Meet the Face Behind the Place: Pearl Drive

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

Men's basketball coach Bruce Pearl, c. 1995. Source: UASC, UP 01670.
Men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl, c. 1995. Source: UASC, UP 01670.

Basketball is Indiana’s favorite past-time. It doesn’t matter if it is high school, collegiate, or professional basketball, Hoosiers love the sport. At the University of Southern Indiana, basketball is one of the top sports on campus. Even on the west side of Evansville, a prominent drive is named after the USI basketball coaching legend, Bruce Pearl.

Until the arrival of Bruce Pearl, the USI men’s basketball team had six head coaches over a twenty-one-year span. Pearl was among eighty applicants for the head coach position in April 1992. Before coming to USI, he served as the assistant coach for the Iowa Hawkeye men’s basketball from 1986 to 1992 and at Stanford University from 1982 to 1986. By May 1992, USI announced Pearl would become the seventh coach in USI men’s basketball history

Pearl went to work, and the men’s basketball shined throughout the season under his leadership. The results were evident as the team posted their best season in school history at that point. The 1992-1993 team went 22-7, after going 10-18 the previous season. The team entered the 1993 NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball tournament but did not make it out of their region. By the next two seasons, no one realize how much the USI men’s basketball team was going to become a powerhouse.

(L-R): Men's basketball player, Chad Gilbert, coach Bruce Pearl, Dick Stockton from CBS Sports, Scott Boyden, and Cortez Barnes, after winning the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball title, 1995. Source: UASC, UP 00524.
(L-R): Men’s basketball player, Chad Gilbert, coach Bruce Pearl, Dick Stockton from CBS Sports, Scott Boyden, and Cortez Barnes, after winning the NCAA Division II Men’s Basketball title, 1995. Source: UASC, UP 00524.

The 1993-1994 season outshined their previous season by improving their record to 28-4 and winning the Great Lakes Valley Conference (GLVC) championship and made it to the NCAA Division II championship; however, USI fell to the California State University, Bakersfield Roadrunners, 92-86. As a consolation, Stan Gouard, won the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player award, despite losing. The 1994-1995 season proved to be redeeming as the Screamin’ Eagles dominated and returned to the NCAA Division II championship, facing UC Riverside. Unlike the previous year, the team defeated UC Riverside, 71-63, winning USI’s first ever collegiate championship. Following their win, the Indiana General Assembly honored and recognized the team. After their championship win in 1995, the men’s basketball team continued to be a force to be reckoned; however, the team did not return to the championship round until 2004, where they lost to Kennesaw State.

Pearl would stay at the helm of USI’s men’s basketball team until 2001, when he left for the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, as their head coach. Rick Herdes, an assistant coach for Pearl, later became the next coach for the team. During Pearl’s tenure at USI, he garnered a 231-46 record, a school record, and 146-28 record in the GLVC. He also won the GLVC Coach of the Year in 1993 and 1994. Pearl also became the fastest coach in NCAA history to win 200 games by doing so in 240 games. He was inducted in the GLVC Hall of Fame in 2008 and continues to coach men’s basketball. Pearl has worked for the University of Tennessee and Auburn University, reaching the Final Four in 2019, the first time in school history.

At the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library hosts an online digital gallery containing over 6,800 materials pertaining to USI history. The materials cover a wide array of topics and departments, including USI Athletics. The materials are free and available at


Borgus, H. (1995, April 24). General Assembly recognizes basketball team’s achievement. The Shield, page 8. Retrieved from

Great Lakes Valley Conference. (n.d.). Bruce Pearl.

Smith, N. (2001, April 12). Coach Pearl on his way out. The Shield, page 1. Retrieved from

University Notes. (1992, May 27). Retrieved from

USI Athletics. (2020). University of Southern Indiana men’s basketball all-time records. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from

USI Athletics. (2020). Year by year results for USI men’s basketball. Retrieved September 11, 2020, from

Wendt, B. (1992, April 22). Big 10 assistant basketball coach interviews at USI. The Shield, page 12. Retrieved from

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Meet the Face Behind the Place: Lloyd Expressway

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

Mead Johnson complex in Evansville, Indiana. The road intersection is St. Joseph Avenue and Pennsylvania Street (later becoming the Lloyd Expressway), 1966. Source: UASC, MSS 184-0671.
Mead Johnson complex in Evansville, Indiana. The road intersection is St. Joseph Avenue and Pennsylvania Street (later becoming the Lloyd Expressway), 1966. Source: UASC, MSS 184-0671.

