Title:
A History of the Indiana Magazine of History

Author:
William O. Lynch

Date:
1955

Source:
Indiana Magazine of History, Volume 51, Issue 1, pp 1-30

Article Type:
Article

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A History of the Indiana Magazine of History

William O. Lynch*

The files of any historical magazine will reveal much of its own history, but not everything. There will be some hidden and some partially hidden facts pertaining to the never-ending search for copy, to the supervision of printing, the labor of editing, keeping tab to some extent on subscribers and readers, and, of course, there will be the effort to see that deadlines are met, if possible, by all concerned, editors, writers, printers, and many others.

Strange to say, none of the historical magazines of the United States, of which there are so many today, are very old. The American Historical Review was established by the then young American Historical Association as late as October of 1894. There were a few state historical magazines that were founded earlier, but not many, and some of them were not able to keep going steadily. The publication known as the Annals of Iowa was started by the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1863, but it was not published continuously during the next forty years. The first series came to an end in 1874. Asecond series was begun in the 1880's under the same name, but had a short life. This series was not under the auspices of the state historical society. The third series of the Annals of lowa has been published by the Iowa State Department of History and Archives since 1893 and still lives. The Iowa


  • * The Indiana Magaxine of History has completed its first fifty years of publication, and to mark the occasion we have asked William O. Lynch to write the history of the Magazine during these years.

    William O. Lynch comes to mind at once as the best-qualified person to undertake such a project. Editor of the Indiana Magazine of History from 1928 to 1941, president of the Indiana Historical Society from 1947 to 1949, and professor of history at Indiana University from 1920 until his retirement in 1941, he is uniquely qualified for the task. His personal memories of editing the Magazine reach back farther than do those of anyone else. A native of Indiana, Professor Emeritus Lynch now lives in Selma, Alabama.

Journal of History and Politics was founded by the State Historical Society of Iowa in 1903 and is still a vigorous and successful publication. After 1948 the words "and Politics" were dropped from its title.

The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography goes back to 1877. The Ohio Archaeological and Historical Society began its Quarterly in 1887. The Virginia Magazine of History and Biography was started in 1893. Other states that can claim success in founding historical magazines before 1900, or between that year and 1905, include Texas, Oregon, South Carolina, and Kentucky. Possibly the list could be longer.1

The initial issue of the Indiana Magazine of History made its appearance in the spring of 1905. The name carried on the editorial page from the March issue of 1905 to, and including, the March issue of 1913, was the Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History. This was the official title until the appearance of the June number of 1913. In the period from 1905 to June, 1913, however, the shorter title was used freely and often, and, since this was true, and because the term "Quarterly" was dropped from the name of the publication after the issue of March, 1913, it will not be used again in this historical account.2

The man who deserves fully the credit for founding the Indiana Magazine of History was George S. Cottman, a job-printer who lived in Indianapolis. This intelligent and sincere gentleman was a contributor of articles to newspapers, especially to those of Indianapolis, around the turn of the century. His published articles which can be found in files of the IndianapolisNews, the Indiana State Sentinel and the IndianapolisJournal, usually dealt with historical events, documents and objects of historical interest which he discovered and learned about while riding around areas of Indiana on a bicycle.3

Cottman's hobby of scouting for rare works and documents and writing about them for newspapers caused him to


  • 1 The facts relative to early historical magazines were checked by Dorothy Riker of the Indiana Historical Bureau in the Indiana State Library.
  • 2 The shorter title is often found in the pages of the Magazine during the years from 1905 to 1913, when the official title was the Indiana Quarterly Magazine of History. It was used in correspondence which was not official and even more freely in conversation.
  • 3 Cottman received compensation for his newspaper articles.
ponder the feasibility of founding a state magazine of history. He finally gave serious consideration to the project, but took time to examine the various problems involved. The recent attempt in 1897 of William H. Smith, who had earlier written a History of Indiana, to establish the Indianian, a magazine designed to furnish historical material for teachers, the public schools, and for general readers, naturally interested Cottman. He pondered the fact that even this popular publication could not receive enough support from paying subscribers to live very long, which required anyone to be cautious in trying to establish a journal that would appeal to serious students and writers of history.4

Since Cottman was himself a job-printer and a writer of historical articles for newspapers, the question kept returning to his mind: Why could he not serve as editor and manager of a magazine of history and look after the printing? While considering this question, he could not avoid doing some dreaming. He reveals that his thoughts were colored by the idea that such a magazine as he was contemplating "would not only edify all who partook of its quarterly doses," but would "perpetuate the memory" of himself. He knew that tombstones were resorted to for such perpetuation, but not much reading matter could be carried by such a marker and few would read that little. On the contrary, a history magazine would go into the archives and much material preserved by it would grow better with age, and would be sought for by history students in the future. Such researchers could not avoid seeing the editor's name on the title pages and on other pages where it might chance to be printed. After learning


  • 4 Publication of the Indianian (Indianapolis, 1897-1901), which was designed for school officials, teachers, and pupils in the higher grades, was planned by William H. Smith. He and the "associated editors" formed a company of shareholders. The venture did not pay and the holders of the shares eventually lost what they had invested. Seemingly, Smith, the chief promoter, broke with his co-partners before the demise of the Indianian. The aim of the magazine, stated on the title page, was "To teach patriotism, enhance state pride, and encourage a deeper love of country." The effort was kept up from January, 1898, to February, 1901. Though first planned to be a semi-weekly, after two issues it became a monthly. Each year two volumes were published, and it ran to six regular volumes, which were issued during 1898, 1899, and 1900. An extra volume of two issues, January and February, 1901, was published as a double number. No more followed, but this double number is known as volume VII. The Indianian was designed for readers of certain classes as stated and for general readers, but the Indiana Magazine of Historu was, comparatively, a much more highly specialized publication. It was in no sense a successor to the Indianian, though Cottman studied the causes of the latter's failure with care.
about such dreaming, no one can keep from feeling acquainted with the man who was the founder of the Indiana Magazine of Hictory.5

While trying to learn what to do to get a magazine started, Cottman conferred with the able head of the Indiana State Library, William E. Henry, from whom came the first practical suggestion, and it bore fruit. Henry was not only friendly to the would-be editor, but offered personal aid, saying that if a list of subscribers should be worked up, he would use his influence to get his acquaintances to take the magazine at one dollar per year. Contacting possible subscribers meant work, but it indicated something tangible at last.

