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Indiana Heritage Research Grants abstracts 1994

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 69, number 2 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.

Thomas Gaff's Family in Their Community, 1840-1890 (94-3002):
Hillforest Historical Foundation, Inc., PO Box 127, Aurora, IN 47001-0127.

The research project, "Thomas Gaff's Family in Their Community, 1840-1890," was planned with several goals in mind, all of which were achieved. One primary goal was the acquisition of additional Gaff family-related data for the development of research files and related topics. Another goal was the production of written materials helpful in expanding and correcting the interpretation of Hillforest.

The raw data took the form of numerous research files divided into broad categories with specific sub-topics (i.e., Industries-The Crescent Brewing Company). In addition, refinement of a 400-page Gaff genealogical notebook for greater ease in use was accomplished, including typing previously handwritten records. The written product is a narrative paper elaborating on Gaff family history and a chronology of various Gaff family community involvements, set in a context of local and regional history.

Hillforest Historic House

Hillforest in Aurora, Dearborn County, was the Gaff family home and is now a historic house museum (94-3002).
Photograph courtesy Krider Studios, Lawrenceburg, Indiana.

Heritage Project of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Muncie (94-3003): Unitarian Universalist Church of Muncie, 4800 W Bradford Dr, Muncie, IN 47304-5303.

The Heritage Project of the Unitarian Universalist Church includes oral histories of longtime members and a mobile exhibit documenting the history of the church. The oral histories contain remembrances of the old downtown church, established in 1859, as well as recollections of the difficulties surrounding the building of the new church in 1968.

The three completed panels of the exhibit illustrate the founding of the church. They include archival-quality pictures of the founders and early charter members of the church, as well as text which connects the church and its early members to the history of the Muncie community.

Passages from early church records and memoirs are presented as originally written, with spelling and grammar errors intact, to preserve the integrity of the memories.  

Affectionately Yours: The Andrew Wylie Family Letters, 1828 to 1859 (94-3004): Wylie House Museum, 317 E 2nd St, Bloomington, IN 47401-4799 and Indiana University, PO Box 1847, Bloomington, IN 47402-1847.

The Andrew Wylie Family Letters is a 276-page collection of family correspondence offering an exceptionally touching and accessible portrait of life in antebellum America. Although Andrew Wylie is best known as the first president of Indiana University, a post he held from 1828 until his death in 1851, these letters are primarily concerned with the more personal and domestic matters of a family growing up and dispersing. Health-physical, mental, and spiritual-is a frequent theme, as are work, children, local news, and travel; travel includes descriptions of New York City, Philadelphia, China, Washington Territory, and Hawaii.

Affectionately Yours consists of 163 transcribed letters with readers aids including brief summaries of all the letters, Wylie genealogy, and a glossary of names. Copies are available in Bloomington at the Monroe County Public Library, Monroe County Historical Museum, Bloomington High School North library, Bloomington High School South library, and the Lilly Library, Main Library, Archives, and Wylie House Museum at Indiana University; in Indianapolis at the Indiana Historical Society and the Indiana State Library's Indiana Division; in Richmond at the Wayne County Historical Association.

In addition, a twenty-two minute video interpretation of the letters can be borrowed from
Wylie House Museum for one week at a time. Contact: Wylie House Museum, 812-855-6224.

Andrew Wylie Family Letters Cover

Women's Workplace Experience at the Wilson Brothers Garment Industry (94-3006):
Northern Indiana Historical Society, 808 W Washington Ave, South Bend, IN 46601-1439.

In addition to developing a historical overview of the Wilson Brothers Company, research findings reflect some unique trends of women employed in a garment industry in the Midwest. The location of the company in South Bend in 1883 not only added to South Bend's industrial heritage, but it also became one of the few industries that offered employment to women. Typical of the garment industry at this time, women provided almost ninety percent of the workforce. Most of the early employees represented the large Polish and Hungarian immigrant communities of South Bend.

