Women in Indiana

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Midwestern Women: Work, Community, and Leadership at the Crossroads

Lucy Eldersveld Murphy and Wendy Hamand Venet, Eds.

Writing about four centuries of midwestern women’s history, including urban, rural, and frontier women, Native Americans, African Americans, Mexicanas, as well as European migrants, essayists discuss ways midwestern women’s lives resemble those women of other regions and ways in which their lives are distinctive. By addressing a broad range of questions about the lives of midwestern women this volume encourages further research of this neglected but important group. The volume also includes a lengthy bibliography.

paper / 1997 / 296 pp / 978-0253211330 / $24.00
Order no. 2215

Written by Herself: Literary Production by African American Women, 1746-1892

Fances Smith Foster

The first comprehensive cultural history of literature by African American women prior to the 20th century. From the oral histories of Alice, a slave born in 1686, to the literary tradition that included Jarena Lee and Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert, this literature was argument, designed to correct or to instruct an audience often ignorant about or even hostile to black women.

paper / 1993 / 224 pp. / 978-0253207869 / $13.95
Order no. 315

The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf: A Novel

Mohja Kahf

Syrian immigrant Khadra Shamy is growing up in a devout, tightly knit Muslim family in 1970s Indiana, at the crossroads of bad polyester and Islamic dress codes. Along with her brother Eyad and her African-American friends, Hakim and Hanifa, she bikes the Indianapolis streets exploring the fault-lines between “Muslim” and “American.”

When her picture-perfect marriage goes sour, Khadra flees to Syria and learns how to pray again. On returning to America she works in an eastern state — taking care to stay away from Indiana, where the murder of her friend Tayiba’s sister by Klan violence years before still haunts her. But when her job sends her to cover a national Islamic conference in Indianapolis, she’s back on familiar ground: Attending a concert by her brother’s interfaith band The Clash of Civilizations, dodging questions from the “aunties” and “uncles,” and running into the recently divorced Hakim everywhere.

Beautifully written and featuring an exuberant cast of characters, The Girl in the Tangerine Scarf charts the spiritual and social landscape of Muslims in middle America, from five daily prayers to the Indy 500 car race. It is a riveting debut from an important new voice.

paper / 2006 / 448 pp / 978-0786715190 / $15.95
Order no. 1555

Soldier Girls: The Battles of Three Women at Home and at War

Helen Thorpe

“In the tradition of Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Richard Rhodes, and other masters of literary journalism, Soldier Girls is utterly absorbing, gorgeously written, and unforgettable” (The Boston Globe). Helen Thorpe follows the lives of three women over twelve years on their paths to the military, overseas to combat, and back home…and then overseas again for two of them. These women, who are quite different in every way, become friends, and we watch their interaction and also what happens when they are separated. We see their families, their lovers, their spouses, their children. We see them work extremely hard, deal with the attentions of men on base and in war zones, and struggle to stay connected to their families back home. We see some of them drink too much, have affairs, and react to the deaths of fellow soldiers. And we see what happens to one of them when the truck she is driving hits an explosive in the road, blowing it up. She survives, but her life may never be the same again.

Deeply reported, beautifully written, and powerfully moving, Soldier Girls is “a breakthrough work...What Thorpe accomplishes in Soldier Girls is something far greater than describing the experience of women in the military. The book is a solid chunk of American history...Thorpe triumphs” (The New York Times Book Review).

cloth / 2015 / 432 pp / 9781451668117 / $28.00
Order no. 1556

Out of the Shadows: Portraits of Historic Women Artists

Produced by Lisa DeHayes, WFYI Productions, and the Indiana Historical Society

This compelling documentary explores the lives of women who followed their dreams and pursued careers as professional artists during the early twentieth century. These women exchanged washboards and mending baskets for canvas, stone, and other demanding mediums. Through interviews with an artist of the era, as well as historians, art curators, and specialists in the field, the artists' stories unfold one-by-one. As a companion to the Indiana Historical Society Press's book Skirting the Issue: Stories of Indiana's Historical Women Artists, the tales of these Hoosier artists offer insight into the culture and values of the greater Midwest, and the nation, during this period.
DVD / 44 minutes / 2005 / $5.00
Order No. 1522