Cottman at once prepared a brief "Prospectus" which was handed to each person who was approached as a possible subscriber, and, in addition, copies were sent to many newspaper editors as well as to other selected persons. Relative to the nature of the proposed magazine the "Prospectus" included this passage: "The publication will be strictly what it purports to be at the start—a magazine devoted to the preservation of matter that is of real value to the historical student. There will be no space given to advertising ‘write ups’ and no cheap padding. Of matter within its legitimate field, there is an abundance, and outside this field, it will make no bid for popular favor."6

Many of the editors who received the brief "Prospectus" seemed to approve the declaration of principles and wrote very favorably in regard to the proposed venture. A modest number of subscribers was obtained (about 300 by 1906), and members of the very small Indiana Historical Society became interested. Hilton U. Brown, manager of the IndianapolisNews, offered to produce in half-tones or zinc etchings such illustrations as Editor Cottman might wish to use. An Indiana artist, William Forsyth, volunteered to prepare a decorative border design for the cover of the journal. The artist's proffered service was accepted and his effort gave to


  • 5 George S. Cottman, "The Indiana Magazine of History: A Retrospect," Indiana Magazine of History (Bloomington, 1905-), XXV (1929), 281-287. This article by the Magazine's founder was written to mark its quarter of it century of publication.
  • 6Ibid., 284. The first article in volume I, number 1, "Our Reasons for Being," repeats in substance what was said in the Prospectus.
all of the issues from 1905 to March, 1913, a rather striking appearance.7

While seeking subscribers, Cottman was busy gathering and preparing copy for the first issue. He plainly stated that his purpose was to experiment for at least one year. If the trial proved to be a disappointment, the project could be abandoned. It was hoped that the income from subscriptions would pay for the printing, but the money came in so slowly that the editor was obliged to run off the first issue on his own press. He performed the labor himself, with some help from his wife. Remaining numbers of 1905 were farmed out to other printers. Beginning with the March number of 1906, all issues from that one to and including that of March, 1913, were published by Edward J. Heckler of Irvington.8 Since then the Magazine has been published by the Indiana University Printing Plant.

The March issue of 1905 looks very well today, even to persons who have had considerable experience as editors of historical magazines. When Editor Cottman had completed the initial issue of the journal, he desired to speak frankly to all who were interested in the undertaking and so he prepared a statement headed "A Word From the Factotum."9 This "facetious effusion," as he called it in later years, was inserted at the end of the first issue of the Magazine, "but afterward eliminated from all but a very few copies" at the insistence of Mrs. Cottman. She felt that "such levity was not dignified" and her husband gave way to her judgment. It was in the December issue of 1929, when the Magazine had come to the end of its twenty-fifth year, that the "effusion" was published in full and went to all subscribers. At this distance, one is inclined to feel that the good wife of the keen but worried editor should not have interfered with his excellent judgment. No doubt the contents of the issue as originally printed were seen by several persons interested in the Magazine, but the effect would have been better had the


  • 7Ibid., 284. Following the death of Cottman, Coleman wrote a brief article concerning the life of the man whom he had known well, in which he said that Cottman designed the cover of the Magazine that was used until 1913. In this attempt to describe the cover's decorative border, Coleman called it "both crude and elaborate." Christopher B. Coleman, "George S. Cottman," ibid., XXXVII (1941), 158-159.
  • 8Ibid., 159.
  • 9Ibid., XXV (1929), 285-286.
issue been left as first printed and gone forth to readers with nothing eliminated.

In the extra message that was deleted, Editor Cottman gave an account of how he had printed the initial number on his own press. He mentioned some of his difficulties in the following passage: "To pump off something more than thirty thousand impressions on a foot-power job press, applying ink with a hand-brayer; to edit in the midst of mechanical perplexities; to make up copy, while standing at the case in order to spare the time necessary for writing it—these things are not conducive to perfect results."

Then after expressing a hope that friends would rally to support him in his efforts to establish the magazine, he declared he would be glad to pay another printer and devote his time "to heavy editing and to the seeking out of matter than can be secured only by time and labor." He then concluded the appeal in these words: "If this seems worth while to you help us along with the ever-potent dollar [by subscribing for the Magazine at one dollar per year], with an encouraging word and by bringing our magazine to the attention of some one else who may be interested. Your cooperation is all important, and it is for you to determine whether the publication can last beyond the first year and become a permanent success. Having this success very much at heart, we are here to do our part with all our might and main."10

Building up adequate support for the new Magazine proved to be a slow process, but not so tardy as the growth of the Indiana Historical Society. During the first three years of the Magazine, the connection between it and the Society was not vital. The Magazine relied on subscribers and the few Society members paid annual dues. Writing about the Indiana Historical Society in the March, 1907, issue of the Magazine, Editor Cottman said: "This Society has the prestige that comes with age. It has existed now more than seventy-five years, and in the course of that time there have been identified with it, particularly in its earlier years, a goodly portion of the men whose names are honored in the history of the state." From time to time, papers of historical value had been read before the Society. In later years this custom had been largely abandoned, and the Society was mainly known for its Publications. In all, three volumes of the


  • 10Ibid., 286.
Indiana Historical Society Publications had been published by 1907. "By way of permanent endowment," the Society had in that year the interest on $3,000, most of which was donated by William H. English. With few members, the annual dues from them amounted to little. Appeals to the legislature had not brought any response. The Society had experienced several lapses, sometimes extending over years. The semi-annual public meetings of the Society and the presentation of papers at such meetings were features of the past. The Society now (during the early years of the new century) held "one brief business meeting each year which few hear of and fewer attend."11

One of the reasons why it was difficult to found the Indiana Magazine of History, therefore, was that there was no real state historical society. It would be natural to suppose that the Magazine was born because of the Society, but the truth is that Editor Cottman not only created the Magazine but through it, as his agency, he stimulated the Society to take on some vigor. Since 1907, and especially since 1912, the Indiana Magazine of History and the Indiana Historical Society have cooperated in the matter of finances and in many other ways. In the issue of the Magazine for March, 1913, the last number published before the transfer to Indiana University, two items relative to the finances of the Magazine appear in the editor's report of the annual meeting (1912) of the Indiana Historical Society. The annual dues of Society members were raised from one to two dollars, and a sum not to exceed $100.00 was voted to cover any deficit that might occur in regard to publishing the Magazine for the year 1913. Since 1907, the Society had guaranteed the cost of publishing the Magazine to an amount not exceeding $150.00 each year. Having increased the membership dues to $2.00 per year, each member was to receive the Magazine free, in the future, and the Society was to turn half of the fees over to the Magazine each year.12

The transfer of the Magazine to Indiana University caused some worry about the financing of the publication, because of


  • 11 Ibid., III (1907), 42-44. In the March issue of 1907 Cottman wrote an editorial which probably did more to put some life into the Indiana Historical Society than did any advice received by that organization to that time. The tone of the editorial was high, but it was truthful and very stimulating.
  • 12Ibid., IX (1913), 50. Since that date attention has been focused on increasing the membership of the Indiana Historical Society.
the small membership of the Society, but there was a hope that the number of members could be greatly increased. Aboard of editors was soon formed, and, in the issue of June, 1913, a member of the board stressed the obvious truth, that the total number of subscribers, including, of course, the members of the state historical society, ought to be "considerably increased." Indeed, there ought to be at least 1,000 subscribers, it was held.13 Since most of them would, from now on, probably belong to the historical society, the goal for that association soon became 1,000 members. In time, this membership was reached and passed, but a good many years were required.14

