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Indiana Heritage Research Grants Abstracts 1995

The Indiana Heritage Research Grant program was jointly sponsored by the
Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana Humanities Council. from 1986 to 2001.

The Indiana History Bulletin, Volume 63, Numbers 5/6 and 9/10 contained the first and second year abstracts from the Indiana Heritage Research Grant Program; The following abstracts were published in Volume 71, number 1 of the Bulletin.

The grants are awarded annually by the Indiana Historical Society and the
Indiana Humanities Council (1500 North Delaware Street/Indianapolis, IN 46202/317-638-1500.) From 1986 through 2000, the program has awarded $937,363 to fund 337 projects. The abstracts provide interesting models for local history projects and make available resources for research.

For further information about projects, please contact the entity listed in each entry.

Cataloging the Textile Collection of the Jefferson County Historical Society (95-3001): Jefferson County Historical Society, 615 W 1st St, Madison, IN 47250. 


For this project, approximately 300 textile artifacts were cataloged; information was entered into a computer database. Approximately fifty items received cleaning and repairing. Storage was improved with the acquisition of a number of acid-free boxes.

A special exhibit of the textile collection was created which was open from May through November 1996. A special interpretive brochure about the textile collection was written and published. Four public programs were held which included a lecture for docents and volunteers, an exhibit opening, a special Curator's Tour, and a lecture on American Textile History.

In all these events, mention was made of the sponsorship of the Indiana Heritage Grant Program. These programs were videotaped and shown twice on local cable television. The project was featured locally in three newspaper articles.


Preservers of the Past: Indiana's County Historical Societies (95-3002):
Oral History Research Center, Indiana University, Memorial Hall West, Room 401, Bloomington, IN 47405.


Oliver Wendell Holmes wrote that "those who do not look upon themselves as a link connecting the past with the future do not perform their duty to the world." Working for county historical societies is one way people perform that "duty." While some county historical socie-ties have written their own histories, this study offers a comparative perspective on these important grassroots organizations.

This pilot study of nine county historical societies takes the first steps in exploring the cyclical history of flourishing and fading many societies experience, the motivations of members, and the elements that make up a successful society. The societies in this study represent a variety of founding dates, sizes, and geographical locations around the state.

Documentary research at each society was followed by oral history interviews with key members. The interviews explored the members' lives and the society's history and activities. The interviews reveal that members' commitments are closely related to their life histories, and that each society's health is based on three essential aspects: money, mission, and members.

The study produced eleven transcribed, edited, and indexed interviews with fourteen members, as well as slides from each museum's exhibits. Transcripts are deposited with their respective county historical society, the grant's sponsoring agencies, the Oral History Research Center, and the Lilly Library, Bloomington. The slides are deposited at the Indiana Humanities Council. Public programs based on the final report were presented by Dr. Barbara Truesdell; publication will be sought for the report.  


Historic Homes of Lowell (95-3007): Lowell Public Library, 1505 E Commercial Ave, Lowell, IN 46356.


The "Historic Homes of Lowell" brochure features twenty-four homes. Homes selected are located within the town limits and were constructed before 1910. Each home featured in the brochure includes the following information: a photograph, architectural style including descriptions of unique features, location, and historical significance.

A map of the town of Lowell, indicating the locations of the houses, appears in the brochure along with a glossary of architectural styles and features. Files of information compiled for each featured home, as well as other homes in the community, are available at the Lowell Public Library. The brochure, a bibliography on historic homes, and a videotape of the program are available at the library.


Pine Village Football (95-3010): Warren County Historical Society, PO Box 176, Williamsport, IN 47933.


To substantiate what has become legend, researchers for this project examined microfilm of old newspapers as a primary source of information about the games played by the old Pine Village football team. Researchers found little information dating before 1915 either because the small town weeklies have not been preserved on microfilm and are therefore not available, or the editor of the newspaper did not deem the game newsworthy. Once the team became a professional team and challenged other professional teams from Indiana, Ohio, and Illinois, however, city newspapers gave extensive coverage. Research shows that the Pine Village football team helped create professional football in Indiana.

