Thursday, February 01, 2018

Ball State University Archives and Special Collections commemorates the end of the Great War

On “the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month” in 1918, a cease-fire effectively ended World War I.  It was a war that took the lives of more than one million soldiers and forever altered Europe.  In the 100th year since the armistice, Ball State University Archives and Special Collections debuts a new exhibit entitled “”Answering the Call”: Muncie’s Contribution to World War I.”

The exhibit will display original World War I posters from the Elisabeth Ball collection.  The collection contains a sampling of more than 2,000 World War I lithographs from Italy, France, Belgium, England, Australia, Germany, and the United States which were collected by Elisabeth Ball (1897-1982), daughter of Frances and George Ball.

In addition to the posters, the exhibit features original photographs, registration lists, veteran records and scrapbooks from Muncie and Delaware County residents who participated in the war efforts.

The exhibit runs from February 1, 2018 to May 31, 2018 on the second floor of Bracken Library.  For more information about this exhibit, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

American Red Cross nurse recruitment poster, circa 1917

Friday, August 25, 2017

New Ball State University Libraries Exhibit Honors Muncie Rotary Centennial

Founded on July 13, 1917, the Rotary Club of Muncie, Indiana has long embodied the organization's commitment to the spirit of service, engaging in projects and initiatives to improve quality of life locally, regionally, and nationally. Ball State University Libraries is pleased to honor the Muncie Rotary Club at its centennial, debuting an Archives and Special Collections exhibit entitled "Service Above Self: 100 Years of Muncie Rotary Club.”

Barbara Frost, Muncie's
first female Rotarian
The exhibit, on display on the second floor of Ball State University's Bracken Library, features photographs, newsletters, programs, and awards highlighting 100 years of the organization's activities, membership, and community legacy.  These featured items represent only a selection of the complete archives of the Muncie Rotary Club, preserved and made available to researchers and the general public at Ball State University Archives and Special Collections.

Items in the exhibit highlight the early history and founding of Muncie Rotary and include an original copy of the club's charter, early panoramic photos of the Muncie Rotarians, and a portrait and biography of Muncie Rotary's first president, J. Lloyd Kimbrough.  Also included are programs and notices from weekly Rotary meetings during the 1930s and 1940s, including a lecture by Muncie aviator Frank Elliott Ball.  The exhibit also highlights the club's integration of women in the 1980s and includes a biography and photograph of Barbara A. Frost, the first female Muncie Rotarian.

Featured as well are news clippings, press releases, and images documenting Muncie Rotary philanthropy and service projects including the student loan program, international exchange student initiative, and participation in local and national Habitat for Humanity projects.

The exhibit debuted on August 25, 2017 and will remain on display until December 15, 2017.

The membership of Muncie Rotary, 1919

Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Ball State University Archives and Special Collections celebrates the centennial of Altrusa International, Inc.

In a new exhibit, Ball State University Archives and Special Collections will present one hundred years of Altrusa International’s history, highlighting the organization’s origins, leadership, and commitment to service.  Patriotism, Efficiency, Service: Celebrating 100 Years of Altrusa History runs from July 5, 2017 to December 15, 2017 on the second floor of Bracken Library on the campus of Ball State University.

The Altrusa Institute was founded in 1917 in Nashville, Tennessee. As women entered the workforce during World War I, the Altrusa Institute fulfilled a need for women’s civic organizations.  Modeled after Rotary International, Altrusa’s purpose is to help women become leaders in their communities through service and the exchanging of ideas.  Altrusa expanded to Mexico in 1935 and became Altrusa International. Through the establishment of the Altrusa International Foundation in 1962, Altrusa International defined their service goals as being “dedicated to improving economic well-being and quality of life through a commitment to community service and literacy.”  Since the 1990s, Altrusa International has also added service projects related to the environment.  As of 2008, Altrusa International consisted of 383 local clubs in 13 countries with nearly 10,000 members worldwide.

The exhibit will display original artifacts, correspondence, pamphlets, and photographs dating from the founding of Altrusa through its centennial celebration.  Of significant interest are the original principles that were first printed in 1921, the rosters and bylaws of the five original clubs, a ceremonial wreath from an Altrusa club in India, and a 75th anniversary greeting from former First Lady Barbara Bush. On loan from Altrusa International of Muncie member, Anne Condran, is her collection of membership pins.

