Welcome Home, Screagles!

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Entrance of the University Archives & Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the David L. Rice Library, 2017.

Entrance of the University Archives & Special Collections on the 3rd floor of the David L. Rice Library, 2017.

As titled, the University Archives and Special Collections warmly welcomes back all of our returning and new Screagles to USI. We are located on the third floor of the David L. Rice Library. Some of you may be wondering what an archive is: according to Merriam-Webster, an archive is “a place in which public records or historical materials (such as documents) are preserved” and “a repository or collection especially of information” (Merriam-Webster, n.d.). In this department, we have over 1,100 collections in our possession in four areas: communal studies, regional, special, and university. All of our materials is available for viewing upon request via email (archives.rice@usi.edu), calling and setting an appointment (812-228-5046), or by walk-in.

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This summer, we have had numerous changes. Our first major change came through our online digital gallery. It is available 24/7 and there are over 35,000 images online. Photographs, historical documents, our collection finding aids, and audio/video are available for viewing. They are exclusively on our website: digitalarchives.usi.edu/digital. In a couple of weeks, a tutorial will be posted on amUSIngArtifacts for how to search on the new layout.

The Center for Communal Studies is located at RL 3022, inside of the University Archives & Special Collections. For help, speak with administrative assistant, Marilyn Thielman, 2017.

The Center for Communal Studies is located at RL 3022, inside of the University Archives & Special Collections. For help, speak with administrative assistant, Marilyn Thielman, 2017.

This past July, the Center for Communal Studies moved over from the College of Liberal Arts. It is now located inside the University Archives and Special Collections in RL 3022. If you need any information concerning our communal collection, you can email them via communalcenter@usi.edu and speak with the administrative assistant, Marilyn Thielman.

Finally, we have two exciting promotion coming up this fall semester! During the first week of school, there will be a small display on various historical artifacts, books, and documents, from our various collections. Our second promotion will occur the week of October 16th to the 20th, #ArchivesFest. In honor of National Archives Month, we are having a week-long celebration. Each day is themed and have different activities. On top of that, daily prizes are available each day and a grand prize, a $25 gift card to the Campus Store. The only requirement is you must fill out your “passport” with five stamps to enter to win the gift card. For information, please notify us in the “Comments” section of this post or email us at archives.rice@usi.edu.

#ArchivesFest2017, October 16th-20th, 2017, 5 Dialy Door Prizes & 1 Grand Prize of $25 Campus Store Gift Card.

Mark your calendar! #ArchivesFest starts on October 16th, 2017!

References

Merriam-Webster (n.d.). Archive. Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/archive

Posted in #ArchivesFest, Communal Studies, library events | Leave a comment

#OnThisDay: Celebrating Hoosier Author, Gene Stratton-Porter

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and University Archives.

Portrait of Gene Stratton-Porter, n.d. Source: Wikipedia

Portrait of Gene Stratton-Porter, n.d. Source: Wikipedia

On a special edition of “On This Day” and final edition of “Hoosier Authors”, we are celebrating the hundredth and fifty-fourth birthday of Hoosier author, Gene Stratton-Porter. To your surprise, Gene was not you expected because Gene was really Geneva Stratton.

Stratton was born on August 17, 1863 in Wabash County, Indiana. She was the youngest of twelve children; moreover, she had a difficult childhood. Her mother passed away when she was twelve. From a young age, Stratton became interested in nature such as birds, plants, and animals (Indiana Historical Society, n.d.). This would play a factor in and be “… remembered for her fiction rooted in the belief that communion with nature holds the key to moral goodness” (Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015).

In 1886, Stratton married her husband, Charles Porter, a druggist from Geneva, Indiana. Together, they had one daughter, Jeanette, born in 1887. Her family lived at the Limberlost Cabin, outside of Geneva, Indiana. Their home was located near swamp, leading her exploring the swamp through writing and photography. Her photographs and articles were used in Recreation and Outing (Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015; Indiana Historical Society, n.d.).

Book cover of "Laddie: A True Blue Story" by Gene Stratton-Porter, 1913. Source: University Archives & Special Collections

Book cover of “Laddie: A True Blue Story” by Gene Stratton-Porter, 1913. Source: University Archives & Special Collections

After publishing her works, Stratton decided to try her hand at writing literature; however, she used a pseudonym, Gene Stratton-Porter. In 1903, she published her first novel, Son of the Cardinal, and was a success. Her magnum opus was Freckles (1904), A Girl of the Limberlost (1909), and The Harvester (1911); however, she published books on nature studies and poetry/essays. By 1920, critics of Stratton proved to be overpowering and crushing to her esteem: her family moved to Los Angeles, California. Sadly, four years later, Stratton died in a car accident on December 6, 1924 (Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica, 2015; Indiana Historical Society, n.d.; Indiana State Museum, 2017).