Clippings of the news items found are compiled in chronological order and indexed. Pictures of the team are included. The manuscript can be accessed from the Indiana Humanities Council and the Indiana Historical Society.

Negatives of twelve football pictures loaned to the project have been made and are at the Warren County Historical Society Museum along with a traveling exhibit of pictures and information about the team.


Warwick: A History of the Midwestern Rural Village (95-3014):
Northern Indiana Historical Society, 808 W Washington Ave, South Bend, IN 46601.


The former village of Warwick and surrounding farmsteads in Olive Township, St. Joseph County were studied for this project. The village existed at the intersection of the Chicago Road, the main thoroughfare between Detroit and Chicago in the nineteenth century, and the St. Joseph, South Bend and Southern Railroad, a rail line built to connect South Bend, Indiana with St. Joseph, Michigan.

Warwick remained a viable community from 1890 to 1925. The farmsteads of John Reynolds, James and Annie Proud, and Andrus Borden among others, however, continued to endure after the demise of Warwick. By studying the short-lived village and the stable farmsteads together, the interaction between the two entities was examined directly.

The primary goal of the grant was to define the functional elements of the midwestern rural village during the time frame of 1880 to 1930. A very limited amount of research, however, has been undertaken regarding small villages throughout the nation. This project produced significant resources demonstrating the critical role which rural villages played in the global economy of the period. Interpretive cultural issues have been cited as significant factors in the dramatic rise of rural village building in the region of northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan during the 1890s.

The methodology adopted for this project incorporated oral history interviews, public records research, as well as archaeological reconnaissance. The project humanist was Thomas Schlereth, professor of American Studies at the University of Notre Dame. Dr. Schlereth, a leading figure in the field of material culture studies, provided valuable interpretive insights in the analysis phase of the project.

Copies of all project materials are housed in the archives of the Northern Indiana Historical Society. Produced written materials include a scholarly article on the Warwick community, nine transcribed oral histories, and seven telephone/correspondence interviews. The oral history audio tapes and a complete set of slide images accompanying the public program are also maintained in the archives at the Northern Indiana Historical Society.


The Jewish Experience: Immigration, Americanization, Integration (95-3021): Michiana Jewish Historical Society, PO Box 11074, South Bend, IN 46634-0074.


Eighteen oral histories were collected for this project on the Jewish experience in immigration, Americanization, and integration into Michiana area communities; they are preserved on audio tapes and written transcriptions.

The histories cover immigration from Eastern Europe and Germany, primarily during the period 1890 to 1920. South Bend, Mishawaka, and other Michiana area communities were chosen as the final destination because other family members were already there. Learning English and becoming a citizen were immediate goals, with the public schools assisting in the learning of English. The major migration motivation was the potential for economic opportunities; many immigrants started their own small retail and other businesses.

Tapes and transcripts are kept in the permanent collection of the Michiana Jewish Historical Society and are available to scholars and other interested individuals.


Methodist Ministers of Indiana, 1801-1861 (95-3022): Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd, Fishers, IN 46038-4499.


The growth of early nineteenth-century Methodism was examined for this project through a study of the lives of circuit riders active in Indiana before the Civil War. The project consists of two parts: a narrative regarding the role of circuit riders in Indiana and a database of Methodist ministers active in the Indiana Conference or the geographic region that subsequently became part of this conference.

The narrative traces the growth of Methodism from its turn-of-the-century origins among pioneer settlers to its mid-century status as one of the largest and most influential denominations in Indiana.

Central to this examination is the changing role and character of the circuit riders. Circuit riders, often portrayed as untrained and rugged "Backwoods Preachers," were largely responsible for establishing Methodism on the frontier. Over time, however, and in part as a result of competition with ministers and preachers from other denominations, the nature of circuit riders began to change. By the 1820s and 1830s, a second generation of Methodist ministers emerged. This second generation continued the work begun by their predecessors; they established new churches and increased the number of circuits. In addition, they also sought to reform society through increased educational opportunities and a message that emphasized both temperance and abolition.

The result of such activities was a broadening of Methodism from its popular association with camp meetings, revivals, and enthusiastic preaching to an organization that operated seminaries, universities, and publishing houses. By mid-century, the often caricatured circuit riders were important leaders both in and out of the Methodist church.

