Tuesday, November 21, 2006

IHS Press Books Honored

Several IHS Press books recently received honors at the Chicago Book Clinic's annual Book and Media Show. Founded in 1936, the Clinic encourages excellence in publishing by providing a platform for educational, social and professional interaction of its members. The Clinic's members are professionals in book and media publishing, printing, editorial, design, and all business aspects of the publishing industry.

The Press received Awards of Excellence (the Clinic's top honor) in the following categories:

Children's, specialty:
Evie Finds Her Family Tree

General Trade, One color and two color internals, non-fiction:
Hoosiers in Hollywood

General Trade, four color internals, non-fiction:
My Indiana: 101 Places to See

Special Trade, gift:
Indiana Sporting Life: Selections from Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History

Monday, October 30, 2006

IHS Press Authors to Sign Books

Authors of books released by the IHS Press this fall will be available to sign copies of their books at a variety of events in November.

Ray E. Boomhower, author of The Soldier's Friend: A Life of Ernie Pyle, will be at the Barnes & Noble store in Plainfield, Indiana, at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 3. The store is located at the Metropolis LifeStyle Center, 2540 Futura Parkway, Plainfield. For more information on the event, call the store at (317) 838-7941.

Boomhower will also talk about his Pyle biography at 7 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 10, at the Culver-Union Township Public Library, 107 N. Main St., Culver. At 7 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, Boomhower will be signing books at Borders Book Store's River Crossing location at 8675 River Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis. For more information on this event, contact the store at (317) 574-1775.

Lou Harry, coeditor of the IHS Press publication The X-Mas Men, will sign copies of the book at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 10, at the Borders River Crossing location in Indianapolis.

Harry will also be doing a book signing at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 1, at Big Hat Books in Broad Ripple, and at 1 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 8, at the Borders Book Store in downtown Indianapolis.

A host of writers published by the IHS Press will be included in the 90 authors who will be part of the fourth annual Indiana Historical Society Holiday Author Fair from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 2, at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis.

Visitors can converse with authors, have books signed, and enjoy live entertainment and refreshments. The Holiday Author Fair is free and open to the public.

IHS Press authors who will be at the Author Fair are: Ray Boomhower, Fred Cavinder, Earl Conn, Dan FitzGibbon, Wes Gehring, Angie Goude, Linda Gugin/James St. Clair, Lou Harry, Mary Blair Immel, Jim McGarrah/Tom Watson, Judy Newton/Carol Weiss, Ashley Ransburg, Ray Rice, and David Smith.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Interview with Pyle Biographer

Ray E. Boomhower, managing editor of the Indiana Historical Society's popular history magazine Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History, is the author of a new youth biography on Ernie Pyle published by the IHS Press. He answered a few questions about writing the book for the Press's blog.

Before starting the project, how much did you know about Pyle's life?

Ernie Pyle has been a part of my life since my college days at Indiana University in Bloomington. I majored in jouralism at IU and spent much of my time in Ernie Pyle Hall, going to classes and, as Ernie did, working on the student newspaper, the Indiana Daily Student. There was something this small, quite man that drew my attention from the first. I marvled at how a kid from small-town Indiana could become so famous and admired him for his devotion to the ordinary GI during World War II.

In doing research on Pyle's life, did you find anything that surprised you?

I knew that Pyle had been a household name in America because of his work during the war, but I was unaware of how popular he had been before World War II. His "Hoosier Vagabond" column for the Scripps-Howard chain reached a wide readership and proved to be one of the most popular features for countless newspapers across the country.

I also did not realize how well Pyle wrote. Like other journalists, he faced enormous deadlines pressures in writing a syndicated column, especially because of his constant traveling. Despite this, he produced quality pieces that stand the test of time.

This is the second youth biography you've written for the Press. [Boomhower also wrote a children's biography of Lew Wallace for the Press.] Do you enjoy writing for a young audience?

