RIP, Birch Bayh (1928-2019)

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

Bayh was a U.S. Senator from Indiana from 1962-1980. Prior to that he served in the Indiana legislature from 1954 until his election to the U.S. Senate. In 1959, he was the Indiana House Speaker at the age of 30.

“Born Jan. 22, 1928, in Terre Haute, Ind., Birch Evans Bayh Jr. moved to his maternal grandparents’ farm at the nearby community of Shirkieville after his mother’s 1940 death and his father’s entry into World War II military service. He graduated from Purdue University’s School of Agriculture after spending two years in the Army and met his future wife during a 1951 National Farm Bureau speaking contest in Chicago, which she won as an entrant from Oklahoma. They soon married and moved to the Shirkieville farm.” While serving in the Indiana legislature, Bayh earned a law degree from Indiana University.

Bayh was a man who was at the right place at the right time. Shortly after his election to the U.S. Congress, he was appointed to the Senate Judiciary Committee, even though he’d only been a lawyer for 3 years. This was in 1963, and President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in November of that year, succeeded by his vice-president, Lyndon Johnson. “Lyndon B. Johnson’s accession to the presidency was a stark reminder of a flaw in the succession process. There was no method to replace Johnson as vice president, and he had a history of heart disease. The two officials designated by statute as the first and second heirs — the speaker of the House and Senate president pro tem — were elderly and frail. The subcommittee became a vehicle to prominence. Chairman Bayh jumped aboard, becoming the main author and advocate of the 25th Amendment. Ratified in 1967 after protracted controversy, the amendment established clear procedures for appointing a vice president if a vacancy occurred. It also set rules for replacing the president should the incumbent become seriously disabled. “A constitutional gap that has existed for two centuries has been filled,” Mr. Bayh said.”

Bayh wrote the 26th Amendment, which set the voting age at 18, and authored what would have been the 27th, the Equal Rights Amendment. The latter did not pass into law, but Senator Bayh went on to produce Title IX, banning gender discrimination in schools receiving federal support. “Title IX provoked controversy lasting decades, particularly the requirement that schools devote equal resources to male and female athletes. Notre Dame football coach Edward W. “Moose” Krause, an Indiana icon, warned Mr. Bayh, “This thing is going to kill football.” Forty years after Title IX’s enactment, when Mr. Bayh was being honored by female professional basketball players, he recalled the argument he made in the 1970s: “In a country that prides itself on equality, we could not continue to deny 53 percent of the American people equal rights.” Title IX had even an broader impact in classrooms and labs. In an interview, Donna Shalala, Bill Clinton’s secretary of health and human services and now a U.S. congresswoman from Florida, said: “Title IX was a game changer. It created opportunities for women students, faculty, administrators. Without it, you wouldn’t see as many women studying law and medicine — or serving as university presidents.””

Senator Bayh visited Evansville on several occasions, seen below. In the first picture, he was here listening to a campaign speech by Hubert Humphrey, in 1966. In the second, he was participating in a political “roast” of some sort.

U.S. Senator listening to a speech by Vice President Hubert Humphrey in Evansville, IN, 1966. Source: Sonny Brown collection (MSS 228-1745).

U.S. Senator listening to a speech by Vice President Hubert Humphrey in Evansville, IN, 1966. Source: Sonny Brown collection (MSS 228-1745).

U.S. Senator listening to a speech by Vice President Hubert Humphrey in Evansville, IN, 1966. Source: Sonny Brown collection (MSS 228-1745).

Roast of Birch Bayh at the Civic Center/Vanderburgh County Auditorium, 1974. Source: Gregory Smith collection (MSS 034-0074).

Birch Bayh receiving a new pair of boots in Mt. Vernon, IN, 1963. Source: John Doane collection (MSS 022-1879).

Birch Bayh receiving a new pair of boots in Mt. Vernon, IN, 1963. Source: John Doane collection (MSS 022-1879).

After his defeat in 1980, Bayh never ran for office again, although he did stay active in public life. His older son, Evan, was the governor of Indiana from 1989 to 1997.

From farm boy to powerful and influential U.S. Senator—Birch Bayh traveled an eventful road during his 91 years and made a lasting impact on millions of Americans. RIP, good sir!