Most Evansvillians have a love-hate relationship with Indiana State Road 62, better known locally as the Lloyd or Lloyd Expressway. It is a common road to travel and one of the few roads that go all the way through east to west, even if an expressway has stoplights. The expressway has a unique history in Evansville and most residents have varying opinions. The story of its namesake is heartbreaking, to say the least.

Aerial view of the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville, Indiana, n.d. Source: MSS 184-1564.
Aerial view of the Lloyd Expressway in Evansville, Indiana, n.d. Source: MSS 184-1564.

By the 1950’s, construction started on the expressway on the west side of Evansville by extending Pennsylvania Avenue. The expressway would extend from the Posey County line on the west side to Interstate 164, now known as Interstate 69, on the east side of Evansville. During the 1970’s, funds were secured by then-Evansville mayor, Russell G. Lloyd, Sr. The expressway was not completed for close to thirty years. Finally, on July 19, 1988, the expressway was officially open for business. The originally renamed of the expressway was Division Street-Pennsylvania Expressway until 1980, when it was renamed to honor Lloyd.

Russell G. Lloyd, Sr., served as Evansville mayor from 1972 to 1980. He was born on March 29, 1932 in Kingston, Pennsylvania. After graduating from the University of Notre Dame with a law degree. Lloyd would move to Evansville and make a local political career there. He served as an alternate delegate for Indiana in the 1972 Republican National Convention and become the mayor for Evansville, serving two terms. Lloyd would leave office in 1980 but he was assassinated by Julie Van Orden on March 19, 1980. Van Orden had issues with local officials and believed Lloyd was still in office. She decided to voice her opinions to Lloyd at his home and after a belief argument, Van Orden pulled a gun and shot Lloyd. Two days later, Lloyd passed away. In 1981, Van Orden was found guilty by insanity and sent to the Logansport State Mental Hospital until her death in 2014.

Interested in learning more about local history? Check out the UASC Digital Gallery,, from the University Archives and Special Collections at the David L. Rice Library. There are over 50,000 photographs and over 1,000 oral histories relating to local history and various subjects.


AA Roads. (2013). Lloyd expressway: State road 62 and state road 66.

Driving Division was frustrating, scary. (2007, Sept. 27). Evansvile Courier and Press.

Evansville Vanderburgh Public Library. (n.d.). Browning genealogy. Browning Genealogy: Evansville Area Obituary Search. Retrieved May 21, 2021, from

Lutgrieg, T. & Gross, E. (n.d.). Moments that shaped our city. Evansville Living.

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Living in Community….Bethel Colony in Missouri and Aurora Colony in Oregon

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

One of the collections within University Archives and Special Collections is Communal Studies. The Communal Studies Collection began in conjunction with the Center for Communal Studies, which promotes the study of contemporary and historic communal groups, intentional communities and utopias. The key word is intentional. These communities were/are deliberate attempts to live communally, with shared goals and economies. This blog is one of a continuing series….you can search for the phrase Living in Community to find others.

William Keil (1812-1877). Image found here.
Historic photograph of portrait of Louise Reiter Keil (artist unknown). UASC CS 662-40hp-0082c, the Don Janzen collection

The story of these two colonies begins with, is entwined with, and ends with, a man by the name of Wilhelm (William) Keil, born in Prussia in 1812. He worked as a milliner and a tailor, and married Louise Reiter in 1836. He had a curious mind that led him initially to mysticism and a search for “religious truth.” He searched for a universal cure for all ills, a panacea. He and his wife came to the United States circa 1836 and settled for a time in New York, “working at the tailor trade. But a nature like Keil’s is not satisfied with the handling of needle and scissors. He delved deeper into mysticism, theosophy, alchemy, magnetics, and botany and soon moved to Pittsburgh, where he opened a drug store and became known as “Doctor.” He had not been here long before he performed some strange cures. … As a result he was known in some circles as the Hexendoktor or witch doctor.”i

Copy of an oil painting of George Rapp. This is the only known portrait of him, and was done by memory by the artist, who had met Rapp as a child. UASC MSS 247-4230, the Don Blair Collection.

