Tuesday, October 22, 2013

History of Crown Hill Cemetery Available

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973, Crown Hill Cemetery has been a vital part of the Indianapolis community dating back to its first interment, Lucy Ann Seaton, on June 2, 1864. Since then, Crown Hill has grown from a “rural cemetery” into the nation’s third largest private cemetery and is a community treasure that serves a broad range of needs and stands as a monument to the memories of hundreds of famous Hoosiers and the thousands more who selected Crown Hill as their final resting place.

Published by the Indiana Historical Society Press in cooperation with the Crown Hill Heritage Foundation, Crown Hill: History, Spirit, and Sanctuary examines the cemetery’s complete history and places its story in a the larger historical context of the development and growth of American landscape architecture. In addition, the book includes vignettes of the famous families and individuals buried and/or entombed at Crown Hill and numerous photographs of the cemetery, its remarkable architecture, intricate sculptures memorializing the dead, and its lush landscape in every season. The cemetery is not only a place of memory, but it is also a place of contemplation for thousands of Indianapolis residents that pass through the site annually for such special events as Memorial Day, Benjamin Harrison’s birthday, Veterans Day, and other public and private group tours. Its rural setting also draws nature lovers to see deer, foxes, red-tailed hawks, and the more than 250 species of trees and shrubs on the grounds.

As far back as 1711, there were those who advocated for the development of landscaped cemeteries in rural settings. Since the founding of Mount Auburn Cemetery near Boston, Massachusetts, in 1831, Americans had looked to bury their loved ones in these rural cemeteries located on the outskirts of cities and towns across the United States. These locations were civic institutions designed for use by the public as a place to enjoy refined outdoor recreation and be exposed to art and culture.

The first burial ground in Indianapolis was a five-acre tract on Kentucky Avenue near the White River. The 1821 graveyard became the nucleus of Greenlawn Cemetery (later known as City Cemetery). By the 1860s this cemetery was unable to meet the needs of the growing capital city. With the suggestion of a Fort Wayne businessman, Hugh McCullough, some of the leading citizens of Indianapolis called upon John Chislett, a landscape architect from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with the development of what came to be Crown Hill Cemetery, which began with 274 acres bought for $51,000. Over the years additional acreage has been added to Crown Hill, the last coming in 1911.

Today, the cemetery occupies a 555-acre plot of land in northwest Indianapolis, bordered in the south and north by Thirty-second and Forty-second Streets respectively. More than 200,000 individuals are buried there, including many notable native and adopted Hoosiers. 

Crown Hill: History, Spirit, and Sanctuary costs $39.95 and is available from the IHS's Basile History Market.

Monday, July 29, 2013

Interview with IHS Press Author Dan Carpenter

Dan Carpenter, author of the IHS Press book Indiana Out Loud: Dan Carpenter on the Heartland Beat, has been writing for the Indianapolis Star since 1979. In writing for the state's largest newspaper, Carpenter has covered the life and times of some notable Hoosiers, as well as serving as the voice for the disadvantaged. An Indianapolis native, Carpenter answers some questions about his work and career.

What influenced you to go into the journalism profession? 

I fell into writing not long after I learned to read, and fell in love with bylines and readers as a high school newspaper reporter. College in the 1960s, an era of explosive politics and social change, sealed the deal for one who yearned to be in on the action, or more precisely on the edge of it.

What were some of your early jobs with newspapers? 

First was the Greenfield (Ind.) Daily Reporter, where I covered police, fire, city hall and, on nights and weekends, high school sports. I also learned photography there by the sink-or-swim method. Next, 180 degrees removed, was the Milwaukee Courier, an African-American weekly where I practiced by straight and advocacy journalism and learned the priceless lesson that "straight" depends on where one stands.

How do you come up with the ideas for your columns? 

The general flow of news provides lots of ideas for spinoff features, further digging and commentary. Countless contacts accumulated over all these decades keep me supplied with possibilities and in touch with pursuits, people and causes that otherwise would be ignored or not given justice. My reading beyond the news, from history to poetry, often inspires themes and style turns.

Over the years, have you received regular comments from readers, both positive and negative, on your work? 

Many, but rarely a deluge on any single story. Gun control, religion, President Obama, marriage equality and Bob Knight (still) can be counted on to stir response. Rarely is there not a fair distribution of positive and negative.

With all the problems seemingly besetting the profession, would you encourage young people to pursue journalism as a career? 

