Friday, June 14, 2013

I Need Something to Read!

(Note: Carmen Doyle, who works at our front desk, wrote this piece about a majority of the books we have in our gift shop. Take a look and then come shopping. Some of the most interesting reading about Allen County can be found at the History Center.)

by Carmen Doyle

Summer is here, and if you’re looking for something great to read, or a good “thank you” gift for the friend who invited you to the 4th of July party, the History Center has the answer!

History of Fort Wayne & Allen County, Indiana 1700-2005 (the 2 Vol. set)  This is the ultimate book for history buffs. If the answers to your Fort Wayne history questions aren’t in here, then the answer probably doesn’t exist!



Allen County Courthouse: A National Treasure Restored- this book has gorgeous color photos of the Courthouse restoration.

The Emerging Midwest: Upland Southerners and the Political Culture of the Old Northwest, 1787-1861 talks about how the Midwest identity took shape and the conflicts with residual Southern loyalties as the Civil War started.

Homer Capehart- a senator's life, 1897-1979. This book is about how Homer Capehart transformed from a door-to-door salesman to company president and then to politics under Eisenhower, Kennedy and Johnson.

Hugh McCulloch- McCulloch was President of the Bank of the State of Indiana, which led to him becoming the Comptroller of the Currency and then Treasury Secretary under Lincoln. (If you buy a membership to the History Center, you can get this book for free!)

Indiana Political Heroes- The contributions of eight Hoosier politicians (from both parties) are examined. Featured on our blog at

Jacob Piatt Dunn, Jr. – Dunn was a historian trying to make the Indiana Historical Society in the 1880s better and also crusaded for free public libraries across the state.

Passing the Torch: Preserving Indiana’s Heritage: Senator James Merritt wrote about his efforts to keep Indiana history important in the public’s mind.

Statehood and Union: A history of the Northwest Ordinance- the Northwest Ordinance was the official government sanction to Western expansion. This book talks about how the Ordinance affected United States history.   

Two books-Trial and Triumph: Presidential Power in the Second Term and
Presidential Power in Troubled Second Terms by Alfred Zacher discusses issues often faced by second term Presidents and their success or failures. (Not surprisingly, Washington and Lincoln are judged to have had the most successful second terms.)

We the People: Indiana and the United States Constitution is an examination of six different constitutionally significant cases that originated in Indiana.


Auburn is a Dancing Lady- a guidebook to Auburn and the History Center has an autographed edition!

Railroad Depots of Northern Indiana- This is from the Images of America series, so it features many lovely sepia toned photos of various train stations.

The Lincoln Highway across America is another book in the Images of America series, gorgeous photos of the Lincoln Highway. There is also a postcard set that matches the book photos, if you just want one photo. If you can’t participate in the Lincoln Highway Centennial Celebration, this book is a great way to pretend you can. (See the blog post: 

Northern Indiana Railway is co-authored by the Central Electric Rail Fans Association, and is full of information about the planned railroad across Indiana.

Faster than the Limiteds is about the original plan to build a railroad between New York and Chicago, and how it collapsed.

Fort Wayne Aviation: Baer Field and Beyond is another entry in the Images of America series, and pictures wonderful photos.

Business and Industry

Hard News, Heartfelt Opinions is about the Journal-Gazette and the history of Fort Wayne newspapers.

Bonds as strong as steel- about scrap metal dealers and their families.

Fort Wayne National Bank: a 20th Century Success Story celebrates 65 years of serving the banking needs of Fort Wayne.

Centennial Farms of Indiana- farms that have been operated by the same family for over 100 years

L.S. Ayres & Company: The Store at the Crossroads of America- about the many years L.S Ayres was the best place to shop, and the precedents the store set for other stores.

Indiana Quakers Confront the Civil War is about the dilemmas faced by the Quakers at the start of the Civil War. They opposed slavery but we were also against the war.

A Soldier’s Letters are letters and recollections written by a soldier in the Korean War.

A Stupendous Effort: the 87th Indiana in the War of Rebellion is about a Union regiment in the Civil War that participated in several significant battles.

Surgeon on Horseback: The Missouri and Arkansas Journal and Letters of Dr. Charles Brackett of Rochester, Indiana, 1861-1863: First Indiana is about a doctor in the Civil War.

Under the Apple Tree: A Novel of the Home Front is about a ten-year old boy whose brother goes off to fight in WWII.

Unforgettable Journey: A World War II memoir: A teenage soldier writes home describing training, combat in Europe and occupation duty in Japan is Stanley Huff’s letters home and his memories years later,

The War that Made America: A Short History of the French and Indian War is about that war ended up affecting the empires of France and Britain, and helped to start the conflicts that ended in the Revolutionary War.

Noteworthy Hoosiers

Also Great: Stories of the Famous and Not-So-Famous of Hancock County is about notorious (bad and good) individuals in Hancock County.

Buggies and Bad Times and Feeding Our Families are from the Memories of Hoosier Homemakers series and talk about memories from family farms to the Depression and the World Wars.

