The Bates House in Indianapolis (1853)

Abraham Lincoln’s Whistle Stop Tour from Illinois to Washington D.C.

The president-elect, Abraham Lincoln, began his journey on February 11, 1861 from Springfield, IL to Washington D.C.  One of his first stops on his way to Washington D.C. was Indianapolis, where he made the following uncharacteristically candid speech from the second story balcony of the Bates House.

The Bates House
The Bates house, one of the first hotels in downtown Indianapolis, was established in 1853 and is famous for the first major policy statement given by President Abraham Lincoln to 45,000 on lookers from the hotel balcony. In 1903, The Bates House was turned into The Claypool, a bustling hotel famous for its lobby, which was reportedly the largest in the country, and its grand size of 450 guest rooms, each with its own private bath, a new phenomenon of the time. Many celebrities and presidents stayed at the Claypool, including William Howard Taft, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Dwight D. Eisenhower. The site of the former Bates House is now the Embassy Suites in Indianapolis.

“Fellow-Citizens of the State of Indiana: I am here to thank you much for this magnificent welcome, and still more for the very generous support given by your State to that political cause which I think is the true and just cause of the whole country and the whole world. Solomon says, “There is a time to keep silence;” and when men wrangle by the mouth with no certainty that they mean the same thing while using the same word, it perhaps were as well if they would keep silence.

The words “coercion” and “invasion ” are much used in these days, and often with some temper and hot blood. Let us make sure, if we can, that we do not misunderstand the meaning of those who use them. Let us get the exact definitions of these words, not from dictionaries, but from the men themselves, who certainly deprecate the things they would represent by the use of the words. What, then, is “coercion?” What is “invasion?”–Would the marching of an army into South Carolina, without the consent of her people, and with hostile intent towards them, be invasion? I certainly think it would be “coercion,” also, if the South Carolinians were forced to submit.

But if the United States should merely hold and retake its own forts and other property, and collect the duties on foreign importations, or even withhold the mails from places where they were habitually violated, would any or all these things be “invasion” or “coercion?” Do our professed lovers of the Union, but who spitefully resolve that they will resist coercion and invasion, understand that such things as these on the part of the United States would be coercion or invasion of a State? If so, their idea of means to preserve the object of their great affection would seem to be exceedingly thin and airy. If sick, the little pills of the homeopathist would be much too large for it to swallow.–In their view the Union, as a family relation, would seem to be no regular marriage, but rather a sort of “free love” arrangement, to be maintained on passional attraction.

By the way, in what consists the special sacredness of a State? I speak not of the position assigned to a State in the Union by the Constitution, for that by the bond we all recognize. That position, however, a State cannot carry out of the Union with it. I speak of that assumed primary right of a State to rule all which is less than itself. If a State and a county, in a given case, should be equal in extent of territory and equal in number of inhabitants, in what, as a matter of principle, is the State better than the county? Would an exchange of names be an exchange of rights? Upon principle, on what rightful principle may a State, being no more than one-fiftieth part of the nation in soil and population, break up the nation and then coerce a proportionably larger sub-division of itself in the most arbitrary way? What mysterious right to play tyrant is conferred on a district of country with its people by merely calling it a State?

Fellow-citizens, I am not asserting anything. I am merely asking questions for you to consider. And now allow me to bid you farewell.”

HOOSIER GERMAN NEWSPAPER DIGITIZATION FOR CHRONICLING AMERICA (Hoosier deutschen Zeitung Digitalisierung für Chronik Amerika)

The May 15, 1902 issue of the Indiana Tribune. Courtesy of Hoosier State Chronicles.
The May 15, 1902 issue of the Indiana Tribune. Courtesy of Hoosier State Chronicles.

Since the NDNP’s project beginnings, nearly seven years ago, the Library of Congress could not accept German-printed newspapers because the font type commonly used during the 19th and 20th centuries (Fraktur) represented significant challenges when conducting Optical Character Recognition (OCR). (OCR allows the end-user the ability to research digitally-created newspapers with advanced word-search engines.) Fortunately, OCR software and technology have made significant advances over the years and now allow Fraktur font-based German newspapers’ a unique opportunity for ingestion by the Library of Congress.