Absolutely. But be nimble. The technology and market trends that have us multi-tasking and risking accuracy and nuance for speed and distribution will doubtless continue to accelerate and change. The writer who wishes to tell rich, humane, politically courageous, exhaustively researched stories will find his/her New Yorkers, Salons and even room in the daily "press." But he or she will need a closet full of hats to get established as an employee. Freelancers and bloggers likewise will have to be more resourceful than ever if they're to make a living. There's always PR and advertising, and more power to them. But we know what kind of word-and-picture-maker America needs. Desperately.

Any ideas for future writing projects? 

I'm fussing with a second book of poems for breathlessly waiting publishers out there. I also pine to write some intensive magazine-type stories from some of the locales I have observed from afar as a local newsie -- Haiti, Cameroon, the Middle East, etc. I am weighing the notion of teaching for a semester or so in a foreign country and writing about the experience, the place, the people.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Indiana Out Loud: Dan Carpenter Book

Since 1976, Dan Carpenter’s writing has appeared in the pages of the Indianapolis Star as a police reporter, book critic, and renowned op-ed columnist. In writing for the state’s largest newspaper, Carpenter has covered the life and times of some notable Hoosiers, as well as serving as a voice for the disadvantaged, sometimes exasperating the Star’s readership in central Indiana as the newspaper’s “house liberal.”

Indiana Out Loud, now available from the Indiana Historical Society Press, is a collection of the best of Carpenter’s work since 1993 and includes timely and engaging examinations of the lives of such intriguing people as wrestling announcer Sam Menacker, survivor of the James Jones People’s Temple massacre Catherine Hyacinth Thrash, Indianapolis African American leader Charles “Snookie” Hendricks, Atlas Grocery impresario Sid Maurer, and coaches James “Doc” Counsilman and Ray Crowe. The book also includes a healthy dose of literary figures, politicians, historians, knaves, crooks, and fools.

As Carpenter notes, the book “presumes to make itself heard as a distinct voice of this place in this time of economic struggle, political divisiveness, creative persistence, flammable faith, terror brought home and war, seemingly, without end or limit.

“The cumulative sound comprises the sweet and strident, the measured and manic, the deafening and the barely detectable. It is as sharp as the orchestrations of a legendary neighborhood grocer and as seductive as the baritone riffs of a celebrated junkie poet. It shrieks against arbitrary war and enforced poverty. It sings the pain of inevitable loss and the praises of improbable gift-bearers.”

Carpenter is an Indianapolis native and a graduate of Cathedral High School and Marquette University. In addition to his work for the Indianapolis Star, he has published poetry in Illuminations, Pearl, Poetry East, Flying Island , Tipton Poetry Journal , and Southern Indiana Review. Carpenter’s book Hard Pieces: Dan Carpenter’s Indiana, was published by Indiana University Press in 1993. He lives in Indianapolis’s Butler-Tarkington neighborhood with his wife, Mary, and children, Patrick and Erin.

Indiana Out Loud costs $16.95 and is available from the Indiana Historical Society's Basile History Market.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

IHS Author Series Set

An Indiana politician and environmentalist, a Hollywood movie director, a mysterious totem pole, and a beloved Indianapolis store will all be featured in this summer's Indiana Historical Society Author Series. The programs, free and open to the public, begin at noon in the multipurpose room at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, 450 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis. 

The Author Series schedule is as follows:
  • Tuesday, June 18--Ray E. Boomhower, The People's Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana
  • Tuesday, July 16--Wes D. Gehring, Robert Wise: Shadowlands
  • Tuesday, August 20--Richard D. Feldman, Home before the Raven Caws: The Mystery of a Totem Pole
  • Tuesday, September 17--Kenneth L. Turchi, L. S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America

Monday, May 13, 2013

L.S. Ayres, Immigration Books Honored

The IHS Press book L. S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America, written by Kenneth L. Turchi, won first place in the Midwest Regional Interest: Text category at the 23rd annual Midwest Books Awards. Ray E. Boomhower, senior editor at the Press, was on hand at the event in Bloomington, Minnesota, to receive the award from Sherry Roberts, chair of the Midwest Independent Publishers Association, the group that sponsors the awards.

The competition attracted 187 books, entered in 44 categories, from 75 publishers in a 12-state Midwestern region. The Midwest Independent Publishers Association is a nonprofit professional association that serves the upper Midwest publishing community, advancing the understanding and appreciation of publishing production, promotion, and related technologies, professions, and trades.

Also, the IHS Press book Indianapolis: A City of Immigrants, written by M. Teresa Baer, is one of three finalists in the Teen: Nonfiction category in the 2013 Benjamin Franklin Awards competition sponsored by the Independent Book Publishers Association. Winners will be announced at a May 29 ceremony at the Marriott Marquis Hotel in New York City. 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Biography Wins SPJ Honor

The IHS Press book The People's Choice: Congressman Jim Jontz of Indiana captured first place in the non-fiction book category at the Indiana Professional Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists' annual Best in Indiana journalism contest.