From Needmore to Prosperity: Hoosier place names in folklore and history is about the stories how places came to be named.    

Genealogy is MORE than charts- hands-on activities to help with family history. It’s a great accompaniment to the “My Family Tree” poster!

“In the Public Interest”: Oral Histories of Hoosier Broadcasters is about the history of broadcasting in Indiana and has transcripts from interviews with different broadcasters.

Indiana’s Own: Stories from the Heart Ray Rice hosted a TV program for many years, and these are vignettes from the show. The stories are a page long, and each story has an accompanying photo.

Justly Proud; a German-American family in Indiana is about the history of one family through the years, and is told through the memories of different family members.

Art Smith: Pioneer Aviator is about Art Smith and his acrobatics. Art Smith designed his own airplane and was one of the most well known aerialists of his day. This book uses Art’s own words and descriptions in places. Pictures of Art Smith can be found in the History Center Aviation exhibit. For more on his memorial statue, check out our blog posts: and

One of Four: Growing Up in Indiana During the Depression Years by Russell A. Working is actually a prequel to A Soldier’s Letters. Russell talks about his childhood as one of four brothers and his life before entering the Army.

Recollections of a Hamburger: Growing Up German, 1941-1962. This book is a memoir by Christel Benke Gehlert, who grew up in Germany after WWII. The stories of her life and the deprivation she suffered are interesting, even if the narrative feels more like dictation than a story.

*The Harvester by Gene Stratton Porter is from her Limberlost Swamp series and is a love story about naturalists David and Ruth.

For more on Porter, see:

*Michael O’Halloran, also by Gene Stratton Porter, is about two “plucky” orphans, Mickey and Peaches.

The Complete Poetical Works of James Whitcomb Riley- Riley wrote poetry from the late 1800s to 1916. His work is hard to read because of its rustic style, but like most poetry, works best when read out loud.

Graceful Plutocracy: Swinney Family of Fort Wayne- Swinney is one of the most familiar names in Fort Wayne. This book tells about the history of the family and why their name is still remembered.

The Wisdom of Howard: The Collected Columns of Howard L. Chapman- Because this book is comprised of columns, it is an excellent pick-up read. You can open any page and start reading. The columns are really short- about a page each. The column about Guantanamo Bay from 1984 was really interesting.


Making Joyful Noises; A History of the Pipe Organs of Fort Wayne and Allen County, Indiana- Follow the Pipes takes place during Three Rivers Fest and this book has information on the organ of every one of the locations. Unfortunately, if you're not familiar with the basics of an organ, this book is hard to follow. Also, there are no photos! Since organs are more than just fancy pianos, pictures (or even diagrams) would be a great help.

Beyond these Stones: A history of Trinity Episcopal Church Fort Wayne, Indiana-  If you’re interested in the Episcopal history of Fort Wayne, this is a great book. If you have only a passing interest, there is too much information here to be helpful.

Appropriate Response: The centennial history of the Church of the Brethren in Fort Wayne, Indiana- The difficulty with books on religion and churches is that some superficial knowledge of the religion is assumed. If you have very little idea what the Church of the Brethren is, then this book is not helpful. The font of the book is not helpful. It may seem like a minor complaint, but when the entire book is written as if it had just come off a typewriter, it makes the text hard to follow, especially when the pictures are not of the highest quality. The book is written more for a member of the church than a layperson.

Reaching Out: The first 100 years of Trinity English Lutheran Church- Although this book is organized into “eras” based upon pastors, it is still easy to read. The eras are broken into smaller sections, so the text is broken up and easy to follow. Plus, high-quality pictures and photos are on at least every other page, which makes reading much better.

Falling Toward Grace: Images of Religion and Culture form the Heartland- The neat thing about this book is that it is a series of essays and photos by various people about their experiences with religion. Every essay or photo is a personal experience by the author, that they are sharing with you. The different voices and experiences make this book interesting to read.

God’s Ordinary People, No Ordinary Heritage- A history of Taylor College from its start as a women’s college to today.

Suburban Bethlehem Church 1989-1998- It was interesting to see that this congregation built a school before a church, although I’m not sure why it was necessary to go into monetary details. There are also high quality photos throughout the text.

*A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guerin- Saint Theodora Guerin was recently canonized (2006) and is the first Indiana resident to be canonized. The book starts with discussion of how it is determined to canonize a person. (The text doesn’t say how some of the signs are uncovered to begun with- one of the first signs of something being different about Theodora Guerin was that her brain hadn’t decayed after death. How that was discovered is not mentioned.)  Guerin was important in the history of Indiana and this book tells why, and also talks about some of the differences of opinion she faced with the church hierarchy.

Worthy of the Gospel of Christ: A History of the Catholic Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend-This book had a good amount of information on various topics related to Catholicism, like the schools. I would have liked more discussion on Bishop Hallendiere, who seemed to have had issues with everyone else in the Diocese at the time, including Mother Guerin.


