*Post written by James Wethington, library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.
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.
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.
Edgar D. Whitcomb (n.d.) Retrieved from http://www.in.gov/idoa/2921.htm