Within the first ten-year period, Wilson Brothers hired at least one thousand women. By 1919, the company had 1,300 women employees, increasing to 2,200 during its heyday in 1929.

The early 1950s employment figures reached a plateau of 1,000; when Wilson Brothers closed its doors in 1975, there were eighty-one women employees working at the plant.

The oral history tapes and reunion video are housed at the Northern Indiana Center For History. There will also be a significant photograph collection in the archives of the Northern Indiana Center For History. This research has developed a valuable resource for further study of women in the industrial workforce in South Bend, Indiana.

Preservation and Indexing of the Community Archives Photograph Collection (94-3008):
Vigo County Public Library, 1 Library Sq, Terre Haute, IN 47807-3609.

The Community Archives Photograph Collection at the Vigo County Public Library contains original photographs, negatives, and published prints which document people, places, and events in Vigo County history. The collection was generated from various donors over a period of ninety years and includes images from the late nineteenth century to the present. The photographs are housed in a temperature-controlled environment and individually stored in acid-free sleeves and folders to ensure their physical protection for years to come.

The goals of this project were to preserve, identify, and index the approximately 2,000 images in the collection. Catalog numbers have been assigned to each photograph for identification purposes and easy retrieval. The collection is as fully and accurately identified as possible as a result of the research established by this project.

Although the index is not complete, it is a valuable tool in progress. The index will be in two versions-computer database and a printed book format. The book format includes name and subject index terms, and a brief description of each photograph-including the date, size, medium, and identification number.

Both versions of the index will be available at the Vigo County Public Library. A copy of the printed format will be given to the Vigo County Historical Society, and to the Cunningham Memorial Library and the University Archives at Indiana State University, for full community access.

Fort Wayne Jewish History: A Holdings List of the Indiana Jewish Historical Society (94-3009): Indiana Jewish Historical Society, 203 W Wayne St #312, Fort Wayne, IN 46802-3610.

To tell the history of the Jews in Fort Wayne, from 1820 to the present, over 2,000 pieces of information were organized, entered into a computer database, and compiled in a holdings list.

The project produced the User's Guide to the Fort Wayne Holdings, which enables the Jewish history that has been collected to become better known and more accessible. The User's Guide was distributed to libraries, historical societies, temples, and synagogues across the state.

Transcriptions of Various Crawford County Journals (94-3010):
Crawford County Public Library, PO Box 159, English, IN 47118-0159.

 Transcription of various Crawford County journals has provided information on medical treatments in the 1920s by Dr. Luckett, types of merchandise sold and prices paid in a hardware store from 1904 to 1910, and court cases heard by Justice of the Peace Wallace Tavey. A name index is provided to all of the journals. A computer database is available for public access. Library staff can assist the researcher. The indexing of these journals has broadened the resources in Crawford County genealogy research.

Walden's Glass Gallery (94-3011): Willard Library, Special Collections Department, 21 1st Ave, Evansville, IN 47710-1294

Approximately 4,000 glass-plate negatives of the Neal Walden Photography Studio were identified by name, written on the side of the negative. Another 3,000, not identified, were just cleaned.

Of the disintegrating nitrate negatives found, 703 have been printed, numbered, and photocopied. The copies are housed in notebooks for public use. The prints were made on acid-free paper and are housed in acid-free folders and boxes. The nitrate negatives were disposed of through a hazardous waste disposal company.

Photographs can give the public an idea of the clothing and societal family history of this region from 1892 to 1941. There are photographs of nursing school graduates, city views, and artistic display pieces.

No publication has yet been created for this collection. The second phase of the project will be to obtain identification for as many of the negatives as possible. The end product will be a name index and photographic record of fifty years of area history.

R.l.P.: Resting Peacefully on the Flat Rock (94-3016): Rush County Historical Society, 1336 N Fort Wayne Road, Rushville, IN 46173-7508 and Rush County Heritage, Inc., 6352 W 650 S, Rushville, IN 46173-9224.

