Friday, September 28, 2012

Listen to Your History!

The Reference/Local History Department has started a project that you will certainly find interesting! Over the years, the library has collected a lot of different media: LPs, cassette tapes, slides, VHS tapes, and more. This collection is now safely stored in our archives because we want to preserve the items for future generations. However, we also want them to be accessible. It is your local heritage, after all! Knowing that some day the players needed to play these media may no longer exist or that the media themsleves will degrade, we have begun to digitize this collection. We already digitized two records and several cassettes of oral interviews:

  • Crawfordsville High School: Talking Books (1959 & 1960 Yearbook record inserts with interviews and more)
  • Oral interviews: Local residents (Montgomery County Historical Society interviews with longtime local residents)
  • Oral interviews: World War II veterans (Montgomery County Historical Society interviews with local vets)
You can find our growing effort online:

Technical note: We are making the audio files available as .ogg or .mp3 files in an embedded audio player depending on your browser. Users with older browsers will just see a link to the .mp3 file.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Local Author's Play Now at Library!

Katharine Clugston, ca. 1928
  Although she spent most of her life on her beloved Chebeague Island, Maine, playwright Katharine Thatcher Clugston spent some of her early days here in Crawfordsville. Katharine was the daughter of Emma Thatcher Clugston, a teacher, and Harry Clugston, law partner of vice president Thomas Riley Marshall and mayor of Columbia City, Indiana. After Harry's death, Emma relocated the family to Crawfordsville while Kate's brother attended Wabash College. Emma later remarried Wabash professor Donaldson Bodine. Kate graduated from Wells College in 1914 and went on to study at Radcliffe College and Yale. While studying under George Pierce Baker at Yale, she wrote a play titled "Finished." Thanks to a donation from Kate's family, the library now owns a copy of her play.
  "Finished" was produced in New Haven to great reviews, but when the show made the transition to Broadway in 1928 with a new title, "These Days" fizzled. Kate blamed the play's failure on two things: first, producer Arthur Hopkins ordered her to rewrite the play's third act. Reviews of the play noted that the change did not serve the plot well, and the tone of the third act was too serious for Kate's "faintly ironical comedy." Kate vowed she would never rewrite again.
  Another disappointment for Kate was in the casting of the lead role. Mildred McCoy was cast as Virginia McRae, a boarding school girl around whom the play centers. Kate would have preferred to cast a fresh-from-college Katharine Hepburn in the role, but Hepburn was still too green, and was given a small role as school-girl Veronica Sims. The Hartford Daily Times  predicted that "heaps of natural talent and an unusually attractive personality may well lead her, in time, to do things in the theater."
  Stop by the library and have a look at this rare play by an Indiana author, as well as photographs and documents about Katharine Clugston, shared with us by her family.