To return to the early question as to whether the Magazine should be discontinued at the end of 1905, Cottman wrote briefly and eloquently concerning the settling of that problem in December, 1929: "At the end of the first year there was plenty of excuse for relegating the Indiana Magazine of History to the limbo of dead things, but having nursed the infant thus long, I hated to be a quitter and forsake it; so I attended to its wants another year, and yet another."15 At the end of 1907, after serving as editor and manager without compensation for three years, Cottman had to give up the difficult task because he had become involved in plans that required him to migrate to the Puget Sound area. During the year 1907, however, the Indiana Historical Society had authorized Cottman to spend not to exceed $150.00 "to insure the continued publication of the Magazine if necessary." This was surely a boost at the right juncture. It not only helped at the


  • 13Ibid., 58.
  • 14 The Magazine has continued to be the joint product of the Indiana Historical Society and Indiana University. The society contributes one-half the membership fee of each member. The University contributes in addition to office space and the service of the editor, funds which for many years have exceeded the other sources of the Magazine's income. This is particularly true in recent years, when the expense for clerical assistance and the cost of printing are each much higher than before, although the income from members of the Society is likewise much greater than in times past.
  • 15 Occasional statements will be met with that do not tally with those that I have made relative to the terms of service of Cottman and Coleman as editor, but I have checked the matter carefully. During the first period as editor, Cottman brought out the first twelve issues, serving exactly three years, 1905-1907. During his second, briefer period as editor, he took over in time to bring out the December, 1911, issue, thus reducing Coleman's period as editor to three and three-fourths years. Cottman continued through the year 1912, and in addition brought out the March, 1913, issue. Thus he served, in all, four and one-half years.
time, but the amount continued to be pledged each year until a new arrangement was adopted, and it aided in keeping the Magazine going. It also aided in obtaining an editor to succeed Cottman at the end of the year 1907.

The new editor who was persuaded to take over was Christopher B. Coleman, a young man who was employed in the department of history of Butler College, then located at Irvington. Since history was his line of work, Coleman was able to give some time to the editing of the Indiana Magazine of History, which otherwise might have perished prematurely. He performed well the duties pertaining to the editorship of the Magazine and continued in the work until the fall of 1911. At that time, he wished to do graduate work in his field at Columbia University, which made it necessary to give up his editorial duties. It happened that Cottman remained in the Pacific Northwest only a bit longer than two years, and was again working and living in Indianapolis by mid-summer of 1910. He kept up an interest in the Indiana Magazine of History. During his first year away, he furnished an article for the issue of March, 1908, the subject being "Early Commerce in Indiana." He no doubt wrote this paper before he left the state. He also furnished a book review in 1908. Nothing from his pen appears in either 1909 or 1910. In fact, he wrote little for the Magazine after he quit the post of editor until he assumed that position again.

One essay from Cottman appeared in the March issue of 1911, to which he gave the title "History to Order." He was disgusted with the large amount of historical literature of a popular nature that was being written "to sell" in Indiana. At one point in his short but pithy discussion, he wrote: "In short, there are at least two large publishing companies, each with an organized corps of men in the field [Indiana], whose business it is to see that every (paying) corner ofour state be rescued from oblivion. … To the publishers, the historical portion of the work is, as a rule, less than secondary, its chief value being its service in giving title and pretense to the book."16

Coleman was granted the degree of Doctor of Philosophy by Columbia University in 1914. In addition to being head of the department of history at Butler College, he served as


  • 16Indiana Magazine of History, VII (1911), 16-19.
vice president of that institution from 1912 to 1920. In the latter year, he went to Allegheny College at Meadville, Pennsylvania, as head of the department of history and political science, where he remained until 1924. Then he returned to Indiana to become the director of the Indiana Historical Bureau and to serve as the secretary of the Indiana Historical Society until his death in the summer of 1944. Occasionally, after 1924, he served temporarily as the editor of the Indiana Magazine of History, a publication to which he was no stranger. Born at Springfield, Illinois, on April 24, 1875, he died at Indianapolis on June 25, 1944.

During the years when Coleman was editor of the Magazine, there was no great change in the character of its contents. He did not put so much of himself into its pages as had George S. Cottman, but he was better acquainted with persons who were engaged in teaching history in colleges and high schools. As a college teacher of history, he knew more about the historical associations that were growing and increasing in importance and furnished more information about them. He did not lose himself in the historical sources as fully as did Cottman. The two editors of the early period from 1905 to 1913—the largely self-educated man and the university-trained college teacher—supplemented each other to a noticeable degree and cooperated in a fine spirit. Both were honest workmen and they were close friends. They served the Indiana Magazine of History well during its most critical years.17

Thirty-three quarterly issues of the Magazine were published before it was transferred to Indiana University during 1913. The first eight volumes are very rare, and a few of the issues published from 1913 to 1928 are even more difficult to find, but not many. A very few of the articles and a few of the rare sources of these early years could be reprinted


  • 17 I did not know Cottman and Coleman during the period from 1905 to 1913. I became acquainted with Coleman shortly before he went to Allegheny College in 1920, and I knew him well from 1924 to his death in 1944. From 1928 to the time of his death, we were most of the time in close touch with each other. It was not my good fortune to meet Cottman until about the time when I became editor of the Magazine in 1928. He was then a neat, kindly gentleman who did not appear to be as old as he was. I am very glad that I was able to publish his article, "The Indiana Magazine of History: A Retrospect," in the December, 1929, Indiana Magazine of History. (See footnote 5.)
in future issues of the Magazine. At any rate, such a venture is worthy of consideration. A study of the career of the first. editor, George S. Cottman, would, in my judgment, furnish an excellent subject for some graduate student preparing a mas-ter's thesis.

In the first issue of the first volume of the Magazine, the editor wrote five pages on the subject, "John Brown Dillon, The Father of Indiana History," that constitutes a short masterpiece.18 In the same issue, he reviewed in a series of paragraphs, filling six pages, fifteen books dealing with Indiana history, and mentioned various other writings in that field in a final paragraph. In this effort, his purpose was to make serious and honest appraisals. I feel that no other person could have done a better or a keener job.19 The issues from March, 1905 to June, 1913, include very many short articles. A considerable amount of source material is published in this period, and there are many more or less autobiographical sketches by prominent persons. It was well that material of this kind was obtained and published while still available. There were not many contributions, in this period, from the pens of trained research students, older or younger.

Articles that in later years would have been accompanied by footnotes, as a rule, are supported by few or none. In fact, the only contribution published in the thirty-two quarterly issues of the first eight volumes that was supplied with as many footnotes as would now be considered adequate was the paper entitled "Some Religious Developments in Indiana," by Christopher B. Coleman.20 This article ran to fourteen pages. The footnotes were not numbered, nor were footnotes numbered in connection with any contribution found in the first eight volumes. All footnotes were designated by symbols, arranged in a certain order, whenever several appeared at the foot of a single page. The aversion to arabic numerals seems strange, since the American Historical Review had been using them for more than a decade when the Indiana Magaxine of History was founded. Many articles appeared in the Magazine for which no footnotes were needed, but some appeared in about every issue that should have been accompanied with footnotes. For example, a good study with the


  • 18Indiana Magazine of History, I (1905), 4-8.
  • 19Ibid., 36-41.
  • 20Ibid., V (1909), 57-71.
title, "Natural Gas in Indiana" was published in June, 1908, with only two footnotes, and these were added by the editor to explain points, not as citations to material used by the writer.21 Various articles accepted for publication would have taken on an added value for readers had footnotes been employed. These matters are not noticed to detract from the Magazine of that early period, but only to show what it was like when it was younger.