The judge for the category said of the book: "Ray E. Boomhower's thoroughly researched and documented biography of Jim Jontz is a touching story well told--an inspiring portrait of a man's passion for the environment."

Friday, April 19, 2013

IHS Press Books Nominated for Awards

A number of IHS Press books have been named as finalists in the annual Midwest Book Awards sponsored by the Midwest Independent Publishers Association. Winners will be announced on May 8 at the Bloomington Center for the Arts in Bloomington, Minnesota.

The IHS Press books named as finalists are:

  • Robert Wise: Shadowlands by Wes D. Gehring in the Biography category
  • L.S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America by Ken Turchi in the Midwest Regional Interest, Text, category
  • Indianapolis: A City of Immigrants by M. Teresa Baer in the Young Adult, Nonfiction category
  • Paint and Canvas: A Life of T.C. Steele by Rachel Berenson Perry in the Young Adult, Nonfiction category

Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Mystery of a Totem Pole

In 1903 Alaska governor John Brady collected fifteen old totem poles for preservation at Sitka National Historical Park, creating one of the most famous collections of totem poles in the world. One pole became separated, and its fate remained a mystery for nearly ninety years.

Written by Richard D. Feldman, Home before the Raven Caws: The Mystery of a Totem Pole, published by the IHS Press in cooperation with the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art
, unravels the mystery of that missing pole from the Brady collection. The old Alaskan pole found its way to Indiana more than a hundred years ago. A new version of the pole stands today at the Eiteljorg.

Feldman is a family physician who has a longtime interest in Native American religion, art, and culture, having studied with the renowned scholar Joseph Epes Brown at Indiana University, Bloomington. Feldman was adopted into the Haida nation by Mary Yeltazie Swanson in 1996. Feldman lectures frequently on a variety of medical as well as historical topics and has been the subject of several public television documentaries.

Home before the Raven Caws costs $15.95 and is available from the Indiana Historical Society's Basile History Market.

Monday, March 18, 2013

IHS Press Books Finalists for National Awards

Three IHS Press books have been named as finalists in ForeWord Reviews 2012 Book of the Year Awards. Those books nominated and their categories are:

  • Robert Wise: Shadowlands by Wes D. Gehring in the biography category
  • Indianapolis: A City of Immigrants by M. Teresa Baer in the young adult nonfiction category
  • Paint and Canvas: A Life of T. C. Steele by Rachel Berenson Perry in the young adult nonfiction category
The finalists were selected from 1,300 entries covering sixty-two categories of books from independent and academic presses. These books represent some of the best produced by small publishing houses in 2012.

Over the next two months a panel of sixty judges, librarians and booksellers only, will determine the winners. Gold, Silver, and Bronze awards, as well as Editor's Choice Prizes for fiction and nonfiction, will be announced at the American Library Association's annual conference in Chicago on Friday, June 28. ForeWord's Book of the Year Awards program was created to highlight the years most distinguished books from independent publishers.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Poetry Book Wins Honor

The IHS Press book And Know This Place: Poetry of Indiana, has won the poetry category in the Indiana Center for the Book's 2012 Best Books of Indiana competition.

The poetry category judges called the book "an encapsulation of an essential part of our state's literary history," and noted it was "deserving of a place of honor in the personal library of any lover of things either poetic or Hoosier. As a resource for a connoisseur or novice, it would be well placed on a bookshelf next to Czeslaw Milosz's A Book of Luminous Things and Garrison Keillor's Good Poems."
Finalists in the poetry category included Airmail from the Airpoets and Rob Griffith's book The Moon from Every Window. 

Kander's poetry has appeared in Flying IslandCalifornia QuarterlyBathtub Gin,WindSouthern Indiana Review, and Shiver. Her chapbook Taboo was published by Finishing Line Press in 2004. She has compiled and edited two volumes of poetry, The Linen Weave of Bloomington Poets and Celebrating Seventy, both published under Wind’s logo. 

Greer’s poems have appeared in Streets MagazineFlying IslandWind, and other publications. He has been active with the Bloomington Free Verse Poets, and he coedited, with Kander, Say This of Horses: A Selection of Poems published by the University of Iowa Press in 2007.

Thursday, January 03, 2013

Interview with Author of L. S. Ayres Book

Photo by Zach Hetrick
Kenneth L. Turchi developed an interest in retailing while working for a clothing store in his hometown of Crawfordsville, Indiana. He worked for L. S. Ayres and Company while in college and later earned a law degree. He has spent most of his career in marketing and strategic planning in the financial services industry. Currently Turchi is assistant dean at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. Here he answers questions about his new book for the IHS Press, L. S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America.