The database includes information on approximately 280 of the 760 circuit riders active in the geographical region of the Indiana Conference between 1801 and 1860. Included is data regarding birth and death, place of nativity, family size, date of licensure to preach, circuitry appointments, other career paths, and educational background. The data available as a result of this project allows for the collective analysis of circuit riders in Indiana and provides the opportunity to do cross-regional analyses.


Developing a Database for Historical Photographs in the East Chicago Room (95-3026):
East Chicago Public Library, 2401 E Columbus Dr, East Chicago, IN 46312-2998.


The first part of the project involved a public program, "Where Have We Been, Where Are We Going? The East Chicago Room After the Centennial History Project." To complete the project database, the project staff worked to develop a standard format for the Pro-Cite database, using Anglo-American Cataloging Rules II. The format provides the best way to locate photographs of people or events. It includes: the collection title; folder title; number, size, and type of photograph; date; a brief description; and an index of all people and activities.

The most important photograph collections were prepared for data entry by placing the photographs into folders and envelopes based on approximate date and activity. Photographs mounted on cardboard and other inappropriate materials had to be dismounted, cleaned, and straightened.

Nearly 1,400 photographs from various collections were categorized and identified and then entered into a database.

The photographs entered are only a small portion of the approximately 5,000 photographs in the East Chicago Room collection; but these entries constitute a valuable start. The project pointed out the importance of the time-intensive phase of preparing a collection before data entry to insure entry completeness. The remaining organized photograph files will be entered into Pro-Cite as staff time permits, and the process will continue with other photographs in the East Chicago Room.

Introducing East Chicago's young people to the resources that have been categorized and entered into the database was the best part of the project. A total of six classes, averaging twenty students per class, were introduced to the East Chicago Room's general collection and to the database. The database meets the goals of improving access to the collection for historians and the general public, and enabling staff to locate topical materials.


A Look Back at the Home Lawn Sanitarium (95-3029): Morgan County Historical Preservation Society, PO Box 1377, Martinsville, IN 46151.


The Home Lawn Sanitarium was an internationally known health resort from 1889 until 1971. Martinsville had ten sanitariums from 1888 until 1971, but Home Lawn was the largest, grandest, and most popular. At one time, it was billed as "one of the three best known watering places in America." Owners Ebenezer Henderson, Dr. W. E. Hendricks, and later W. A. Kennedy made consistent additions and improvements to the original cottage-industry bath house until it became an elaborate hotel and mineral springs with a guest capacity of 200.

Wealthy guests from all over the United States, Europe, and South Africa chose to spend at least two weeks there each year, utilizing Home Lawn's mineral water, medical clinic, weight loss program, and spa facilities. The guest roster included presidents, governors, congressmen, judges, lawyers, businessmen, artists, writers, entertainers, and athletes. The institution employed several hundred Martinsville residents during its existence and was one of the city's most significant and long-lived businesses. Long-time guests grew too old to travel or chose other vacation spots. In 1970, the Kennedy family put Home Lawn up for sale. In 1971, the building became Diamondhead Resort, but went into receivership in 1973. The old spa sat vacant for two years, during which time many people feared it would have to be torn down. Daystar Ministries purchased the building in 1975 and turned it into a Christian study, counseling, and living center. A fire destroyed the majority of the edifice in 1989. It sat vacant once again for six years; the remaining structures came down in 1995. This research project uncovered its history, using primary sources, interviews, and photographs.

Home Lawn Sanitarium

Irvington Art Restoration Project (95-3030): Irvington Historical Society, Inc., 312 S Downey Ave, Indianapolis IN 46219.


Twenty-one watercolors, pen and ink drawings, and etchings created by the Irvington Group artists and their students have been conserved. In addition, three large oil paintings by Dorothy Morlan, Irvington Group artist, have been cleaned and restored. A number of these pieces were either framed or reframed for their protection. All are housed at the Hilton U. Brown Branch of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library in the heart of the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis. Many of them have been placed on permanent display in the branch's lower level for the benefit of the community. Because of lack of space, others will only occasionally be on public display.

