Skip to main site navigation
Skip to main content
Switch to text-only view
Switch to default view
Wiekamp Sculpture

An Annotated Bibliography for Indiana History

Prepared by Patrick J. Furlong
Indiana University South Bend
June 2000


General Works and Reference

Unfortunately, there is no comprehensive bibliography for the study of Indiana.  The best way to begin is with one or both of the following surveys: 

Patrick J. Furlong, Indiana:  An Illustrated History (Northridge, California, 1985) and James H.
Madison, The Indiana Way:  A State History (Bloomington, 1986). 

Robert M. Taylor, Jr., Indiana:  A New Historical
Guide (Indianapolis, 1989), is much more than a good guidebook. Although very much out-of-date, the WPA Indiana Writers' Project, Indiana: A Guide to the Hoosier State (New York, 1941) is still useful.
 
On the more scholarly level there is the multi-volume sesquicentennial history. Five of the six volumes are now available:

John D. Barnhart and Dorothy L. Riker, Indiana to 1816: The Colonial Period (Indianapolis, 1971); Donald F. Carmony, Indiana, 1816-1850: The Pioneer Era (Indianapolis, 1998);

Emma Lou Thornbrough, Indiana in the Civil War Era, 1850- 1880 (Indianapolis, 1965);

Clifton J. Phillips, Indiana in Transition: The Emergence of an Industrial Commonwealth, 1880-
1920 (Indianapolis, 1968), and James H. Madison, Indiana Through Tradition and Change, 1920-1945 (Indianapolis, 1982). 

Two further volumes are planned, covering the pre-Civil War period and recent history.

* * *

For articles and book reviews the essential source is the Indiana Magazine of History, published quarterly since 1905. Selected articles appear in Lorna Lutes Sylvester, editor, "No Cheap Padding": Seventy-five Years of the Indiana Magazine of History (Indianapolis, 1980).  For articles on both history and literature of the wider Midwestern region consult The Old Northwest, which began publication in 1975 and unfortunately disappeared in 1992.

* * *

Ronald L. Baker and Marvin Carmony, Indiana Place Names (Bloomington, 1975), briefly explains such strange Hoosier terms as Beanblossom, Gnaw Bone and Loogootee, while Baker's From Needmore to Prosperity:  Hoosier Place Names in Folklore and History (Bloomington, 1995) provides more detailed explanations.

Richard E. Banta, editor, Hoosier Caravan:  A Treasury of Indiana Life and Lore (Bloomington, 1975), a fascinating anthology of Indiana literature.

Pamela J. Bennett and Shirley S. McCord, editors, Progress after Statehood:  A Book of Readings (Indianapolis, 1974), gathers excerpts from primary sources for the years from 1816 to 1973.

David J. Bodenhamer and Robert G. Barrows, editors, The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Bloomington:  Indiana University Press, 1994) is a comprehensive view of the city and its rich history.

Fred D. Cavinder, The INDIANA Book of Records, Firsts, and Fascinating Facts (Bloomington, 1985), is a fascinating collection of information but provides little explanation of events.

Logan Esarey, History of Indiana, last revised in 1924, is the old stand-by, richly detailed for the pioneer era and still valuable for the years through the end of the Civil War.

Ralph D. Gray, editor, Indiana History:  A Book of Readings (Bloomington, 1994), a comprehensive collection of articles and brief excerpts from books.

Marion T. Jackson, editor, The Natural Heritage of Indiana (Bloomington, 1997) is a beautifully illustrated survey of the state’s landscape, plants, and animals.

A. L. Lazarus, editor, The Indiana Experience:  An Anthology (Bloomington, 1977), a rich collection of brief excerpts, especially strong on biography, fiction and songs and poems.

Morton J. Marcus, editor, Indiana Factbook (Bloomington, revised edition, 1998) is a statistical handbook of statewide and county data.  It lacks explanations but offers a wealth of information.

Howard H. Peckham, Indiana: A Bicentennial History (New York, 1970), is something of a disappointment.