Campaign posters and buttons for Birch Bayh. Sources: Vanderburgh Democratic Party (MSS 063) and Ralph Gray collections (MSS 293).

Campaign posters and buttons for Birch Bayh. Sources: Vanderburgh Democratic Party (MSS 063) and Ralph Gray collections (MSS 293).

Sources Consulted:

Barrett, Laurence I. “Birch Bayh, Indiana senator who championed Title IX, dies at 91.” Washington Post online, March 14, 2019.

“Former Sen. Birch Bayh, author of Title IX law, dies at age 91.” AP/NBC News online, March 14, 2019.

 

Posted in American history, Local history, Politics | Leave a comment

Arch Madness 2019: “Meet-Ya” Guide to the Sweet 16

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

*Item descriptions written by Mona Meyer, archives and special collections metadata librarian, Susan Sauls, director of the art collection, Tom Lonnberg, curator of history at the Evansville Museum, and Pat Sides, archivist of Willard Library.

The crowds are going crazy! Pure pandemonium! Arch Madness is back and we have some stiff competition. The University Archives and Special Collections (UASC) is competing against the Lawrence Library, Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science, and Willard Library. You can vote online at amusingartifacts.org or in-person at Rice Library 3021. Voting begins on March 11 through April 7, 2019.

Brackets (Sweet 16)

Let’s look at this year’s competitors!

University Archives and Special Collections (UASC)

Wool Bathing Suit, c. 1920's.

Wool Bathing Suit, c. 1920’s.

Imagine going swimming in this 1920’s era swimsuit! It’s all one piece, made of wool, and the only way to get into it is the unbutton the 4 buttons on one shoulder. This was considered quite racy when first introduced as it showed a lot of skin and the actual shape of a woman’s body. It reflects a change from early Victorian times when a woman would be completely covered up and did little more than wade, to a time when women began to swim (competitively as well as for pleasure) and thus needed considerably more freedom in their attire.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sugar Babies Poster, n.d.

Sugar Babies Poster, n.d.

The word burlesque roughly means to make fun of, to mock, to joke. This element remained, but later burlesque shows became huge extravaganza variety shows. As time went on, they became more and more bawdy, and by the 1930s, they were striptease shows. Sugar Babies was a Broadway musical that paid tribute to the extravaganza style of burlesque. It debuted in October 1979 and originally starred Mickey Rooney and Ann Miller. A road company with Eddie Bracken, Jaye P. Morgan, and Toni Kaye came to Evansville on February 25, 1982 and performed at Vanderburgh Auditorium.

 

 

ISUE Letter Jacket, 1974.

ISUE Letter Jacket, 1974.

From 1965-1984, USI was a branch campus of Indiana State University, known as ISUE. The blue and white colors on this letter jacket are the colors of ISU, and the S stands for Sycamores, the name of its athletic teams. ISUE would have used these colors and logo (with the ISUE added to distinguish it from ISU) until its independence in 1985. This jacket was made by Kaye Brothers in Chicago, and was donated by Patti Riggs Marcum, a 1978 graduate. The jacket was worn by 1974 graduate Patricia Adkins.

 

 

 

 

Cook Brewery Beer Bottles, n.d.

Cook Brewery Beer Bottles, n.d.

A city with a strong German heritage, Evansville once had as many as seven breweries. One of the largest was F.W. Brewing Company. The company began in 1853 as a partnership between Fredrick Washington Cook and Louis Reis. Cook became the sole owner in 1873 and the company was incorporated as F.W. Brewing Company in 1885. With small name changes, it was in business until the mid-1950’s. Goldblume Beer, which they advertised as “The Best Beer in the World” was one of their signature brews. Note that one of these bottles still contains some beer!

 

 

 

 

Lawrence Library

Incantation bowl, c. 6th to 8th Century.

Incantation bowl, c. 6th to 8th Century.

The incantation bowl, which goes by many names such as a demon bowl or a magic bowl, was usually buried face down in a home’s courtyard or near cemeteries to capture demons or evil spirits. Once retrieved, a hole would be made in the bowl to release the spirits. This bowl belongs to the collection of Michael K. Aakhus.

*Defending 2018 Arch Madness champion.