This project was to research cemeteries in Rushville, consisting of two early burying places, but with emphasis on East Hill Cemetery, a "rural" or garden-type cemetery. East Hill, with its winding roads, stone bridges, and lovely views, was laid out by Leo Weitz, landscape architect, who designed Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

The Schrichte family, nationally known monument makers who lived and worked in Rushville, was also researched.

Several products resulted from the research. The final report is an overview of the two early cemeteries and documents the history of East Hill to the present day. A slide/tape program features the interesting variety of monuments, views on the grounds, bits of history, and highlights of the people buried there, including Wendell Willkie.

A leaflet was developed for distribution at East Hill, which contains a map of the cemetery, a brief history, and a list of interesting features and graves.

All products of this project can be obtained by writing or calling Eleanor Arnold, project director, at 1744 N 450 E, Rushville, IN 46173, 765-932-5204.

East Hill Cemetery


Jennifer Gray's original pen and ink drawing illustrates the cover of R.I.P. by the Flatrock: History of East Hill Cemetery, the leaflet produced by the Rush County Historical Society and Rush County Heritage, Inc. (94-3016).

Dubois County in the Interwar Years: An Oral History Project (94-3018): Indiana University,
Oral History Research Center, Memorial Hall West 401, Bloomington, IN 47405.

Preserving a specific or unique heritage while participating in the mainstream of American life is a problem shared by all ethnic communities in the United States. In the case of Hoosier Germans of Dubois County, two world wars and the discriminatory Indiana school language law (1919-1923) exacerbated the problem.

This oral history project documents and interprets aspects of Dubois County's past in the years between World War I and World War II, in an attempt to shed light on southwestern Indiana's German-American heritage. Interviewees have characterized the interwar years as a period of massive social and economic transformations. Among the many changes mentioned were the mechanization of agriculture, the decline of farming and the growth of towns, the expansion of the local furniture industry, the impact of Prohibition, the role of the Ku Klux Klan, the effects of the Great Depression and New Deal, and the weakening of the German heritage.

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.

Cutters, Carvers, Quarriers: From the Land of Limestone (94-3020): Bedford Public Library, 1323 K St, Bedford, IN 47421-3297.

The project provides first person accounts of the limestone industry and how it evolved in Bedford, Indiana from the early 1920s to the present. Lou Beretta and Frank Arena discussed types of tools used by the master carvers, how the stone was actually removed from the ground, and local limestone companies and their operations. Frank Arena worked on many famous projects.

Angie Meno, one of the first women to be involved in the local limestone industry, told how jobs were estimated and described the way limestone was cut in the past in contrast to the methods used today. She also shared her memories of being part of a small minority of Italian families who came to the Bedford area to work as limestone carvers. Both she and Frank Arena discussed their Italian heritage and social and economic aspects of life in Bedford during the 1930s.

Copies of the videotape and transcript are available upon request from the
Bedford Public Library.

Indiana Alma Maters: Student Life at Indiana Colleges, 1820-1860 (94-3021):
Conner Prairie, 13400 Allisonville Rd, Fishers, IN 46038-4499.

This project sheds new light on a less studied area. The study, which was focused upon the founding and early years of five Indiana colleges, added to the pool of knowledge about student life, curriculum, and significance of the nascent higher education movement in Indiana. Based principally upon primary source material, the research showed the Hoosier state to be a vital part of the burgeoning American educational scene. A curriculum quite similar to those in other areas of the United States was followed; students were much like those the world over; and a raison d'etre for college founding was analogous to that of others in the Old Northwest: the "civilizing" of the area and the provision of future leaders.

The research culminated in the publication of an annotated, illustrated book by the Conner Prairie Center for the Study of Indiana Life. Copies of the book have been deposited in the libraries of the five colleges studied (Earlham, DePauw, Wabash, Hanover, and Indiana University) and at the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana State Library. Copies may also be obtained from Conner Prairie.