On the Farm Front:  The Women's Land Army in WWII

Stephanie A. Carpenter

Rosie the Riveter is an icon for women's industrial contribution to World War II, but history has largely overlooked the three million women who served on America's agricultural front. The Women's Land Army sent volunteers to farms, canneries, and dairies across the country, accounting for the majority of wartime agricultural labor. On the Farm Front tells for the first time the remarkable story of these women who worked to ensure both "Freedom from Want" at home and victory abroad.

Formed in 1943 as part of the Emergency Farm Labor Program, the WLA placed its workers in areas where American farmers urgently needed assistance. Many farmers in even the most desperate areas, however, initially opposed women working their land. Rural administrators in the Midwest and the South yielded to necessity and employed several hundred thousand women as farm laborers by the end of the war, but those in the Great Plains and eastern Rocky Mountains remained hesitant, suffering serious agricultural and financial losses as a consequence. Carpenter reveals for the first time how the WLA revolutionized the national view of farming.

214 pp. / 2003 / ISBN 9780875803142 / $44.00
Order no. 1438

The Dean's Bible: Five Purdue Women and Their Quest for Equality

Angie Klink

Like pearls threaded one-by-one to form a necklace, five women successively nurtured students on the Purdue University campus in America’s heartland during the 1930s to 1990s. Individually, each became a legendary dean of women or dean of students. Collectively, they wove a sisterhood of mutual support in their common—sometimes thwarted—pursuit of shared human rights and equality for all.

Dorothy C. Stratton, Helen B. Schleman, M. Beverley Stone, Barbara I. Cook, and Betty M. Nelson opened new avenues for women and became conduits for change, fostering opportunities for all people.  The women also were respected throughout the United States as founding leaders of the Coast Guard Women’s Reserve (SPARS), frontrunners in the National Association of Women Deans and Counselors, and as pivotal members of presidential committees in the Kennedy and Nixon administrations.While it is focused on changing attitudes on one college campus, The Deans’ Bible sheds light on cultural change in America as a whole, exploring how each of the deans participated nationally in the quest for equality. The story rolls through the "picture-perfect," suppressive 1950s, the awakening 1960s, women’s liberation, Title IX, 1980s AIDS and alcohol epidemics, the changing mores for the disabled, and ends in the twenty-first century.

cloth / 2014 / 427 pp / 978-1557536761 / $29.95
Order no. 1373

Preserving the Family Farm: Women, Community, and the Foundations of Agribusiness in the Midwest, 1900-1940 

Mary C. Neth
Between 1900 and 1940 American family farming gave way to what came to be called agribusiness. Government policies, consumer goods aimed at rural markets, and the increasing consolidation of agricultural industries all combined to bring about changes in farming strategies that had been in use since the frontier era. Because the Midwestern farm economy played an important part in the relations of family and community, new approaches to farm production meant new patterns in interpersonal relations as well. In Preserving the Family Farm Mary Neth focuses on these relations—of gender and community—to shed new light on the events of this crucial period.
368 pp. / 1998 / ISBN 9780801860614 / $28.00
Order no. 1362

Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Series - Feeding Our Families

Eleanor Arnold, ed.

Feeding Our Families Homemakers remember what it was like to feed their families in rural America. Tales of threshing dinners and butchering days, of gardening and canning, and of milking cows and churning butter.

paper / 153 pp. / 1983 / ISBN 0-253-20805-X / $14.95
Order No. 2136

Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Series - Buggies and Bad Times

Eleanor Arnold, ed.