Seit der NDNP das Projekt Anfängen vor fast sieben Jahren, konnte die Library of Congress nicht akzeptieren deutschen gedruckten Zeitungen, weil die Schriftart häufig während des 19. und 20. Jahrhunderts (Fraktur) verwendet vertreten erheblichen Herausforderungen bei der Durchführung von Optical Character Recognition (OCR). (OCR ermöglicht dem Endbenutzer die Möglichkeit, digital erzeugte Zeitungen mit fortgeschrittenen Wort-Suchmaschinen recherchieren.) Glücklicherweise OCR Software und Technologie wurden bedeutende Fortschritte im Laufe der Jahre gemacht und erlauben nun Fraktur font-basierten deutschen Zeitungen “eine einzigartige Gelegenheit für Verschlucken von der Library of Congress.

The Indiana State Library, realizing the importance of digitally preserving Indiana German newspapers, immediately selected the Indiana Tribüne to be digitized, OCR’ed and sent to Chronicling America.

Die Indiana State Library, erkennen die Bedeutung von digital Erhaltung Indiana deutschen Zeitungen, sofort wählte die Indiana Tribune zu digitalisieren, OCR’ed und schließlich an Chronik Amerika. 

“The importance of foreign language newspapers and other publications printed for ethnic groups in the US is two-fold: on the one hand, they tell us a great deal about the ethnic group itself, but, on the other hand, they tell us perhaps even more about the development of American social and cultural life in general.”

“With easier access to these documents (often ignored in research because of their inaccessibility) historians will have the ability to gain new and more accurate perspectives on life in this country. The digitization of the Indiana Tribüne will help provide those perspectives.” Giles R. Hoyt, Ph.D., Professor emeritus, Director emeritus, IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center

“Die Bedeutung der fremdsprachigen Zeitungen und andere Publikationen für ethnische Gruppen in den USA gedruckt ist zweierlei: auf der einen Seite, sie sagen uns viel über die ethnische Gruppe selbst, sondern auf der anderen Seite, sie uns zu sagen, vielleicht noch mehr über die Entwicklung des amerikanischen sozialen und kulturellen Leben im Allgemeinen. “

“Mit leichteren Zugang zu diesen Dokumenten (oft in der Forschung wegen ihrer Unzugänglichkeit ignoriert) Historiker haben die Möglichkeit, neue und genauere Perspektiven auf das Leben in diesem Land zu gewinnen. Die Digitalisierung der Indiana Tribüne wird dazu beitragen, diese Perspektiven.” Giles R . Hoyt, Ph.D., Professor emeritus, Direktor emeritus, IUPUI Max Kade German-American Center

Indiana State Sentinel: September 11, 1878 (Indiana’s Third State Capitol Building Design Released to the Hoosier Public)

Courtesy of Hoosier State Chronicles.
Courtesy of Hoosier State Chronicles.

On September 11, 1878 the Indiana State Sentinel released the architectural renderings of the proposed third capitol building for the state of Indiana, located in the 1825 appointed capitol city of Indianapolis. A total of $2 million dollars was set aside for the building’s construction which began in October of 1878 and completed in 1888.

Indiana’s capitol building, to this day, is the only state capitol building to house all three branches of government (judicial, legislative & executive) under one roof.

As depicted in the 1879 design, the architects intended the Italian-inspired great dome of the capitol building to be 234 feet tall!  Upon project completion, the dome actually measured 256 feet.  Noted, too, in the blueprints are the various statues positioned on the roof .  Most of these originally intended statues were eliminated from the budget, which is one of many reasons the building completed construction in 1888 consuming only $1.8 million of the $2 million funds set aside.

indiana state house
A contemporary view of the Indiana State House. Courtesy of the Indianapolis Star.

Library of Congress Representative to Pay Special Visit to Indiana

The Indiana State Library will host a public program on Friday, July 13 featuring Ms. Deborah Thomas, the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP) coordinator for the Library of Congress. Ms. Thomas will discuss the Chronicling America website and the importance of digitizing and preserving historic newspapers published in Indiana. The presentation will take place at the State Library at 315 West Ohio Street, Indianapolis, in the History Reference room from 10:30 AM to noon (EDT).