Helen H. Tanner, editor, Atlas of Great Lakes Indian History (Norman, 1987), offers a richly informative text as well as excellent maps from the late prehistoric period to the end of the nineteenth century.

Robert M. Taylor, Jr., and Connie A. McBirney, editors, Peopling Indiana: The Ethnic Experience (Bloomington, 1996) is a fine reference for the rich variety of immigrants who have shaped the Hoosier state.

Gayle Thornbrough and Dorothy Riker, editors, Readings in Indiana History (Indianapolis, 1956, 1967), consists of brief excerpts from both source material and later historical writings.

William E. Wilson, Indiana: A History (Bloomington, 1966) is a brief interpretation which is sometimes better as literature than as history.

Studies of Special Topics

Eleanor Arnold, editor, Voices of American Homemakers (Bloomington, 1985), drawn from interviews with older women about their memories of rural life in early twentieth century Indiana.  Check also for a series of brief works by the same editor, such as Buggies and Bad Times.

John D. Barnhart, The Valley of Democracy: The Frontier versus the Plantation in the Ohio Valley, 1775-1818
(Bloomington, 1953 - also in paperback from University of Nebraska Press (Lincoln, 1970).

Robert G. Barrows, editor, Their Infinite Variety:  Essays on Indiana Politicians (Indianapolis, 1981), describes a colorful selection of Hoosier politicians who were never nominated for vice president.

Darrel E. Bigham, We Ask Only a Fair Trial:  A History of the Black Community of Evansville, Indiana (Bloomington, 1987) is just what the title promises, the story of African-Americans in an often-hostile Ohio River community.

Glenn A. Black, Angel Site:  An Archaeological, Historical, and Ethnological Study (Indianapolis, 1967), two richly- illustrated volumes describing the large Indian settlement on the banks of the Ohio near Evansville.

Kathleen M. Blee, Women of the Klan:  Racism and Gender in the 1920s (Berkeley, 1991), describes an almost forgotten aspect on American bigotry.

Heath Bowman, Hoosier:  A Composite Portrait (Indianapolis, 1941), is a selective group of journalistic essays, well written but not a systematic history.

John Braeman, Albert J. Beveridge (Chicago, 1971), a straightforward biography of the noted Progressive politician.

R. Carlyle Buley, The Old Northwest: Pioneer Period, 1815-1840 (Indianapolis, 1950; Bloomington, 1962), in two large volumes, won a Pulitzer Prize.

Dillon Bustin, If You Don't Outdie Me:  The Legacy of Brown County (Bloomington, 1982), a brief account of the
development of the "quaint and scenic" Brown County myth so favored by tourists and junk dealers.

Andrew R. L. Cayton, Frontier Indiana (Bloomington, 1996) is a sophisticated modern study of the settlement of the area which became the state of Indiana, covering the period from 1700 to 1850.
 
Andrew R. L. Cayton and Peter Onuf, The Midwest and the Nation:  Rethinking the History of an American Region (Bloomington, 1990), is a brief interpretive view of a complex subject.

Freeman Cleaves, Old Tippecanoe: William Henry Harrison and His Times (New York, 1939), is still the best book on Indiana's territorial governor and greatest military hero.

James A. Clifton, The Pokagons, 1683-1983:  Catholic Potawatomi Indians of the St. Joseph River Valley.  (Lanham, Maryland, 1984), is a brief, scholarly study of a subject entangled with legends.

Ronald D. Cohen, Children of the Mill:  Schooling and Society in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1960 (Bloomington, 1990) is just what the title proclaims.

Ronald D. Cohen and Stephen G. McShane, editors, Moonlight in Duneland: The Illustrated History of the Chicago, South Shore and South Bend Railroad (Bloomington, 1998) is just what the subtitle says, in glorious color.

Lawrence S. Connor, Hampton Court:  Growing up Catholic in Indianapolis between the Wars (Indianapolis, 1995), tells the story of a young man during and after the Depression, with some account of his later career as a newspaper editor in Indianapolis after World War II.

Donald T. Critchlow, Studebaker: The Life and Death of an American Corporation (Bloomington, 1996) is a scholarly study based on the sources, rather than the musings of a journalist or a car collector.