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for our next blog series!

References

Editors of Encyclopædia Britannica (2015, May 14). Gene Stratton Porter. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Gene-Stratton-Porter

Indiana Historical Society (n.d.) Gene Stratton-Porter. Retrieved from http://www.indianahistory.org/education/hoosier-facts-fun/famous-hoosiers/gene-stratton-porter#.WZGgC1WGNhE

Indiana State Museum (2017). Gene Stratton-Porter. Retrieved from https://www.indianamuseum.org/gsp

Posted in #OnThisDay, Hoosier Authors, literature | Leave a comment

Hoosier Authors: Lew Wallace

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Portrait of Lew Wallace in a United States military dress, n.d. Source: Wikipedia

Portrait of Lew Wallace, n.d. Source: Wikipedia

Just like summer vacation, our “Hoosier Authors” series is winding down this week; but we have two more authors to discuss! Today, we are examining the life of Lew Wallace: a former soldier turned lawyer, author, diplomat. Though his other professions were important, one of his novels has become synonymous in American literature.

Wallace was born in Brookville, Indiana on April 10, 1827 (Leepson, 2017). His father, David, served as the sixth governor of Indiana for one term from 1837 to 1840 (National Governors Association, 2015). Wallace dropped out of school when he was 16 and worked various types of jobs such as a copyist, news reporter, and eventually joined the military twice. He served in the Mexican-American War for the First Regiment of Indiana Volunteers; after the war ended, Wallace continued studying law and practiced law starting in 1849 (Leepson, 2017).

Ben-Hur (1880)

Book cover of Ben-Hur, 1880. Source: University Archives & Special Collections

He had dabbled in local and states politics serving as the prosecuting attorney in Covington, Indiana and as a state senator (Leepson, 2017; National Governors Association, 2015). Shortly after, Wallace rejoined the military; moreover, he was promoted to state adjutant general of Indiana regiments in 1861 until his promotion a month later to colonel of the 11th Regiment of Indiana Volunteers (Leepson, 2017). Wallace resigned from his position and soon joined the Union Army of the Tennessee, under the leadership of General Ulysses S. Grant. Surprisingly, Grant promoted Wallace to serve as major general. Wallace fought in numerous battles such as the Battle of Shiloh and Battle of Fort Donelson. By 1864, he served as the commander of the VIII Army Corps in Baltimore. His defining moment occurred in 1864 during the Battle of Monocacy: he stopped Confederate forces from invading Washington, D.C. Wallace served on two war courts and soon resigned from the military in 1865, returning to practicing law (Leepson, 2017).

general-lew-wallace-study

Lew Wallace Home in Crawfordsville, Indiana, n.d. Source: TripAdvisor

Soon after leaving the military, Wallace started the second half of his life as an author and diplomat for the United States. He wrote his first book, The Fair God, in 1873; however, his second novel proved to be his magnum opus: he wrote Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ in 1880 (Lew Wallace Study and Museum, 2017). Today, it is known because of its’ film adaptation in 1959, starring Charlton Heston, and in 2016, starring Jack Huston, as the main character, Ben-Hur. As a diplomat, he worked two positions: his first was serving as the territorial governor of the New Mexico Territory from 1878 to 1881. His second was as an ambassador to the Ottoman Empire, modern-day Turkey, in 1881 to 1885 under the Cleveland administration. Wallace passed away on February 15, 1905 in Crawfordsville, Indiana (Leepson, 2017).

Today, people can take a tour of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville, Indiana and learn more about Wallace’s life. In our rare and special book collection, we have a copy of an 1880 edition of Ben-Hur, available for viewing.

References

Leepson, M. (14 July 2017). Lewis Wallace. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Lewis-Wallace

National Governors Association (2015). Governor David Wallace. Retrieved from https://www.nga.org/cms/home/governors/past-governors-bios/page_indiana/col2-content/main-content-list/title_wallace_david.default.html

Lew Wallace Study and Museum (2017). Lew Wallace timeline. Retrieved from http://www.ben-hur.com/meet-lew-wallace/timeline/

Posted in Civil War, Hoosier Authors, literature, Politics | 1 Comment

Hoosier Authors: Edgar Whitcomb

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Headshot of Edgar Whitcomb, n.d. Source: National Review

Headshot of Edgar Whitcomb, n.d. Source: National Review

We are switching gears today: if you have followed our recent blog series, “Hoosier Authors”, I have been discussing numerous novelists. Today, we are going over to the non-fiction realm: former Indiana governor, Edgar Whitcomb drabbled in writing; however, his book is over a serious issue. It was his autobiography over his experiences in World War 2.