It should be mentioned, perhaps, that there is a charm about earlier historical magazines that makes them easy to read. One seems to get close to the writers and especially to the editors. Perhaps the struggling editors of former years succeeded in putting more of themselves into their product. No doubt there was a spirit that went along with bringing out one issue after another under real difficulties that we should not lose as we turn out a product that is technically more and more perfect.

Having spent a considerable amount of time on the history of the Magazine from 1905 to 1913, I feel that it is necessary to become acquainted with the Indiana Historical Society in order to better understand the history of the Magazine. In the early period of the latter, it is well to realize, the Indiana State Library had just gotten a real start on its fine career and had only recently found itself in 1905.22 It was extremely fortunate that the Library had for its head the able William E. Henry from 1897 to 1906 and that he was followed by Demarchus C. Brown. These men were able to do much for the Magazine during its critical years. It was also in the period when the Magazine was struggling for its life that the Library's department of archives and history was created by the state library board on the recommendation of the director of the Library, Mr. Henry. Harlow Lindley, head of the department of history of Earlham College, became the first director of this new service of the Indiana State Library. He and his successors were to become willing and helpful allies of the editors of the Indiana Magazine of History.

Of these several companion agencies of the Magazine, it was the Indiana Historical Society, strange to say, that developed


  • 21Ibid., IV (1908), 31-45.
  • 22 William E. Henry, "The State Library—Its Character and Aims," Ibid., I (1905), 33-35, is an excellent short survey of the state library, its past, and the hopes built up for its future.
most slowly. Some of its history has already been presented. Its long history, its lapses, its publications, its small membership, its endowment, its timely financial aid to the Magazine, especially from 1907 to 1913, have all been noticed. Raising the annual membership fee from $1.00 to $2.00 and making each member a subscriber by paying one-half of the annual dues to the Magazine, beginning with 1913, was an important step, but it did not mean much for almost another decade. Something very significant remained to be accomplished before the Society could play its destined part. A great increase in membership was very essential. After that came, during the years from 1921 to 1924, inclusive, the Society had the opportunity to become a vigorous organization.

As late as December, 1912, Cottman, who was soon to terminate his second period as editor of the Magazine, printed this interesting statement: "The regular annual meeting of the Indiana Historical Society will be held in the office of President Daniel Wait Howe, Thursday, December 26, at 2 o'clock. It is to be regretted that there is not a better attendance at these meetings. The demand upon the members comes only once a year, and the business is of sufficient importance to justify some attention."23

This was at the end of 1912, but in 1914, under the department headed Minor Notices, there appeared a brief summary of the history of the Indiana Historical Society which gives the membership as seventy-five. In this short discussion of the Society by the editor of the Magazine, Logan Esarey, the third and final paragraph is worth quoting: "It seems that now would be an opportune time to revive interest in the organization and its work. Many leading men have expressed an interest in it lately. There are men and women in Indiana able to do this work as well as it is being done in any other State. Why not have a mass meeting of all persons in the State interested in the work of the Society as soon as the political campaign of the year is over? This is merely a suggestion. It is believed there are 1,000 persons in Indiana sufficiently interested in the work to join the society."24


  • 23Ibid., VIII (1912), 194.
  • 24Ibid., X (1914), 322. Esarey's suggestion went unheeded forabout seven years. In the meantime, during these continued years of small membership, the Society from 1914 to 1921 voted subsidies to the

It is necessary to record that this suggestion of September, 1914, produced no effect. Six years later, the membership of the Society reached about 150, but at last something was about to happen. At the annual meeting of the Indiana Historical Society on December 30, 1920, a committee on membership was appointed which was made up of the newly-elected president, Charles W. Moores,25 Miss Lucy M. Elliott, and Harlow Lindley. Miss Elliott was made the secretary of this committee, and a vigorous canvass for new members was launched at once. This membership drive was so successful that it amounted to a new birth for the Indiana Historical Society, and, since the added members each meant an extra dollar to the Magazine each year, the drive was very much appreciated by Indiana University and the editor, Logan Esarey.

In the June, 1921, issue of the Magazine Lucy M. Elliott was able to report that more new members had been added to the Society in six months than had ever before been counted in the total membership in any year of the Society's history. A list of the new members obtained during the half-year was published in the issue of the Magazine for June, 1921, the number being 165.26

It was at the annual business meeting of December, 1920, that Judge Daniel Wait Howe retired after holding the office of president for twenty years. Charles W. Moores, who succeeded Judge Howe, remained at the head of the Society for only three years, but they were years to be remembered. James A. Woodburn was made the successor of Moores. Jacob Piatt Dunn, long interested in the history of


  • Magazine. See ibid., XI (1915), 84. It should be remembered that the Indiana Historical Society had an endowment from an earlier period, the income from which could be used to publish monographs and for well-placed subsidies. Most of the early fund of $3,000 was given to the Society by William H. English. Later, Delvan Smith, well-known citizen of Indianapolis, gave to the Society a cash bequest of $150,000 and his valuable private library in the field of American history.
  • 25 Charles Washington Moores served but three years as president of the Society. Elected to that position in December, 1920, he was succeeded by James A. Woodburn of Indiana University in December, 1923. Moores was an able lawyer of Indianapolis who wrote works in his field and was the author of historical books designed for youthful readers. He was a brother of Merrill Moores, also an Indianapolis attorney and a member of the United States House of Representatives. Woodburn was president of the Society for ten years, resigning in 1933, a decade during which for the first time the organization was large and very active.
  • 26Indiana Magazine of History, XVII (1921), 199-201.
Indiana and a writer of numerous historical articles, pamphlets, and books, was now serving as secretary of the society. Earlier, a few years before the period of William E. Henry, Dunn had been head of the Indiana State Library. He was well known in Indiana as a political leader, but, unlike most politicians, he had a gift for writing history, and it may have been well if he had devoted most of his life to the study and writing of history. Miss Elliott served the Society as assistant secretary and treasurer.

The success in obtaining new members for the Society during the first half of 1921 continued, and the March, 1924, issue of the Mugazine published the full list of officers and members of the Society. Counting no names twice, the membership totaled 1,073,27 an astonishing figure to contemplate, when one is acquainted with the story of the Indiana Historical Society from 1830 to 1924, a period close to a century.