Richard M. Dorson, Land of the Millrats (Cambridge, Mass., 1981), a fascinating application of folklore techniques in modern Gary and the Calumet Region.

Gregory E. Dowd, A Spirited Resistance:  The North American Indian Struggle for Unity, 1745-1815 (Baltimore, 1992), argues for the primacy of religious leaders in the effort to bring Indians together to resist white expansion.

Theodore Dreiser, A Hoosier Holiday (Bloomington, 1997), a new edition
of a 1916 original, describing the famed novelist’s highway journey from New York to Indiana.  Dreiser visited many scenes of his youth and provides fine descriptions of his one year as a student at IU as well as the rigors of early automobile touring.

R. David Edmunds, The Potawatomis: Keepers of the Fire (Norman, Okla., 1978), as well as The Shawnee Prophet (Lincoln, Nebraska, 1983) and also Tecumseh and the Quest for Indian Leadership (Boston, 1984).  Together these three works offer the best coverage of the Indians of this region for the period of the final American conquest.

Judith E. Endelman, The Jewish Community of Indianapolis, 1849 to the Present (Bloomington, 1984) is a good example of the social and cultural history of a distinctive religious minority..

Logan Esarey, The Indiana Home (new ed., Bloomington, 1976), a fond memoir of nineteenth century rural life.

Dean R. Esslinger, Immigrants and the City: Ethnicity and Mobility in a Nineteenth-Century Midwestern Community (Port Washington, N.Y., 1975) Beneath the lengthy title the real subject is South Bend from 1850 to 1880.

James Philip Fadely, Thomas Taggart: Public Servant, Political Boss, 1856-1929.  (Indianapolis, 1997).

Christian F. Feest, editor, Indians and a Changing Frontier: The Art of George Winter.  (Indianapolis, 1993), examines both the paintings of a visiting English artist and the vanishing aboriginal culture which he recorded just before the Indian removals of the 1840s.  See also George Winter.

Paul Fatout, Indiana Canals (West Lafayette, 1972), is a brief but comprehensive the state’s disastrous experiment with canals.

The Diary of Calvin Fletcher, in nine volumes (Indianapolis, 1972-83) provides a richly detailed view of life in Indianapolis from the late 1820's to 1866.

Kay Franklin and Norma Schaefer, Duel for the Dunes:  Land Use Conflict on the Shores of Lake Michigan (Urbana, 1983), an inside view of the long battle to save the lakeshore from "developers."

Patrick J. Furlong, et al., We the People:  Indiana and the United States Constitution (Indianapolis, 1987).  Six
interpretative essays on Indiana cases which led to major Supreme Court decisions.

Alan D. Gaff, On Many a Bloody Field: Four Years in the Iron Brigade (Bloomington, 1996) is a detailed study of Company B of the famed 19th Indiana.

Wilma L. Gibbs, editor, Indiana’s African-American Heritage: Essays from Black History News & Notes.  (Indianapolis, 1993).  Selected essays by a variety of authors.

Ralph D. Gray, Alloys and Automobiles: The Life of Elwood Haynes (Indianapolis, 1979), the story of the great inventor from Kokomo.

Melvyn A. Hammarberg, The Indiana Voter: The Historical Dynamics of Party Allegiance During the 1870's (Chicago, 1977), an example of the "new political science," difficult reading but worth the trouble.

Geneviève d'Haucourt, La vie agricole et rurale dans l'État d'Indiana à l'époque pionière (Paris, 1961).  There is no translation and no equivalent in English.

Lance J. Herdegen, The Men Stood Like Iron: How the Iron Brigade Won Its Name Bloomington, 1997) tells the story of its 1862 battles from the soldiers’ point of view.

Steven Higgs, Eternal Vigilance:  Nine Tales of Environmental Heroism in Indiana (Bloomington, 1995).  Indiana does indeed have a tradition of hard-fought struggles to preserve its natural beauty.

George W. Hilton, Monon Route (Berkeley, 1978), the history of Indiana's favorite railroad.