Whitcomb was born in Hayden, Indiana on November 6, 1917. He pursued a law degree at Indiana University until World War 2 occurred in 1941, later joining the Air Corps. In the war, Whitcomb served as a prisoner-of-war after his capture during the Battle of Corregidor. Whitcomb escaped twice but finally escaped from the Japanese to the jungles to help in Filipino Resistance (“Edgar D. Whitcomb, n.d.). His military experiences in the Philippines served as the catalyst to his memoir, Escape from Corregidor.

Book cover of "Escape from Corregidor" by Edgar Whitcomb, n.d. Source: University Archives & Special Collections

Book cover of “Escape from Corregidor” by Edgar Whitcomb, n.d. Source: University Archives & Special Collections

Whitcomb returned to the United States following World War 2 and resumed his law degree, which he achieved in 1950. Shortly after, Whitcomb decided to enter politics as a Republican. He first post was serving as a state senator from 1951 to 1954. He later moved up the ranks in state politics becoming Indiana’s Secretary of State (1966-1968) and Governor (1969-1973). During his time as governor, Whitcomb “…[computerized] the Bureau of Motor Vehicles and criminal records, creating the Indiana Higher Education Commission, expanding the state highway system, and establishing a statewide medical education system” (“Edgar D. Whitcomb, n.d.).

He continued his career in politics after his term as governor ended in 1973, but was unsuccessful. Whitcomb returned to his law firm; however, he soon retired from law and returned to Southern Indiana. Whitcomb passed away on February 4, 2016.

References

Edgar D. Whitcomb (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.in.gov/idoa/2921.htm

Posted in Hoosier Authors, literature, Nonfiction, Politics, World War 2 | Leave a comment

Hoosier Authors: Theodore Dreiser

*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.

Resuming our series, “Hoosier Authors”, we discuss the life and works of Theodore Dreiser. During his time, he was counter-cultural, fighting against Victorian ideology and was the epitome of a “realist”. In reality, America was quickly changing and his works explored the various social changes occurring during the time.

Headshot of Theodore Dreiser, n.d. Source: Britannica.com

Headshot of Theodore Dreiser, n.d. Source: Britannica.com

Dreiser was born on August 27, 1871 in Terre Haute, Indiana as the ninth out of ten children. His family moved to various parts of Indiana because his father was unemployed and looking for work.  As a child, Dreiser lived in poverty and he later stated he had a horrible relationship with his father because he blamed him for his family staying in poverty (Hussman, 2015).

When Dreiser was sixteen, he decided to move to Chicago and get out of poverty. He was unsuccessful and did not have a formal education; however, Dreiser met Mildred Fielding. She encouraged him to go to school and would help pay for him to go. Dreiser accepted. He went to Indiana University in 1889 but stayed for a year; he would discover his future passion at IU: reading and writing (Hussman, 2015; Polack, 2005).

After leaving Indiana University, Dreiser began a career in journalism as a news reporter. He started in 1892 in Chicago and left for Pittsburgh then New York City in 1894. While in New York, he met Sara White, his future wife: they got married in 1898; however, in 1912, they separated (but never divorced) because of his adultery. They were married until Sara’s death in 1942 (Hussman, 2015).

Book cover of "An American Tragedy" by Theodore Dreiser, n.d. Source: Amazon.com

Book cover of “An American Tragedy” by Theodore Dreiser, n.d. Source: Amazon.com

Shortly after his marriage begun, Dreiser published his first novel, Sister Carrie, in 1900, becoming a bestseller. His magnum opus was An American Tragedy, in 1925. An American Tragedy focuses on the life of Clyde Griffiths and his death. Hussman (2015) states, “This book brought Dreiser a degree of critical and commercial success he had never before attained and would not thereafter equal. The book’s highly critical view of the American legal system also made him the adopted champion of social reformers. He became involved in a variety of causes and slackened his literary production”. He continued writing until his death on December 28, 1945; however, his last two novels were published posthumously (Hussman, 2015).

If you are interested in Theodore Dreiser’s novels, inside of our Special and Rare Books collection are four of his works, including An American Tragedy. As a reminder, our books do not circulate but you are welcome to come and read a few pages.

References

Hussman, L. E. (2015 April 21). Theodore Dreiser. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Theodore-Dreiser

Polack, T. (2005 April 18). Theodore Dreiser. Retrieved from http://www.umich.edu/~eng217/student_projects/20thcenturywriters/dreiser.html

Posted in Hoosier Authors, Indiana, literature | Leave a comment