A collage of book covers with a map of indiana as the background. Text reads "Indiana History"

When speaking about the people of Indiana, a co-worker once said, "Everything south of Martinsville is Kentucky." To this day I wonder if others think the same, noting how topography shapes a culture or experience. Do scenic hills and valleys produce a cuisine or taste in music or do we get that from family and neighbors? What must it be like to grow up along the Dunes? How different are we from the north and south but always interesting to be Hoosiers!

Compiled by:
Christine F.
African Americans in Indianapolis:Tthe Story of a People Determined to be Free

David Leander Williams
323.1196 Wil

A powerful collection of profiles of historically significant and courageous black leaders, musicians, artists, teachers, civic leaders, entrepreneurs, and more who answered the call to improve themselves and Indianapolis and beyond against dangerous situations and overwhelming odds. 

Dreams of Duneland: A Pictorial History of Indiana

Kenneth J. Schoon
977.298 Sch

Naturalists explain the science and beauty along the Lake Michigan shoreline, but the photographs are fantastic.For those who are unable to travel, this book provides a field trip you won’t forget. “Often declining globally, but hanging on locally,” these are great stories of its history, including an overview of the the Indian Trails and Villages and how they operated before Europeans introduced steel axes and plows to clear the trees. Shows technical history of how they used to remove sand and innovation, e.g. gliders and the creation of the state park.

Fighting Hoosiers: Indiana in Two World Wars

Dawn Bakken
- editor
940.4127 Fig

Bakken covers pride and patriotism and diaries of heroic Indiana men and women who answered the call. Using diaries, memoirs, and the book is a compilation of essays and profiles profiling strong, determined to make their way and make a difference, including black women who insisted they get a fair chance to work in the Northwest part of the state as it pumped out materials to support war engine and transform the region’s economy. But the jobs they worked - or could get - were dangerous, dirty, and physically and mentally taxing. Due to unsafe working conditions, sanitation workers were needed to control disease. Black women were often put in these positions at great risk and no one wanted to get near them.

Indiana Originals: Hoosier Heroes & Heroines

Ray E. Boomhower
977.2 Boo

This simple book and quick read provides an encyclopedic view of people who made history in Indiana and beyond, pioneers in fiction, storytelling, socialism and social justice, flight, aeronautics, photography, finance, women’s rights, environmentalism, military leadership politics, racing, and agriculture. Not only does Hoosier journalist and historian Boomhower have a command of Indiana history, but he understands informal storytelling that makes him a credible and engaging tour guide.

Indiana and the Great Flood of 1913

Nancy Marie Germano
977.224 Ger

Catastrophe set a new record for water levels, deaths, and financial ruin across the state. March 1913 - counties not only took on water but pollution that was in the waters, coming from those “better” regions of the state that were manufacturing and building. Photos of breadlines, saturated towns and merchants and ruined sewer, septic, and rail lines. Bloomington’s Showers’ factory sustained a loss of about 100,00 feet of timber and so by May, when our local WCTU installed a drinking fountain, it was more than just a gentle nudge for an alternative to alcohol, it was a sip of clean water, which was more appreciated that summer. 

Indianapolis Then and Now

Nelson Price, Joan Hostetler, Garry Chilluffo
- photographer
977.252 Pri

Change how you see Indianapolis with side-by-side photographs of historical landmarks, including the Rathskeller, designed by novelist Kurt Vonnegut’s grandfather, as an Athenaeum for Germans to exercise and entertainment. Or the grandeur of the Walker Theatre, which was built to satisfy another business venture for black millionaire Madam C. J. Walker, whose parents were born into slavery.

The Kimberlins go to War: A Union Family in Copperhead Country

Michael B. Murphy
977.2183 Mur

Covers close kin in Scott County, Indiana and the organization of the 23rd Indiana Regiment. Covers 5 young Kimberlin men, cousins and brothers. Using surviving letters, voices of the Kimberlin family– and their opinions about Copperheads and Butternuts, who may have just been against the war for the coming economic hit and fear of bloodshed. Find out what happened to these veterans and their families after the war. 

The Ku Klux Klan in the Heartland

James H. Madison
322.4209 Mad

Providing a chronological and narrative history of the KKK from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan, Madison makes his case how organized hate of the 1920s “was as American as apple pie.” Dramatic illustrations, investigation, and photos support his work and provide profound exhibit and unforgettable read. 

Madam C.J. Walker’s Gospel of Giving: Black Women's Philanthropy During Jim Crow.

Tyrone McKinley Freeman
921 Walker Fre

Leave it to a self-made female millionaire and entrepreneur to show us what her style of generosity might look like.  The mother of someone who shaped the  Harlem Renaissance, Walker and those influenced by her changed how beauty shops and professional stylists could advance their own lives and entire communities through the science and art of beauty curriculum. Written by a professor of philanthropic studies, we learn more about Walker’s resolve for the elevation of other black women entrepreneurs, influencing others to do the same. 

Madge: The life and Times of Madge Oberholtzer, the Young Irvington Woman Who Brought Down D. C. Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan

Charlotte Halsema Ottinger
921 Oberholtzer Ott

A quest by the author and the Irvington Historical Society to elevate the life of a woman who risked physical pain and emotional sufferings of herself and family in order to expose the horrible criminal acts of the leader of the KKK. For those who enjoy true crime and history, this book shows, by court records and detailed timelines, how powerful individuals can be brought to justice by simple, noble individuals, to expose the truth.

Monroe County Everyday Life in Indiana

Monroe County History Center
- editor
977.2255 Mon

Pure enjoyment as you see through rich historical photographs of residents of all stripes and incomes in their playing with ball, goats, and dolls as well as work, travel, party, and care for each other. Perfect end-of-the-long-day “read” for days when tired of your phone and computer!

Showers Brothers Furniture Company: The Shared Fortunes of a Family, a City, and a University

Carrol Krause
977.2255 Kra

Although a decade since published, the excellent retelling of this local iconic family and building, now the home to Bloomington city hall, provides an important take on our local history; making it core reading for those new to town who like history. From their humble start as a carpenter and traveling minister, the family was more than ready to settle down and start building, realizing they had more than enough energy to capitalize on lumber and labor to become the largest furniture manufacturing plants in the world.

The Terror of Indiana Bent Jones & The Moody-Tolliver Feud

Robert Moody

Since 1976, when he was first gripped by fragments of this story about the murder of his Great-Great-Great Uncle, the author tracks down the details. With the digitization of newspapers, he was able to make progress as the violence was covered in newspapers across the country and not just in Orange County because this killers and fire-bombers were indeed, the shocking, “Terror of Indiana” in the 1870s.