It's been a pleasure to research and write these biographies. I've discovered that there's not much difference in writing for young people as compared to writing for an adult audience. Both audiences seem to desire concise biographies of famous Hoosiers that explore the key points of a subject's life. I've also enjoyed ferreting out illustrations for both books in repositories around the state and working with the staff at historic sites devoted to the lives of Wallace and Pyle. They've been a great help in making these books possible.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Interview with X-Mas Men Editor

Todd Tobias, publisher of Indy Men’s Magazine, worked with Lou Harry to co-edit the new IHS Press collection The X-Mas Men: An Eclectic Collection of Holiday Essays. Tobias took time recently to answer some questions about the project.

What prompted the editors at Indy Men’s Magazine to do a collection of essays with a Christmas theme?

Indy Men’s Magazine is very much an essay driven publication. What sets the magazine apart from many city and regional publications is that we not only encourage first person writing, it’s more or less the foundation of the magazine. Awhile back we ran a feature called “Father Christmas” in which three of our writers grappled with ghosts from their holidays past. It was well received by our readers and it got us thinking about how an expanded version of that theme--with all of our A-list writers contributing--could make for a really interesting book.

How did you go about recruiting authors for the collection?

We’re fortunate to have a core group of very talented writers who contribute to the magazine on a regular basis. When it came time to recruit authors for this collection we simply asked the writers whose talents we admire the most if they had a holiday story they wanted to tell. We’ve got some real heavy hitters contributing to these pages. Michael Kun was a Pulitzer Prize nominee. Tom Chiarella was a finalist for the National Magazine Award. Phillip Gulley is a best-selling author. Almost without exception all of the writers contributing to The X-Mas Men have authored at least one book.

Do you have a favorite of the essays in the book?

At the risk of sounding like a proud parent I have several favorites that I love for different reasons. I think the book’s real strength is that while each of the essays are distinct in terms of style and subject matter, collectively they create a real universal and cohesive picture of the holidays. Although in a lot of ways, this is more than simply a book about “Christmas.” In a lot of ways it’s a book about family.

What is your most memorable holiday memory?

The essay I contributed deals with a pretty memorable experience. A couple of years ago my daughter, who was four at the time, became really curious about the concept death and the after life. Her curiosity kind of dovetailed with the holiday season. So on Christmas Eve that year I took her to her grandmother’s grave as a way of trying her answer some of her questions. It was an odd way to be spending the early part of Christmas Eve I suppose but it had a big impact on both of us.

Any plans on doing other theme-related books?

Absolutely. We’ve got a got a couple of ideas we’re excited about. We see The X-mas Men as the first in a series of wildly successful books from the writers of IMM.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Book Examines Pyle's Life

To the millions of Americans on the home front during World War II, Ernie Pyle’s column in newspapers across the country offered a foxhole view of the struggle as he reported on the life and death of the average soldier. When he died, Pyle’s popularity and readership was worldwide, with his column appearing in 400 daily and 300 weekly newspapers.

Written by award-winning author and historian Ray E. Boomhower, The Soldier’s Friend: A Life of Ernie Pyle, a biography aimed at young readers, explores the reporter’s legendary career from his days growing up in the small town of Dana, Indiana, to his life as a roving correspondent with the Scripps-Howard newspaper chain, to his growing fame as a columnist detailing the rigors of combat faced by the average G.I. during World War II. The book also features numerous illustrations, samples of Pyle’s World War II columns, a detailed bibliography of World War II sources, and an index.

Pyle offered for his readers a “worm’s-eye view” of the war as he reported on the life, and sometimes death, of the common soldier doing the dirty work of fighting in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, and France against the enemy forces of Nazi Germany.

For his distinguished reporting during the war, Pyle received journalism’s highest honor—the Pulitzer Prize—in 1944. Books of his columns were best sellers, and one of his most famous stories, describing the death of an officer named Captain Henry T. Waskow, was made into a movie, The Story of G.I. Joe, starring Burgess Meredith and Robert Mitchum.

John Steinbeck, a best-selling novelist and Pyle’s friend, perhaps best described the reporter’s work when he told Time magazine that there were two wars and neither had much to do with one another. There was the one war that involved maps and the movements of armies, divisions, and regiments run by high-ranking officers such as General George Marshall, chief of staff of the U.S. Army in Washington, D.C.

