Tuesday, September 29, 2009

IHS Press Author Earl Conn Dies

IHS Press author Earl L. Conn, 82, passed away Sunday, September 20, 2009 at Ball Memorial Hospital.

Conn, the author of two IHS Press books, My Indiana: 101 Places to See and My Indiana: 101 More Places to See, was born August 12, 1927 in Marion, Indiana, the son of Wayne and Mildred Conn. He graduated from Marion High School in 1945 and received a bachelor of arts from the University of Kentucky in 1950. He earned a master of arts degree from Ball State University in 1957 and a doctor of education degree from Indiana University in 1970.

Conn became a sportswriter for The Chronicle in Marion, Indiana, in 1943 while still in high school. In 1945 he joined the U.S. Navy and was a military staff writer from 1945 to 1946. After his service ended, he worked for United Press wire service in its Louisville bureau from 1950 to 1951. In 1951 his U.S. Air Force Reserve Unit was called to active duty and he served once again as a military staff writer from 1951 to 1952.

After completing this term of duty, Earl returned to Indiana to work at the Leader-Tribune in Marion as wire editor. In 1954 he began a high school teaching career at Somerset High School followed by Richmond High School. He joined the faculty at Ball State University in 1958, teaching journalism and English as well as advising the Orient yearbook. He resigned in 1962 to become full-time editor of Quaker Life magazine, a publication he helped found in 1960. In 1963 Conn returned to Ball State as assistant director of its Public Information Services before rejoining the faculty in 1965. During these years, he was also faculty adviser to the Daily News. He was named chair of the Department of Journalism in 1984, a position he held for twelve years. In 1996 he became the first Dean of the newly created College of Communication, Information, and Media and was inducted into the Indiana Journalism Hall of Fame in 1997.

In 1998 Conn retired from Ball State as Dean Emeritus and returned to his writing career. He began an Indiana travel column, "Traveling Indiana," which has appeared in five Indiana newspapers. He has written six books, including Beneficence: Stories About the Ball Families of Muncie; essays for Painting Indiana; and a history of Ball State University's Administration Building. He also co-authored Effective Business Writing: Write Tight and Right. He wrote for a number of periodicals, including the Saturday Evening Post. As a reporter, one of the highlights of his career was attending and reporting on the March on Washington in August 1963 when Martin Luther King Jr. gave his "I Have A Dream" speech. Conn was one of the founders of the Midwest Writers Workshop and continued to play an integral role in it until his death.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wander Indiana with New IHS Press Book

As a follow-up to Earl Conn's popular travel book My Indiana: 101 Places to See, published in 2006, the Indiana Historical Society Press is pleased to announce the publication of My Indiana: 101 More Places to See.

The sites in My Indiana: 101 More Places to See are a mixture of highly visible Hoosier travel destinations and many tucked in nooks and corners around the state--museums, state parks, historic sites, monuments, recreation areas, and other attractions--that beckon to tourists. Written in a conversational style, the book offers opinions on each destination from a visitor's perspective.

Handsomely illustrated with approximately 300 color photos taken by the author, the paperback book includes detailed route descriptions, travel information, local contact information, and attraction fees. Each site is presented in a two-page spread, allowing easy reference as the traveler navigates the state's front roads, back roads, and cross roads.

Whether looking for well-known locations or those off the beaten path, the traveler will find this guide a handy tool and an invaluable companion on tours across the Hoosier State.

Conn, dean emeritus, Collection of Communication, Information and Media, Ball State University, is a well-known writer and columnist. He has written a column called "Traveling Indiana" in the Muncie Star Press since 1998.

My Indiana: 101 More Places to See costs $19.95. The book is available from the Indiana Historical Society's History Market.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Summer 2009 Traces Ready

The summer 2009 issue of the Indiana Historical Society Press's popular history magazine Traces of Indiana and Midwestern History will be in members' mailboxes soon.

The issue features two articles exploring the 1940 presidential campaign of Hoosier Wendell Willkie. Conrad C. Lane, Ball State University emeritus professor, remembers Willkie's famous visit to his hometown of Elwood to formally accept the Republican presidential nomination. Lane, who was nine years old at the time, tried to attend Willkie's speech with his mother, but the heat on that oppressive August day was too much.

In addition, Edward Allan Brawley, professor emeritus of social work at Arizona State University, examines the role former Socialist Party stalwart Robert Hunter played in advising Willkie during the candidate's effort to stop incumbent President Franklin D. Roosevelt from winning a third term in office.

Other articles in the quarterly magazine include a look at the role the Thirty-fourth Indiana Volunteer Infantry Regiment played in the Battle of Pamito Ranch, the last engagement of the Civil War; a history of private toll roads in Indiana; and African American art in the collection of the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Traces is an award-winning popular history magazine published quarterly as a benefit of membership in the IHS. Conceived as a means of bringing to the public good narrative and analytical history about Indiana in its broader contexts of region and nation, the magazine since 1989 has explored the lives of artists, writers, politicians, performers, soldiers, entrepreneurs, homemakers, reformers, and naturalists.