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Indiana Historical Commission

Indiana Historical Commission - 1915

(from left to right) Samuel M. Foster, Lew M. O'Bannon, Frank B. Wynn, John Cavanaugh, Samuel M. Ralston, Harlow Lindley, Chas. W. Moores, Charity Dye, James A. Woodburn.

Rev. John Cavanaugh

May 23, 1870-March 22, 1935

Rev. John Cavanaugh was born in Leetonia, Ohio. At age sixteen he entered the University of Notre Dame and was graduated in 1890. His Doctor of Divinity was conferred by Ottawa University.

He returned to Notre Dame to teach English. In 1905, he was elected president of the university. He served in that capacity until 1919.

After teaching for one year at Holy Cross College, he returned to Notre Dame in 1920 as professor of English until 1931.

Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1919, 4:1564.
R.E. Banta, Indiana Authors and their Books 1816-1916, Crawfordsville: Wabash College, 1949, p. 56.

Charity Dye

October 15, 1849-July 18, 1921

Charity Dye was born in Mason County, Kentucky and moved with her family to Indianapolis where she was graduated from the Normal School of Indianapolis. She received her Ph.B. (Bachelor of Philosophy) from the University of Chicago.

Dye taught in the graded and high schools of Indianapolis for thirty-seven years. English was her specialty and her classes were often observed by teachers from other school systems. In addition to teaching, Dye was prominent in suffrage and club work.

She was asked to serve on the Historical Commission in 1915 where she organized a state-wide letter exchange among school children. The letters were to include interesting things about the history and life of the students' neighborhoods. Dye also wrote a weekly column in the Sunday edition of the Indianapolis Star containing leading facts of Indiana history that were "entertainingly told."

She was one of the most active Commissioners during the Centennial Celebration making 152 addresses at schools, civic organizations, and clubs.

Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1919, 4:1694.
Indiana Biography Series, Indianapolis: Indiana State Library, 2:304.

Samuel M. Foster

December 12, 1851-April 4, 1935

Samuel M. Foster was prominently identified with the industry of Fort Wayne. Foster, born in New York State, worked with his family in the dry goods business in Troy, New York until he could afford to go to Yale. He was graduated in 1879.

He entered business with his brothers in Fort Wayne. The business had difficulty. Jacob Dunn reported in Indiana and Indianans that Foster became the father of the shirt waist "which laid the foundation of his fortune and provided the women of the world with the most useful and most universally worn garment ever devised" (5:2283).

Foster left manufacturing to become president of Lincoln National Bank, 1904. He was later president of Lincoln Trust Company and Lincoln National Life Insurance Company.

Foster fought financial reform and argued that interest on public funds should go back to the public. His arguments led to the Depository Law. He was asked by Woodrow Wilson (United States President 1913-1921) to be ambassador to the Argentine Republic but he declined.

Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1919, 5:2282-2283.

Harlow Lindley

May 31, 1875- August 20, 1959

Harlow Lindley was born in Parke County and received his A. M. degree in 1899 from Earlham College. He served on the Earlham and various other college faculties between 1899 and 1928.

Lindley served as director of the Department of History and Archives, Indiana State Library, from 1907 to 1923. He was secretary of the Indiana Historical Commission from 1915 to 1923 and director from 1923-1924.

He served as curator of history at the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society from 1929 to 1934, and secretary, editor and librarian from 1934 to 1946. His historical publications include The Indiana Centennial, 1916 and Indiana As Seen By Early Travelers.

R.E. Banta, Indiana Authors and their Books, 1816-1916, Crawfordsville: Wabash College, 1949, p. 192.
Indiana Biography Series, Indianapolis: Indiana State Library, 3:19.

Charles Washington Moores

February 15, 1862-December 7, 1923

Charles Washington Moores was born in Indianapolis and was graduated from Wabash College and the Central Law School. He entered the legal profession and was later president of the Indianapolis Bar Association. He had a strong interest in education and served on the Indianapolis School Board from 1900-1909. He was director of Butler College from 1903 to 1909 and director of the Indianapolis Art Institute in 1909 and 1914.

Moores was the first vice president of the Indiana Historical Society and was their representative on the Historical Commission. He was a member of the publication committee for the Commission. His historical publications include Caleb Mills and the Indiana School System (1905) and A History of Indiana (1916).

Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1919, 3:1462.

Lew McClellan O'Bannon

August 18, 1864-February 16, 1943

Lew McClellan O'Bannon was born in Corydon, Indiana. He attended public schools in Harrison County and worked with his father on the farm and in the manufacture of shingles. He taught school for nine terms while he studied law.

He began to practice law in Corydon in 1895. A life-long Democrat, O'Bannon began his political career as county surveyor and county recorder. It was noted in his 1932 campaign brochure for the U.S. Senate, that he became a platform orator for his party before he could vote. He was a director of the Savings and Loan Association of Corydon for many years.

O'Bannon served as private secretary to Congressman William Taylor Zenor for ten years. He was owner and editor of the Corydon Democrat beginning in 1907. He was named chairman of the Democratic State Convention in 1928 and served as a member of the George Rogers Clark Memorial Commission of Indiana and the Federal George Rogers Clark Sesquicentennial Commission and as a member of the Historical Commission.

Typically described as a prominent Democratic leader and a public-spirited man, Lew O'Bannon is the grandfather of Indiana Governor, Frank O'Bannon.

Indiana Biography Series, Indianapolis: Indiana State Library, 8:106; 9:113.

Samuel M. Ralston

Samuel M. Ralston was born in Ohio and moved to near Spencer, Indiana, in 1865, where his family farmed. After attending the common schools during winter months, Ralston attended normal schools in Valparaiso and Danville, and taught school for several years. Later he read law in Spencer, was admitted to the bar in 1886, and settled in Lebanon.

An active Democrat, he ran for secretary of state in 1898 and lost. He also lost the gubernatorial nomination to Thomas R. Marshall in 1908, but in 1912 he was the Democratic nominee and was elected; he defeated Albert Beveridge, Progressive, and former governor Winfield Durbin, Republican. Among many other progressive measures enacted under his leadership, the state park system was initiated and a public service commission was created to regulate utilities. Ralston, who was Beveridge's personal friend and admirer, also defeated Beveridge for the Senate in 1922.

In 1924 the Democratic presidential nomination was virtually Ralston's for the accepting after a long, complex battle in the convention, but Ralston stunned the convention by withdrawing his name. His reason, though unexplained at the time, was his precarious health.

Ralston was a man of undisputed integrity and, according to contemporaries, "there was no bluster or pretense about him."

Source: Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana 1800-1978. Revised, edited and with new entries by Diane Gail Lazarus, Indianapolis Museum of Art. Biographies of the governors by Lana Ruegamer, Indiana Historical Society. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.

James Albert Woodburn

November 30, 1856-December 12, 1943

James Albert Woodburn, born in Bloomington, Indiana, was graduated from Indiana University and received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University.

He became head of the Department of History at Indiana University. Woodburn wrote a history of Indiana University, 1820-1902. Regarded as an excellent teacher, Woodburn also worked vigorously to create an understanding for the League of Nations and its world peace programs.

Woodburn served as vice-president and president of the Indiana Historical Society. He served on the federal and state George Rogers Clark commissions and on the Historical Commission from 1916-1925.

Indiana History Bulletin, January 1945, Vol. 22, No. 1, pp. 36-37.

Frank Barbour Wynn

May 28, 1860-July 27, 1922

Frank Barbour Wynn was born in Springfield, Indiana and was graduated from De Pauw University in 1883. He studied medicine at the University of Cincinnati. Wynn became the first city sanitarian of Indianapolis and was identified with the faculty of the Indiana Medical College (Indiana University School of Medicine). He was director of the American Medical Association for seventeen years.

Wynn chaired the first Centennial Committee which made a strong argument for educational and historical components for the celebration. The state legislature then passed a law creating the Historical Commission. Wynn was elected vice-president and acting chairman of the Commission.

Wynn is given credit for the initiative that fathered the movement for state parks as centennial memorials. He was later named chairman of the State Park Board. Wynn also served on the Indianapolis Public Library board and chaired the Civil Improvement Committee of the Chamber of Commerce of Indianapolis.

Jacob Piatt Dunn, Indiana and Indianans, Chicago: The American Historical Society, 1919, 5:2280-2282.