But there was another war, Steinbeck said. This war involved the “homesick, weary, funny, violent common men who wash their socks in their helmets, complain about the food . . . and bring themselves through as dirty a business as the world has ever seen and do it with humor and dignity and courage—and that is Ernie Pyle’s war. He knows it as well as anyone and writes about it better than anyone.”

The Soldier's Friend: A Life of Ernie Pyle costs $17.95 and is available at the Society's Basile History Market gift shop. To order, call (800) 447-1830 or order online at the History Market.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Press, Magazine Release Holiday Book

Fond or not, everyone has holiday memories. Published by the Indiana Historical Society Press and Indy Men’s Magazine, The X-Mas Men: An Eclectic Collection of Holiday Essays is a very personal celebration, reconsideration, and reflection on “the most wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful, wonderful day of the year.”

Co-edited by Lou Harry and Todd Tobias, The X-Mas Men explores each author’s view of Christmas as a day charged with laughter and beauty, hope and regret—despite the difference in their religious, familial and economic backgrounds. Beyond the parties, television specials, shopping, gift exchanges, sermons and prayers, the book explores how Christmas has a way of shedding a twinkling light on people’s lives like no other day of the year.

Essay authors include novelist Michael Kun, Esquire magazine’s Tom Chiarella, award-winning memoirist Doug Crandall, playwright Eric Pfeffinger, best-selling author Philip Gulley, radio host Ed Wenck, novelist/writing teacher Dan Barden and journalist/retired Navy officer Todd Tucker. Also included are stories by Tim Farrell, Eric Furman, Peter Graham, Lou Harry, Brian D. Smith, Julia Spalding, Sam Stall, John B. Thomas, and Todd Tobias.

Lou Harry is editor in chief of Indy Men’s Magazine. He has written or co-written more than twenty books, including The High-Impact Infidelity Diet: A Novel, Creative Block, and Dirty Words of Wisdom. Todd Tobias is publisher of Indy Men’s Magazine and coauthor of Put the Moose on the Table.

The X-mas Men: An Eclectic Collection of Holiday Essays is 140 pages and available at the Indiana Historical Society’s Basile History Market gift store and at bookstores throughout Indiana in paper for $13.95. Indiana Historical Society members receive a 10-percent discount on the book when purchasing directly from the Basile History Market. To order, call (800) 447-1830 or order online at the Basile History Market.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Interview with Home Again Editor

Jim McGarrah, co-editor with Tom Watson on the new Indiana Historical Society Press book Home Again, took time recently to answer questions about his role in the book of essays featuring some of Indiana's finest writers.

What prompted both of you to put together a book of essays on Indiana?

Tom and I were both writing some non-fiction essays at the time and exchanging them for editorial comments. One day we began talking about how many good writers actually wrote non-fiction that lived in Indiana and Tom came up with the idea of showcasing some of them in an anthology.

Describe your role as editors for the book?

Besides contributing essays to the project, Tom and I worked at laying out the order for the essays after collecting them, reading and re-reading them, suggesting changes and cuts in individual essays where we thought necessary, and proofreading drafts. Tom worked very hard at logistics as well, keeping all the authors connected and updated by e-mail and conversing with the Indiana Historical Society.

Was there a particular theme you wished to emphasize in the book?

Not at the beginning. However, as we collected essays, we noticed a theme developing. People were writing about Indiana as their home, someplace they moved to in order to establish some continuity in their lives, or moved away from and back to in a search for stability and harmony.

How did you go about recruiting authors for the essays?

Many of these authors we had met previously at writers' conferences throughout the country, or I had worked with some at RopeWalk Writers Retreat in New Harmony. A few, we just read and like their work. We either called , or mailed them and asked them to contribute to this project honoring Indiana.

At one time, Indiana enjoyed a great national reputation in literature.
How does the state fare today?

There is at least one world class writer still working who comes from this state, Kurt Vonnegut. And, their are some wonderful writers who still live and work here that enjoy well-deserved national reputations like Susan Neville, Scott Russell Sanders, Tony Ardizzone, and poets like Marianne Baruch and Kathy Bowman, just to name a few. This is in the literary arena. Some good genre writing (i.e. mystery, western, romance, etc.) and academic writing is also being produced. So, I would say Indiana can hold its own in the world of readable, and important literature.