In addition to the exhibit, Ball State University Archives and Special Collections has recently released a digital collection for the Altrusa International records.

For more information about this exhibit, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078. 

Altrusa members during planning session, circa 1950s

Mamie Bass was the first president of Altrusa, circa 1910s

Two Altrusa International members distribute books to children, circa 1980s

Monday, June 26, 2017

Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation Landscape Architectural Drawings Digital Collection Now Online

Ball State University Libraries' newly published digital collection, the Indianapolis Department of Parks and Recreation Landscape Architectural Drawings, chronicles the development of the extensive park and boulevard system in Indiana’s largest metropolitan area from the 19th century to the mid-20th century.

Rhodius Park swimming pool layout, 1923
The collection, held in physical format by the Drawings and Documents Archive, a collecting area of Ball State University Archives and Special Collections, provides open online access to nearly 350 architectural, landscape, and engineering drawings of Indianapolis parks and arks, parkways, golf courses, bridges, boulevards, playgrounds, amphitheaters, stadiums, greenhouses, and other public facilities. The collection is published in the Ball State University's Digital Media Repository, an open access digital archive and research repository containing nearly 250,000 digital resources supporting research and scholarship.

This project is part of the Indiana Memory Digital Library and is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Indiana State Library. It was funded by a Library Services and Technology Act grant to the Ball State University Libraries for 2016-2017. Grant funding for this project supporting the necessary equipment, staff time, and expertise to complete the digitization, description, and publication of these valuable historical drawings.  
The collection includes drawings and plans for prominent Indianapolis locales including Broad Ripple Park, Washington Park Zoo, Fall Creek Boulevard, Bush Stadium, Brookside Parkway, Eagle Creek golf course, Garflield Park, and Kessler Boulevard.

Ball State University Libraries' Drawings and Documents Archive is dedicated to preserving the history of Indiana's built environment and contains contain over 120,000 original architectural drawings, landscape plans, blueprints, photographs, models, and building remnants that tell the stories of Indiana’s sites and structures.

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

Ball State University Libraries Exhibit Celebrates Black History Month

A new Archives and Special Collections exhibit entitled Overcoming Racial Barriers: The History of African American Education in Muncie runs from February 6, 2017 to March 31, 2017 on the second floor of Bracken Library.

The exhibit includes archival photographs, newspaper articles, and publications by prominent members of the African American community highlighting the intersection of Civil Rights issues and education in Muncie’s history.  Also included are materials specifically documenting the African American experience at Ball State, including historic archival records from African American fraternities and sororities, faculty members, and cultural programming organizations.

The history of African American education in Muncie is one of gradual success. The Civil Rights Movement began to address the racial discrimination in the Muncie Community Schools and prompted activism in the Ball State community.  This exhibit examines Muncie school districts, influential local educators, the gradual acceptance of African American students in Muncie school clubs and sports teams, and the emergence of community support organizations for African American students in the area, showing the changes that occurred in the history of Muncie’s educational system. 

In 1925, Ball State University had its first African American graduate.  Since then, the African American population on campus has continually changed and advanced the university. The creation of the Black Student Union, the Miss Black Ball State pageant, African American Greek Life and alternative student newspapers were all ways in which students were able express their racial identity and open up a conversation about race and education.

For more information, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

Hurley Goodall was the first African American Muncie Community School Board member.  He is pictured standing and to the left, 1970  

Dr. Robert O. Foster (sitting in the middle) is seated with two students at the Minority Development Office at Ball State University, 1984

Friday, November 04, 2016

Ball State University Archives and Special Collections exhibits presidential politics in Muncie

In a new exhibit, Ball State University Archives and Special Collections will present national presidential politics and campaigns through the lens of Muncie as Middletown, highlighting the city as a significant and symbolic destination for national political figures throughout many eras.  Muncie Votes! Middletown’s Contribution to National Politics runs from November 8, 2016 to January 27, 2017 on the second floor of Bracken Library.