Reginald Horsman, The Frontier in the Formative Years, 1783-1815 (New York, 1970).

William H. Hudnut, III, The Hudnut Years in Indianapolis, 1976-1991 (Bloomington, 1995), gives the controversial mayor’s account of his political career.  Naturally, Hudnut thinks that he did a good job for the city.

John C. Hudson, Making the Corn Belt:  A Geographic History of Middle-Western Agriculture (Bloomington, 1994), is a comprehensive survey of a neglected subject.

Andrew Hurley, Environmental Inequalities: Class, Race, and Industrial Pollution in Gary, Indiana (Chapel Hill, 1995), a sophisticated study of the problems of sharing air and water with a steel mill.

Charles D. Hyneman, et al., Voting in Indiana: A Century of Persistence and Change (Bloomington, 1979), a good statistical study, not too difficult.

Harvey Jacobs, We Came Rejoicing:  A Personal Memoir of the Years of Peace (Chicago, 1967), offers fond memories of rural life in central Indiana during the 1920s and 1930s.

James A. James, Life of George Rogers Clark (Chicago, 1928), is still the best biography of the frontier warrior.

Frank L. Klement, The Copperheads in the Middle West (Chicago, 1960), gives extensive coverage to events in Indiana during the Civil War.

Rita Kohn, editor, Always a People: Oral Histories of Contemporary Woodland Indians (Bloomington, 1997) tells how some Indians remained behind when their relatives were removed, and how they maintained their distinctive sense of community for generations.

Irving Leibowitz, My Indiana (Englewood Cliffs, N. J., 1964), entertaining journalistic essays about Indiana from the 1920s to the 1950s.

Lyn Letsinger-Miller, The Artists of Brown County (Bloomington, 1994) is a magnificently-illustrated introduction to the famed Hoosier School of landscape painting and the colorful backwoods of Brown County.  The author's approach is more biographical than critical.

James W. Lewis, At Home in the City:  The Protestant Experience in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1975 (Knoxville, 1992), shows how mainline Protestant churches met the challenge of an industrial city where Protestants were in the minority.

Lawrence M. Lipin, Producers, Proletarians, and Politicians:  Workers and Party Politics in Evansville and New Albany, Indiana, 1850-87.  (Urbana, 1994), is just what the subtitle promises.

Judith Reick Long, Gene Stratton-Porter: Novelist and Naturalist (Indianapolis, 1990), examines the life and career of a best-selling writer of the early twentieth century.

William Lotta, Outline History of Indiana Agriculture (Lafayette, 1938), is dated but still useful.  There is no other survey of this important but neglected subject.

M. William Lutholtz, Grand Dragon:  D. C. Stephenson and the Ku Klux Klan in Indiana (West Lafayette, 1991), a good account of the state's great villain, but not by any means the last word on the Hoosier Klan.

Robert S. and Helen M. Lynd, Middletown (New York, 1929), and Middletown in Transition (New York, 1937).  These are classics of American sociology and pioneering studies of a single city (Muncie) which deeply resented the slurs).
 
James H. Madison, Eli Lilly: A Life, 1885-1977 (Bloomington, 1989), a fine study of a noted Hoosier businessman, who had strong interests in archeology, history and historic preservation.

John B. Martin, Indiana: An Interpretation (New York, 1947) a fascinating journalistic view of the Hoosiers of the 1920's and 30's.

Raymond H. Mohl and Neil Betten, Steel City:  Urban and Ethnic Patterns in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1950 (New York, 1986), is a modern social history.

Leonard J. Moore, Citizen Klansmen:  The Ku Klux Klan in Indiana, 1921-1928 (Chapel Hill, 1991), is less colorful than Lutholtz but better as historical analysis.

Powell A. Moore, The Calumet Region: Indiana's Last Frontier (Indianapolis, 1959), a solid study of the Gary-Hammond area up to 1933.

Daniel Nelson, Farm and Factory: Workers in the Midwest, 1880-1990 (Bloomington, 1995), argues that the Midwest had a distinctive labor history.