In 1838 Keil attended a German Methodist revival and was converted, renouncing his “witch doctor” ways. He wholeheartedly embraced Methodism, even becoming a licensed local pastor (although the actual licensing seems to be in doubt). He was appointed to a church in Deer Creek, near Pittsburgh, but soon began to chafe under the church’s authority. “Keil’s entire life showed that he was a man who could not conform, and that he was restless under any authority. But notwithstanding his independent spirit, he desired to belong to an established religious denomination. On leaving the Methodist Episcopal Church he joined the Methodist Protestant Church, again taking his entire congregation with him. … Because he refused to obey his superiors in the Methodist Protestant Church, he was expelled from that body. Thus, in less than a year, Keil was in and out of two of the major branches of American Methodism.”ii It is at this time that his story intersects with that of another communal group of local interest, the Rappites or Harmonists that settled in New Harmony, Indiana, and were now living in their third and final colony in Economy, PA. Keil met them and was influenced by their communal lifestyle. Some of those disenchanted with life in Economy, particularly the stance on celibacy, became part of Keil’s congregation and followed him when he moved on.

Seeking to find a place where he could establish his own community, he and his scouts purchased 2500 acres in Shelby County, Missouri, in 1844. Eventually the community of Bethel covered 4000 acres. Bethel is a Hebrew word meaning “house of God.”

UASC CS 662-040ad-0001, the Don Janzen collection.

The hardworking and talented German craftsmen and farmers, after a difficult first winter, were able to build a stable and prosperous town. Nearly all the houses were made of brick, with that brick made right there in Bethel. All farming equipment and all furniture was also made by local craftsmen. “Each family was given a house, while a long two-story brick building near the center of the village served as a hotel and dormitory for the single men. Besides the homes and the hotel, the village consisted of a church, school, tannery, distillery, mill, glove factory, drugstore, and a wagon shop. Agriculture was a means of livelihood in the colony, but apparently the glove factory and the distillery were more important features of the economy of the group. Gloves made by the colonists were so superior in quality that they won first prize at the New York World’s Fair in 1858. The main source of revenue was the distillery which sold whiskey by the wagon load in Quincy, Illinois, for 15 cents per gallon! Bethel boasted the first steam mill in rural Missouri. All clothing, shoes, brick, furniture, wagons, and farm implements used by the colonists were made in the village shops, and the surplus was sold in the surrounding area.”iii

Historic photograph of Bethel Colony looking southward from the balcony of the colony church. The colony school is the large building in the foreground. UASC CS 662-40hp-0070, the Don Janzen collection.
Historic photograph of Bethel Flour Mill c1900 with engine shed in foreground. UASC CS 662-40hp-002, the Don Janzen collection.
Historic photograph of Bethel Flour Mill, c.1890-1910, with north extension (right) and engine shed (left). UASC CS 662-40hp-003, the Don Janzen collection.

Keil’s house, Elim, was about a mile outside of Bethel. It was a large building made of locally-made brick. It had a full basement and wine cellar, paneled walnut doors, and a large ballroom on the second floor. This ballroom was where many celebrations were held, particularly for the holidays and the annual celebration of Keil’s and his wife’s shared birthdays on March 6.

Elim, the William Keil house, photographed May 7, 2009. UASC CS 662-040dc-0299, the Don Janzen collection.
Elim, the William Keil house, photographed May 7, 2009. UASC CS 662-040dc-0302, the Don Janzen collection.
Elim, the William Keil house (south side), photographed May 7, 2009. UASC CS 662-040dc-0308, the Don Janzen collection.
Elim, the William Keil house (looking northeast), photographed May 7, 2009. UASC CS 662-040dc-0312, the Don Janzen collection.

Bethel Colony thrived, but by 1855, Keil was growing restless. “He dreamed of a chain of colonies reaching from his first venture to the Pacific Coast.”iv A site was selected in Washington, and Keil and his followers (some stayed in Bethel and that community continued) got ready to head west. His 19 year old son Willie was very excited that his father had promised to take him along. On May 19, 1855, before the wagon trail could leave, Willie succumbed to malaria. A promise was a promise, though, so his father had him placed in a lead-lined coffin and had it filled the finest locally-made 100 proof Golden Rule whiskey. The body was carried in the first wagon in the train across the Oregon Trail and not laid to rest until November or December when the group arrived in Washington. Ironically, the climate in Washington did not suit the colonists and they settled the Willamette Valley in Oregon, leaving the beloved son behind. Keil also remained in charge of Bethel, even though he never returned.

Aurora Colony Hotel, with the band playing on the roof. Image found here.