In 1929, a sociological study of Muncie was conducted by Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd.  Muncie, known as Middletown in their published study, was chosen because of its demographics thereby making it a representative American city.  The gas boom, its once thriving industry, the university, and the city’s eventual deindustrialization have made Muncie a prime political location for many Presidential candidates, former Presidents, Vice-Presidents and First Ladies who have spoken in Muncie. Since 1958, six United States Presidents have visited Muncie.  In addition, Ball State University Archives and Special Collections is home to the papers of former Congressman Philip R. Sharp, former Indiana Governor Dr. Otis R. Bowen, former Undersecretary of the Interior Frank A. Bracken, and other local political figures and humanitarians.  These collections provide a rich diversity of presidential memorabilia such as inaugural invitations, and presidential correspondence.

The exhibit will display original signatures of 11 different United States Presidents and 8 First Ladies, inauguration invitations, and campaign materials such as buttons and bumper stickers. 

For more information about this exhibit, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

John F. Kennedy speaking in front of the Delaware County Courthouse, 1960

Vice President Richard Nixon speaking at the Johnson Field dedication, 1958

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Ball State University African American Student Organization Records Now Available in the Digital Media Repository

The Ball State University African American Student Organizations Records is a new collection in the Ball State University Digital Media Repository that highlights student life and community engagement on campus. The selection of materials come from the Black Student Association records and the Robert Foster papers, who was the former director of the Ball State University Office of Multicultural Affairs.

Highlights of the Ball State University African American Student Organizations Records include the Black Voice and House Lines newsletters. These newsletters come from the Robert Foster papers that are housed at the Ball State University Archives & Special Collections. Black Voice was a newsletter produced by the Black Student Association that highlighted the community involvement of the Black students at Ball State University as well as University events. The newsletter House Lines was produced by the Minority Student Development Office. With the tag line of “Reflecting the Past, Welcoming the New”, this newsletter sought to encourage Minority student success, engage with the Black Student Association, and update the Ball State University community on Minority student events and resources. 
April 1978 edition of Black Voice covering the visit of Ossie Davis
and Ruby Dee to Ball State University. 
A cornerstone of this collection are the programs that showcase the evolution of the Miss Black Ball State Pageant to the present day Miss Unity pageant. Miss Black Ball State was an extension of the community involvement the Black Student Association completed and encouraged minority students to participate in the pageant scholarship program. Many of the programs from Miss Black Ball State are highlighted in the Ball State University African American Student Organizations Records and also include a scrapbook from the beginning of the pageant. In recent years, the pageant became known as the Miss Unity pageant and many of the programs from this pageant are also included in the Ball State University African American Student Organizations Records. The programs from these pageants are housed in the Black Student Association Records, which are available for research at the Ball State University Archives and Special Collections.

1978 Miss Black Ball State Program
Along with this collection, the Allen Williams Ball State University Black Alumni Collection contain photographs, scrapbooks, and newsletters from Black Alumni of Ball State University. The photographs and scrapbooks contain photographs from many years of Black Alumni Reunions. Another resource that highlights the stories of Black Alumni is the Ball State University African American Alumni Oral Histories. This collection contains twenty interviews of Black Alumni who had attended Ball State University or worked for the university from the years of 1950 to 2000. These audiovisual histories highlight the evolution of student life on campus and showcase the growing diversity of Ball State University.

The Ball State University African American Student Organizations Records showcases the continued community involvement of the Black Student Association and the legacy of the Minority Student Development Office and its director Robert Foster. For more information about the Black Student Association records, the Robert Foster papers, or other collections contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Ball State University Libraries Exhibit Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the John Steinbeck Collection

Ball State University Libraries Exhibit Celebrates the 40th Anniversary of the John Steinbeck Collection

A new Archives and Special Collections exhibit celebrates the 40th anniversary of the dedication of the Steinbeck Collection at Ball State University. “A man without words is a man without thoughts.” Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the John Steinbeck Collection at Ball State University Libraries runs from September 12 to October 28, 2016 on the second floor of Bracken Library.

On March 26, 1976, in conjunction with the dedication of the new Alexander M. Bracken Library, a formal opening and reception was held for the John Steinbeck Collection.  Archives and Special Collections was honored with the attendance of Steinbeck’s widow Elaine, Steinbeck’s former literary agent Elizabeth R. Otis, and prominent Steinbeck scholar Dr. Warren French. The collection was established through the efforts of Professor of English Tetsumaro Hayashi, Vice President for Instructional Affairs and Dean of the Faculties Richard Burkhardt and the President of the University John J Pruis.