A catalog has been created which includes a professional biographical sketch of each of the artists for the pieces the Society owned at the beginning of the project. The catalog was available free of charge at the Hilton U. Brown Branch Library, 5427 East Washington Street, Indianapolis, Indiana 46219, as well.


Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping? (95-3031): Northern Indiana Center for History, 808 W Washington Ave, South Bend, IN 46601.


The work on "Was Freedom Dead or Only Sleeping?" produced unique and significant contributions to the local history record of La Porte County. The results of the research were: an index and abstract, in one book, of the population censuses of La Porte County from 1840 to 1870 of all African-American residents, and a slide-lecture program accompanied by a comprehensive script for the use of school and adult audiences.

Research findings were initially presented in the form of an article published in Black History News & Notes, November 1997. The research information attained concerning the social, economic, and settlement experiences of African-Americans in pre-1870 La Porte County is new and cannot be found elsewhere. The research article and slide-lecture program detail three small rural African-American settlements in La Porte and Porter counties that previously were unmentioned in historical research.

Three copies of the slide-lecture program are available for use by school teachers as well as other local organizations, churches, etc. Copies have been deposited at the Northern Indiana Center for History and at the media center of the La Porte High School.


Swiss Ancestral Tree (95-3033): Berne Public Library, 166 N Spurnger St, Berne, IN 46711-1595. Contact Karen Adams, 219-589-2809.


Initial work on the project concerned the family records of 750 Swiss married couples and their descendants in Adams and Wells counties (1837-1913). These papers, which had originally been compiled in German Gothic script, were first translated into English.

The next phase was to extend this genealogy to the present generation. To bridge this gap, the archives of early churches provided research material. Old newspaper accounts and cemetery records were used extensively. In addition, data was obtained from published family genealogies which were solicited from the public.

A final task was to make a mass distribution of genealogy forms to the present generations of local Swiss immigrants. This was mostly done through the Berne Public Library and local churches with Swiss roots. In this regard, 7,500 forms were distributed of which approximately 5,000 were completed and returned.

The completed work (5,800 families) was published in twenty-two indexed volumes and sets were distributed to selected churches and libraries. The compilations have also been stored in the Brothers Keeper computer program. Both the hard and software versions of the project are ongoing.


Religion, Community and Ethnic Identity in Dubois County Oral History Interviews (95-3035): Oral History Research Center, Indiana University, Memorial Hall West 401, Bloomington, IN 47405. 812-855-2856.


Interviewees relate how Dubois County religious and ethnic identities are closely intertwined. They describe Dubois County as an area with a large population of Hoosier German ancestry and a rich and diverse religious heritage. The interviews document how the area's Anglo-American and German-American churches continue to be important centers of life in Dubois County's small towns and farming communities. Many area residents draw on religion to help interpret their own life experiences and give meaning to a changing present. Taped recordings of eleven life history interviews with community members and transcripts of two of these interviews are deposited at the Oral History Research Center at Indiana University and are available to researchers.


New Discoveries in Familiar Places: The Form and Function of the Urban Yard in Nineteenth-Century Indiana (95-3036): Morris-Butler House, 1204 N Park Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46202-2638. 317-636-5409. Fax 317-636-2630.


Three goals were accomplished with this grant project. A thorough search of primary and secondary sources to document the Morris-Butler House landscape and assist in the classification of objects during an archaeological excavation was achieved. A factual basis for new statements of interpretation in and around the house museum was provided. A historic landscape resource for residents of historic urban neighborhoods and staff of historic property museums was developed.

Color photocopies of maps, photographs, newspapers, gardening books, articles and advertisements, all from circa 1865 to the present were compiled in a report. Three appendices further define uses of the historic landscape gardening and garden implements, outdoor games, and types of horse-drawn carriages.

This research report guided Morris-Butler House staff and the Archaeological Resource Management Service from Ball State University to select locations for a preliminary shovel test probe of Morris-Butler House grounds in July 1996. The findings of both the research report and shovel test probes directed this same staff to the locations on Morris-Butler House grounds for a full-scale dig in summer 1997 (pending funding). All reports are available at the Morris-Butler House.