The new colony was named Aurora, meaning dawn, also the name of one of Keil’s daughters. “As early as 1860, after the stagecoach line that connected San Francisco and Portland was established, Keil turned of portion of his “Great House” into a hotel and restaurant for travelers. Aurora, located halfway between Portland and Salem, found itself right on the line. Ten years later, Keil faced a new challenge when Ben Holliday’s Oregon and California Railroad also came through Aurora. But this time Keil was ready. He had anticipated the railroad and had the colonists build a large hotel which they completed in 1867. … Visitors coming into Aurora on the train sometimes were greeted by the colony band playing from the top of the hotel. Colony women cooked and served the food and Federal Judge Mathew Deady was so impressed with the food that he wrote in his diary that he wished there was “a Dutchtown” at every stop.”v (Clarification: Dutch is a “corruption” of the German word for German, Deutsch.)

The Old Aurora Colony Museum (formerly the Colony ox barn) with the Kraus house on the left, photographed November 6, 2010. The ox barn was first built circa 1860; what is seen here reflects later renovations into a store and a home. UASC CS 662-216dc-0002, the Don Janzen collection.
George Kraus house dining room/kitchen , photographed November 6, 2010. Kraus was the colony shoemaker. Constructed circa 1864, it was lived in by members of the family until the 1960s. UASC CS 662-216dc-0035, the Don Janzen collection.
The John Stauffer, Sr. farm, photographed November 6, 2010. The log house seen here has 2 stories plus an attic and cellar and was built circa 1867. UASC CS 662-216dc-0043, the Don Janzen collection.
Frederick Keil house in Aurora, built circa 1870, photographed November 6, 2010. UASC CS 662-216dc-0046, the Don Janzen collection.

What were the beliefs and practices of Bethel and Aurora colony members? When he broke completely with the Methodist church, Keil had “found church regulations irksome, and ….declared that he would accept no authority except the Bible, no rule except the Golden Rule, no creed except that of moral living. … In 1844 the plan was made to establish a Colony, based on the Christian ideal of equality and sharing.”vi He refused to have any written constitution, so his word or interpretation was always final. “Practical Christianity was stressed. Each family was given a house, and each person worked as he or she was able. Unlike the practices in most intentional communities, no records of accounts were kept. Attendance at church services, held every two weeks, was voluntary, but the church was usually filled to capacity. Most of the traditional Christian rituals were abolished. There was no baptism or confirmation, but Easter was celebrated. … The practice that caused the most unrest was that of confession and public repentance, but most of the colonists bore Keil’s recriminations from the pulpit for their transgressions with stoicism. Others withdrew from the Colony (but remained in the settlement) or did not join in the communal practices.”vii

Henry Conrad Finck and his children. Finck was a prominent musician, and son Henry Theophilus Finck graduated from Harvard in 1876, became a famous author, and was music critic for the New York Evening Post for 43 years. Image found here.

One thing that characterized both colonies was a rich musical tradition. There were at least two bands in Bethel, the Bethel Band and the Bethel Independent Brass Band (it is believed these later merged into one). The Aurora Pioneer band did a 16-day tour of the Puget Sound area in 1869, headlined the American centennial celebration in Portland in 1876, and were greeted with much enthusiasm and anticipation at an 1877 college graduation ceremony. Aurora also boasted a “Pie and Beer Band” made up of boys and young men, so named for how they were paid. Choral music was also quite popular. “Most of Aurora’s music was borrowed from its German heritage, but some was adopted from the new American culture. … The old, familiar German music reminded the colonists of their Heimat (homeland), but the new, American airs helped to make their musical groups acceptable and popular throughout Oregon.”viii A portion of the music was locally composed, unfortunately not always signed.

Schellenbaum, circa 1910, from the Bethel colony. Although there is testimony that it was used at Aurora, there are no photographs of such. UASC CS 662-040hp-0100, the Don Janzen collection.

“Perhaps the most celebrated instrument of the Aurora band was the Schellenbaum or bell tree. It was made in Bethel by John L. Bauer, a talented craftsman….The Schellenbaum is comprised of three circular patterns of bells (with attached clappers), interspersed with jingles (with unattached clappers). It was carried by respected members of the colony and marked the head of band processions. Resting in a belt much as a flag is carried, the Schellenbaum jingled brightly in time to the steps of its bearer. Common to 19th century German bands, the Schellenbaum….had its origins in Turkey.”ix

William Keil died December 30, 1877. His rule, both in Bethel and Aurora, had been an autocratic one, based strongly on his charisma and ability to persuade others to follow him. Any society so focused on one person will suffer when that person dies; indeed, both Bethel and Aurora were disbanded and dissolved by 1883. There were no half measures with Keil–you either adored and followed him, or despised his despotism. “His friends praised him and considered him a superman; his enemies maligned him and thought of him as a man without principle, integrity, or honor.”x

Resources Consulted

Dailey, Harold.  “The Old Communistic Colony at Bethel.”  The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, v.52:no.2 (1928), p. 162-167.  