By 1924, when the Society had at last acquired a large membership, Indiana seemed alive with historical agencies. The Indiana State Library had been growing steadily and rendering more excellent service year by year for a little more than a quarter of a century, following a long period of little consequence. The Indiana Magazine of History could now look back over almost a score of years of struggling successfully against handicaps. The Library's department of archives and history had carried on for a number of years under the supervision of Harlow Lindley. The Indiana Historical Commission was created in 1915. The director of this new agency for several years was Walter C. Woodward of Earlham College, with Lucy M. Elliott as assistant director. In 1919, John W. Oliver became the second director of the Commission. He was a very enthusiastic and active worker in this position for the next four years. Since 1923, he has served until the present time as the head of the department of history at the University of Pittsburgh. Harlow Lindley took over the work of Oliver until the readjustments of 1925 were made, when the Commission was superseded by the Indiana Historical Bureau.

Christopher B. Coleman returned to Indiana from Allegheny College in 1924 to succeed Jacob P. Dunn as the secretary of the Indiana Historical Society. Between 1924


  • 27Ibid., XX (1924), 97-120.
and 1926 an arrangement was perfected under which Coleman became the director of the Indiana Historical Bureau, while continuing his service as secretary of the Indiana Historical Society. He continued to serve in this dual capacity until his death in 1944, and the combination of the two agencies still persists.28

The Society of Indiana Pioneers developed into a well-knit organization with a strong appeal to the public. Its first annual conference was held in Indianapolis in December, 1919. It was a success, as was the second conference in 1920. The third annual conference was sponsored jointly by the Society of Indiana Pioneers, the Indiana Historical Commission and the Indiana Historical Society. This conference was held in Indianapolis at the Claypool Hotel on December 9-10, 1921. The attendance at this third meeting was very good, running to more than two hundred.

Sessions were held in both the afternoon and evening of December 9, and in the forenoon and afternoon of Saturday, December 10. On Friday evening, Governor Samuel M. Ralston read a paper on the first governor of the state, Jonathan Jennings. Several historical papers were read and discussed at the session of Saturday forenoon. A similar program marked the session of Saturday afternoon. Forty-six counties were represented in this conference of 1921. The annual dinner of the Society of Indiana Pioneers, still a feature of the December conference, came on Saturday evening. In 1921 the members and guests sang songs of pioneer times, and Mrs. Demarchus C. Brown talked on the subject, "Some Old-Fashioned Indiana Writers." It was felt by all concerned that the conference on history of 1921 was a very real success. Considering the slowness with which matters related to Indiana history had moved during the first century of the history of the state, the feeling of elation that marked the early 1920's was fully justified. Oliver, as director of the Indiana Historical Commission, who had done so much to make a success of the conference of 1921, declared that the annual conference on Indiana history was "rapidly taking on the nature of a clearing house for state history."29


  • 28 Facts presented in this and the preceding paragraphs were kindly furnished by Dorothy Riker of the Indiana Historical Bureau.
  • 29 Information relative to the important third annual history conference of 1921 was reported by John W. Oliver, director of the Indiana Historical Commission, to the Indiana Magazine of History, XVIII (1922), 116-117.

Several agencies were now working together through the annual conference to promote a keener interest in the history of Indiana. These included the Society of Indiana Pioneers, the Indiana Historical Society, the History Teachers Section of the Indiana Teachers Association, the Indiana Historical Commission, and the Indiana Magazine of History. The Indiana Historical Commission was succeeded by the Indiana Historical Bureau in 1925, which new agency continued to work with the other agencies, though with increased facilities. For many years I have watched with great satisfaction these several agencies do their work harmoniously. It is remarkable how well so many agencies have worked together. I can recall, personally, a year when an ex-editor of the Magazine and first vice-president (and president-elect) of the Society, gave the address to the Society of Indiana Pioneers at their annual dinner, which address was later published by the Indiana Magazine of History.

As stated earlier, Cottman concluded his work as editor of the Magazine with the March issue of 1913. The succeeding issue, June, 1913, was the first by the new editor, Logan Esarey, who had recently been added to the history faculty of Indiana University to work in the field of western history, with especial attention to Indiana history. The size of the Magazine was not changed during 1913, but the familiar cover used by Editor Cottman was abandoned at once. An article with the title, "Life in Indiana, 1800-1820," by Rola M. Hogue, teacher in the Vincennes High School, was the first article published in the Magazine accompanied with footnotes designated by arabic numerals. The footnote numbers ran in a single series throughout the article, a total of twenty-nine for nine pages.30 Footnotes accompanying articles in the Indiana Magazine of History have been handled as they were in the June issue of 1913 in every issue since that number.

The first issue of 1914 was placed in the hands of subscribers with a larger page than in any preceding year and in this respect the Magazine has not been changed since. Esarey continued to serve as the editor of the Indiana Magazine of History from June, 1913, until the end of the year 1927. As closely as can be determined, he edited fifty-nine quarterly numbers. The first issue of 1913 was edited by


  • 30Ibid., IX (1913), 83-92.
Cottman. In the midst of the year 1925, R. Carlyle Buley was appointed to the newly-created position of business manager of the Mugaxine. This addition to the official staff was highly satisfactory to Esarey, who had no interest in the financial duties that had been attached to his editorial responsibilities. Buley continued to serve as business manager of the Magazine until the end of 1931, several years after Esarey resigned the editorship of the Magazine.31

As a recently appointed member of the history staff of Indiana University, Logan Esarey was the logical person to become the new editor of the Magazine in 1913. He had been doing intensive research in Indiana history for several years and he was working on the first of his two large volumes of the History of Indiana. This volume was published in less than two years after he became editor of the Magazine. The second volume was first offered for sale early in 1919. Esarey had graduate students who completed master's and doctor's theses in the field of Indiana history, some of which were published in whole or in part in the Magazine. This being true, issues of the Mugazine during the period of Esarey's editorship were naturally somewhat different in character from earlier volumes.32

In general, Esarey's plan was to maintain a variety in the contents of the Magazine as the numbers came out, including well-prepared historical papers, source materials, book reviews, historical news, and editorial but he did not hold rigidly to such a regime. Sometimes he brought out an issue, the contents of which consisted of a single study, with all other customary features omitted. In one instance, instead of the two separate quarterly issues for June and September, 1925, one double number was published, offering a single monograph with the title, "The Big Four


  • 31 R. Carlyle Buley was the business manager of the Magazine of this period, and in the table of contents, ibid., XXIII (1927), under the Board of Editors, Esarey's name is omitted and R. Carlyle Buley is listed as managing editor.
  • 32 In other words, a vastly greater proportion of material prepared by research students was published between 1913 and 1927, than was the case prior to 1913, in the first eight volumes.
  • 33 In June, 1915, the Mississippi Valley Historical Review gave high praise to the Indiana Magazine of History, saying that it "continues to hold the premier position among historical periodicals of the old Northwest in editorial workmanship and quality of paper." Mississippi Valley Historical Review (Cedar Rapids, Iowa, 1914-), II (1915), 92.
Railroad in Indiana." The author was A. Maurphy.34 In another instance, a master's thesis by Carl Painter, "The Progressive Party in Indiana," was given all the space in a quarterly issue of the Magazine.35 There were other numbers of the Magazine that were not made up according to the regular pattern.36

After the year 1924, it was easier to solve the problem of financing the Indiana Magazine of History because the Indiana Historical Society had acquired a large membership. Since Esarey served the Magazine from June, 1913, to the end of 1927, he put in most of his time as editor during ten years when the Magazine's income was low, serving a much shorter period after the income from the Society had greatly increased. It is, of course, to be kept in mind that during the almost fifteen years that Esarey served as editor of the Magazine he taught Indiana history and Western history for the University and was paid for his teaching service. The need for more income for the Magazine was somewhat discouraging to its editor, but he did much with slender resources, and took in his stride what fell to his lot.