Dr. Hayashi came to Ball State University in 1968, bringing with him the Steinbeck Society of America and his publication, which he co-founded in 1966-67 with Preston Beyer, the Steinbeck Quarterly. Dr. Hayashi’s efforts and connections resulted in the Steinbeck Collection’s growth to include donations from Mrs. Steinbeck and Elizabeth Otis, as well as obtaining the papers of Steinbeck scholars such as Warren French. 

The exhibit displays photographs donated by Elaine Steinbeck, first editions of Steinbeck’s novels, correspondence and manuscripts.

For more information about this exhibit, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

Dr. Richard Burkhardt, Elizabeth Otis and Elaine Steinbeck viewing exhibit at the dedication of the John Steinbeck Collection on March 26, 1976

Dr. Tetsumaro Hayshi with Elizabeth Otis and Elaine Steinbeck at the dedication of the John Steinbeck Collection on March 26, 1976

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

David Owsley Museum of Art Historic Exhibition Catalogs Now Available in Digital Media Repository

Elisabeth Ball Collection of Paintings,
Drawings, and Watercolors
 catalog, 1984
The Ball State University Libraries, through collaboration with the David Owsley Museum of Art, have published in Ball State's Digital Media Repository an archival, digitized collection of over 150 historic art exhibition catalogs from past exhibitions held at the museum. The collection, developed through a partnership between the museum and Ball State University Archives & Special Collections, provides freely-accessible and downloadable digitized catalogs dating from 1918 to the 2000s.  

Included in the collection are catalogs from the Drawings and Small Sculpture Show, a juried art show founded by former faculty member and museum director Alice Nichols in 1955 that achieved renown as an exhibition of contemporary art. Also available are exhibition catalogs documenting work of prominent artists exhibited at the museum, including Childe HassamDennis OppenheimAndrea Callard, Lynn Chadwick, Henry Rodman Kenyon, and George Rickey
Catalogs in the collection also document David Owsley Museum's interest in exhibiting local artists and locally-owned collections. Included are catalogs highlighting pieces from the collection of benefactor Elisabeth Ball, works from the Hoosier Salon juried exhibition, paintings from Indiana artists J. Ottis Adams and Winifred Brady Adams, and pottery from the Bethel Pike Potters studio in Albany, Indiana.
Work of Jo Ann Giordano from the
1982 exhibition Women Artists:
Indiana-New York Connection

Friday, May 06, 2016

Ball State University Celebrates the 100th Anniversary of the Indianapolis 500 with the Roger Pelham Indianapolis 500 Collection

Art Pollard seated in race car
Attention, race fans!  The Ball State University Libraries' Archives and Special Collections is celebrating the 100th running of the Indianapolis 500!  A new exhibit dedicated to the race will be featured from May 16 to June 30, 2016.  The Ball State University Libraries is also introducing a new digital collection in the Digital Media Repository: the Roger Pelham Indianapolis 500 Collection. The new collection provides access to photographs, programs, ticket stubs, oral histories, and videos from Muncie resident and photographer Roger Pelham.

Roger Pelham
Pelham was born in Shelbyville, Indiana on December 20, 1908, and moved to Muncie when he was a child.  His father owned and operated a pharmacy near the south side of Muncie.  Pelham’s father hoped that his son would become a pharmacist and operate his own drug store; Pelham, however, had little desire to study pharmaceuticals.  After graduating from Muncie Central High School, Pelham began taking classes at Ball State Teachers College.  He dropped out after one semester and soon began working at Warner Gear.

On June 6, 1936, Pelham opened a Photostat shop where he made professional copies of documents for local businesses.  After receiving a phone call from a friend who was interested in buying a camera, Pelham added camera sales to his business.  His camera sales grew exponentially, and Pelham soon developed his own interest in photography.

Jimmy Clark in Victory Lane
In 1950, Pelham convinced the Indianapolis Star that he could take better pictures with his Leica camera than other photographers at the Indianapolis 500.  During the races, Pelham would position himself at one of the turns in order to take action sequence shots of the cars, especially during turns and wrecks.  From 1950 to 1971, Pelham and his crew photographed the race cars, drivers, and spectators.  He also collected ticket stubs, parking passes, and programs from the events, which are also featured in the digital collection.