Gooch, John O.  “William Keil: A Strange Communal Leader.” Methodist History Journal: July 1967, p. 36-41.  United Methodist Church: General Commission on Archives and History.

Kopp, Jim.  “Wilhelm Keil (1812-1877)”  The Oregon Encyclopedia online.  Oregon Historical Society.

Old Aurora Colony website.   Aurora Colony Historical Society.

Olsen, Deborah M. and Clark M. Will.  “Musical Heritage of the Aurora Colony.”  Oregon Historical Quarterly, v. 79: no.3 (Fall 1978), p. 233-267. (located in CS 044-3, the Aurora Colony collection)

Schroeder, Adolf E.  “Bethel German Colony, 1844-1879: Religious Beliefs and Practices.”   Historic Bethel German Colony, Inc., 1990. (pamphlet located in CS 057-4, the Bethel German Communal Colony collection)

Schroeder, Adolf E.  “The Musical Life of Bethel German Colony, 1844-1879.”   Historic Bethel German Colony, Inc., 1990. (pamphlet located in CS 057-4, the Bethel German Communal Colony collection)

Simon, John E.  “Wilhelm Keil and Communist Colonies.”  Oregon Historical Quarterly, v.26: no.2 (June 1935), p. 119-153.

End Notes

i Simon, p. 120

ii Gooch, p. 38

iii Gooch, p. 39-40

iv Dailey, p. 165

v Old Aurora Colony website: Colony History/Hotel

vi Schroeder/Bethel, p. 14-15

vii Schroeder/Bethel, p. 16

viii Olsen, p. 235

is Olsen, p. 255

x Simon, p. 152

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Meet the Face Behind the Place: Robert D. Orr Center

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

Throughout Evansville, there are numerous buildings and streets that bares someone’s name. The real question is, have you ever wondered the story behind it? You are in luck because several Evansville icons will be discussed in a seven-part miniseries. The first place is in the heart of the University of Southern Indiana (USI): the Robert D. Orr Center.

Former Indiana governor Robert D. Orr at the Orr Center dedication ceremony at USI, 1990. Source: UASC, UA 078-04994.
Former Indiana governor Robert D. Orr at the Orr Center dedication ceremony at USI, 1990. Source: UASC, UA 078-04994.

Robert D. Orr was born on November 17, 1917, in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Shortly after his birth, his family moved to Evansville. He graduated from Yale University, with a bachelor’s in American History, and attended Harvard Graduate School; however, he left Harvard to serve in the U.S. Army during World War II. Orr was stationed in the Pacific Theatre through the war. He did achieve moving in rank from private to major and awarded the Legion of Merit medal for exceptionally conduct in his service. After the war ended, Orr moved to Evansville and worked in the family business, Orr Iron Company.

(L-R): Dr. Patrick V. Corcoran, Lt. Governor Robert D. Orr, Dr. Charles E. Rochelle, Dr. Snively, and Indiana Governor Otis Bowen in Evansville, Indiana, 1975. Source: UASC, MSS 229-529.
(L-R): Dr. Patrick V. Corcoran, Lt. Governor Robert D. Orr, Dr. Charles E. Rochelle, Dr. Snively, and Indiana Governor Otis Bowen in Evansville, Indiana, 1975. Source: UASC, MSS 229-529.

In Evansville, Orr achieved political success and served as precinct committeeman, convention delegate, and the chair of the Vanderburgh County Republican Party. The first elected position Orr held was on the Center Township Advisory Board in Vanderburgh County as member and chair. He decided to move his political career to the state level. It finally happened in 1968 when he was elected to the Indiana Senate. Before he realized it, his political career had skyrocketed. Orr was elected as lieutenant governor in 1972 and 1976, serving alongside Dr. Otis Bowen. During his lieutenant governorship, Orr served as the director of Indiana Department of Commerce, Commissioner of Agriculture, and President of the Senate. As 1980 approached, Bowen couldn’t run for governor because of term limits; however, Bowen gave Orr his approval and he won the Republican nomination. He would win the governorship in the largest margin in Indiana gubernatorial history, 57.7% to 41.9%.

Robert Orr, Joel Deckard, and Gerald Ford in Evansville, Indiana, 1976. Source: UASC, MSS 181-0443.
Robert Orr, Joel Deckard, and Gerald Ford in Evansville, Indiana, 1976. Source: UASC, MSS 181-0443.