Double-Wide- Michael Martone

Michael Martone-Michael Martone

Racing in Place- Michael Martone


Remembering Grabill, Indiana- Kathryn Moore

*American Folk Art: Expressions of a New Spirit

People of West Central

Monroe Township Schools: Preserving History

Done and Been- Gypsy Moon

Quest Club: the first 100 years- Quest Club

The Quest for Fort Wayne- Quest Club


*A Trip on the Wabash and Erie Canal

Before the Dinosaurs

Essential Atlas of Astronomy

Eyes on the Skies

*By Freedom’s Light- Elizabeth O’Malley

*The Civil War Book of Games, Puzzles, And Things To Do- Hugh & Judy Gowan, Joe Campbell

*Genois Wilson, Firefighter – Carol Butler, illustrated by Teresa Yarbrough

*Birds of Indiana: A field guide- Stan Tekiela

*Trees of Indiana: A field guide- Stan Tekiela


Baseball in Fort Wayne- Chad Gramling

*Dottie Wiltse Collins- Carolyn M. Trombe

Opening Pitch: Professional Baseball’s Inaugural Season, 1871- Warren N. Wilbert

*Indiana Sporting Life

Hoosier Leisure

50 Years Together: The Red Birds Remember- Joe Taylor, Patty Corbett

*A History of Lake James-James G. Somers & Flaim C. Cupp

*Spinning through Clouds- Max E. Knight

*Life in a 3-Ring Circus- Sharon Smith & Stephen Fletcher

*Wolf & Dessauer: Where Fort Wayne Shopped- Jim & Kathie Barron

Indiana Living

*A Swiss Community in Adams County- Naomi (Eugene) Lehmen

Haunted Hoosier Trails- Wanda Lou Wllis

More Haunted Hoosier Trails-Wanda Lou Willis

Indiana: A new Historical Guide- Robert M. Taylor Jr., Errol Wayne Stevens

The Irish in Indiana- William W. Giffin

Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience- Taylor & McBinney

Play the Yellow Tape- Bobbie Lee


Lincoln’s Youth- Louis Warren

“There I grew up”- William E. Bartelt

*Abraham Lincoln- Indiana Historical Society


A Friendly Mission- Indiana Historical Society Publication

Indiana’s African-American Heritage- William L. Gibbs

Negro Theatre in America Prior to the Civil War- Kenneth M. Slatterly

A Communion of the Spirits- Roland L. Freeman

*Desperate Deliverance: The Story of African-Americans in the Civil War- Robert Broadwater

*The Black Women of the Middle West project

* African-Americans in Fort Wayne: The First 200 Years (Images of America) -Dodie Marie Miller

The latest edition of the Old Fort News also has a wonderful article about black women’s clubs in Fort Wayne, written by Marcia Smiley.

Also see:

Native Americans

Contested Territories: Native Americans and non-natives in the lower Great Lakes, 1700-1850- Charles Beatty-Medina and Melissa Rinehart (editors)

Long Journey Home- Brown & Kohn

A Sorrowful Journey- Randall L. Buchman

The Lost Years: Miami Indians in Kansas- Hayward

Blacksnake’s Path- William Heath

Heart of a Warrior –Joe Krom

For more on William Wells,

Land of the Indians: Indiana- Karl A. Kieper

Miami Indians of Indiana- Stewart, Rafert

Murder in their hearts: Murphy

The Native Americans- Glenn, Rafferty

Always Appropriate- Kohn, Montell, Ritter

Northwest Territory

Bayonets in the Wilderness- Gaff

Frontiersmen- Allan W. Eckert

*President Washington’s Indian War- Sword

Mr. Jefferson’s Hammer: William Henry Harrison and the origins of American

Indian Policy- Robert Owens


*Fighting For Equality- Ray E. Boomhower

Gibson Girls and Suffragettes- Catherine Gourley

*Maggie Ray- Marsha J. Wright

*Nature’s Storyteller- Barbara Oleynik Morrow

Hold Fast to Dreams-Audra Snyder Bailey

*Carole Lombard- Wes D. Gehring

Pictorial Histories

Wild and Scenic Indiana- Rich Clark, Scott Russell Sanders

Historic Photos of Fort Wayne- Bushnell

*One Shot: WWII Photography of John A. Bushemi- Ray E. Boomhower

Images of America: Fort Wayne, Indiana-Ralph Violette

Images of America: New Haven- New Haven Area Heritage Association
*Images of America: Fort Wayne Aviation

Fort Wayne: A pictorial love story- Gerald Gaff

Exploring Old and New

The Calumet Region-Moore

*Finances & Commerce of the Wabash and Erie Canal-Willis Richardson

*Wabash and Erie Canal Notebook I- Castaldi

*Wabash and Erie Canal Notebook II- Castaldi

*Wabash and Erie Canal Notebook III- Castaldi

On the Heritage Trail- Bicentennial Heritage Trail Committee

Early Indiana Trails and Surveys- Wilson

Haunted Hoosier Trails- Wanda Lou Willis

*Headwaters Park- Geoff Paddock

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