Indiana is one of twenty-nine states currently participating in the NDNP program. The Indiana State Library, in partnership with the Indiana Historical Society, is digitizing a selection of Indiana’s historically significant newspapers as part of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) NDNP grant. Newspapers digitized as part of this two-year project will be included in the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America website, which provides access to information about historic newspapers and select digitized newspaper pages. The NDNP is a long-term effort to develop an Internet-based, searchable database of U.S. newspapers with descriptive information and select digitization of historic pages.

This program is worth two (2) Technology Library Education Units toward public librarian certification. Please contact Indiana NDNP project manager Chris Ittenbach at cittenbach@library.in.gov or (317) 234-8153 if you are interested in attending the program. Visit either the project wiki (http://208.119.72.66/digiwiki) to monitor the Indiana NDNP project and receive real-time project status reports.

Indiana Tribüne

The Disappearance of the German Language Press In Indianapolis And Throughout the United States During 1917 and 1918

On May 3, 1918 the Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne printed on page 1 an announcement citing an opinion of the U.S. Attorney General that the United States Government will not lend its aid to the “drive” for the suppression of newspapers printed in German, PROVIDED THAT THEY DO NOT ENGAGE IN UNLAWFUL PROPAGAGNDA”. On May 8 Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne printed on page 1 an announcement quoting President Wilson, “I would just as leave Americanize a language as Americanize an individual. You should not regard the language in which you print your periodicals as a foreign language when printed in America for the conveyance of American thinking. Then we will have taken another step toward that combination of elements which in the long run is going to make America more various in its natural gifts, more variegated in its genius than any other country in the world.” On May 17, 1918 the Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne printed on page 1 an announcement where Mr. George Creel (of the Committee for Public Information) opined that “…the loyal American press printed in the German language fulfills an important mission…the German papers had a right to continue so long as Congress had not abrogated that right…” Mr. Creel also opined that “…he did not favor teaching German in the primary grades of schools, but that he was not opposed to having it taught in the higher grades, as there always were some person who desired to read Goethe and Schiller in the original.” On May 23, 1918 the Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne printed on page 1 an announcement related how Champ Clark, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, said that “…the readers of the American papers printed in the German Language need have no fear of Congress ever passing a law to suppress these papers, providing they observe the existing laws…He called the German language newspapers loyal and said that the Government itself was most benefited by them and that the Government fully appreciated the services rendered by them.”

On May 29, however, the Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne printed on page 1 an announcement that it and the Spottvogel would cease publication on Monday June 3, 1917 after fifty three years of publication. The announcement received coverage in the English language press with a front page article in the Indianapolis Star. The Indianapolis Star article quotes Otto E. Tamm, the advertising manager of the Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne and the Spottvogel, “We are neutral before the entrance of the United States and we have been loyal since.” In the announcement printed on the front page of the Täglicher Telegraph und Tribüne it was stated that, “Unfortunately, however, a pronounced prejudice has arisen in this country against everything printed or written in the German language, regardless of the fact that the German language newspapers are the means of reaching thousands of persons who are reached in no other way, and because of this prejudice and because we feel that all causes for possible disturbance in our community should be removed, we have decided to take the step suggested.”

Courtesy of Indiana State Library.
The May 29, 1918 issue of the Taglicher Telegraph und Tribune. Courtesy of Indiana State Library.

One wonders about the wording “possible disturbance in our community”, were vigilante groups threatening to become active in Indianapolis? In any event, given the anti-German propaganda that the American public was completely marinated in by this time, it would seem a hopeless task for any German language paper published in the United States to stay in business. Perhaps an advertisement that appeared in the May 31, 1918 issue of the Indianapolis Star best captures the feeling of the times. The advertisement is encouraging young men who possess high physical and mental qualifications to join the army tank corps whose motto is “Kill Germans – kill them early, late and all the time but kill them sure.”

An editorial in the May 31, 1918 issue of the Indianapolis Star. Courtesy of Indiana State Library.
An editorial in the May 31, 1918 issue of the Indianapolis Star. Courtesy of Indiana State Library.

 

Killing the serpent speedily: Governor Morton, General Hascall, and the suppression of the democratic press in Indiana, 1863

By Stephen E. Towne

Discussions of the phenomenon of federal government suppression of the press during the Civil War constitute a substantial body of literature. Historians have recognized that he unique stresses and strains on civil government induced by war resulted in extraordinary measures taken by government leaders to limit the speech of individuals and groups that openly criticized the ways in which the war was being waged. Some of these measures stretched legal and constitutional boundaries; others broke them outright.