In addition to his Indianapolis 500 photography, Pelham was interested in airplanes and frequently photographed local aviation events.  Some of these include the Johnson Field dedication ceremony (which featured a speech delivered by Vice President Richard Nixon), and the Endurance Flight (in which two local pilots set a record for 22 consecutive days in flight).  He also photographed Eleanor Roosevelt’s meeting with the Endurance Flight Pilots.

In his later years, Pelham retired from camera sales; however, he never lost his love of photography and enjoyed sharing stories of his days as a photographer.  He participated in an oral history with the Ball State Archives and Special Collection in 1994 and 1999, and also created an autobiographical video in which he describes events from his life and career. 

In addition to Pelham’s Indianapolis 500 collection, the Digital Media Repository also hosts the Ralph J. Satterlee Indianapolis 500 Photographs.

Thursday, November 05, 2015

Historic Newspaper Collections from Digital Media Repository Included in Hoosier State Chronicles

Browsing the Muncie Times via the
Hoosier State Chronicles
The Muncie Post-Democrat and the Muncie Times are two of the latest collections of digitized historic newspapers to be added to the Hoosier State Chronicles, a digital repository operated by the Indiana State Library that provides full-text searchable online access to archives of newspapers published in the state of Indiana. Originally digitized and made available by Ball State University Libraries via the Digital Media Repository, these two archival collections, held in Ball State University Archives & Special Collections, will join over 220 other digitized historic newspaper titles in the state-wide research repository.

The Muncie Post-Democrat, a historic anti-Ku Klux Klan newspaper operated by Muncie newspaper editor and politician George Dale, was published from 1921 until Dale’s death in 1936 and continued as a local newspaper until the 1950s. The Muncie Times, a bi-weekly newspaper published by Bea Moten-Foster from 1991 to 2011, served the African American communities of Muncie, Indiana and neighboring cities including Richmond, Marion, New Castle, and Anderson. 

June 2, 1927 edition of the Muncie Post-Democrat
All archival newspapers available through the Hoosier State Chronicles repository are browsable by title and date and are also accessible via full-text keyword searching. User-friendly features also enable visitors to this site to freely download entire editions of papers and to directly share archival assets via social media.

The addition of the Muncie Post-Democrat and the Muncie Times archival collections to this site has increased the repository’s size by over 1,400 items, providing researchers with valuable primary source material documenting Muncie and East Central Indiana history from diverse perspectives. 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Changing Gears Documentary Film Collection Captures the Experience of Deindustrialization in Muncie

A new digital collection in the Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository provides online access to video interviews and documentary footage capturing the local experience of deindustrialization in Muncie, Indiana.

The Changing Gears Documentary Film Collection contains digital videos captured during the production of the film Changing Gears: End of an Era. This feature-length documentary produced by Ball State University's Center for Middletown Studies in conjunction with the university's Institute for Digital Entertainment and Education focuses on the events surrounding the closing of Muncie's century-old BorgWarner (formerly Warner Gear) automotive parts plant. The film explores the meaning and significance of deindustrialization by examining the experiences of the plant’s workers and other members of the community as they come to terms with the loss of what was once a leading manufacturer of automatic transmissions in the United States and Muncie’s largest employer.

In addition to a complete version of the 2010 documentary film, the digital collection includes oral history interviews with former BorgWarner employees and labor union leaders; interviews with main characters from the film; and expert interviews with historians like Ball State University Professors Jim Connolly, Dwight Hoover, and Warren Vander Hill, as well as community leaders such as former Muncie mayor Sharon McShurley and former Indiana State Representative and current mayor of the City of Muncie, Dennis Tyler.

Dwight Hoover interview
These interviews discuss the closing of BorgWarner within the historical and sociology context of the Middletown Studies while highlighting the major impact the closing of the plant and the continued decline of industry has had on Muncie and similar cities throughout the Midwest.  In 2014, the Center for Middletown Studies conducted follow-up interviews with two of the main characters from the film, Bill McIntosh and Steve Penrod, both of which are included in the collection.
Bill McIntosh interview after closing
Additional documentation and digital files from the film project can be found in the Changing Gears: End of an Era documentary film records and are available to researchers in the Ball State University Archives and Special Collections.