Annie Oakley print, 1986.

Annie Oakley print, 1986.

 

 

Warhol created Annie Oakley from the Cowboys and Indians suite in 1986. This print is an “Extra, out of edition” that was given to USI by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. in 2013 for education and research.

 

 

 

 

15th Century French Psalter, c. 15th Century.

15th century French Psalter, c. 15th century.

The Psalter is essentially the Book of Psalms from the Christian Holy Bible and may include a liturgical calendar and Litany of the Saints. This gift of devotional book was typically owned by wealthy layperson and is believed to have originated in Ireland in the 6th century. This gift is from John M. Lawrence ’73.

 

 

 

 

 

Nacho the Defender, 2017.

Nacho the Defender, 2017.

 

Nacho the Defender, a toddler sized figure, is a part of the greater installation piece “Child’s Play” by Matt Perez. Nacho’s role within the work is to defend the pillow fort from other attacking toddlers. This figure belongs to the University Art Collection, Efroymson Fellow Collection.

 

 

 

 

 

Evansville Museum of Arts, History, & Science

Ray-Finned Fish (Diplomystus dentatus), n.d.

Ray-Finned Fish (Diplomystus dentatus), n.d.

This fossil fish from the Green River Formation can be dated to around 40 million years ago when a tropical sea was present over what is now Wyoming. The boney fish is a primitive relative of a modern-day herring. The fossil record preserved within the Green River Formation is world-renowned for its quality fossil preservation. This fossil is a gift of Charles LaFollette.

 

Glass Vase

Glass Vase Sculpture, n.d.

Mark Fowler received his Bachelor of Arts from Brescia College, Kentucky, in 1981, and Master of Fine Arts from the University of Illinois in 1990. With a diverse background in the fine arts, Fowler interprets natural environments through the scope of photography, painting, and glasswork. This vase harmonizes urbanization through a utilitarian object. With the red casted core and brick-work pattern overlay, the artist offers a dialog that debates the beauty of nature in an industrious environment. This vase is a gift of Elizabeth Zutt.

 

O'Dell Typewriter

O’Dell No. 4 Typewriter, n.d.

The O’Dell No. 4 is a unique index style of typewriter from the late 19th and early 20th century. This style of typewriter does not have a keyboard. One hand operates a pointer that selects a letter from an index while the other hand depresses a lever that moves the type to the paper. Index typewrites were a less expensive alternative to keyboard typewriters. This model was manufactured by Farquhar & Albrecht of Chicago, Illinois. This typewriter is a gift of Ralph E. Woods.

 

 

Lord Bryon Pistols

Lord Byron’s Dueling Pistols, c. 1809.

These pistols were made for the famous English poet and politician Lord George Gordon Byron, 1788-1824. Among Byron’s best-known works are Don Juan and Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage. Lord Byron had several controversial relationships before he married Annabella Milbanke in 1815 who left him a year later because of his infidelity. The pistols are engraved with Lord Bryon’s coronet and a “B” and were crafted by H.W. Mortimer and Company of London circa 1809. These dueling pistols are gifts of Harry D. Oppenheimer.

 

Willard Library

Fendrich Cigar & Box Tin, n.d.

Fendrich Cigar Box & Tin, n.d.

The company opened as Fendrich Brothers Cigar Company on Main Street in 1855, after moving Evansville from Pennsyvlania. (The brothers were Francis, Charles, John, Joseph, and Herman.) The Main Street factory was destroyed by fire in 1910, and a new one was built at Pennsylvania and Oakley, opening in 1912. A local newspaper claimed it was the largest cigar factory “in the world”, and Fendrich was one of Evansville’s largest industries. The company closed in 1969 and moved back in Pennsylvania.

The Charter and General Ordinances of the City of Evansville, 1859

The Charter and General Ordinances of the City of Evansville, 1859.

The original charter of the city of Evansville was passed on January 27, 1847 and approved a year later. This volume contains the original charter, as well as subsequent amendments. It beginswith a description of the city’s physical boundaries and contains General Ordinances, as well as Agreement Annexing the Town of Lamasco City to the City of Evansville.

 

Teachers Salary Book, 1875-1877.