Do you have a favorite essay?

I love Leisa Belleau's story about growing up around Rockport, Indiana, and I love the lyrical, almost poetic, language and rhythm in Patty Aakhus' essay about the chroral mass at St. Meinrad.

What projects are you working on now?

I have a memoir about my experiences in Vietnam, A Temporary Sort of Peace, which is due to be published in January of 2008 by your Press, and I am working on finding a publisher for my second collection of poetry, "Uneven Symmetry." Over this past summer, I began writing the draft of a sequel to my memoir.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Authors Explore Indiana Themes

Famed Indiana writer and wit George Ade once observed that a Hoosier seemed often to be a "puzzling combination of shy provincial, unfettered democrat, and Fourth of July orator," as well as being a storyteller by reason of being born in the state.

What it means today to make a home in the nineteenth state is examined in the Indiana Historical Society Press's new collection Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana. Editors Tom Watson and Jim McGarrah have brought together some of the state's finest writers to reflect on such themes as family, security, and, as the editors noted, "quests for a better life, a life rooted in Indiana."

"Perhaps this state is to the United States what the heart is to the body," the editors note in the book's introduction. "Everything that is the essence of what keeps us alive flows to and from this center, drawn in and pumped out to replenish and reinvigorate all the other parts."

The book includes essays from such well-known Hoosier literary figures as Kurt Vonnegut, Scott Russell Sanders, Susan Neville, Michael Martone, and David Hoppe. The many different meanings of "home" are examined in the book, including Alyce Miller discussing her attempts to become a Hoosier after having moved to Indiana from California, and Michele Gondi finding a place in the community of Mount Vernon after moving from her native Argentina.

The tone of the essays collected in Home Again range from the pastoral, as in Scott Saalman's account of his work with his grandfather in "Cider Days," to humorous yet scholarly, as in Rick Farrant's examination of the history of the name for Indiana residents, "Hunting for Hoosiers." Other essays explore such subjects as the Amish, hardware stores, lakes, Bobby Knight, unlocked doors, and urban sprawl.

McGarrah is an Indiana native. He has been managing editor of the national literary magazine The Southern Indiana Review since 1998 and teaches creative writing at the University of Southern Indiana. McGarrah codirects the RopeWalk Readers Series and serves on the RopeWalk Writers Retreat staff in New Harmony, Indiana, as well as the New Harmony Arts Committee.

Watson was born and raised in La Porte, Indiana. He is an online adjunct instructor of creative writing for Indiana University and recently retired from teaching writing for thirty years to at-risk populations for the Grand Rapids Public Schools. Watson has been an associate editor for The Crescent Review and a contributing editor for Hunger Mountain, the Vermont College journal of arts and letters.

Home Again costs $19.95 and is available at the Society's Basile History Market gift shop. To order, call (800) 447-1830 or order online at the History Market.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Interview with Governor Book Editors

Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, editors of the new IHS Press book Governors of Indiana, took some time recently to answer some questions about the publication, which features detailed biographies and official portraits of the fifty men who have served as the Hoosier State’s chief executive. Gugin is a professor of political science at Indiana University Southeast and St. Clair is a professor of journalism at IU Southeast.

What prompted you two to do a book on Indiana Governors?

We saw a book on Georgia governors and liked the idea of such a book. We checked and found that there was no comparable publication for Indiana governors. There were briefer versions and dated versions, but nothing with in-depth information and nothing current. We thought the subject was interesting and that the book would be of interest to a wide range of people. We also thought that this project was a natural for us given our background in biographical research and writing. We have co-authored two biographical works, one on Supreme Court Justice Sherman Minton and the other on Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson.

How did you go about recruiting contributors for the project?

We started by contacting colleagues who we knew had the research background and writing skills that were essential to producing a top quality publication. We also consulted with staff at the Indiana Historical Society who suggested people who had previously written about a specific governor, and we got leads for possible authors from historians at Indiana University in Bloomington and at IUPUI. We were fortunate that virtually everyone we contacted agreed to write an essay, and some even volunteered to do additional ones. We think we have a pretty impressive list of contributors, including the Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court.