For more information about this collection, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

Friday, September 25, 2015

Digitized William Sutton Papers Include Correspondence with Prominent Authors, Research on Gender Bias in Language

William Sutton, former Professor of
English at Ball State University from
1947 to 1980.
Ball State University Libraries has made available through its Digital Media Repository a selection of digitized manuscripts, correspondence, and research materials from the papers of William Sutton, former Professor of English at Ball State University from 1947 to 1980.  The complete collection of the papers of William Sutton, whose research interests included 20th Century American authors and poets including Robert Frost and Carl Sandburg, is available at Ball State University Archives & Special Collections.
Sutton's correspondence with
Allen Ginsberg on the state of
the teaching of English.

The collection contains 90 documents dating from Sutton's tenure at Ball State University, and includes professional correspondence pertaining to his research, original scholarship and writings, Ball State University administrative documents, and original research materials and publications related to gender bias in the English language.

Sutton's correspondence with
sociologist Robert Lynd.
The collection also contains documents pertaining to matters of civil rights, affirmative action, and Sutton's service on the Muncie Human Rights Commission as well as correspondence between Sutton and prominent authors regarding the teaching of English and the interpretation of literature. Available in this collection is correspondence with prominent authors including Pearl Buck, John Dos Passos, Allen Ginsberg, Archibald MacLeish, W.D. Snodgrass, and Robert Penn Warren.

Also included is correspondence between Sutton and sociologist Robert Lynd, co-author of Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture (1929) and Middletown in Transition (1937), from 1962 in which Lynd reflects on his scholarly influences and his mindset when conducting the Middletown Studies.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Archivist Carol Street Wins Prestigious Publication Award

Carol Street, Archivist for Architectural Records in the Ball State University Libraries, has been awarded the Margaret Cross Norton Award from the Midwest Archives Conference for her article “Indiana Architecture X 3D: Archival Encounters of the 3-D Kind” published in the peer-reviewed scholarly journal Archival Issues. The award recognizes the best article published in the previous two years of the journal. 

The announcement of the award stated that Street’s work “is a well-written and exceptionally thoughtful article that documents her repository’s innovative use of computer 3D printing technology, coupled with public engagement, identifying users’ needs and working to fulfill them, as well as anticipating future research methodologies and interests associated with this technology.” 

According to the award committee, the article “also pushes the concept of archival engagement to an entirely different level that has not been part of archives’ traditional outreach methodologies.” 

Carol will receive a certificate and a cash prize of $250. The article was published in volume 36, number 2 (2015) of Archival Issues.  

Monday, July 06, 2015

Ball State University Libraries Celebrate Muncie's Sesquicentennial with Exhibits

A new Ball State University Archives and Special Collections exhibit celebrates Muncie’s 150 year history through the scope of the Middletown studies that were conducted in the early twentieth century. From Magic City to Middletown: 150 Years of Muncie’s History runs from July 6, 2015 to September 30, 2015 on the second floor of Bracken Library.

Though the industrial revolution is an era consistently associated with the late eighteen and early nineteen century, it took time for its concepts to spread to smaller cities. For Muncie, this came in 1886 with the beginning of the Gas Boom era. Middletown: A Study in Modern American Culture (1929) was a study that examined sociological changes in Muncie from 1890 to 1925. “Middletown was the descriptive pseudonym given to Muncie, suggesting its selection was due to its “normalcy” as a typical small city representative of “contemporary American life.”

The exhibit is organized into the six categories identified in the original study by authors Robert S. and Helen Merrell Lynd: Getting a Living; Making a Home; Training the Young; Using Leisure; Engaging in Religious Practices; Engaging in Community Activities.

The display highlights some of the more unique local history items in Archives and Special Collections, including:
·         Early diaries documenting life during the Gas Boom in Muncie
·         A pardon of former Muncie Mayor, George R. Dale, signed by Franklin D. Roosevelt
·         An 1859 deed that documents a sale between a Mary Jane Edmonds and George R. and Louisa Andrews for a parcel of land in Muncietown
·         An 1885 inventory for the Star Drug Store
·         Selections from the Marsh/Ryan family papers and photographs

The Muncie Sesquicentennial will be celebrated throughout Bracken Library. In addition to Archives and Special Collections’ exhibit, the GIS Research and Map Collection located on the second floor of Bracken Library will display historical Muncie maps. An animated Muncie map and also maps corresponding to the Thomas Neely diaries are being created especially for the exhibit. University Libraries’ Information Services will provide a display of local history books on the first floor of Bracken Library.

