Friday, September 23, 2011

Binford Family Collection

Several months ago, the Crawfordsville District Public Library's local history collection received about a dozen letters written to Evangeline Binford, daughter of Joseph Binford, a prominent local coal merchant. These letters were written about the time of Evangeline’s marriage to Hugh T. Gary in 1895. As a result of library research, descendants of Evangeline Binford were located, now living in the western part of the United States. Evangeline’s grand-daughter, Myrna Gary, not only was willing to provide the library’s local history collection with original family photographs, ledgers, her grandmother’s wedding gown, and other priceless family heirlooms, but also drove 1800 miles in a Winnebago to hand-deliver them to us! We thank Myrna for her part in helping Montgomery County preserve such a valuable part of its heritage. To view the image of the items Myrna donated, click this link: and type "Myrna Gary" in the keyword field.

Do you have photographs, diaries, letters or other pieces to the puzzle that is Montgomery County history? If so, please contact the CDPL Reference & Local History department at 765-362-2242 ext. 117.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Esther Detchon in Europe, 1914

Esther Detchon

Esther Detchon (1893-1980) was a popular Crawfordsville socialite.  She came from a prominent and wealthy family which made its fortune as doctors and businessmen.  Esther attended an exclusive private finishing school in Philadelphia after graduating from Crawfordsville High School in 1911.  In 1914, Esther went on a school-sponsored trip to Europe, where she stayed in first-class accommodations in Germany, Switzerland, Holland, France, Italy, England, and Scotland.  When World War I was officially declared in July of 1914, Esther and her classmates were stranded in Italy, where they applied for emergency passports at the American Embassy in Rome. Although officials assured them that American tourists were safe in Europe (as long as they curbed their curiosity and stayed out of dangerous situations), family and friends in Crawfordsville waited anxiously for word of Esther.  Weeks later, Esther arrived back in the United States, having paid $250 for passage on the Principe di Undine, an Italian liner chartered by a group of wealthy Americans.  Esther and her classmates, happy to be home, were also “disappointed because they had had no really exciting adventures.” (Crawfordsville Daily Journal, August 28, 1914) 
Esther (third from left) and her classmates

 Check out the library’s display of Esther’s travel photos, school scrapbooks, and more!