Buggies and Bad Times

cloth / 172 pp. / 1993 / ISBN 0-253-12991-5 / $20.00
Order No. 2157

paper / 172 pp. / 1993 / ISBN 0-253-20804-1 / $12.95
Order No. 2158

Memories of Hoosier Homemakers Series - Girlhood Days

Eleanor Arnold, ed.

Girlhood Days

cloth / 202 pp. / 1993 / ISBN 0-253-12989-3 / $22.50
Order No. 2194

paper / 202 pp. / 1993 / ISBN 0-253-20802-5 / $12.95
Order No. 2195

Voices of American Homemakers

 Voices of American HomemakersEleanor Arnold, ed.

Oral histories by women, in the 1890 to 1940 era, who were able to create loving and pleasant homes, be good neighbors, support their communities, and rear fine families.

cloth / 287 pp. / 1985 / ISBN 0-253-12096-9 / $29.95
Order No. 2153

Albion Fellows Bacon: Indiana's Municipal Housekeeper

Robert G. BarrowsAlbion Fellows Bacon

Voluntary associations, social welfare, child welfare, city planning and zoning, and a variety of public health efforts were outlets for this intelligent and creative woman.

cloth / 229 pp. / 2000 / ISBN 0-253-33774-7 / $24.95
Order No. 2241

The Country Contributor: The Life and Times of Juliet V. Strauss

Ray E. Boomhower The Country Contributor

The story of a woman from little Rockville who became one of America's best-loved columnists for the Ladies' Home Journal.

cloth / 160 pp. / 1998 / ISBN 1-57860-064-2 / $24.95
Order No. 3113

Fighting for Equality: A Life of May Wright Sewall

Issue Cover

Ray E. Boomhower

A biography aimed at young readers, Fighting for Equality showcases Sewall's important contributions to the history of Indianapolis, Indiana, the United States, and the world. A woman who had the "organizing touch," Sewall helped to establish such Indianapolis institutions as the Girls' Classical School, the Indianapolis Woman's Club, the Contemporary Club, the Art Association of Indianapolis (today known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art), and the Indianapolis Propylaeum.

cloth / 160 pp. / 2007 / ISBN 978-0-87195-253-0 / $17.95
Order No. "Sewall"

An Army in Skirts

Frances DeBra Brown

An Army in SkirtsMore than 150,000 women served in the Women's Army Corps (WAC) in World War II. Although the majority of WACs were assigned to duties in the United States, several thousand received overseas assignments.  One of these women was Frances DeBra Brown from Danville, Indiana, who worked as a draftsman at American headquarters in London and Paris. An Army in Skirts: The World War II Letters of Frances DeBra, recently released by the IHS Press, contains the letters that Frances wrote to her family and letters from family and friends to Frances. The letters vividly detail her World War II service, beginning with basic training at Fort Oglethorpe, Georgia. After an assignment at an army air field in Marianna, Florida, where DeBra worked on the post newsletter, she was shipped overseas on the RMS Queen Mary. While in London she worked through buzz bomb and V-2 rocket attacks, slept in shelters fully clothed, and made the acquaintance of a young English woman and her family. Arriving in Paris two weeks after the city’s liberation, Frances witnessed the city’s devastation and the effects of war on the populace. During her stay in Paris she attended classes at the École des Beaux-Arts and received a marriage proposal.

cloth / 274 pp. / 2008 / ISBN 978-0-87195-264-6 / $27.95
Order No. 2697

Carole Lombard: The Hoosier Tornado

Wes D. Gehring

Carole Lombard

For millions of movie fans during the 1930s, an actress from Fort Wayne personified the madcap adventures of their favorite form of screen comedy—screwball. She was nicknamed "The Hoosier Tornado" for her energetic personality.

cloth / 284 pp. / 2003 / ISBN 0-87195-167-3 / $19.95
Order No. 2426

Whispers to Shouts: Indiana Women Who Create Art

Indiana State Museum

Whispers to Shouts

Catalog for the Indiana State Museum 2005 exhibit of the same name. The book lists all of the artists, including photographs of many, and their art.