A digital version of the exhibit catalog can be viewed online:

For more information about this exhibit, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

 The Congerville (Muncie) Flyers were an NFL football team from 1920-1924.

Former Muncie mayors and political rivals, Dr. Rollin H. Bunch and George R. Dale, shaking hands, circa 1935-1936

Downtown Muncie, circa 1920s-1930s

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Stet Literary Journal Now Available in the Digital Media Repository

The Ball State University Archives has recently digitized a new collection featuring the student literary publication Stet, a journal produced by the Ball State Department of English from 1939-1982 spotlighting students' creative writing including prose and poetry.  The journal was sponsored by the Sigma Tau Delta English honor society and was creatively printed on presses with support from the Department of Journalism.  The title Stet comes from a printers term (originally Latin for 'let it stand') which directs that a letter, word, or other matter marked for omission or correction is to be retained.

Stet provides a fascinating look into the literary output of past generations of Ball State students.  Works of fiction, non-fiction, and poetry comprise the collection's 39 issues.  The publication accepted a wide variety of creative works with no set limits to subject matter or format.  Topics familiar to students of all generations including anxiety, love, family, and growing up are included in the journal's many works.

Altogether, Stet showcases the diversity of artistic passions and interests of Ball State students throughout an era famously known for constant change and development both on and off campus.

For more information about this collection, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Mary Beeman Collection Now Available in the Digital Media Repository

A new digital collection in the Ball State UniversityDigital Media Repository showcases selections from the life and work of Mary Beeman, a pioneer in the field of home economics and the former head of the Ball State Teachers College Department of Home Economics from 1929-1951.

Ms. Mary Beeman, often described as the ‘grande dame of home economics’, lived from 1884-1984.  Throughout her life she was recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in the profession of home economics.  During her time at Ball State Teachers College, Ms. Beeman was responsible for an expansion of the Department of Home Economics.  She was instrumental in securing federal funding for the department’s programs, initiated the dietetics program in 1937 which continues to this day, and began an adult education evening class program available to members of the Muncie community.

Included within the collection are selections from Ms. Beeman’s correspondence while serving as department head, photographs of Ms. Beeman at work, and memoriams and obituaries recounting her life.  The collection also includes over 180 of her compiled recipe cards which provide unique takes on many classic staples of Midwestern cooking. 

I was intrigued enough to try my hand at her apple crisp recipe.  The recipe card provides two versions of the classic dessert: one with the regular flour based crumble topping, and the other using graham cracker crumbs as the basis of the topping.  Well, I love graham crackers; so the alternative recipe sounded too good to pass up.  I photographed the final product and am happy to say the recipe yielded the best apple crisp I’ve ever made.  I look forward to cooking more from her incredible recipe collection in the future.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ball State University Libraries Exhibits the Cartoons of Robert Cunningham

A new Ball State Archives and Special Collections exhibit features the original drawings and cartoons of former Muncie mayor, businessman, and cartoonist Robert G. Cunningham. Drawing on Muncie: The Cartoons and the Civic and Cultural Contributions of Robert Cunningham runs from April 6, 2015 to May 30, 2015 on the second floor of Bracken Library.

In 2005, the obituaries, memorials and remembrances of Robert G. Cunningham reflected the extraordinary life of an influential and respected Muncie citizen.  Cunningham has been described as a kind and generous man who always remained grounded in his values.  Each facet of his life displayed these remarkable qualities. 

In 1949, Cunningham opened the Red Front Grocery.  The store remained open until he purchased Cunningham’s Market in 1969. Cunningham was known to help community members who experienced financial difficulty.   Cunningham closed his grocery business in 1976 upon becoming Mayor.  He is remembered as being a “man of the people.”  Cunningham’s cartooning hobby was often juxtaposed with his professional career.  For instance, many of his grocery advertisements and political campaigns incorporated his drawings.  During his later years, he authored and illustrated a series of books, Growing Up in Middletown, U.S.A.: A Book About Those Wonderful Nostalgic Time of Days Gone By, and also made regular cartoon contributions to the Muncie Evening Press in a guest column titled “Cunningham’s Corner.” 