In Orr’s first term as governor, Indiana was in a recession. His focus was getting the state out of a deficit, which finally happened in 1982 when the state legislature increased the state income and sales taxes. He continued to focus on economic development into his second term after being reelected in 1984; but he was also centered on education. His “A-Plus” package was passed, which required achievement testing and the creation of a new school accreditation system, and “Prime Time” program, which reduced classroom sizes and increased the school year. After he left office in 1989, Orr served as the US ambassador to Singapore until 1992.

Some maybe asking, what did Orr do for USI? If it wasn’t for Orr, there wouldn’t be USI because it was known from 1965 to 1985 as a satellite campus for Indiana State University (ISUE). On April 16, 1985, then-governor Orr signed Senate Bill #207, allowing ISUE to become an independent university, becoming USI in the process. USI dedicated to honor Orr and his work for USI by naming the next university building after him. The Orr Center was only the sixth building built on the property of USI and first since 1980, when the HYER or Physical Activities Center (PAC) was completed. It was opened and dedicated on June 10, 1990 (“Orr Center dedication”, pg. 1). Orr would receive an honorary degree at the first commencement for USI in 1986, along with his wife, Joanne. Orr passed away on March 10, 2004.

For more information on the Orr Center and the University Archives collections, visit the Online Digital Gallery available at the David L. Rice Library through the University Archives and Special Collections (UASC). The gallery has seven galleries over the history of ISUE and USI, such as university newsletters, the Shield newspapers, yearbooks, and commencement programs.


Associated Press. (2004, March 12). Robert D. Orr, 86 governor who revamped Indiana schools. The New York Times. Retrieved from

Indiana Department of Administration. (2020). Robert D. Orr. Retrieved from

Indiana Governor History. (2020). Robert D. Orr. Retrieved from

Indianapolis Star. (2004, March 15). Governor Robert D. Orr. Retrieved from

National Governors Association. (2020). Governor Robert D. Orr. Retrieved from

Orr Center dedication. (1990, June 6). University Notes. Retrieved from

University of Southern Indiana. (2020). Honorary degrees, 1985-1989.

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ARCHIVES Madness 2022

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

The votes are in and the winner and is…

Evansville Wartime Museum

Congratulations to this year’s winner. You can see the “Coolest Artifact” at the Evansville Wartime Museum. For more information on the museum visit,

And big thank you to all of the participants: Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science, John James Audubon Museum, USI Art Collection, USI Lawrence Library, Willard Library, and Working Men’s Institute.

And thanks to everyone that voted and helped to make this year’s event another great tournament!

University Archives and Special Collections, Rice Library, 3rd floor

University Archives and Special Collections David L. Rice, USI

In the summer of 1972 the Lilly Endowment, Inc. of Indianapolis, Indiana awarded the then Indiana State University Evansville a three-year grant to establish an archival project for the acquisition, preservation and processing of regional material. At the end of the third year the University was to assume responsibility for continuing the growth of the Special Collections.  It started with just a few regional history books on Indiana from the library’s own collection. Today, the University Archives and Special Collection has over 850 unique collections, 800 oral history interviews, 6,500 rare and unique books, and 30,000 digital resources.

Meet the Competitors

The first entry is this hat from the Beardsley, Montgomery, and Gordon Families Collection. MSS 297.  It’s a cloche hat, a “a close-fitting hat worn by women from c. 1908 to 1930.  Its bell-like shape, which gave the hat its name, is most associated with the 1920s.”[i]  This was the era of the flapper—a young woman who pushed the boundaries of society and pushed hard.  The cloche-wearing flapper was a modern woman. (quote from Baclawski, Karen.  The Guide to Historic Costume.  London: B.T. Batsford, 1995.   General Collection GT507.B33 1995) This brown straw hat dates to 1920 and has grosgrain ribbon around the brim and surrounding the colorful decoration, which is made from bakelite.  Bakelite was the first plastic made from synthetic materials.


The second entry this “blooper” poster advertising the release of the third film in the vastly popular Star Wars series.  The original version was released March 25, 1983.  It’s from MSS 118, the Jeanne Suhrheinrich Collection.  Suhrheinrich was a long time entertainment editor for the Evansville Courier.

Evansville Museum of Arts, History, and Science at 411 SE Riverside Dr. 