Before Esarey assumed the duties of editor of the Magazine he had been made the secretary of the Indiana Historical Survey, a newly-created agency of the department of history. The Survey was provided with an expense fund, and the same person who helped Esarey in his capacity as secretary of the Survey helped him in his capacity as editor of the Magazine. This permitted a different set-up relative to the Magazine from June, 1913, to the end of 1927, from that which followed, from September, 1928, to September, 1941, when I served as editor of the Magazine, since I had nothing to do with the Indiana Historical Survey.


  • 34 The name of the author as printed in connection with the monograph in the double number was Ared Maurice Murphy. There is some doubt about the word Ared, but I have not found the evidence that permits me to reject it. I do, have certain proof that the Maurice Murphy who authored the article, Some Features of the History of Parke County," Indiana Magazine of History, XII (1916), 144-157, was not the same Maurice Murphy who prepared the study of the railroad.
  • 35Ibid., XVI (1920), 173-283.
  • 36 One was the issue of September, XIV (1918), 183-286. The entire number was taken up with "Secret Political Parties in Indiana During the Civil War," by Mayo Fesler. Still another number included but two contributions and the index for the volume of the year. This was the September issue, XXII (1926), 335-463. See also the September issue, XXIII (1927), 240-364.

Readers of the Indiana Magazine of History first learned to know it relative to the nature of its contents and arrangement from March, 1905, to March, 1913. Except for its cover and larger size, it was not changed much in character for several years after it was moved to Indiana University. As mentioned earlier, a few years after 1913 it was not uncommon for reviews, notes and comments to be omitted oc~asionally.37 This possibly disturbed some of the subscribers who liked to see all departments of the Magazine appear in each issue, though it made it possible to give more space to longer monographs.

An unusually fine article with the title, "The Approach to History," by Logan Esarey, prepared for the June, 1921, issue of the Magazine, was critical, but keen and very valuable to teachers of history in the public schools. Every teacher of children ought to read it.

To the last issue brought out by Esarey he contributed the leading article, a thoughtful essay with the title, "The Outlook for History." At the beginning of this very critical study he quoted the first sentence from the first article ever published in the American Historical Review. The sentence read: "Many careful students of modern life assert that they discern in society a widespread discontent with the results of historical study as pursued today."38 This statement was made in 1895, and, after quoting other historians who lived before and after the turn of the century, Esarey felt impelled to offer reflections of his own.

He held that history is perhaps the most extensive field open to human investigation, and that no searcher after historical truth can expect to accomplish much. He declared that the critical is the proper professional attitude, and added that society has been led to expect from historians, and especially from those who are teaching historians, services that no historian can ever hope to accomplish. Historians themselves are at variance as to the purposes of history. History is limited by evidence, but it is difficult to get many to abide by this truth. As to the notion that by a study of the past, historians can foretell the future-that is, become


  • 37 Instances are cited in the preceding footnote. Long monographs are not well suited to quarterly magazines and should as a rule be published in installments, or printed as separate pamphlets.
  • 38Indiana Magazine of History, XXIII (1927). 365-377.
philosophers of history—Esarey declared that the "spirit of prophecy refused to settle on the historians." Historians did everything to train gatherers of evidence, and do yet, but it did not work and won't work out to the desired end.

Criticism became a watchword with historians and many students were trained in research. There were plenty of such trainees who missed the boat and plenty of dissertations that looked like pieces of critical research but amounted to little; yet such results did not mean that much good work was not being accomplished, for the truth was that the study of history had made much progress during the generation preceding 1927, when Esarey was writing his essay, "The Outlook for History."

Proceeding with this discussion, Esarey stated: "As anyone might suspect and as most historians know, the chief difficulty lies in the field of interpretation… The problem is difficult." There is certainly no doubt about this assertion. Those who teach history to college students, continued Esarey, must understand that "merely making the work more difficult is no criterion of collegiate teaching. As nearly as can be expressed the difference lies in vision, view-point and scholarship. Not having received these the undergraduate can scarcely be expected to impart them." When he wrote this critical article, Esarey was discouraged because college textbooks in history were not vastly better. In conclusion, he said, "After all is said, we may wait in the full expectation that time will bring a remedy. The present [1927], hectic, uncritical, period will pass as others have."39

The point has now been reached where I must tell the story of my own period as editor of the Indiana Magazine of History. I had never thought of the possibility of succeeding to the editorship until after the beginning of 1928. I was born and reared in Indiana and had done all of my teaching within the state. I had to know something about Indiana, but I had taken no definite courses in the history of the state. Beyond what I knew from experience and what I knew from studying general American history and had learned through special courses in Western history, I suppose that I had learned more


  • 39 From volume IV to the end of volume XXIII, Esarey often contributed articles to the Magazine, a total of eight or more in all. The most authentic data in regard to the career of Esarey is found in the biographical study by R. Carlyle Buley, "Logan Esarey, Hoosier," ibid., XXXIII (1942), 322-381.
from reading Esarey's two large volumes than from any other books relating to Indiana history.

I was especially interested in American party history and had been granted a leave of absence that I might go forth and study in different libraries to prepare for writing a history of parties in the United States. I had been persuaded to return to the University to teach part-time during the first semester of 1927-1928, so I was there when the editorship of the Magazine became vacant at the end of 1927. By the middle of the University year, that is before the beginning of the second semester, February 1, 1928, I was tied up with the Magazine. I did not begin my period of service until it was necessary to take up work on the September issue of 1928. Someone had to be found to edit the March and June issues of 1928, and Albert L. Kohlmeier, head of the department of history at Indiana University, asked Coleman to take over for six months, which he kindly consented to do. In the March and June issues of the Magazine of 1928, Christopher B. Cole-man's name is properly listed on the title pages as editor. I labored at the job of editor as a side issue from September, 1928, until the June number appeared in the summer of 1941.40

The first issue of the Magazine after I was placed in charge came out as of September, 1928. There was little or no matter for publication on hand and some hurried searching and planning were required. Somehow, we succeeded in getting the two remaining quarterly issues for the year published and in the hands of subscribers before the end of 1928, but those two issues will always carry some marks of haste.41 My desire was to publish in each quarterly issue two or more well prepared historical papers, and to carry in addition a fair amount of source material, some reviews and notices and