paper / 56 pp. / 2005 / ISBN 0-972879-3-5 / $12.95 $7.77
Order No. 2530

Gene Stratton-Porter: Novelist and Naturalist

Judith Reick Long

Gene Stratton-Porter

One of the best known of Indiana authors, a self-trained early nature photographer, and conservationist.

cloth / 286 pp. / 1990 / ISBN 0-87195-052-9 / $19.95
Order No. 2004

19 Stars of Indiana - Exceptional Hoosier Women

Michael S. Maurer

19 Stars of Indiana - Exceptional Hoosier WomenThe 19 outstanding contemporary Hoosier women profiled by Michael S. Maurer—one for each star in the Indiana state flag—are leaders and pioneers who have excelled in a variety of pursuits, including law, business, philanthropy, government, medicine, music, art, athletics, religion, and education. Among the inspiring life stories are those of the first woman named chief judge of the U.S. District Court in Indiana, the first to establish a Holocaust museum in the state, and the first woman elected Indiana's lieutenant governor. Maurer also introduces international golf and billiards champions, opera singers, a rabbi, the founders of Vera Bradley Designs and For Bare Feet, and others. Many of these women led heart-pounding lives. All worked hard, and with zeal, to achieve their dreams. Indiana women of every generation will enjoy and appreciate their stories.

cloth / 219 pp. / 2009 / ISBN 978-0-253-35329-0 / $24.95
Order No. 2741f

Skirting the Issue: Stories of Indiana’s Historical Women Artists

Judith Vale Newton and Carol Ann Weiss

Skirting the Issue

The authors include a biographical dictionary detailing the lives of one hundred of the state’s historical women artist, and they single out nearly forty of them for further examination in detailed essays. While this first-of-a-kind book focuses on Indiana women specifically, its stories offer excellent insights into the culture and values of the greater Midwest, and the nation at large, in the decades before and after the turn of the twentieth century.

cloth / 406 pp. / 2004 / ISBN 0-87195-177-0 / $29.95
Order No. 2492

Matter Mind Spirit

Jean Robertson

Matter Mind Spirit

The work of 12 contemporary Indiana women artists whose works blend physical, intellectual, and emotional intensity. Featured are 16 black and white illustrations and 23 color plates.

paper / 60 pp. / 1999 / ISBN 0-253-21322-3 / $19.95 $5.00
Order No. 2221

Belief in Providence: a Life of Saint Theodora Guerin

Julie YoungBelief in Providence

A Belief in Providence: A Life of Saint Theodora Guerin, a youth biography, explores the life of the woman who would become Indiana's first saint.

cloth / 198 pp. / 2007 / ISBN 978-0-87195-255-4 / $17.95
Order No. 2640

Issues of The Indiana Historian - Women in Indiana

Paper / ISSN 1071-3301 / $1.00 (1-19 copies); $.30 (20 or more copies)

How to purchase books and other sale items and discount information

...a little less flattery an a little more justice

Married women's property rights and woman suffrage in nineteenth-century Indiana.

12 pp. / 1993
Order No. 7016

Madam C.J. Walker, Part 1

Madam Walker-Entrepreneur, Part 2

These two magazines describe the life and career of Madam Walker, a prominent black business woman in Indianapolis in the early 1900s.

12 pp. / 1992
Part 1: Order No. 7006
Part 2: Order No. 7007

Gene Stratton-Porter

Porter was a self-trained writer, naturalist, and photographer. State Historic Sites memorialize her life and accomplishments.

16 pp. / 1996

"This Large Army of ... women": Recognized at Last in 1893

Women of Indiana and the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition held in Chicago. Details Indiana women's interests and achievements.

16 pp. / 1994
Order No. 7024

Girl Scouting in Indiana

On the eighty-fifth anniversary of the Girl Scouts; focuses on the importance of studying and documenting youth organizations.

16 pp. / 1997
Order No. 7039