What inspired you to write a history of L.S. Ayres and Company?

I've always been interested in retailing. My first job in high school was as an errand runner at The Golden Rule, a small chain of now-defunct women's clothing stores in my hometown of Crawfordsville. Later I worked for Loeb's of Lafayette and for L. S. Ayres. Researching and writing this book was a way for me to explore an area of interest in depth and meet some great people. It was an easy topic to choose: Ayres enjoyed such respect for its integrity, both as a merchant as an employer.

What made Ayres different from other department stores?

At least two things: Ayres was among the first department stores to anticipate the shift from dressmaking to ready-to-wear after World War I. To help customers make that transition, they came up with "That Ayres Look"--a slogan that signaled to its customers that ready-made fashions were just as desirable as custom-made ones, regardless of price. The slogan served them well for more than fifty years and set the pace for the store's commitment to quality, from the designer salon to the downstairs store.

Second, Ayres saw itself as being in the merchandising business, not the department store business. This broad strategy took them into new lines of business: discount stores, trade sources, specialty stores, all of which anticipated market trends years in advance. I believe that if the company hadn't made a couple of strategic errors in the early 1970s (and the economy had cooperated), they would occupy the space now owned by Target Corporation, which followed a similar growth path to Ayres. (Target was the discount-store arm of Dayton's, a Minneapolis department store similar to Ayres.)
Is there one individual from Ayres that stood out to you while you were doing your research as a person who typified the best of Ayres?

I would name two: Ted Griffith, who married into the Ayres family and guided its growth from the 1920s until about 1960. He was a master merchandiser and by all accounts an exemplary leader. Jim Gloin also comes to mind: he was the store's numbers man who kept things going during World War II and set the stage for its growth and diversification in the 1960s. Other names come to mind, too: Dan Evans, John Peacock, and Elizabeth Patrick.

Looking back, was there a way for Ayres to have survived into the twenty-first century?

As mentioned, Ayres made a critical decision in the late 1960s to continue building its department store franchise, which impeded growth of its Ayr-Way discount stores. If they had cast their lot with discount and specialty retailing, we quite probably would all be shopping at Ayr-Way rather than Target, and at Sycamore Shops rather than The Limited.

But other than that, Ayres as a traditional department store, where you could spend the day browsing for everything from furniture to sheet music to sewing notions to typewriters, could not survive today. Shopping habits have changed, and customers aren't as willing to pay for service over price. A few specialty retailers--Nordstrom, Crate and Barrel--have taken over the high-end general merchandise market. Macy's does a good job as a department store, but not in the traditional sense, and its results depend heavily on promotional pricing.

Are you working on another book?

Yes! Watch this space.

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

New History of L.S. Ayres and Company Released

In 1872 Lyman Ayres acquired a controlling interest in the Trade Palace, a dry-goods store in Indianapolis. Two ears later, he bought out his partners and renamed the establishment L. S. Ayres and Company. For the next century, Ayres was as much a part of Indianapolis as Monument Circle or the Indianapolis 500. Generations of midwestern families visited the vast store to shop for everything from furs to television sets, to see the animated Christmas windows, and, of course, to visit Santa Claus and enjoy lunch in the Tea Room.

As Kenneth L. Turchi highlights in his new IHS Press book L. S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America, Ayres was more than just a department store. At its helm across three generations was a team of visionary retailers who took the store from its early silk-and-calico days to a diversified company with interests in specialty stores, discount stores (before Target and Wal-Mart), and even grocery stores. At the same time, Ayres never lost sight of its commitment to women's fashion that gave the store the same cachet as its largest competitors in New York and Chicago.

What was the secret of Ayres's success? In the book, Turchi traces the store's history through three wars, the Great Depression, and the changing tastes and shopping habits of America in the 1960s and 1970s. Examining Ayres's hundred years of management decisions, he offers strategic takeaways that explain not only the store's success, but that also apply to anyone who wants to be successful in business. Along the way, he describes the store's phenomenal growth while offering a behind-the-scenes look at this beloved and trusted institution.

Turchi developed an interest in retailing while working for a clothing store in his hometown of Crawfordsville, Indiana. He worked for L. S. Ayres and Company while in college and later earned a law degree. He has spent most of his career in marketing and strategic planning in the financial services industry. Currently Turchi is assistant dean at the Indiana University Maurer School of Law in Bloomington. This is his first book.

L. S. Ayres and Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America costs $29.95 and is available from the IHS's Basile History Market.