Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Thomas Jefferson Bowles Family Collection now available in the Digital Media Repository

Thomas Jefferson Bowles scrapbook
Are you interested in studying the life of a leading freethinker, supporter of the National Liberal Party in the United States, and the oldest practicing medical doctor in Indiana at the time of his death? Would you like to read the handwritten notes and speeches of someone who addressed free silver clubs, legal organizations, rationalist associations and many other groups on diverse topics such as death, temperance, philosophy, history, politics and medical issues? Are you a genealogist or local history researcher interested in images and biographical articles about Delaware County, Indiana citizens? If any of these topics caught your attention or if you just have eclectic research interests, you will want to take some time to explore the Thomas Jefferson Bowles Family Collection in the Digital Media Repository. This new digital collection includes notebooks, scrapbooks and other material related to the life, work, social involvement, and political activity of Thomas Jefferson Bowles ranging from 1886 to 1924. It also includes a local history scrapbook created by is son, Homer E. Bowles.

Thomas Jefferson Bowles was an influential medical doctor in Delaware County, Indiana. He studied medicine at the Medical College of Ohio followed by advanced training at Rush Medical College in Chicago and Bellevue Hospital in New York City. He began a medical practice in Windsor, Indiana and relocated to Muncie in 1874. Together with Drs. G.W.H. Kemper and J. Dillon, Bowles wrote the constitution and by-laws organizing the first medical society in Delaware County. At the time of his death on April 19, 1924 at the age of 87, he was known as the oldest practicing physician in the state of Indiana.

Thomas Jefferson Bowles 1903-1909 notebook
In addition to his work in medicine, Thomas Jefferson Bowles was a leading freethinker in Indiana and actively advocated the formation of opinions based entirely upon logic, reason and empiricism without regard for authority, traditions, or dogmas. He wrote extensively on ideas associated with freethought and was in demand as a speaker on the subject. Known as an agnostic and evolutionist, Dr. Bowles formed the Literary and Scientific Association of Muncie, the Literary Fireside Society, Home Circle and Ethical Society.

Homer E. Bowles scrapbook
Given the diverse interests of the Bowles family, it is not surprising that there are a wide variety of topics addressed in this online collection. Here are a few suggestions about where to start your research on different topics. If you are interested in Thomas Jefferson Bowles’ medical career or the history of medicine in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, you may want to start by examining his explanation of medical terms. Researchers interested in Thomas Jefferson Bowles philosophical ideas and involvement in the Freethought movement will want to examine his scrapbook containing notes and newspaper articles from 1900-1907. Cultural historians studying the treatment of death from anti-religious viewpoints like those common amongst freethinkers can study his funeral addresses. Thomas Jefferson Bowles’ political involvement is documented in his scrapbook as well as the notes for his opening speech at the convention of the National Liberal Party in 1903. Genealogists, students and historians researching influential citizens of Delaware County, Indiana will want to browse the newspaper clippings in the Homer E. Bowles scrapbook which include images, biographical articles and obituaries.

The material in this digital collection is a part of the Thomas Jefferson Bowles family papers, 1886-1984 in Archives and Special Collections. Please contact us at libarchives@bsu.edu if you have any questions about this collection or any other material in our holdings.

Monday, November 05, 2012

Delaware County Public Schools Directories now available in the Digital Media Repository

“School days, school days, dear old golden rule days.
Readin’ and ‘riting and ‘rithmatic, taught to the tune of the hick’ry stick.”
by Gus Edwards and Will D. Cobb

If you would like to “take a trip on memory’s ship, back to the bygone days” of education in Delaware County, Indiana, check out the Delaware County Public Schools Directories in the Digital Media Repository. This collection includes directories listing the names of teachers and school administrators in Delaware County, Indiana and the schools where they taught and served from 1904-1968.

These directories provide a wealth of information documenting the history of education in Delaware County. Most of the directories in this collection include a description of the grade level, subject specialization, or position of each teacher or administrator listed. Other useful information such as the school location, academic calendar, and number of students enrolled at each school can also be found in many of these directories. This information can be used to track the development of the educational system in Delaware County, changes in enrollment patterns over 60 years, the growth and decline in staffing for particular schools, and the tenure of specific teachers and administrators.

Hamilton Township School, circa 1900-1910 (PSC-250)
Information for county schools in Salem, Mt. Pleasant, Harrison, Washington, Monroe, Center, Hamilton, Union, Perry, Liberty, Delaware and Niles townships and the towns of Albany and Eaton can be found in these directories. Schools that were part of Muncie City Schools are excluded from these directories after 1918. For similar information for Muncie City Schools from 1918-1989, you can examine the Muncie Community Schools records, 1874-1991.

Delaware County Public Schools directories, 1945-1946
There is valuable information in this collection waiting online for you to explore whether you are reminiscing about teachers who had a dramatic impact upon your life or examining trends in the history of the education in Indiana. So, take a few moments to see what you can find. As always, our archives staff is available to assist you with your research. You are welcome to visit us in Archives and Special Collections or contact us at libarchives@bsu.edu.

If you are interested in learning more about the history of public education in the United States, you should check out the "School Days: A History of Public Education" podcast episode by BackStory with the American History Guys.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Central and East Central Indiana Tract Book Collection now available in Digital Media Repository

MSS.003, Folder 17, Liberty Township
The Central and East Central Indiana Tract Books digital collection includes records of land sales in Delaware County from 1811-1876. These records document the amount of acreage purchased, who purchased the land, the former residence of the purchaser, and the date the land was sold.

Tract books are arranged by the legal description of the land: by township, range, and section. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) retains original land records and patents for the state of Indiana.

For more information about this collection, contact Archives and Special Collections at 765-285-5078 or libarchives@bsu.edu.