Teachers Salary Book, 1875-1877.

In April 1854, Evansville residents voted overwhelmingly to support free schools by taxation under a new Indiana law, and the city’s public-school system was born. The ledger lists the teachers in the system, the schools where they were employed, the grade levels or languages they taught, and the salaries they received.

 

Official Program of the West Side First Annual Fall Festival, 1914.

Official Program of the West Side First Annual Fall Festival, 1914.

Sponsored by the West Side Business Association, the current West Side Nut Club began in 1921, but prior to that, three “Halloween type festivals” were held. The purpose of the festivals was “to initiate, promote, and support any and all movements which are for the betterment of the West Side of Evansville as a whole…”.

 

Posted in American history, Arch Madness, Art, art collections, European History, history, Indiana history, Local history, women's history | Leave a comment

“Everything Old is New Again…”

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

In a previous blog in which I talked about bygone entertainment palaces in Evansville, I promised another article on “old-timey” theatres that were still in use; this blog makes good on that promise.

The oldest venue is the one at the corner of Columbia and Fulton Avenues.  It was built in 1910 and called the Columbia Theater.  It started out as a vaudeville theatre and movies and later only showed movies.  Here’s what the building looked like in 1937 and after the flood in 1938.

Columbia Theatre in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0505.

Columbia Theatre in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0505.

Columbia Theater, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2SHhzoL

Original Columbia Theater, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2SHhzoL

In 1939, the building was completely rebuilt in a far more modern style and called the New Columbia Theater.

Remodeled Columbia Theater, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2Qvkwa8

Remodeled Columbia Theater, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2Qvkwa8

civic theatre

Civic Theatre, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2ABs6ux

In 1974, this building became the home of a community theatre group, Evansville Civic Theatre, and that name is now on the marquee.  Both the exterior (a new marquee was added) and interior were refurbished in the 1990’s. It originally seated over 500, but now that number is 222. An interesting thing about the Civic Theatre organization: “In 1925, Miss Frances Golden (the youngest member of the famous Golden Family Vaudeville troupe from New Harmony) brought Evansville’s first Community Theatre to our great city. Known originally as The Peoples Players and the Community Players, Miss Golden brought her vaudeville experience to Southern Indiana, ultimately founding what is now one of the oldest arts organizations in the state of Indiana. As Artistic Director for 17 years, Miss Golden gave to Evansville Civic Theatre a stability and sense of purpose that has shaped the character of community theatre in Evansville for 90 years.”

The next oldest (and what will be the newest) theatre is the Alhambra Theatre, built in 1913 at the corner of Parrett Street and Adams Avenue. Originally called the Alhambra Theatorium, it was built in a lavish Moorish Revival style.  This Haynie’s Corner neighborhood theatre was the first in town to boast of sound and air conditioning.

Alhambra Theatre in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0782.

Alhambra Theatre in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0782.

Close-up of SE Second Street and Adams Avenue in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0730.

Close-up of SE Second Street and Adams Avenue in Evansville, Indiana, 1937. Source: Flood of 1937 collection, MSS 272-0730.

As you can see above, the theatre clearly sustained damage during the 1937 flood, but it was repaired and remained in operation until 1956.  There have been several different attempts over the years to renovate/revitalize it, with varying degrees of success.  The exterior has been restored but the interior is still very sparse.  It came under new ownership in December 2017 with renewed hopes of once again being a viable venue.

Alhambra Theatre, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2FfnxtJ

Alhambra Theatre, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2FfnxtJ

The final “grande dame” brought back to life is the Victory Theatre at 6th and Main Streets. “Movie going during the 1920s was one of America’s favorite past times. Major metropolitan areas, such as New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles were homes to the largest concentrations of grand scale movie theaters. However, even small towns, such as Evansville could generally boast two to three upscale movie palaces. Main Street or the town square were the typical locations for such venues. Whereas the palaces of Europe were home to great kings and queens of royalty, the movie palace was the “palace of the people.” The Victory Theater of downtown Evansville, Indiana is an excellent example of the 1920s movie palace. Located on the corner of Sixth and Main Streets this building is six stories in height, faces 149 feet on Main St., 144 feet on Sixth St., and stretches all the way to the alley between Main and Sycamore Streets. The architect was John Pridmore. Construction began in September of 1920. The grand opening of the theater was held the weekend of July 15 and 16, 1921. The theater was built in commemoration of World War I (1914-1918) and is decorated throughout with patriotic motifs, such as the eagle, a Roman symbol which represents victory. The exterior of the building is very basic and in keeping with the contemporary architectural movement of the 1920s. The only notable element of the exterior is the eagle that topped the marquis, which was filled with cascading and flashing lights.

