees, peace and social justice issues, and the environment have received limited attention in Indiana historiography. The competition recognizes students who examine these topics and produce scholarship that advances our knowledge of these understudied areas of Indiana history. The judges will award the winner with a $500 cash prize, runner up with $300, and second runner up with $200.

Submit your completed papers and letters of recommendation to by March 6, 2020.



Digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis

It’s been over 25 years since the Polis Center at IUPUI first published the print edition of the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. The city has seen incredible change since then and the way Hoosiers and visitors alike access information about the city has also changed. As such, the Polis Center, in collaboration with the city’s major cultural and heritage institutions, is developing a freely-accessible, updated digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis. The Indiana State Library and Historical Bureau is proud to be among the collaborating partners in the editing and development of new content for the project. The dynamic, highly visual platform will provide users with new entries, interactive timelines, story maps, and much more as they seek to learn about the Circle City. The digital Encyclopedia of Indianapolis has been named a legacy project of the Indianapolis Bicentennial Commission. Learn more about the project here:

Rare Books and Manuscripts Division

The Rare Books and Manuscripts Division includes an estimated 3 million manuscripts from 5,200 collections spanning the early 15th century to present day. People often ask, “What is the earliest item in your collection?” Believe it or not, the earliest items are cuneiform (kyoo-nee’-uh-form) tablets dating from 2350-2000 BC. The Division hosts many more treasures, including Civil War-era letters and diaries, family papers and the records of many political figures from the Hoosier state.


Our unit is comprised of 4 full-time staff, 2 volunteers and 2 part-time contract positions. We provide reference services, instructional sessions, scanning and photocopying, collection guides and digital resources for anyone to use. The Manuscripts Catalog, a new database to search our collections, allows patrons to receive generated citations, print PDF versions of collection guides, and request materials using an online form.

Will Hays

In 2018, the Division was awarded a National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant to digitize the papers of Will H. Hays. Hays served as the Republican National Committee chairman during 1918-1921, campaign manager for President Warren Harding (1920). He later became president of the Motion Picture Producers and Distributors of America from 1922-1945, where he established the Hays Code of acceptable content for motion pictures. Providing digital access to this collection will enable researchers unlimited access, leading to more research and discovery across multiple disciplines. To view our progress, visit the Indiana State Library Digital Collections repository.

The Division is currently researching crowdsourced transcription projects for enhanced access to digitized manuscript collections. This future project will enable patrons to transcribe our digitized material, allowing better access to illegible documents and aid those unable to read cursive. 

For more information about Rare Books and Manuscripts, please contact Bethany Fiechter at (317) 234-8621 or

Digital Initiatives Division

The Digital Initiatives Division of the Indiana Historical Bureau has engaged in a wide variety of projects over the last few months. It has successfully transferred thirty digital collections from the Wabash Valley Visions and Voices project, originally at Indiana State University, to the Indiana State Library. Alongside the transfer, a new version of the WV3 website was launched to accommodate these changes, which can be viewed here. These collections cover a vast array of Southern Indiana history, including coal mining, the Civil War, and the politician Eugene V. Debs.


The Digital Initiatives team has also traveled to local libraries all across the state, sharing best digitization practices and providing technical assistance. Over the coming months, expect new collections from Jefferson-Township Public Library, Newburg-Chandler Public Library, and East Chicago Public Library, among others. These collections include newspapers, photographs, oral histories, and manuscripts. In the meantime, check out all our collections on Indiana Memory.

New titles will be added to Hoosier State Chronicles starting in early spring 2020, including the Pulitzer-Prize winning Indianapolis Times. This collection will make accessible over 200,000 pages and cover 32 years (1920-1952). Expect other titles like the Fortville Community Shopper, Nappanee Advance News, Greencastle’s Banner Graphic, and the Indianapolis Journal to be made available as well. There will also be an update to the website, which will improve functionality.

If you’re interested in working on digital projects and need help getting started, please contact Digital Initiatives Director Justin Clark at or Jill Black at


IHB Logo

Visit our website to learn more about Indiana History. Check out The Indiana History Blog for more in-depth posts about Indiana's past.  Follow us on Facebook and Twitter, where you can find Hoosier history facts, stories, and resources.  Leave us comments too. We love hearing from you!