Cover Illustration of Indiana Maters: Student Life at Indiana Colleges

Cover illustration of Indiana Alma Maters: Student Life at Indiana Colleges, 1820-1860 (94-3021).

Elkhart County Abstract Books Index Project (94-3023): Elkhart County Historical Museum, PO Box 434, Bristol, IN 46507-0434.

The first fifteen volumes of the abstract books have been indexed by actual site description, such as township-range-section, and additions to original plat. The first thirteen volumes have been indexed by personal, business, or organization names; maps; school lands; and other main entries needed by a researcher.

At the start of the project year, there were 3,000 index cards on file; today there are over 21,500. The information is being entered in a computer with the goal of producing a printed index. Although not a part of the original project, the volumes are being microfilmed. The volumes are fragile, and researchers will use the index to find an entry, and then use the microfilm to read the actual copy.

Over sixty percent of the names in the index are not listed in current indexes or the surname catalog to the archives of county records. There is a great deal of genealogically significant information: maiden names, parents' names, grandparents' names, place from which families came to Elkhart County, divorces, adoptions, marriages, death (including many death dates for which no other records exist).

The materials are available at the Elkhart County Historical Museum Archives.

Picturing the Past: Creating and Conserving a Morgan County Historic Photograph Collection (94-3025): Morgan County Public Library, 110 S Jefferson St, Martinsville, IN 46151-1999.

A historic photograph archive was produced for Morgan County consisting of 2,000 photographs and 2,075 negatives. The collection was created by duplicating original photographs from three sources: Morgan County Public Library; the Reporter-Times, Inc.; and the private collection of Carl Bastin.

The Morgan County Historic Photograph Collection is housed at the Morgan County Public Library. A complete inventory of the collection is housed at the Morgan County Public Library, the Indiana Historical Society, and the Indiana Humanities Council.

The collection will be enlarged as additional photographs and funds are available.

Hoosiers Meet: Indexing and Preserving Programs of Indiana Events (94-3026):
Indiana State Library, 140 N Senate Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2296.

As a result of this project, 1,625 items in the Program Collection of the Indiana State Library from 1837 through 1899, have been cleaned, placed in acid-free folders, sorted in chronological order, and indexed. Data sheets for each of the 1,625 twentieth-century programs have been created which provide an access point by main entry (sponsoring organization). Plans are being developed to enter the information from the data sheets into a database at the State Library which will provide researchers with multiple access points through more entries and subject headings for each program.

January 1899 program from English's Opera House

A January 1899 program from English's Opera House, Indianapolis contained this advertisement (94-3026).

Ben Schroeder Saddletree Company Oral History Project (94-3028): Historic Madison Foundation, Inc., 500 West St, Madison, IN 47250-3304.

The "Ben Schroeder Saddletree Company Oral History Project" produced a collection of forty-five hour long oral histories relating to the Schroeder company and family. Twenty-one of these interviews have been transcribed. The Schroeder Saddletree Company produced thousands of wooden saddletrees (the internal wooden skeletons for saddles) from 1878 to 1972, selling their products throughout the Western Hemisphere. The goals of the oral history project were to document the history of the business and industrial processes utilized in the factory and to learn more about the Schroeder family members. These oral histories also contain a great wealth of detailed information about Madison that is not recorded elsewhere.

The Golden Troupe: Theatrical Photographs and Costumes (94-3030):
Indiana State Museum Society, 202 N Alabama St, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2101.

The project was focused on the preservation of 419 photographs and 153 costumes and accessories in one of the largest and most historically-important collections of the New Harmony State Historic Site. Each photograph has been inventoried, cataloged, and placed in acid-free storage materials; in addition, copies and a set of negatives were made from twelve original images for possible use in publications and to increase overall accessibility to them. The costumes were cataloged, and in some instances, cleaned by conservators and stored in acid-free textile boxes.