Morris-Butler House

Indiana Preservationist Index Project: 1970-1995 (95-3037):
Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, 340 W Michigan St, Indianapolis, IN 46202-3204.


An index of the Indiana Preservationist was created for Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana's bi-monthly publication which covers its inception in 1970 through 1995. Over the past twenty-five years, the Indiana Preservationist has included information on Indiana's architectural styles as well as feature stories on significant buildings throughout the state. As such, it is an important tool for documenting the history of Indiana's historic preservation movement. The index will provide easier access to the information contained within the publication.


Enlarging Community Heritage: Images of Hammond (95-3039): Hammond Public Library, 564 State St, Hammond, IN 46320.


Valuable local historical resources were preserved and made more accessible as a result of this project. The project was focused on the business and industrial history of Hammond by organizing, identifying, and preserving original photographs of the Hammond community. The pictures date from the late nineteenth-century to the present day. Subject headings have been assigned and entered in the library's online catalog.

The library's collection of 16 mm films, which contained significant local history, were transferred to video. The local video producer who copied them is now planning an eleven-volume television series chronicling the Calumet Region's last one hundred years. A thirty-minute preview compilation is available from the producer: Backstage Video, PO Box 4069, Hammond IN 46324. 219-933-1123.

Hammond Public Library

Suzanne Long, Calumet Room librarian (left) and Nancy DeVries (95-3039).
Courtesy: Hammond Public Library, Hammond, Lake County.


Unrolling the Past (95-3042): St. Ferdinand Catholic Church, 840 Maryland St, PO Box 156, Ferdinand, IN 47532-0156.


The goals of this project were to flatten, clean, repair, and store a number of documents, plans, and photographs which had been stored for almost one hundred years in the rectory attic. These documents were also encased in acid-free material. In addition, a number of documents, letters, receipts, constitutions of various parish organizations, and a substantial portion of the Sunday Announcement Book used in 1872-1873 have been translated. All of this work has vastly expanded knowledge of the history of the St. Ferdinand Church.

St. Ferdinand Church

Sunday Announcement Book from 1871, St. Ferdinand Church (95-3042).
Courtesy: St. Ferdinand Church, Ferdinand, Dubois County.

St. Ferdinand Church

Plan showing original steeple inside present church steeple, St. Ferdinand Church (95-3042).
Courtesy: St. Ferdinand Church, Ferdinand, Dubois County.


PACT: Pioneers in Community-Based Criminal Justice Alternatives (95-3043): PACT, Inc., 254 S Morgan Blvd, Valparaiso, IN 46383.


The intent of this project was two-fold. First, it was our intent to survey and organize PACT's archives, storing relevant materials in archival-quality containers. This resulted in a database comprised of records, minutes, publications, recorded interviews, photographs, video and audio tapes, newspaper clippings, and other materials. A catalog of these materials provides ready access for future reference and research.

The second purpose of the project was to write a narrative history of the development and accomplishments of PACT, Inc. A pioneer in the field of community corrections and restorative justice, PACT has for twenty-five years provided humane yet responsible community-centered approaches to dealing with persons who have broken the law.

This organization's history reveals both the successes and failures of a private agency as it deals with the criminal justice system. It affords insight into the organizational development, growth, and change of a voluntary agency's attempt to provide alternatives to the incarceration of public offenders.


League of Women Voters of Indianapolis: An Oral History Project (95-3044): League of Women Voters of Indianapolis, 3808 N Meridian St, Rm 206, Indianapolis, IN 46208-4019.


Eight long-term members of the League of Women Voters of Indianapolis were interviewed in connection with the seventy-fifth anniversary of the League of Women Voters. Seven of the eight were members for more than fifty years.

All of the interviewed league members were well-educated women. They attended college at a time when even most men did not. They were all interested in politics and how government worked. They felt many of our country's problems could be solved using governmental reform. In good league fashion, these ladies studied their issues and were well-informed. Most of them were from the middle to upper middle class and did not have to work. They dedicated their time to the league.

Transcripts of these interviews are housed at the Indiana State Library, the office of the League of Women Voters of Indianapolis, the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library, and various university libraries in the Indianapolis area.


Terre Haute Radio Series (95-3046): WFIU-FM, Radio and Television Center, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405.