Evansville has had a museum since 1906, with today’s location dating to the 1950s.  This appearance dates to a major update/remodel circa 2014

“The Evansville Museum of Arts, History & Science houses a permanent collection of more than 30,000 objects, including fine and decorative art, as well as historic, anthropological, and natural history artifacts. Over twenty temporary, regional and international exhibitions are displayed each year in four galleries.  The Koch Immersive Theater houses a 40-foot diameter domed screen with 360-degree digital projection featuring astronomy and science programming.  Evansville Museum Transportation Center (EMTRAC) featuring transportation artifacts from the late 19th through the mid-20th centuries. On exhibit is a three-car train. The museum is home to a model train diorama of Evansville.”

The first item is this doorknob, from the infamous Adolf Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest retreat near Berchstegaden, Germany.  It was taken in July 1945 by U.S. Army Air Corps Captain Henry J. Luerssen, who also provided a notarized document attesting to its authenticity.

The second is this letter written by Abraham Lincoln to David Turnham, a childhood friend from Spencer County, Indiana.  Written just prior to the 1860 election, Lincoln speaks of wishing to see his old friends and old home again.  Turnham was later able to provide historians with information about the assassinated president’s time in Indiana.

John M. Lawrence ’73 Library in Rm. 0119 of the Liberal Arts Center

Lawrence Library is located on the lower level in room 0119 of the Liberal Arts Center of USI’s campus. The concept for this library sprang from the friendship of Patricia (Patty) Aakhus and John M. Lawrence. The library is named for Mr. Lawrence, a graduate of USI’s class of 1973 and an international expert and collector of medieval manuscripts, for his generous support of the College of Liberal Arts. John Lawrence donated many items to the College, including a collection of medieval manuscripts as well as other artifacts, for use as a study collection for students. Patty Aakhus was an associate professor of English and served as the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Studies and program director in International Studies. Aakhus also published three novels based on medieval texts that she studied and translated. Patricia Aakhus served as the first caretaker of the space prior to her death in 2012. The Lawrence Library prides itself on the student leadership of the space where student archivists curate exhibitions, research manuscripts and artifacts, and participate in collections management and care.

The first entry is an etching on paper by Francisco Goya entitled “Los Caprichos: Los Chinchillas”, created in 1799.   This piece of art served as the inspiration for the vidual design of the monster character made famous by Boris Karloff in the 1931 film, Frankenstein.

The second entr is this Roman Redware Terra Sigillata Jug, circa 150 CE.  Terra sigillata clay was found in Gaul (present day France).  This jug was excavated in North Africa, once a part of the Roman empire.

John James Audubon Museum in John James Audubon State Park, 3100 US Hwy 41 North, Henderson, KY

The museum interprets the lives and work of John James Audubon and his family within a timeline of world events. Three galleries chronicle the Audubon story, including the family’s 1810-1819 residency in Henderson, Kentucky. Over 200 objects are on display, including artifacts from Audubon’s Kentucky years, a complete set of his masterwork, The Birds of America, and many original artworks.

The first entry this life-sized bronze sculpture of John James Audubon’s White Headed Eagle by Raymond Graf, completed in 2008.  The original Audubon painting was plate 31 in the Double Elephant Folio of the Birds of America.  This sculpture sits outside the museum in Henderson, KY.   Raymond Graf is a Louisville artist and graduate of Murray State University.

The second item is this hand-colored lithograph from 1851 of John Woodhouse Audubon’s painting, “Cat Stalking Bird on Bough.”  John Woodhouse was the son of John James Audubon.

University of Evansville, University Archives in Bower-Suhrheinrich Library/Clifford Memorial Library

University Archives is the repository for archival records pertaining to the history and operations of the University of Evansville.

The first entry is this English moss rose china teapot measuring 37 inches high and weighing 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).  This image, with two University of Evansville (Evansville College at the time of this photograph) students gives you a good idea of the large size of this teapot.

The second item is this Japanese mask.  It was sometimes worn on religious occasions, but more commonly by children or adults for amusement.  This white mask has a pointed nose with whiskers along it, and a red painted mouth that opens.  A string tied through the eyes holds it on the face.

Evansville Wartime Museum The EWM focuses on the manufacturing contributions made during World War II by local industries and celebrates the service of hometown and regional members of the armed forces.  It is located in a hanger near the airport, at 7503 Petersburg Rd

The first entry is “Hoosier Spirit II”, a Republic Aviation P-47 Thunderbolt.  This WWII fighter plane was manufactured in Evansville.  Republic Aviation didn’t even come to Evansville until November 1942, but it immediately geared up and by the time production ceased in mid-August 194, some 5,000 employees (about half women) had contributed 6,242 P-47 Thunderbolts to the war effort. Combat pilots loved the P-47.  It did the job, and it brought them home safely.