Victory Theatre in Evansville, Indiana, c. 1916. Source: Regional Postcards collection, RH 033-477.

Victory Theatre in Evansville, Indiana, c. 1916. Source: Regional Postcards collection, RH 033-477.

The interior of the building is far more extravagant than the exterior. Whereas the exterior is not that eye-catching, the interior has an opulence similar to that of a restrained Baroque style. The auditorium is 108 feet long by 91 feet wide and comfortably seats 2,500 people. The stage is 68 feet wide and 82 feet deep. It is notably one of the largest in the Midwest. The architect, Pridmore, had recently traveled throughout Europe. He based the interior, including color schemes, on the playhouses in Southern Italy. The main color scheme he used was blue and gold and it was continued throughout the decorative elements of the theater. The lofty ceiling was gold, with huge blue and gold oriental bowls, which produced subdued lighting effects. The colors were continued down the side walls toward the stage in painted tapestries. From the side walls, the color scheme again moves closer to the focal point (the stage) in gigantic gold-leafed columns which frame the stage.  The columns on either side of the stage display elements of the Greeks orders, Ionic and Corinthian. They each have four Ionic scrolls and acanthus leaves of the Corinthian order. Combining elements from different orders makes these columns composite. Atop each column, on the center cap, rests the Roman motif of an eagle. The most notable element of the theater is the proscenium arch, which frames the stage. Draping from the arch is a rich blue velvet curtain, which creates a high contrast with the gold-leaf on the arch. The decorative detailed elements of the arch include various fruits and vegetables. The function of the proscenium arch is not only decorative, but also key to the structural integrity of the building. Weighing approximately 45 tons, it acts as a girder supporting the portion of the building’s roof directly above the stage. Two golden grills are used to disguise the organ pipes, on either side of the proscenium arch. The $10,000 organ sits stage-right (audience left). During the playing of the organ music the grills were used in combination to produce strange lighting effects of different colors. All of these lavish and extravagant structural and decorative elements of the Victory Theater made movie going a favorite activity among the residents of Evansville. Movie goers could enjoy an afternoon or evening of entertainment and fantasy. In the late 1990’s, the city of Evansville planned to restore the theater to its original glory. They succeeded in 1999. In its restoration, the Victory’s stage was widened, the organ was removed, its balconies raised, and the color scheme of blue and gold was changed to predominantly teal, maroon and gold.”

According to the website of the company that manages it, “In the 1920’s The Victory featured a daily program of four vaudeville acts, a movie, a comedy routine, organ music and a ten-piece orchestra. In 1928, the Victory featured Evansville’s first “talking picture” movie. The theater was restored to its former glory and reopened in 1998 after a $15 million renovation.” Today this building is the home of the Evansville Philharmonic Orchestra.  It also hosts a variety of other types of performances.

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I love seeing old buildings come back to life, don’t you?

Resources Consulted:

Cinema Treasures: Evansville Civic Theatre

Evansville Civic Theatre website

Historic Evansville website

Lutgring, Trista.  “Turning the Corner:  New owners look to the future of the Alhambra Theatre and Haynie’s Corner.”  Evansville Business, February/March 2018.

MSS 272: Great Flood of 1937 Collection

RH 033: Evansville Post Cards

VenuWorks: Victory Theatre

Posted in Art, Evansville, Indiana, Local history, Theatre | Leave a comment

The Madness Has Arrived!

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

Coming soon: Arch Madness starts on March 11.

It is that time of year again! It is the University Archives and Special Collections’ (UASC) 3rd annual Arch Madness competition: this year, we have a little bit of stiff competition. UASC at the David L. Rice Library, Lawrence Library in the College of Liberal Arts, Evansville Museum of Art, History, & Science, and Willard Library prepare for a showdown of epic proportions to find out what you believe is 2019’s “coolest artifact”.