  • 40 Before I assumed my duties as editor of the Magazine, I was carrying regularly twelve hours of work as my teaching load, which was the same as that of any regular professor. Because of my new editorial duties, I was relieved of the work of teaching one of my two classes in general American history, which was a three-hour course. When faculty salaries were cut in the midst of the depression, I experienced the same reduction, or rather a reduction on the same basis, as other faculty members. I had one student assistant on the Magazine, whose stipend was very small, but he received a proportionate cut. I am glad that I learned to like editorial work, and that my successive assistants accepted what came cheerfully. I should not forget to say that our incomes were later readjusted upwards.
  • 41 See Indiana Magazine of History, XXV (1929), 71.
in addition a section given over to some comment and news. In 1930, beginning with the December issue, two pages were reserved for the Indiana Historical Society. In March, 1934, a similar section was set aside for history teachers, and labeled History Teachers Forum. In September, 1936, a distinctly new department was added to the Magazine with the heading Indiana Genealogy, with Mrs. Martha Tucker Morris of Salem, Indiana, designated as editor.42

During my thirteen years as editor of the Magazine, I varied the section of Comment and News considerably, perhaps too often. As our country and the world moved along into more serious economic and social conditions, I tended to deal more with topics related to troubled situations than with historical problems. I received one complaint from a subscriber who had become worried about me; a mature businessman, he charged that my comments read like quotations from current Democratic platforms. This was near the middle-thirties when reactionaries were beginning to fear for the future of the economic system. I have reread my comments of the period from 1931 to 1936 and I can find nothing that smacks of partisanship, though a tinge of liberalism pervades my discussions.

At the beginning of 1936, I substituted the heading Editor's Pages for Comment and News. Earlier I had shortened Comment and News to Comment. I don't recall whether or not I did so because it was easier to manufacture comment than to gather news—possibly so. In the March issue of 1936 I published the first installment of what I called "The Beginnings of a Possible Autobiography.43 These chapters or installments ran up to twelve in all, the last appearing in the December issue of 1938. A title was given to each chapter and the story covered the first fifty years of my life. I have never yet written anything beyond 1920, though almost thirty-five years have been added to my life since that year closed.

During my period of editorship, I did not find it difficult to obtain manuscripts for publication from writers who were well known. It was also possible to publish various suitable studies prepared by graduate students, and I published quite


  • 42 See Genealogy, ibid., XXXII (1936), 299-318.
  • 43 The expression, "The Beginnings of a Possible Autobiography," was not used after the publishing of the first four installments that appeared in the Magazine during the year 1936.
a few. I had a desire to get hold of valuable historical papers prepared by writers not trained in graduate seminars whose work could easily be missed entirely. It had been very necessary for the founder of the Magazine to go afield for material, which he did; and he set a good example by laboring with untrained persons, who really had something to contribute. Partially prepared, or even poorly prepared, it was still valuable matter to him for revision and publication. I felt, while editor, that there was still some need in Indiana for the kind of work done by Cottman. Coleman agreed with this notion and commended my adherence to it in the last issue published while I was editor, saying that I had made the Magazine to a degree "the vehicle for publication of worthwhile articles written by others than professional historians and graduate students. The Magazine has thus greatly promoted interest in Indiana history outside university and college walls. Doubtless a majority of the readers of the Magazine are men and women not directly connected with academic life."44

It was in the early period of my editorship of the Magazine that its twenty-fifth anniversary arrived at the end of 1929. At this time, the Magazine, in conjunction with the Indiana Historical Society, prepared and published the General Index for volumes I to XXV, inclusive. The preparation of copy was done by Dorothy Riker, a member of the staff of the Society and the Indiana Historical Bureau. The expense of printing was borne by the Magazine and the printing was done by the Indiana University Printing Plant. The index was a success from the first and has been very useful to hosts of persons. Considerable time has passed since the cost of printing the index in 1930 very nearly snuffed the life out of the Magazine and paralyzed the editor for a time. Now, under rosier conditions, an index for the second twenty-five years is in the offing.

When I became the editor of the Indiana Magazine of History I had much to learn. By the time I was ready to write copy for the first issue of the Magazine, after I was placed in charge in the late summer of 1928, I had done some thinking about the work of an editor of a quarterly magazine of history as the following paragraph will reveal: "The


  • 44Indiana Magazine of History, XXXVII (1941), 160.
work of an editor is neither a simple nor an easy task. He must read critically such papers as are submitted for publication, in order to discover as far as possible errors of fact, of composition and of form. He must assume the responsibility of deciding whether the quality of articles submitted is such as to justify publication. He must reject papers that are not up to a fair level of merit, or that are not adapted to the purpose of the magazine. He must somehow discover unpublished documents of value, and find persons who have the capacity to write. He should, at times, advise those willing to prepare articles, and point out to them ways in which their work may be improved. At the worst he may, occasionally, find his barrel as barren of matter suitable for publication, as Mother Hubbard found her cupboard bare of bones for her dog. The magazine will be due, nevertheless, in March, June, September and December of each year."45

I found the task of editing the Indiana Magazine of History very congenial. It required much time and energy. When I consented to serve as editor, I was giving time to research in the field of American party history. I continued work along this line and brought out a volume to which the title, Fifty Years of Party Warfare, was given. My editorial work slowed up my writing, but even so, the book was published sooner than it should have been, as I have thought about it since. Though I succeeded in gathering a large amount of further material on party history relating to the period following that covered by my published volume, I did not get ready, in my judgment, to offer the copy for a second volume to my publisher. I do not make excuses for my failure, but it is not unreasonable to claim that thirteen consecutive years of editorial duties did at least partly explain my inability to complete at least another volume of party history. I have made the foregoing comments mainly that I may say that editing a magazine of history, in my judgment, deserves as much credit as doing research that results in writing and publishing books. I wonder if those who praise productive historical work have done justice to editors of historical magazines and others absorbed in similar activities?


  • 45 Ibid., XXIV (1928), 218. About the time that I was writing the paragraph here quoted, I had the good fortune to read the introduction to the first volume of the John Askin Papers, edited by Milo M. Quaife, which I found exceedingly valuable to me. I quoted passages from this introduction. Ibid., 219.

I have mentioned that I published a considerable number of articles that came from master's and doctor's theses—that is, work of graduate students in history. I have also called attention to the fact that I often labored with articles turned in by untrained writers who had good material to offer. I should add that from 1928 to 1941, I received a very large number of articles for publication from persons who were prominent. The greater number of these were residents of Indiana, but not all. As I look over the contents of fifty-two issues, I am astonished at the number of contributions that were offered to me for publication by members of college and university faculties. Checking them carefully, I find that I accepted at least fifty offerings from college and university teachers. I do not recall that I solicited any of these papers or documents-certainly very few, if any. I have counted along with college teachers a few librarians or officials of historical societies who were equivalent in rank with faculty members.46

In the period of my editorship of the Indiana Magazine of History, I had the help of a long line of assistants, one at a time. These were excellent students who were willing to work and who appreciated the small stipend received from the University. It was necessary for each of them to do typing, of which there was a fair amount. Each of the students who served me in connection with the Magazine during my thirteen years as editor was a good student. Without exception, each of the young men and young women was of high character. Almost every one of them served me for a year, and a few for something more than a year.