An exhibit featuring several of the photographs, costume accessories, and archival records-most of which had never been displayed in public before-was prepared. To enhance interpretation of the exhibit, a twelve-page guidebook was compiled, as well as a separate sixteen-page booklet containing biographical sketches of each member of the Golden family. New and/or expanded data obtained during research at several institutions in the state will be utilized in the ongoing documentation and interpretation of this family. The entire collection, including the exhibit and research files, is housed in Dormitory #2 in New Harmony.

Highlighting the History of the Blacks in Anderson, 1937-1967 (94-3031):
Anderson Public Library, 111 E 12th St, Anderson, IN 46016-2701.

Black History of Anderson and Madison County, 1937-1967 was produced. In Section I, newspaper columns which appeared in Anderson newspapers detailing the personal and social history of Anderson's black community have been collected and reproduced, along with a selection of other newspaper coverage of Anderson's black community. Section I also contains a list of black-owned businesses, black churches, and other black organizations. Section II contains a list of black Andersonians who have made significant contributions to the community. Brief biographical information is also included.

Copies of this publication are located at the Anderson Public Library and in the libraries of the Anderson junior and senior high schools. A card file index has been created and is located at the Anderson Public Library.

From the Cradle to the Grave: An Indexing Project of Cemetery Records of Harrison County (94-3033): Corydon Public Library, 117 W Beaver St, Corydon, IN 47112-1101.

Over 25,000 names were placed in the database from various sources housed at the Corydon Public Library. The data was printed out in an index containing the name of the deceased, dates of birth, marriage, and death, kinship to others in the area, and place of burial, including the cemetery name, township, and grid location.

This database can be used to keep an accurate account of individuals buried in Harrison County. In addition to the printed copy, researchers can do computer searches in the genealogy department of the library.

Indiana Mennonite Women: Toward Balancing the Genders (94-3037): Mennonite Church, 421 S 2nd St, Suite 600, Elkhart, IN 46516-3238.

Materials collected by twelve Mennonite women were assessed, processed, and cataloged by the Archives of the Mennonite Church. The collections contain correspondence, diaries, photographs, artifacts, and ephemera, to which a brief biographical sketch of each individual has been added. All of the materials have been sorted and stored in acid-free folders and/or boxes.

The papers are located at the Archives of the Mennonite Church, 1700 S Main St, Goshen, IN 46526, 219-535-7577. The archives has a finding aid for research use, containing inventories for all twelve collections.

Monroe County's Religious Heritage (94-3038): Monroe County Historical Society Museum, 202 E 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47408-3597.

As a result of this project, substantial additions have been made to the collections of the Monroe County Historical Society Museum. There is also an index to the collections and a comprehensive list of congregation addresses throughout Monroe County. In addition, a four-page brochure entitled Caring for Religious Records is available through the museum.

Monroe County Historial Museum logo

Posey County Circuit Court Cases, 1815-1930 (94-3039): Friends of the Indiana State Archives, 140 N Senate Ave, Indianapolis, IN 46204-2296.

Because of the existence of the Harmony and New Harmony settlements, archival material relating to the early history of Posey County has tremendous potential research value.

An important part of the county's documentary history has been unexplored-the records generated by the county courts. They comprise approximately fifty-five cubic feet of material, both loose papers and ledgers, from the Probate and Circuit courts, dating from 1815 to 1855. Researchers can use these for a myriad of purposes since they cover a period for which there are few alternate, official sources.

These records have been stored safely in the Indiana State Archives, but they received only minimum attention. No finding aid or inventory existed to make access to them simple and direct.

A computerized finding aid, catalog, and inventory to a significant, discrete portion of the records, the Circuit Court cases of 1815-1830, was created. These finding aids cover the period of the two most famous settlements in the county, Harmony and New Harmony. The database is comprised of 939 records containing seventeen separate fields of information. Both the records and the database are in the Indiana State Archives; patrons can visit or write the archives for more details.