Over the next couple of weeks, we will present our “Meet Ya” guides to all of the artifacts in this year’s Arch Madness competition. Voting starts on March 11 and ends on April 7, 2019 at 11:59 PM CST. You can vote two ways: online through the David L. Rice Library Facebook/Twitter pages, and on amusingartifacts.org, or in-person at RL 3021. Stay tuned for more information and feel the madness!

Posted in American history, Arch Madness, European History, Indiana history, Local history | Leave a comment

“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” – Dr. Seuss

*Post written by Mona Meyer, Archives and Special Collections Metadata Librarian.

Book cover of "Oh, the Places You'll Go!" by Dr. Seuss, n.d.

Book cover of “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!” by Dr. Seuss, n.d.

Travel, as they say, is a broadening experience.  French novelist Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880) said, “Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” Even a man who lived long ago, when traveling was far more difficult than it is today, noted, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” (St. Augustine of Hippo, who lived 354-430.) The Danish fairy tale author Hans Christian Andersen (1805-1875) made it even simpler, cutting straight to the chase: “To Travel is to Live.”

A local woman by the name of Elizabeth Hartmetz Zutt was much of this mindset. Elizabeth Hartmetz Zutt was born in Evansville, IN in 1914 and graduated from Ward-Belmont University in Nashville, TN and the University of Wisconsin. She earned a master’s in library science from Columbia University and worked for the Evansville-Vanderburgh Public Library for 30 years. Zutt passed away on February 22, 2006. Her maternal grandfather owned Hartmetz Brewery, a predecessor of Sterling Brewery.

Hartmetz Brewery, n.d. Source: historicevansville.com

Hartmetz Brewery, n.d. Source: historicevansville.com

Her father, John C. Zutt, was the owner of Central Glass Company which became Evansville Mirror and had an interest in one of Evansville’s many furniture factories. All this is to say that Miss Zutt had the financial wherewithal to finance her love of travel. And indulge this love she did!  In her father’s 1936 obituary, she is listed as “Miss Elizabeth Zutt in Europe.” The University Archives and Special Collections was the recipient of some of her travel diaries, now available in MSS 260.

On June 8, 1938 she set sail from New York aboard the RMS Queen Mary for 3 months in Europe. This was NOT travel on the cheap! This ship was launched only 2 years earlier by the Cunard White Star Line and was named in honor of Mary of Teck, wife of King George V of England, the current queen’s grandmother. The ship had a passenger capacity of 1957 on 12 decks, with 776 1st class cabins, 784 tourist class, and 579 3rd class cabins. (For more about this fascinating ship, including its current status as a ship hotel and museum, permanently moored in Long Beach, CA, check out RMS Queen Mary 2 Cruises.)

Queen Mary, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2R9JX6j

Queen Mary, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2R9JX6j

By June 13 the ship had made it to Plymouth, England where part of the passengers disembarked; it then proceeded to Cherbourg, France where more disembarked. The travelers “watched them take Autos off, swung them over in heavy rope like Hammock, on to the Tender, had about 12 to Cher. ours did not get out, as we go to Southampton, we will be due there at 9 PM but we will stay on ship until morning.” The next morning after breakfast, the Zutt party disembarked, went through customs, picked up their car (imagine shipping your own car across the Atlantic!), got gassed up, and the adventure began. Almost 3 months were spent on the continent, seeing England, Scotland, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and France. At least part of the time in Germany was spent visiting relatives; Zutt specifically mentions seeing Kindenheim, the “old home of my parents. Only one sister left of Mothers, 88 years old….After visiting went to cemetery, saw where all the relatives are buried.”

Even for what seem to be experienced travelers, things did not always go smoothly. There are several comments about being unable to get a room as well as challenges in navigation. Berlin was particularly noted as “hard to find your way.” Auto clubs in the various countries (these appear to be akin to our AAA) were very helpful, as were the local people, even if language was sometimes a barrier.  In Norway they encountered kindness in the persons of a retired sea captain and his wife, who had spent a great deal of time in America.  The captain was headed to Oslo and offered that the Zutt party could follow him.  After about an hour’s drive, the couple stopped.  “They had the back of their car all full of food & drinks, [and] a gasoline stove. … He got out his stove, they had bacon & eggs, bread, butter, coffee & we had a 4th July picnic.” When they arrived in Oslo the next day, the Norwegian couple showed them how to get out of the city, too.  “We then told them goodbye, & thanked them for their many kindnesses; they insisted the pleasure was theirs. So we parted; there are many good people in this world, all you need do is look for them.”

