Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Local Letter Reveals Historic Connections

Our local history archives is growing again, this time with the accession of an August 1834 letter written to a local resident, Mary Catharine (Anderson)  Naylor. Mrs. Naylor was born in New York in 1807, and married Isaac Naylor in 1826. The couple moved to Montgomery County in 1833, and here her husband became a judge presiding in the local court. Her sister Jane, living at the time in Indianapolis, penned the letter, beginning with devastating news: Jane’s six-month-old baby girl had passed away, and due to the uncertainty of the mails, she was writing to see if Mary Catharine was aware of the sad event.

Although greatly of interest as a family letter, learning some background of this family lends depth to the story of American history and the history of Indiana. Robert Anderson, the father of Mary Catharine and Jane, was an Irish immigrant who served in the Revolutionary War with General Washington at Valley Forge. Jane’s husband was Samuel Merrill, a  three-term member of the Indiana General Assembly, State Treasurer of Indiana, first president of the State Bank of Indiana (an achievement alluded to in the letter itself), and a staunch abolitionist. In 1850, Mr. Merrill purchased a bookstore in Indianapolis which eventually became the Bobbs-Merrill publishing firm.
Each document we receive helps to add detail to the picture of the history of our county, providing information for genealogy and local history researchers alike.  If you have original photographs or documents relating to Montgomery County history, please call the Reference and Local History Department at 765-362-2242 ext. 117.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Bean's Barber Shop

From a recent loan we have received several interesting photographs of the Jolley family. For this image, the donor, Daniel Jolley, wrote: "interior shot of Bean's Barber Shop in March of 1926. My grandfather, Carl Edgar Jolley, is the second barber from the left. In March, 1926, he was not yet 19 years old." 

Mr. Jolley added another image of his grandfather, too ("a photo of my grandfather, Carl Edgar Jolley, standing outside Bean's Barber Shop. It appears to be about the same time as the interior...circa 1926").

We looked for Bean's Barber Shop in our city directories, to see where it was located. The 1926 city directory has Edgar C. Bean listed as a barber, and the shop was at 128 N. Washington Street (where the courthouse parking lot is now). Although this building and these people no longer exist, we can at least preserve an image of them for future generations. Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we continue to try to collect and protect the heritage of our county. If you have something for us, consider a loan or a donation!

Monday, November 5, 2012

New Katharine Clugston Items

The Clugston family, ca. 1890
     The library has recently acquired several photos of Crawfordsville playwright Katharine Thatcher Clugston, from her nephew. Although Katharine didn't live in Crawfordsville for long, she is definitely part of the great literary tradition here.
      Katharine was born in Whitley County in 1892, the daughter of Emma Thatcher, a teacher, and Harry Clugston, lawyer and mayor of Columbia City. Harry was associated with the firm of Marshall & McNagny--the Marshall being Thomas Riley Marshall, governor of Indiana and vice president under Woodrow Wilson. The family story is that Katharine's father expected her to go into clerking at her father's store, but Tom Marshall put his foot down. He believed she must go to college, and if her family wouldn't pay, he would!
Katharine Clugston, ca. 1914
      Kate went to Wells College, graduating in 1914, and then studied at Radcliffe. She also studied playwriting at Yale under the eminent George Pierce Baker, who also taught Eugene O'Neill and Tom Wolfe. Her play "Finished" was produced at Yale to great reviews, but it flopped at its New York showing, despite the fact that it starred Katharine Hepburn in one of her first theater roles. Katharine (as well as other knowledgeable parties) blamed the failure on the new third act the producer forced her to write.
      Kate spent a year abroad with a Guggenheim Fellowship, which allowed her to write furiously away from the pressure and financial stress of New York City. She was also head of the play bureau in the Federal Theatre Project during the Depression. Kate kept busy writing, publishing two books, one a psychological thriller and the other a collaborative novel about Daniel Boone. One of her plays was made into the 1934 film "The Last Gentleman" starring George Arliss.
Kate spent her later years teaching, and retired to her home on Chebeague Island, Maine. She died there in 1985.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Election Day, 1906

Men stand outside of the Academy School (also known as the Alamo Academy) on Election Day, 1906. Unfortunately, the school, built in 1868, burned down in 1909, just three years after this photograph was taken.

This photograph is in CDPL's collection and can be viewed through our image database.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Genealogy Club of Montgomery County meeting

Archie's War Stories

Genealogy Club of Montgomery County
Tuesday, November 13, 2012 at 7:00 p.m

Archie Krout, club member and local resident, will share his war stories at the Genealogy Club's November meeting. Join us at the Crawfordsville District Public Library in the Donnelley room on the lower level. Public Invited. Call: (765) 362-2242, Ext 118 for more information.