You two have collaborated before on book projects. How did you divide the work on this book?

We divided the work by century.

Jim: I was interested in working on Ashbel P. Willard, who was living in New Albany when he was elected governor, so I chose to edit the essays on nineteenth-century governors.

Linda: I had done a lot of research on Paul McNutt for the biography of Sherman Minton and wanted to write on McNutt. So I was happy to edit the essays on twentieth-century governors.

It turned out that there were about an equal number of governors in each century, and working on governors for each century was beneficial in other ways. For one, it allowed us to check the essays for continuity and possible discrepancies for succeeding governors. Plus we became knowledgeable with the recurring issues of specific eras.

In doing the book, what surprised you most about the state’s governors?

Working on the book reaffirmed for us the importance of the office of governor. We discovered that the office of governor was a wonderful lens for viewing the political, economic and social history of the state. We became aware of how central Indiana was to the fortunes of both national political parties. Indiana governors were often sought by the national parties for balancing considerations, and several governors went on to important national offices including territorial governor William Henry Harrison who became president, Thomas Hendricks who served as vice president under Grover Cleveland, Thomas Marshall who became Woodrow Wilson’s vice president, and Otis Bowen who served at Secretary of Health and Human Services under President Ronald Reagan.

Do each of you have a "favorite" governor?

It is hard to pick because there have been many able governors who have served the state well. Many were interesting characters, and it was fascinating to learn about them.

Jim: If I had to pick one it would be James Mount, a heroic figure during the Civil War, who was governor from 1897-1901. He was a reluctant politician but once he was elected he was conscientious and progressive. His term came when there was a lot of reform legislation at the national level, and at the state level he was able to push through laws to regulate business, improve worker health and safety and ensure the quality of food and drugs. He was an honest, decent, hardworking public servant who achieved quite a bit in his one term in office.

Linda: My pick is Paul McNutt. I became familiar with him while working on the Minton biography and was impressed with his understanding of how to accumulate power and use it to pursue his policy goals. McNutt, who was governor from 1933-1937, was without question one of the two most powerful governors in the state’s history. Historically, the office of governor has been a weak office, in terms of the formal powers available to the governor. Although McNutt was limited to only one term, he found ways, with the blessing of the legislature controlled by his party, to centralize authority in governor’s office. Serving during the height of the Great Depression he was able to establish many progressive programs including tax reform, socioeconomic legislation, and regulation of utilities.

Any advice for those who might want to tackle this sort of project in other states?

Before undertaking this kind of project it is essential to seek out potential publishers. We were fortunate that the Indiana Historical Society was receptive to our proposal from the beginning, and their staff were immensely helpful throughout the process. For people who plan to edit a work on governors, the most important thing is to select good writers and provide them at the outset with as much guidance and assistance as possible in terms of the format for the essay and suggestions for sources of information. Our most important advice to our authors was to write an engaging essay, to begin the essay with an overall theme, and to develop that theme throughout the essay. We also gave them specifics about what information was essential in the essay and what kind of information was not appropriate. Editing is hard work, and occasionally you will ruffle the feathers of some of the authors, and you need to learn diplomatic ways to deal with that. It is a very satisfying project. It provides a valuable resource for citizens of the state and future generations.

Friday, August 11, 2006

Indiana Governors Profiled

Did you know that Indiana’s first territorial governor, William Henry Harrison, became the ninth president of the United States and was the grandfather of the twenty-third president, Benjamin Harrison? That Henry S. Lane served the shortest term as Indiana governor, just three days? That two governors, Thomas A. Hendricks and Thomas R. Marshall, later served as vice presidents? That Civil War governor Oliver P. Morton was the first native-born Hoosier to serve as the state’s chief executive?

Recently released by the IHS Press, The Governors of Indiana includes detailed biographies and official portraits of the fifty men who have served as the Hoosier State’s chief executive.

