The state of Indiana celebrated their 14th anniversary of being a state on December 11, 1830. This also happened to be the day that the Indiana Historical Society was founded. A group of movers and shakers decided that Indiana’s history should be collected and preserved for generations to come. So, one year after the society was founded, they were given a charter by the Indiana General Assembly. Although the beginning years of the Indiana Historical Society were rough (they only had 12 meetings from 1830 to 1886), the society began to line its ducks in a row in 1886. Jacob Platt Dunn became the Indiana Historical Society’s directory in 1886 and led a group of trusted associates to recreate and reorganize the fundamentals of the Indiana Historical Society.
Dunn led the Indiana Historical Society to great success. Some of their successes included admitting the first woman editor, Eliza Browning, in 1906, as well as maintain an office at the Indiana capitol building until 1914. Around the early 1950s, the Indiana Historical Society began to see booming success when they began to publish historical Indiana works. Some of the highlighted works from this time period include a multivolume set of Indiana’s history which was published in 1966, as well as The Old Northwest, which won a Pulitzer Prize.
Today, the Indiana Historical Society Collections and William H. Smith Memorial Library are renowned as one of the nation’s largest institutions that has an in-depth amount of knowledge and artifacts about Indiana and the Old Northwest. Some of their collection include; over 50,000 digital images, 3,300 artifacts, 3,500 sheet music pieces, and over a whopping amount of 1.7 million photographs. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana Historical Society - Photo: Indiana Historical Society
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