Jacquelyn S. Nelson, Indiana Quakers Confront the Civil War (Indianapolis, 1991) tells the desperate inner conflict between pacifism and abolitionism as Quaker men decided whether to fight.

Meredith Nicholson, The Hoosiers (New York, 1916). First published in 1900, this elegant work is itself an example of the “Golden Age” of Indiana literature which it surveys.  Nicholson offers particularly shrewd evaluations of Edward Eggleston and James Whitcomb Riley.

Alan T. Nolan, The Iron Brigade: A Military History (New York, 1961, or Bloomington, 1994), is the classic study the hardest-fighting brigade in the Army of the Potomac, a unit which included the 19th Indiana.

Alan T. Nolan and Sharon E. Vipond, editors, Giants in Their Tall Black Hats: Essays on the Iron Brigade (Bloomington, 1998), offers a variety of recent interpretations of this famed military unit.

David E. Nye, Electrifying America:  Social Meanings of a New Technology (Cambridge, Mass., 1991), a study of the impact of electricity on a typical American community--Muncie, of course.

Peter S. Onuf, Statehood and Union:  A History of the Northwest Ordinance (Bloomington, 1987), a sophisticated study of the meaning of the Ordinance in the American Constitutional order.

Francis Parkman, La Salle and the Discovery of the Great West, a classic account published in 1869 and often reprinted.

Richard L. Power, Planting Corn Belt Culture: The Impress of the Upland Southerner and Yankee in the Old Northwest (Indianapolis, 1953), a fascinating study of cultural conflict and the resulting hybrid vigor.

Stewart Rafert, The Miami Indians of Indiana: A Persistent People, 1654-1994 (Indianapolis, 1996), tells the amazing story of the Miami, before and after their “removal” from the state.

William J. Reese, editor, Hoosier Schools: Past and Present (Bloomington 1998), examines the tangled story of school reform over a century and a half of dispute and very slow progress.

E. C. Roberts and Nick Roberts, English, Indiana:  Memories of Main Street (Bloomington, 1991), a nostalgic view of a vanished small town in southern Indiana which was moved to higher ground after repeated floods.

John W. Rowell, Yankee Artillerymen: Through the Civil War with Eli Lilly's Indiana Battery (Knoxville, 1975), an
excellent military history which gives the long-neglected artillery the attention it deserves.

A Rush County Retrospect, 1980's-1920's (Rushville, 1984), a modern county history which reviews the past sixty years in fond hindsight.

Nick Salvatore, Eugene V. Debs: Citizen and Socialist (Urbana, Illinois, 1982), a fine biography of Terre Haute's most famous resident.

Raymond H. Scheele, Larry Conrad of Indiana: A Biography (Bloomington, 1998), examines the career of a prominent and colorful politician of the 1960s and 70s.

Arthur W. Shumaker, A History of Indiana Literature (Indianapolis, 1962), is just what the title says it is, and very good too.  This can be used as a guide to many valuable essays, stories and novels about Indiana, as well as for information about scores of Hoosier authors, the famous as well as the almost forgotten.

Richard S. Skidmore, editor, The Alford Brothers: "We All Must Dye Sooner or Later" (Hanover, Indiana, 1995), is a lively collection of Civil War letters among members of a southern Indiana family.  Unlike most such volumes, it includes letters from the homefolk to the soldiers, as well as the more familiar letters about army life.

Kathleen A. Smallzried and Dorothy J. Roberts, More Than You Promise: A Business at Work in Society (New York, 1942), the story of Studebaker from farm wagons to the eve of World War II.

Willard H. Smith, Schuyler Colfax: The Changing Fortunes of a Political Idol (Indianapolis, 1952), about South Bend's vice president.

Jack M. Sosin, The Revolutionary Frontier, 1763-1783 (New York, 1967) provides a comprehensive brief survey of the topic.

Kenneth E. Stampp, Indiana Politics During the Civil War (Indianapolis, 1949) was the first book of a distinguished scholar of the sectional crisis which so bitterly divided mid-nineteenth century Americans.  Stampp covers a complex story clearly and even-handedly, and there is nothing better on the subject.