Edited by Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, the 436-page, hardcover book includes biographical information and highlights the lives and careers of each governor, with special emphasis on the events and accomplishments during his time in office. Each governor's official portrait is also included. An introductory essay discusses the evolution of the office of governor and provides an overview of the people who have been governor.

The men who are featured deserve recognition if for no other reason than serving as chief executive of Indiana, the highest honor the state can bestow. In addition, many of them filled important offices on the national level, such as representative, senator, cabinet officer, ambassador, vice president, and president. Others achieved prominence outside of politics as successful lawyers, businessmen, and civic leaders.

In their introductory essay, the editors note that historically the office of governor in Indiana has been a weak institution compared to the power enjoyed by the state legislature and contrasted to the officer of governor in other states. Over time, however, the state’s chief executive has increasingly wielded more power than what was prescribed in the constitutions of 1816 and 1851.

Historical events have played a role in shaping gubernatorial authority. The book closely examines the administration of two of the state’s most powerful chief executives—Oliver P. Morton, governor during the Civil War, and Paul V. McNutt, who occupied the office during the grim days of the Great Depression. Republican Morton, a key supporter of President Abraham Lincoln, has been called “the most powerful governor of Indiana during the nineteenth century.” With the support of a Democratic legislature, McNutt could boast of a string of legislative victories that has never been matched by succeeding administrations.

Linda C. Gugin is a professor of political science at Indiana University Southeast and is cowriter of Sherman Minton: New Deal Senator, Cold War Justice and Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson of Kentucky: A Political Biography. James E. St. Clair is a professor of journalism at Indiana University Southeast and is cowriter of Sherman Minton: New Deal Senator, Cold War Justice and Chief Justice Fred M. Vinson of Kentucky: A Political Biography.

The Governors of Indiana costs $34.95 and is available at the Society's Basile History Market gift shop. To order, call (800) 447-1830 or order online at the History Market.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Youth Genealogy Book Published

When Evie overhears her parents talking about their family tree, she considers whether they mean the holly, the sugar maple, the magnolia or the oak. Follow the story of how Evie defines what her family tree means to her. Designed specifically for children, Evie Finds Her Family Tree, is an inspired exploration of what being a part of a family really means.

This simple introduction to genealogy from the IHS Press helps children begin to understand the connections that families share and how, although unique individuals, each family member links to one another.

The book was written by Ashley Ransburg, an Indianapolis, Indiana, elementary school teacher who developed a passion for art and creative writing at an early age and has always loved finding out about her own family history.

Evie Finds Her Family Tree is 30 pages, includes a pull-out family tree poster, and is available at the Society’s Basile History Market gift store and at bookstores throughout Indiana in hard cover for $14.95. IHS members receive a 10% discount on the book when purchasing directly from the Basile History Market. To order, call (800) 447-1830 or order online at the History Market.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Hollywood Book Praised

Noted national film critic and historian Leonard Maltin has written a glowing review of the new IHS Press book Hoosiers in Hollywood.

Written by David L. Smith, Hoosiers in Hollywood presents native Hoosiers, as well as those who spent much of their formative years in the state, who have contributed in some fashion to the motion picture industry. The book includes Oscar winners and nominees, movies shot in or about Indiana, and Hoosiers on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In addition, there are more than 300 illustrations, including promotional shots from Hollywood studios and movie posters.

In his review, Maltin called the publication "an entertaining, attractive, and suprisingly interesting coffee table book."

For Maltin's complete review, visit his Web site.

Hoosiers in Hollywood costs $59.95 and is available online from the Indiana Historical Society's History Market or by calling (800) 447-1830

Monday, June 26, 2006

Press Authors to Sign Books

Two Indiana Historical Society Press authors will sign copies of their recent books at separate events in July.

At 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 8, David L. Smith, author of Hoosiers in Hollywood, will sign copies of his book at Borders Book Store at River Crossing, 8675 River Crossing Blvd., Indianapolis.

In his book, Smith presents native Hoosiers, as well as those who spent much of their formative years in the state, who have contributed in some fashion to the motion picture industry. Their contributions began with the invention of the first motion picture projector, continued through the silent era and the advent of sound and represent an important presence in the industry today. The reader will find many stories about Hoosiers working together to showcase their remarkable talents and helping to change the face of the entertainment industry. Over the years, Hoosiers have made their way to Hollywood—-the Mecca for those with stories to tell and talents to be showcased.