The present editor of the Indiana Magazine of History is John D. Barnhart, professor of American history at Indiana University. His special courses have included Indiana history since he joined the faculty of the department of history in the summer of 1941. Unlike his immediate predecessor, he did not have to annex an unexpected specialty. The first issue published after he became the editor was that of September, 1941. He has, therefore, already edited fifty-four issues,


  • 46 I should like to furnish a list of the writers who helped me so much while I was editor of the Magazine but that seems out of the question. If the opportunity comes and the interest is great enough, the reader should take some time and look through the files of the Magazine.
not counting the current number. As yet, the highest record is that of Esarey, who brought out fifty-nine issues in all.

Barnhart is a graduate of Illinois Wesleyan University, where he received an A.B. degree in 1916. He was granted a master's degree by Northwestern University in 1919, and received his doctor's degree from Harvard in 1930. He first came to Indiana University as a visiting professor during the year 1924-1925, and returned in 1941, after serving on the faculties of the University of West Virginia and Louisiana State University for a number of years.

In 1945, Barnhart succeeded in employing an assistant editor, which was a step upward for the Magazine in many ways. He obtained the services of Elfrieda Lang, who worked full-time for the Magazine from 1945 to 1953. After she was granted a doctor's degree in 1950, she became research associate in history in addition to being the assistant editor. In 1953, she severed her connection with the Magazine, for which she had done so much, and became assistant curator of manuscripts in the Indiana University Library. In 1953, Kathleen Nolan succeeded Miss Lang as assistant editor and continues to fill that position with skill and efficiency.

A colorful new cover was adopted by the Magazine in 1947. Howard H. Peckham, then secretary of the Indiana Historical Society, was responsible for instigating the change and having the new format designed.

While the nature and contents of the Indiana Magazine of History have not changed abruptly nor very extensively at any time or in any period, there have been, as a matter of course, considerable change and variation with the passing of fifty years. Such modifications as have been made have been improvements in harmony with those made by similar journals published over the country, especially the American Historical Review, the Mississippi Valley Historical Review, and the Journal of Southern History. This is as it should be. It does result in giving historical magazines a more technical appearance, and possibly causes them to present a less attractive aspect to certain groups who like to read articles in historical journals. Certain types of critics have, in recent years, been prone to express their dislike of articles "cluttered up with footnotes," and such opinions have had an influence. In so far as I can see, it should not bother any reader to find an article accompanied by footnotes, even many of them. No reader is obliged to notice footnotes, if he prefers to ignore them.

Entirely aside from the objections of those who just don't like footnotes, there is something that is worthy of consideration. This is the fact that there are types of historical articles that require few or no footnotes, which are still worthy of publication in historical magazines. Such offerings are gladly received and published. They are usually written by persons who helped to make the history of some big event, like a war or a battle, or participated in making the history of a state, a county or a community. They seldom use footnotes, and often do not need any. In Indiana, for example, such articles are often written and offered for publication by well-known men and women, but also by intelligent citizens not well-known outside their own communities. For a good many years after the Indiana Magazine of History was born, the editors received and frequently published historical articles of this kind, and such articles were apt to be the first read. That fewer of them have been published as the magazine has grown older is not because such articles have been rejected by the editors, but because they have not been written. Hoosiers who lived in the pioneer age of Indiana passed from the scene some years ago, even the last of them.

The question that now arises is how can an editor of a magazine of history obtain and publish historical articles such as those that older men and women who lived in the pioneer period once prepared and submitted for publication? I feel that I have at least a partial answer. It was shortly after 1900, in the main, that the automobile, the airplane, wireless messages and various other new and transforming inventions, especially pertaining to war, appeared and made over our modes of living. Persons yet living who were born before 1890 passed through experiences that now set them apart from the younger elements that compose much of the population of our country. What they learned from experience before 1900, to give a rough date, is as important as what aging pioneers gave to the public some years ago, and just as unknown and unfamiliar to most of our people today. What survivors of the 1880's and the 1890's can do for the people of this new age is to write about the period that only they know from experience. They should produce some historical writing that will include short papers, reminiscences, and autobiographies, and unearth matter that has been written and not published. All of this will tend to enrich the contents of future issues of the Magazine, and give pleasure to large numbers of readers who have only a mild interest in articles supported by footnote reference.47

As I go through the fifty-four issues published since the summer of 1941, I can say that there are many very well-developed articles, numerous documents of great interest and value, and scores of carefully prepared book reviews. The contents of the many issues have been helpful and stimulating to numerous habitual readers through the years. Historical students have not only read but have gathered information useful to them from the various issues and have greatly widened the benefits of the special articles and the documents. Best of all, copies of all back numbers will stand on library shelves everywhere and will serve researchers and likewise any who like to seek interesting and valuable historical matter for the purpose of reading and enjoying it.

Earlier in this history of the Magazine, I called attention to the large numbers of college and university faculty members who furnished articles to the Indiana Magazine of History while I served as editor. I have found by checking that twice as many, if not more, of such contributors have furnished articles, documents, and reviews to the Magazine since 1941. The number of articles coming from master's and doctor's theses also shows an increase. The number of contributions from persons who are not members of college or university faculties nor graduate students does not reveal much change. Offerings from surviving pioneers show a steady decline from 1905 to the present, but nothing else could be true. Changing economic, social, and political conditions bring about changes in the contents of historical journals as in about every other phase of life. It is only possible to attempt to exert an influence, in a small way, towards sanity in regard to the process of transformation that is bound to continue.


  • 47 One important fact that needs to he revealed to persons who lived as somewhat mature persons in the period preceding the coming of motor vehicles, airplanes, and the beginning of the military revolution of the twentieth century, is that they know about a bygone age just as did the pioneer of an earlier bygone age. However, they have not revealed what they know as fully as did those surviving pioneers who preceded them. Editors of historical magazines, therefore, have a job to perform.

It is a difficult task to pass judgement on the nature and contents of a historical magazine for a considerable period, but I must say that the Indiana Magazine of History has held up to a high standard during the years since September 1, 1941. The array of studies published reveals a high quality. Especial care has been exercised in fitting individual reviewers to their task. It is particularly noticeable that able contributors, well scattered over the country, are very willing to see their writings find a place in the Indiana Magazine of History. The tendencies of any period are apt to influence too strongly a journal of any state or area, but our Indiana specimen seems to have kept a character of its own. One can only express a hope that, if it should vary from this quality in the future, it will show greater rather than less of independence.48

As a final word, I can only say that in a busy and exacting period of my life I gave a lot of my life's blood to the Indiana Magazine of History, and that I can never forget.


  • 48 I feel especially indebted to Dorothy Riker, of the Indiana Historical Bureau, and to Kathleen Nolan for their willingness to aid me in obtaining information from the Indiana State Library and the Indiana University Library, respectively, while preparing this paper.


Published by the Indiana University Department of History.