Selma N. Steele, T. L. Steele, and Wilbur D. Peat, The House of the Singling Winds: The Life and Work of T. C. Steele (Indianapolis, 1966), examines the fascinating career of the finest artist of the turn-of-the century Hoosier School of landscape painters.

Patricia T. Stroud, Thomas Say:  New World Naturalist (Philadelphia, 1992), a fine biographer of a pioneer American biologist who lived and worked at New Harmony.

Richard K. Tucker, The Dragon and the Cross:  The Rise and Fall of the Ku Klux Klan in Middle America (Hamden, Conn., 1991) sets the Indiana Klan of the twenties in a broader regional context.

Theodore F. Upton, With Sherman to the Sea (Bloomington, 1958), the Civil War reminiscences and letters of a Hoosier farm boy who enlisted at 16.

Philip R. Vander Meer, The Hoosier Politician:  Officeholding and Political Culture in Indiana, 1896-1920 (Urbana, 1985), combines traditional narrative with some simple statistical analysis.

Justin E. Walsh, The Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly, 1816-1978 (Indianapolis, 1987), is a large and "official" book which is much more interesting than most people would guess.

William J. Watt, Bowen:  The Years as Governor (Indianapolis, 1981), appeared too soon after the popular "Doc" Bowen left office to be good history, but it does offer a useful journalistic account of recent politics.

Herman B Wells, Being Lucky:  Reminiscences and Reflections (Bloomington, 1980), the engaging memoirs of Indiana University's most colorful president, and still its very active Grand Old Man at the age of 87.

Matthew E. Welsh, View from the State House: Recollections and Reflections, 1961-1965 (Indianapolis, 1981), a fascinating political memoir written from the heart by the former governor.

Richard White, The Middle Ground:  Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815 (New York, 1991), is a prize-winning and rather lengthy account which is particularly sensitive to the complex realities of Indian life.

William E. Wilson, The Wabash (New York, 1940), a volume of the Rivers of America series, and The Angel and the Serpent: The Story of New Harmony (Bloomington, 1964).  Both are very enjoyable reading.

George Winter, The Journals and Indian Paintings of George Winter, 1837-1939 (Indianapolis, 1948), describes the Miami and Potawatomi just before the tragic Indian removals of the 1840s.  See also Christian F. Feest.

Fiction

Many of the novels of Booth Tarkington are excellent and enjoyable approaches to social history, especially The Magnificent Ambersons and Alice Adams. 

Edward Eggleston, The Hoosier Schoolmaster and The Circuit Rider are highly readable classics of American regional writing. 

Most of the novels of Gene Stratton Porter have rural or small town Indiana settings. 

Ross Lockridge, Jr.'s sprawling Raintree County (Boston, 1948) was a sensational and controversial bestseller about life in Indiana at the time of the Civil War. 

Jessamyn West's Quaker heritage shaped her popular stories of southern Indiana life at the time of the Civil War in The Friendly Persuasion (New York, 1945), while the somewhat darker Massacre at Fall Creek (New York, 1975) describes the trial of five white men for the murder of a group of peaceful Indians in 1824.  Her account is a novel, but it is based on a true story.

Among contemporary writers, the elegant essays and short stories of Susan Neville in Indiana Winter (Bloomington, 1994) show twentieth-century Hoosier life from a woman's point-of-view. 

Dan Wakefield’s Going All the Way (New York, 1970) is a controversial novel about the empty lives of young men in the Indianapolis of the mid-fifties.  Wakefield was accused of satirizing his high school classmates and kept away from the city for the next fifteen years.  A raunchy film version appeared
in 1997.

Michael Martone’s Fort Wayne is Seventh on Hitler's List:  Indiana Stories (Bloomington, Enlarged Edition,
1993), offers a selection of short stories with Hoosier settings, not quite as interesting as the title, but worth reading. 

Many of the essays and stories of Kurt Vonnegut refer to his native Indianapolis, particularly Palm Sunday: An Autobiographical Collage (New York, 1981) and Fates Worse than Death: An Autobiographical Collage (New York, 1991).