The Robert Cunningham papers consist of records documenting the personal and professional life of Robert Cunningham including records from the City of Muncie Office of the Mayor created during Cunningham's tenure as mayor, political campaign materials, local newspaper clippings, scrapbooks from Cunningham's political and personal life, original and printed cartoons drawn by Cunningham, and local history publications and photographs that were collected by Cunningham. Some of the materials in the collection were collected by Cunningham's family after his death. 

For more information about this collection, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

  Original drawing by Robert Cunningham of his locally owned store, Red Front Grocery

Robert Cunningham (seated) with Congressman Phil Sharp (in the black suit), circa 1976-1979

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Madill Farm Collection Highlights Over 60 Years of Productivity on a Local Family Farm

The Ball State University Libraries has digitized a collection of records that meticulously document the daily operations of a small family farm in rural Delaware County, Indiana from 1925 to 1987.

The Cecil A. Madill Farm Records digital collection provides online access to calendars, correspondence, account books and financial ledgers, farm labor and livestock records, agricultural event programs, and other records documenting the family farm business of Burl, Cecil, and David Madill located just outside Muncie, Indiana.

Cecil A. Madill farm

After earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture from Purdue University in 1925, Cecil A. Madill began renting and managing one-third of his father's hog and grain farm. He gradually took over more acreage and by 1974 was managing, in partnership with his son David, a 700 acre farm and producing approximately 2,500 hogs annually.

Cecil A. Madill plowing a field

Cecil Madill believed strongly in the application business management principles to agriculture and maintained detailed labor and financial records to analyze the productivity of his farm business.  From 1927 until at least 1980, he contributed his farm records to Purdue University's Indiana Farm Account Project reports summarizing the productivity of individual farms as well the productivity of farms of varying sizes and specializations in the state.

Madill farm Indiana Farm account book, 1929-1930

Madill served actively within the Indiana agricultural community, working extensively with the Farmers' Institute, Farm Bureau, Purdue University Agriculture Alumni organization, and the Eastern Indiana Livestock Breeders Association. In 1974, Madill was awarded the prestigious Master Farmer degree by the Prairie Farmer

Congratulatory letter to Cecil A. Madill from U.S. Senator Birch Bayh, 1974

The digital collection is accessible online in the Ball State University Libraries Digital MediaRepository.

For more information about this collection, contact Ball State University Archives and Special Collections at or (765) 285-5078.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Ball State's Miller College of Business Turns 50

Founded in 1965 as part of Ball State's transition to a University, the Miller College of Business (named in 2003 after alumnus and benefactor Wallace T. Miller) has flourished as the home of some of Ball State University's most renowned academic programs. Ball State University Archives & Special Collections, a department of the University Libraries, has preserved the legacy of this College through a variety of paper and electronic archival collections.

Archives & Special Collections contains in its holdings over 15 individual paper collections documenting the history, activities, scholarship of the Miller College of Business faculty, departments, and students. The Ball State University Digital Media Repository, an online, open-access research repository containing over 200,000 archival resources, includes a collection of scholarship published by the Ball State's Center for Businesses and Economic Research.

In addition, collections in the Digital Media Repository include archival photographs, films and videos, newspaper articles, and other resources documenting the history of the College.

Ball State University College of Business students using duplicator machines, 1968

Before the completion of the Whitinger Business Building in 1979, Ball State's College of Business was housed in
the former Naval Armory Building at the intersection of McKinley Ave. and Neely Ave.
James R. Barnhart, Professor of Accounting, instructs student in mainframe computing applications, 1974. 

Ralph J. Whitinger at the dedication of the Whitinger Business Building in March 1980.  One of over 20,000 historic photographs of Ball State University housed in the Digital Media Repository.
Interview with Donald F. Kuratko, founding director of Ball State University's entrepreneurship program, 1991.  One of over 1,400 digitized films and videos documenting Ball State's history in the Digital Media Repository.
The Center for Business and Economic Research (CBER) Digital Media Repository collection contains economic policy and forecasting research published by the Center for Business and Economic Research at Ball State.