Indiana Collection and Indiana Federal Writers Project/Program Papers

FWP square Indiana Square

The Indiana Collection emphasizes the works of important Indiana Writers, such as James Whitcomb Riley, Lew Wallace, Theodore Dreiser, Booth Tarkington, Kurt Vonnegut, Kin Hubbard and George McCutcheon. In addition, this collection contains significant historical and descriptive materials about Indiana, including atlases, books, manuscripts, and pamphlets. The focus is statewide and regional.

The newly-established Indiana Business Ephemera Collection comprises a variety of promotional and sales materials pertaining to Indiana-based companies. Represented are Hoosier manufacturers of carriages, automobiles and farm equipment; furniture and pottery makers; musical instrument companies; timepiece manufacturers, and several other types of enterprises. Travel guides, land speculation brochures, directories, maps, and gazetteers are also included. The majority of the items date from the mid-nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries.

The Indiana Writers Project/Program Papers is a collection of data prepared during the Frank Delano Roosevelt presidency, initially under the auspices of the Works Project Administration (WPA). The Federal Writers' Project employed writers in each state to gather information for the American Guide Series and other publications. In Indiana, field collectors generated over 60,000 pages of material on a multitude of aspects of life in all 92 counties, culminating in Indiana: A Guide to the Hoosier State published in 1941.

The materials include data on agriculture, archaeology, education, ethnicity, flora and fauna, and geology. Also included are accounts of local history, folklore and legends, music, place-name anecdotes, recipes and cures, and many other subjects. Of significance is a collection of slave narratives included in the WPA files, consisting of around 140 interviews with ex-slaves or their descendants living in Indiana in the 1930s. 

Indiana Collection and Indiana Federal Writers Project/Program Papers