Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Dunn Award Winner Announced

Ann Allen is the winner of the Indiana Historical Society’s annual Jacob Piatt Dunn Jr. Award for the best article to appear in Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History for 2008. Allen, pictured at right receiving her award from James H. Madison, IHS trustee, won for her article, “Reece Oliver: Indiana’s Shadow Hero,” which appeared in the summer 2008 issue of Traces.

Named for the noted Indiana historian and author, the $500 award honors the article that in the opinion of the Traces editorial board and staff best serves the magazine’s mission. This mission involves presenting thoughtful, research-based articles on Indiana history in an attractive format to a broad audience of readers.

Former editor of the Akron/Mentone News, Allen has written about Akron, Indiana, and its residents for nearly fifty years, including her time as a correspondent for the Rochester Sentinel. She has written four books set in Akron. Allen is a past president of the Woman’s Press Club of Indiana.

Dunn, who helped revitalize the Society in the 1880s, produced such standard works as the two-volume Greater Indianapolis (1910) and his five-volume Indiana and Indianans (1919). In his remarkable career, Dunn also worked on a variety of Indianapolis newspapers, campaigned to establish free public libraries, endeavored to preserve the language of the Miami Indians, and prospected for minerals in Haiti.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Annual Holiday Author Fair December 6

Holiday shopping for an array of family, loved ones, and new friends can be a daunting task, but the Indiana Historical Society offers a personalized, one-stop shopping opportunity for book lovers and gift givers alike this holiday season at the sixth annual Holiday Author Fair, taking place from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, December 6, at the Indiana History Center, located at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

The Holiday Author Fair is the largest book signing gathering for Indiana-related material, featuring more than 90 Hoosier authors. Books include works of fiction, non-fiction, cookbooks, photography, history, children’s books and more. Visitors can converse with authors, have books signed, and enjoy refreshments and live entertainment.

New this year will be a special area for children (complete with a craft table and the children’s book authors) on the Eli Lilly Hall mezzanine and readings/presentations in the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater. Six author presentations will also take place in the Frank and Katrina Basile Theater. Featured authors include Harold Holzer, Philip Gulley, James Alexander Thom, Norbert Krapf, James H. Madison, and Lou Harry.

IHS Press authors participating in the event include M. Teresa Baer and Geneil Breeze, William Bartelt, John Beineke, Ray E. Boomhower, Frances DeBra Brown, Fred Cavinder, Earl Conn, Daniel H. FitzGibbon, Alan Garinger, Wes D. Gehring, Ralph D. Gray, Glory-June Greiff, Mary Blair Immel, Max Knight, Norbert Krapf, Cinnamon Caitlin-Legutko, Jim McGarrah, Geoff Paddock, Ashley Ransburg, Susan Sutton, and Julie Young

Some of the authors will give talks during the day. The schedule of talks are as follows:

* 12:30 p.m. Harold Holzer, "Lincoln President-Elect: Abraham Lincoln and the Great Secession Winter, 1860-1861."

* 1 p.m. Bill Harley, "Toads, Pirates, and Other Creatures!"

* 1:30 p.m. Norbert Krapf, Selections from Bloodroot: Indiana Poems and The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood.

* 2 p.m. Todd Tucker, "Notre Dame vs. the Klan vs. IUPUI: Anatomy of a Free Speech Controversy."

* 2:30 p.m. Tasha Jones, Selections from Hello Beautiful: A Memoir.

* 3 p.m. Susan Sutton, "The Bass Photo Company Collections: A Family Album for the City."

There is no admission charge for this event, and free parking is available in the Indiana History Center’s surface lot (corner of New York and West Streets). The Basile History Market will also offer complimentary gift wrapping on books and other purchases, such as music, Indiana-made household products, jewelry, original art, handmade textiles, children’s merchandise, reproductions from the IHS collection, and more.

The Holiday Author Fair is sponsored by Verizon and Indy Reads. For more details on these and other Indiana Historical Society offerings, call the IHS at (317) 232-1882 or toll-free at (800) 447-1830.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Interview with Skelton Biographer

Wes D. Gehring, professor of Film at Ball State University, is the author of twenty-eight books, many of which examine the lives of Hollywood legends. During his career, Gehring has written about the Marx Brothers, Laurel and Hardy, Joe E. Brown, Carole Lombard, W. C. Fields, and Charlie Chaplin.

Gehring's latest book is a biography of Hoosier comedian Red Skelton, Red Skelton: The Mask behind the Mask, recently released by the IHS Press. Here, he talks about the book and Skelton:

You’ve written about a number of famous film comedians, why did you select Red Skelton?

I am a big fan. And when Ball State University gave him an honorary doctorate, I was selected to give the keynote address. He liked it and we got together when he would play Ball State. Though I had written an earlier biography of Red, the wealth of new onformation in recently released private papers attracted me yet again to the comedian.

Was there something about Skelton that surprised you when you were researching your subject?

I was shocked by what I discovered about the true dysfunctional nature of his childhood family--and the elaborate fantasy background he created as a cover.

What was it about Skelton’s comedy that made him such a hit with fans?

Though his comic gift was huge, especially his poignant mime, his enthusiasm to please could sell even the most corny of gags. He was an oh-so-talented favorite uncle.

Does Skelton get the respect he deserves as a comedian?

Sadly, he does not. But part of it was because he always refused to make his television show available for syndication. His TV comedy legacy is as important as Lucille Ball and Jackie Gleason but while their reruns have been on non-stop since the 1950s, the under 40 crowd do not know Red.

What are you working on now?

I have a comic novel coming out in late November (The James Dean Murder Mystery), and a novelized Skelton memior set to appear in early 2009. I am currently researching a biography of Robert Wise, and writing a book about film comedians of the 1940s.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Norbert Krapf on You Tube

Indiana Poet Laureate and IHS Press author Norbert Krapf is featured in two interviews now available on You Tube. The interviews are:

* The WTIU program "Weekly Special."

* The Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library's program "Between the Lines."

Krapf, the author of the memoir The Ripest Moments: A Southern Indiana Childhood, released in 2008 by the IHS Press, received his bachelor’s degree from Saint Joseph’s College. He took his master’s degree and doctorate in English from the University of Notre Dame and taught English at the C.W. Post Campus of Long Island University for thirty-four years.

His seven poetry collections, in which his Indiana German heritage is central, include Somewhere in Southern Indiana, The Country I Come From, nominated for the Pulitzer Prize, and the retrospective collection Bloodroot: Indiana Poems, recently released by Indiana University Press.

Friday, November 07, 2008

IHS Press Titles Win Awards

The IHS Press won two honors at the 57th annual Chicago Book Clinic’s Book and Media Show Thursday, November 7, in Chicago.

The Press won the show's top honor--the Crystal Book Award of Excellence--in the General Trade Nonfiction with one-color and two-color internals for its publication Meredith Nicholson: A Writing Life. Also, the Press won an Honorable Mention in the Special Trade Pictorial category for Indianapolis: The Bass Photo Company Collection.

The Book and Media Show received more than 150 entries from publishers across the country. Founded in 1936, the Chicago Book Clinic encourages excellence in publishing by providing a platform for educational, social, and professional interaction of its members—professionals in book and media publishing, printing, editorial, design, and all business aspects of the publishing industry.