Frequently overshadowed in these discussions of the suppression of the press is the attempt by Brig. Gen. Milo S. Hascall to muzzle the Democratic newspapers of Indiana in the spring of 1863. Hascall’s efforts are not unknown to historians; many have alluded to the case. Nonetheless, these accounts, usually based on the small handful of documents published in the official War Department War of the Rebellion series relating to the episode, paint cursory, incomplete pictures of the Indiana events, omit important details, obscure important facts, and overlook the scale of the Union general’s assault on the Democratic press.

General Orders number 38 (issued April 13, 1863, by Maj. Gen. Ambrose E. Burnside) announced strict military punishment for any persons who voiced opposition to the government in Washington and the sympathy for the rebels in the South.

The Plymouth Weekly Democrat in Marshall County Indiana published anti-war sentiments in their April 30, 1863 issue. Consequently, Brig. Gen. Milo S. Hascall sent 12 soldiers to shut down the publication and arrest all owners. On April 14, 1863 the Plymouth Weekly Democrat became the first of what would be a total of 11 publications shut down by Milo that summer. The April 14, 1863 issue of the Plymouth Weekly Democrat displays an article talking about the publication’s recent shut-down and the arrest of its owners.

Brigadier General Milo S. Hascall. Courtesy of Haskell Family History.
Brigadier General Milo S. Hascall. Courtesy of Haskell Family History.

Milo S. Hascall was born in LeRoy in Genesee County, New York. In 1846 he moved to Goshen, Indiana, where he clerked in a store and taught school. Two years later, he was appointed as a cadet at the United States Military Academy, graduating in 1852. He was assigned as a second lieutenant in the 2nd U.S. Artillery and was stationed in New England doing garrison duty in Newport Harbor, Rhode Island. After two years’ service in the Regular Army, he resigned his commission.

Hascall went back to Goshen, where he became a lawyer and filled various political offices. He also was a railroad contractor, district attorney, and the clerk of the county courts. He practiced law in Goshen, Indiana, from 1855 till 1861, serving as prosecuting attorney of Elkhart and Lagrange counties from 1856 till 1858, and school examiner and clerk of courts from 1859 till 1861.

Read the full article here “Killing the Serpent Speedily.”


Stephen E. Towne is an archivist and historian.  His bio can be found here. He is an Advisory Committee member on the Indiana State Library’s NDNP program.

Indiana State Library Receives National Grant to Digitize Historic Indiana Newspapers

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $293,157 grant to the Indiana State Library to digitize Indiana’s historically significant newspapers. Indiana joins 25 states participating in the National Digital Newspaper Program (NDNP), a partnership between the NEH, the Library of Congress and participating states to provide enhanced access to American newspapers published between 1836 and 1922. Newspapers digitized as part of this two-year project will be included in the Library of Congress’ Chronicling America Database (http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/).

“This grant is crucial to the State’s efforts to provide optimal public access to Indiana’s historical documents and cultural heritage,” said Jim Corridan, State Archivist and Associate Director of the Indiana State Library. “The State Library houses millions of copies of historic Hoosier newspapers and this initiative will enable Hoosiers instant access to these collections via the internet.”

The Indiana State Library will be assisted on the project by an advisory group of representatives from the Indiana Commission on Public Library, the Indiana Historical Bureau, Ball State University, the Hoosier Press Foundation, the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana University School of Journalism and Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis. The advisory group will develop criteria for inclusion of historic papers and ultimately select the newspapers to be digitized.

In addition to the Indiana papers presence in the Chronicling America Database, the digitized papers will also be available through Indiana Memory (http://www.indianamemory.org/) – a collaborative effort to provide access to the wealth of primary sources in Indiana libraries, archives, museums, and other cultural institutions. Indiana Memory’s mission is to create and maintain a digital library that enables free public access to Indiana’s unique cultural and historical heritage. Through information and pictures found in digitized books, manuscripts, photographs, newspapers, maps, and other digital materials available on the Indiana Memory website, the program seeks to enhance education and scholarship of Indiana’s past. As a portal to the collections, Indiana Memory assists individuals to locate materials relevant to their interests and to better appreciate the connections between those materials.

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