At 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday, July 18, Ashley B. Ransburg, author of Evie Finds Her Family Tree, will sign copies of her book at the Carnegie Public Library of Steuben County, 322 S. Wayne St., Angola.

Ransburg's book tells the story of Evie, a little girl who tries to discover the meaning of her family tree. This illustrated storybook includes a 32 inch by 24 inch illustrated family tree chart that children can complete using their own family information.

For more information on the Ransburg signing, contact the library at (260) 665-3362.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Family History Journal Honored

2006 is the year of the awards for the Indiana Historical Society’s journal The Hoosier Genealogist. In June two THG authors won awards in the published articles category of the 2006 Excellence-in-Writing Competition sponsored by the International Society of Family History Writers and Editors. Mary Blair Immel won third place for “Boone County’s ‘Kansas Colony’” (spring 2005). Peter Sleeth won first place for “The Underground Railroad and the Marshall Family of Economy, Indiana” (fall 2005).

The American Association of State and Local History announced in June that THG will be the recipient of an Award of Merit at its fall 2006 awards banquet.

The Award of Merit is one of the AASLH’s three Leadership in History Awards given to organizations and individuals to recognize outstanding accomplishments in the collection, preservation, and interpretation of state and local history. Through its awards program, the AASLH encourages standards of excellence in historic endeavors throughout North America.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Press Books Receive Awards

Four books published by the IHS Press were finalists in the Indiana Center for the Book's second annual Best Books of Indiana competition.

In the non-fiction category, two volumes from the Press's Indiana Biography Series were finalists. Those honored were Wes Gehring's James Dean: Rebel with a Cause and Randy K. Mills's Jonathan Jennings: Indiana's First Governor.

In the children's literature category, the Press received awards for Mary Blair Immel's Captured! A Boy Trapped in the Civil War and Ray E. Boomhower's The Sword & the Pen: A Life of Lew Wallace.

The Indiana Center for the Book is a program of the Indiana State Library and an affiliate of the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress. The Center's role is to stimulate public interest in reading and books at the state and local levels and to encourage the study of books in society. The Center develops programs to support books and reading through competitions, lectures, and related activities in Indiana.

New Travel Book Available

"A wonderful read for anyone wishing to explore Indiana from the comfort of one’s favorite reading chair."--Dean Bolin, Ferdinand News

“The book is a well-written and well-designed overview of many of the state’s points of interest.”--John Belden, Daily Reporter

“A new ‘must have’ book for Hoosiers who like to visit places within the state.” --Alexandra Newman, Chesterton Tribune

What started as a newspaper column, "Traveling Indiana," in the Muncie Star Press, has become a traveling companion of interesting sites to see in Indiana--101 to be exact. Written by Earl L. Conn, dean emeritus, College of Communications, Information, and Media, Ball State University, My Indiana: 101 Places to See, includes a mixture of highly visited Hoosier travel destinations and many tucked in nooks and corners around the state--musuems, state parks, historic sites, monuments, recreation areas, and more.

Presented in a conversational writing style, the book offers opinion on each destination form a visitors preserpective. My Indiana presents facts and insights, mixed with a little humor, to many unique experiences and sites to be found on the Hoosier State's front roads, back roads, and crossroads. This collection also features more than 300 color photographs taken by the author, detailed route descriptions, travel information, local contact information, and fees. The included detailed maps also assist the reader in locating the various sites that do the Indiana landscape like so many gems.

Conn, who has written the "Traveling Indiana" column in the Star Press since 1998, is the author of Beneficence: Stories about the Ball Families of Muncie and Painting Indiana. He will discuss his book and sign copies in a free "A Reading Life" program at noon Wednesday, June 21, at the Indiana History Center, 450 W. Ohio St., Indianapolis.

My Indiana: 101 Places to See costs $19.95 and is available online from the Indiana Historical Society's History Market or by calling (800) 447-1830.