The main body of work for the Terre Haute radio project, funded in part by an Indiana Heritage Research Grant, consists of fifty-two recorded weekly episodes. The episodes, essays of more than three minutes in length, provide a walking tour of Terre Haute, Indiana during one week in June 1926. Subjects covered in the episodes are many and varied. They range from the inherent beauty of hand-crafted furniture to the racism existing in the social mores of the time.

The listener is guided through a variety of experiences which allow for a heightened awareness of this unique environment. The premise of the series is that Terre Haute, Indiana in 1926 was a real-life reflection of an American cultural icon - the classic Midwestern hometown. By exploring the myth and substance of that image, the series reveals how the passing years have radically altered everyday life - for better and worse.

By observing details of this place in time, the series touches on larger areas of consideration; namely, the relationship between technology and the natural world, the consequences of advances in transportation and communication, and their effects on the individual.

In addition, supporting the fifty-two episodes, there are also oral interviews conducted with long-time residents of Terre Haute who share their impressions of these changes and their memories of Terre Haute when it was commonly referred to as the "Crossroads of America." These tapes are deposited in the Vigo County Public Library Archives.

Master tapes of all series episodes are available through WFIU-FM and Vigo County Public Library.


Walden's Glass Gallery-II (95-3047): Willard Library of Evansville, 21 1st Ave, Evansville, IN 47710-1294.


The glass negative collection of the Neal Walden Photography Studio in Evansville covering the period 1891-1941, has proven to be an invaluable source of family histories. The names and faces of local history come to life through his portrait work.

As more and more of the negatives are printed and become available for viewing, area researchers are discovering the wealth of this historic collection. As we continue the work, the database will contain as many identifications of these photographs as we can possibly determine. A video of unnamed photographs will be available for public viewing for as long as is necessary and then will become a permanent part of the collection.

No final publication has been completed because the index is changed regularly as the photographs are identified. The current printout is available in the Special Collections Room of Willard Library.

Mrs. M.E. Siraney Portrait

New Harmony: World War II at Home (95-3049): University of Southern Indiana,
Historic New Harmony, PO Box 579, New Harmony, IN 47631.


Twelve oral histories were conducted by Jon Carl of World War II-era New Harmony residents. The interviews bring to life both the economic and social impact the war had on this small agricultural town. Homefront participation in the war cause, changing workplace opportunities, family members fighting overseas, feelings about the war, and the effects of rationing are discussed openly in these interviews.

The three primary topics discussed in each interview were: the activities each person engaged in to support the war; rationing of consumable goods; and noticeable changes in work patterns. Homefront support included a Girl Scout nickel roll on Main Street, knitting caps for the soldiers, buying war bonds, going to Evansville for social functions in honor of departing soldiers, and collecting metal for scrap drives. In many ways, rationing seemed to have a minimal effect on daily life in New Harmony. Many individuals were able to get larger gas rations for farming and nearly everyone had plenty of space to grow a vegetable garden. While we initially expected to find that many people left New Harmony to seek work in the war production industries of larger communities, those interviewed indicated that this period ushered in widespread commuting and carpooling to work. New Harmony residents, both men and women, did take jobs in Evansville industries, but they preferred to keep their homes in New Harmony.

The interview tapes are available at the University of Southern Indiana Archives in Evansville and Historic New Harmony (HNH) Archives in New Harmony. Copies of transcriptions are available at the following locations: USI Archives; HNH Archives; HNH Administrative Office; New Harmony State Historic Site Office; the Workingmen's Institute; and the Indiana Historical Society.


User's Guide to the Indianapolis Holdings (95-3051): Indiana Jewish Historical Society, 124 W Wayne St, # 216, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-2505.


Over 2,500 items of information that tell the history of the Jews in Indianapolis, from 1820 to the present, were organized, entered into a database, and compiled into a holdings list.

The project resulted in the User's Guide to the Indianapolis Holdings, which enables the Jewish history that has been collected to become better known and more easily accessible. The User's Guide to the Indianapolis Holdings was distributed to libraries, historical societies, temples, and synagogues across Indiana and to other Jewish historical societies across the country