This specific P-47 Thunderbolt was originally developed as a trainer plane for the U.S. Air Force in May of 1945. In August of 1947, it became part of the Venezuelan Air Force and remained there for 28 years. In 1975, the plane became part of a private collection in France where it stayed for 12 years. In 1987, the plane returned to the U.S. by a private collector who had the plane for 11 years. During that time, the plane was restored and given the name of “Big Ass Bird II” after a plane from WWII. The name caused some booking problems in parts of the U.S., so it was renamed “Tarheel Hal” after another P-47 flown during WWII. In 1998, the plane became part of the collection of the Lone Star Museum in Galveston, Texas, where it remained for 22 years.  On Saturday October 17, 2020, The Evansville P-47 Foundation purchased Tarheel Hal as a symbol for all the planes produced in Evansville during WWII.  Shortly after being flown back to Indiana, the plane was renamed “Hoosier Spirit II”. Following the passing of House Bill 1197 on April 26, 2021, the Hoosier Spirit II became Indiana’s State Aircraft. It is now on display inside the Evansville Wartime Museum located at 7503 Petersburg Road, just a mile from where it was manufactured by Republic Aviation in 1944.

The second entry is the first Evansville gravestone of James Bethel Gresham. The one now standing in Locust Hill is a replacement. When it was replaced it was given to a group of disabled veterans who met at the Coliseum, and they, in turn, donated it to the museum. James Bethel Gresham (August 23, 1893 – November 3, 1917) was one of the first three American soldiers to die in World War I. He was born in Kentucky, but moved with his family to Evansville in 1901, attended Centennial School, and worked in one of the furniture factories. He died in France and was originally buried there, but in 1921 was reinterred at Locust Hill Cemetery in Evansville.

Working Men’s Institute at 407 Tavern St. in New Harmony, IN

“Established by philanthropist William Maclure in 1838, the Working Men’s Institute (WMI) set as its mission the dissemination of useful knowledge to those who work with their hands. After 170 years of continuous service, this goal is still at the heart of our mission.  Maclure, who was a business partner with Robert Owen in the communal experiment in New Harmony from 1825-1827, was devoted to the ideal of education for the common man as a means of positive change in society. At New Harmony, The Working Men’s Institute was one manifestation of this ideal.  The Working Men’s Institute in New Harmony was the first of 144 WMIs in Indiana and 16 in Illinois. It is the only one remaining. Many WMIs were absorbed by township libraries or Carnegie libraries. Yet the one in New Harmony remained.  …  Today, the WMI is a public library, a museum and an archive. In each of these areas, the WMI tries to stay true to the original mission of William Maclure.”

The first entry from WMI is a Harmonist sewing clamp.  This is a pincushion with a wooden clamp for attaching it to the edge of a table.  The outer portion of the pincushion appears to be cloth which was re-used garment fabric, an example of Harmonist frugality.  The Harmonists were a utopian group that lived in New Harmony between 1814-1825.

The second entry is the “Pat Lyon” fire engine, circa 1804.  It was made for George Rapp, leader of the Harmonists, in Philadelphia by Pat Lyon and brought to New Harmony in 1815.  This engine has been in New Harmony ever since. It is a hand power machine, the pumping may be done by eighteen men. A fire company was organized in 1848, and until 1879 the old Rapp engine was the only one used.

Willard Library at 21 N. First Ave.

Willard Library is the oldest public library building in the state of Indiana.  It was established by local businessman and philanthropist Willard Carpenter, opening its doors in 1885, two years after his death.  For the past 137 years Willard Library has maintained an excellent reputation for its local history archives and genealogy collections.

The first entry is this 1894 bride’s book/scrapbook lovingly made by Emily Orr Clifford (1866-1952) celebrating her marriage to George Clifford (1858-1927).  Clifford was a prominent businessman and citizen who was instrumental in the establishment of the University of Evansville (then Evansville College).  Emily Orr was also from a prominent family—her grandfather, Samuel Orr, was one of the first settlers of Evansville and established the Orr Iron Company.  A first cousin was Robert Dunkerson Orr, the 11th governor of Indiana, 1981-1989.

The next entry are these eyeglasses belonging to Willard Carpenter (183-1883).  The Victorian era frames feature hook temples, and are stored in a thin black sleeve-style case, here seen below the glasses. Born in Vermont, Carpenter was a local businessman and philanthropist; although he did not live to see its completion, Willard Library is his legacy to the city of Evansville.

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