The return across the pond began September 7, from Le Havre, France, aboard the S.S. Normandie.  The French ship had made her maiden voyage only 2 years earlier, when she set speed records both east and westbound. She was the largest ship in the world, more than 2 tons heavier than the ship taken for the outbound trip, the RMS Queen Mary. (To learn more about the S.S. Normandie, her short life and tragic end, check out Cruise Ship History: The French Line’s SS NORMANDIE.) Look at this dining room!

queen mary (interior)

Interior of the Queen Mary, n.d. Source: https://bit.ly/2Tp3U5x

The Zutt party landed in New York on September 12, spent the rest of the week enjoying the sights, and headed home on the 16th. After a number of stops along the way, the travelers finally arrived in Evansville on September 19.

Other travel diaries in the collection tell of a 1962 trip to Turkey, Syria, Egypt, Israel, Greece, Sicily, and the Netherlands. They were gone for 2 months for most trips. A 1964 trip found the intrepid travelers in Iran, Thailand, Malaysia, Brunei, Singapore, Hong Kong, Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, South Korea, Alaska, and Seattle. The year 1965 saw a trip to Africa—Senegal, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, Mozambique, Rhodesia, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Kenya, Ethiopia, Egypt, Libya, and Tunisia. Yet another travel diary, no year noted, contains details of an excursion to Portugal (Lisbon), Spain (Madrid), Italy (Rome, Florence, Milan, Venice, Naples), France (Nice, Paris), Belgium (Brussels), and the Netherlands (Amsterdam).

By my calculations, that’s 42 different foreign countries in 5 trips! And if that’s not enough, a September 29, 1977 article in the Evansville Press tells of an exhibition at the University of Evansville of more than 100 art pieces Ms. Zutt had collected on her journeys through South America, Africa, and New Zealand. Look at this map and see how much of the world these travelers saw. NOTE: this is a 2018 map, so it shows countries that did not exist during the time Ms. Zutt traveled, and she probably visited countries that no longer exist today. We only have a few of her travel diaries–who knows how many other countries could be added to her list?

World Map, n.d.

World Map, n.d.

One particularly striking thing about Elizabeth Hartmetz Zutt and her travels was her willingness to share this opportunity with others. The Elizabeth Zutt Art Student Enrichment Scholarship was established at the University of Southern Indiana in 1998. It has allowed many USI art students the opportunity to travel to places such as Mexico, Guatemala, Belize, Honduras, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Morocco, and Holland.  In addition, it includes funding for the purchase of art supplies and to gain admission to art exhibits, lectures, etc.  The manuscript collection within University Archives/Special Collections also contains some thank you notes and postcards from grateful student recipients of her largesse. According to Faces of Philanthropy, v. 1, 2008, “By all accounts, Elizabeth Hartmetz Zutt was not a sentimental person.  But she was touched to the point of tears when she read thank you notes from USI students to whom she gave the opportunity to see the world.” One postcard note that this was the scholarship recipient’s first trip outside the USA. Another noted that she had twin brothers who were also in college and thus money was tight. She and her mother were grateful that Ms. Zutt’s generosity enabled her dream to come true. Ms. Zutt also donated items from her art collection to the university.

Elizabeth Zutt, 2008. Source: Faces of Philanthropy, Vol. 1.

Elizabeth Zutt, 2008. Source: Faces of Philanthropy, Vol. 1, p. 79, https://www.usi.edu/giving/faces-of-philanthropy/faces-of-philanthropy-vol-1-2008/

Mark Twain once said, “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”  It appears as though Elizabeth Hartmetz Zutt was a woman after Twain’s own heart.  How about you?  Where’s your next adventure?

Posted in American history, European History, Local history, Transportation, travel | Leave a comment