*Post written by James Wethington, senior library assistant of the University Archives and Special Collections.
Welcome back for the 5th annual Archives Madness event! The University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) is excited for this year’s competition. UASC is completing against and thanks for the participation of the following seven libraries and museums:
- John James Audubon State Park (https://bit.ly/3ayqjJ6)
- Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science (https://emuseum.org/)
- Historic New Harmony (https://www.usi.edu/outreach/historic-new-harmony)
- Reitz Home Museum (https://www.reitzhome.com/)
- University of Evansville Libraries (https://www.evansville.edu/libraries/)
- USI Art Collection (https://bit.ly/3pCcVb4), and
- Working Men’s Institute (https://workingmensinstitute.org/).
You can vote online at https://amusingartifacts.org/ throughout the following rounds:
- Sweet 16: March 8-14, 2021
- Elite 8: March 15-21, 2021
- Final 4: March 22-28, 2021
- Championship: March 29-April 4, 2021.
1873 Steinway Piano (Working Men’s Institute)
Robert Dale Owen’s Obituary (Historic New Harmony)
Robert Dale Owen, born in Glasglow, Scotland in 1801, was the oldest son of Welsh industrialist and social reformer Robert Owen. Robert Dale, who shared many of his father’s views, came to the Unites States in 1825 to help manage the day-to-day of the New Harmony community. Although he left shortly after the community failed, Owen returned to New Harmony in 1833 and became a successful politician. Owen served in the Indiana House of Representatives from 1835 to 1838 and 1851 to 1853. This obituary, from the June 26, 1877 edition of the Evansville Journal was printed two days after Robert Dale Owen’s death in New York.
Frank Nuderscher Painting (John James Audubon State Park)
Conceptual painting completed by St. Louis artist Frank Nuderscher sometime between 1939 and 1940. It was created as a concept for the Audubon Mural at the Henderson County Public Library. The image depicts the naturalist John James Audubon standing in the middle of a forest, carrying his satchel, musket, and sketchpad. A river flowing into a forested valley can also be seen in the background. This is from the Mrs. John C. Worsham Collection, JJA.1940.10.
“Primavera” Female Bust (Reitz Home Museum)
Spring the season of the year between winter and summer when plants begin to flower or grow leaves. On exhibit in the Reitz Home Museum. Credit: Evansville Museum Arts, History & Science, EMAS1968.341.0044.
Hinkle Fieldhouse Region
English Teapot (University of Evansville Library)
The teapot, which is made of English moss rose china, measures 37 inches high and weighs roughly 90 pounds empty, 355 pounds filled. This teapot can hold enough tea for an estimated 850 people. The hand-painted teapot was made by Alfred Meakin of Tunstall, England in 1890. It first arrived in Evansville from England as a present to the old Ichenhauser & Sons Company on NW First Street, which claimed to be the largest glass and china dealer in the Midwest. Silas Ichenhauser was a trustee of Evansville College, and when the firm closed in 1927, he presented the teapot to the college, where it was displayed for years in the front hall of the Administration Building (now Olmsted Administration Hall).
Patrick Henry 1786 Land Grant (UASC)
This land grant was signed by Patrick Henry, then governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia, in 1786. At this time, America’s western border did not stretch past the Mississippi River and the Commonwealth of Virginia was comparable to Great Britain in land mass. This land grant was but one step in the slow process of transforming that mass, and other land, into what we today known as the United States.
1902 Steam Fire Pumper (Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science)
Harkening to the horse-drawn era, this 1902 steam pumper was built by the American Fire Company in 1902 and helped the Evansville Fire Department fight conflagrations in our city in the early 20th century. Named after Mayor Charles G. Covert—note the nameplate on the stack—it was in active service until the 1920s. The engine produced 130 pounds of steam pressure and could pump 1100 gallons of water in one minute. When four hoses were connected to the engine, it could throw water 100 feet horizontally. When only two hoses were connected, the engine could throw streams of water approximately 125 feet high. To produce steam, water was heated in the engine’s boiler. Collection of the Evansville Museum and gift of the Evansville Fire Department.
Ceramic Dishes by Émile Gallé (Reitz Home Museum)
Émile Gallé was a French artist and designer who worked in glass and is one of the major innovators in the French Art Nouveau movement. Two small ceramic plaques for hanging on wall. “Ships Entering Harbor” (signed by Emile Galle of Nancy France) and “Winter Scene” (signed by Emile Galle of Nancy France). Gifts from Mary Legler Wilson. They are on exhibit Reitz Home Museum.
Assembly Hall Region
Vulcan Statue (Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science)
From the late 1880s through 1957, this nine-foot-tall statue of Vulcan stood atop the roof of Evansville’s Heilman Plow Works—later known as Vulcan Plow Company. Vulcan, originally known as the Roman god of fire and later the god of foundry and metalworking, was the trademark of the company and the statue a landmark in the city. As the story is told, riverboat travelers of the era upon seeing Vulcan from the Ohio River knew Evansville was their next port of call. Today, this sheet zinc statue is an impressive reminder of Vulcan Plow Company and of Evansville’s industrial past.
“Rising Sun” Quilt (USI Art Collection)
“Rising Sun”, 2003, Machine pieced and hand quilted medallion style quilt by Amos A. Graber, Miriam Graber, and Delores Kemp of the Old Order Amish community in Montgomery, Indiana. The quilt measures 107” long and 92” wide and is made from cotton and cotton/polyester blend fabrics.
Grace Golden Cap (Working Men’s Institute)
Cap belonging to Grace Golden, worn by her in Romeo and Juliet when it was performed at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, dates from circa 1900.
German Heller Coin (USI Art Collection)
This German heller coin was minted in the town of Schwäbisch Hall during the period of what is now call the Bubonic Plague that overtook Europe from 1347 to 1350. The obverse is the image of the Hand of God and the reverse has a cross with arms ending in pellets, all within a circular border.
Lucas Oil Stadium Region
Silk Tapestry (University of Evansville Library)
Embroidered with dark and light blue thread in the shape of a dragon, pink emblem embroidered beside it, artifact from a missionary’s collection of objects. The silk tapestry is believed to be a flag from the Qing dynasty, which was the emblem adopted in the late 19th century featuring the Azure Dragon.
*Defending 2020 Arch Madness champion.
New Harmony Centennial Pennant (Historic New Harmony)
In 1914, New Harmony celebrated its Centennial with grand parades, parties and a visit from President Taft. New Harmony was founded by the Harmonists, a group of Lutheran separatists led by Father George Rapp, in 1814. This pennant was donated by Mrs. Jane Blaffer Owen, who was married to Kenneth Dale Owen, the great-great-grandson of Robert Owen. Most interesting is that the Granary is referred to as the “Rappite Fort.” This building was never used as a fort, but it became a very common misconception. There are even people today that still refer to it as a fort instead of a granary.
Male Yellow-Crowned Night Heron (John James Audubon State Park)
Taxidermy specimen of a male, yellow-crowned night heron that is believed to be an example of John James Audubon’s work. The heron is in a standing, alert position with both feet on a wooden platform decorated with dried grass. The heron’s neck is extended, and beak is closed. The bird has a distinctive yellow stripe running under its eyes. It is said that this heron is from Louisiana and was given by Audubon to his friend, Dr. Adam Rankin of Henderson, Kentucky, in 1812.
Red Light District Complaint Letter (UASC)
This letter written to Evansville Mayor John William Boehne, Sr., serving as mayor from 1906 to 1909, protesting the rumored establishment of an “official” red light district. Not in my neighborhood, the signatories say!