Booth Tarkington and Literature of Indiana

As Indiana’s birthday swiftly approaches (December 11!) we are taking a look at prominent Hoosiers. This week’s feature is Booth Tarkington. The IU Digital Library Program has a good, short biography in their Indiana Authors project: Booth Tarkington Biography.

Booth Tarkington. Photo from the Library of Congress

Booth Tarkington. Photo from the Library of Congress

To summarize, Tarkington was born in Indianapolis, Indiana in 1869. He split his time in high school between Indianapolis and the Phillips Exeter Academy. He then returned to Indiana to attend Purdue for two years, before transferring to Princeton. Booth Tarkington mostly wrote about middle class families in Indiana… his most famous books being The Magnificent Ambersons (winner of the 1919 Pulitzer Prize), Alice Adams (winner of the 1921 Pulitzer), The Gentleman from Indiana (1900), and Penrod (1914). Alice Adams and The Magnificent Ambersons were both made into films. Orson Wells directed and wrote the screenplay for The Magnificent Ambersons, and Katharine Hepburn starred in Alice Adams. Both films can be checked out from the Wells Library:

The Magnificent Ambersons, PN1997 .M254 1985  Location: Wells Library – Media Services

Alice Adams Call Number: CLASSIC – BROWSING Location: Wells Library – Media Services – Video Browsing

image (1) The Gentleman From Indiana

image (2) The Guest of Quesnay

For more information on Booth Tarkington:

Booth Tarkington is one of Indiana’s many famous authors. Check out our map of authors from Indiana’s “Golden Age of Literature”:


Click the map for a larger image

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GIS Day!

It’s that time of year again! GIS Day is celebrated every year in November to highlight the work being done by GIS (Geographic Information Systems) professionals and students AND to educate people about uses for GIS. Stop by the lobby of the Wells Library on Wednesday, November 20th from 10 A.M.-3:30 P.M. to visit various information booths, learn about GIS, and get some sweet geographic SWAG. The Keynote speech will begin at 4 P.M. This year, Sara C. Pryor will be giving the keynote speech titled, “The Climate Science Puzzle…”

Visit for more information about events during GIS Day, and be sure to stop by! It’s always a fun time. Some examples of participants are: ESRI, The U.S. Geological Survey, UITS, Hoosier National Forest, multiple IU academic departments, and the Indiana Geological Survey.

The Government Information, Maps, & Microforms Department will also be represented, with our display on Mapping Literature: Indiana Authors.


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Mapping Typhoon Haiyan

Relief efforts in the Philippines are still ongoing in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda. Several entities have produced good maps showing the path of the typhoon, affected areas, and relief efforts.

The BBC has a good site, and the New York Times wrote an article on mapping the typhoon.

One of the more interesting developments, as far as maps goes, is the crowdsourced effort to map the area. The Red Cross is working with Open Street Map to provide detailed, open source maps of the areas hit by the typhoon. The Atlantic has an excellent article that details the process.  Basically, volunteers use Open Street Map and MapBox to provide information about where buildings used to be, the path of the storm, and levels of destruction. Robinson Meyer of The Atlantic explains, “Since Saturday, more than 400 volunteers have made nearly three quarters of a million additions to a free, online map of areas in and around the Philippines. Those additions reflect the land before the storm, but they will help Red Cross workers and volunteers make critical decisions after it about where to send food, water, and supplies.”

Volunteers are also using Twitter to geotag crisis-related tweets and photos. This process is called, Micromapping. For more information, see this article from The Guardian: Social media, crisis mapping and the new frontier in disaster response. Find out how you can join the effort at the Micromapping website:

For more information on the typhoon, please see the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and ReliefWeb.

See Also: NOAA’s Pacific hurricane/typhoon tracking chart here in ET2

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Duck and Cover!

fall-out shelter sign

Last week we covered the anniversary of the first H-Bomb test. This week we’ll continue the theme by exploring fall-out shelters! For me, nothing encapsulates the Cold War era like photos of bomb shelters. Bomb shelters, or fall-out shelters, existed to shelter people in the event of a nuclear attack. They were generally underground or enforced above ground structures that were built to withstand a nuclear blast. They were often stocked with enough food and water to allow occupants to remain in the shelter until the area was safe again (sometimes years). Fall-out shelters were popular in America after the publicized nuclear testing that took place in the 1940′s-1960′s.

Operation Doorstep played a huge role in bringing nuclear testing and the potential of nuclear attack into the American national consciousness. Operation Doorstep took place in March 1953 in a Nevada atomic proving ground not far from Las Vegas. The purpose of this operation was to determine the effects of a nuclear blast on a typical American home. This article from the Atlantic shows some amazing photos from the tests: When We Tested Nuclear Bombs

photo of mannequins in Operation Doorstep

Operation Doorstep via The Atlantic

You may also want to check out this book from the Wells Library: Operation doorstep : AEC Atomic Proving Ground, Yucca Flat, Nevada, March 17, 1953

Popular Science did a piece on “7 of the Creepiest Cold War Fallout Shelters” including this one that instantly makes me feel claustrophobic:

photo of a fallout shelter

From Popular Science

Just to show that by 1960 the threat of nuclear war had made its way into American popular culture:

photo of Miss Atomic Bomb

Miss Atomic Bomb (Las Vegas Sun)

In the 1960′s, Indiana University was designated as the fall-out shelter for Monroe County in a national pilot program. The National Shelter Survey Program determined that multiple buildings in Bloomington (mostly on the IU campus) would be able to provide safe shelter to all 74,500 residents of Monroe County. The Report on Monroe County-University Fall-Out Shelter Program from the Indiana University Archives describes the shelters and mentions that all residents will be issued “survival biscuits” that “looks like a graham cracker and tastes something like an animal cracker”. I suggest you check out the report for more information on IU’s fall-out shelters.

Survival Biscuit Tin

As you might expect, the U.S. Government has a large collection of bomb shelter photos, specifically the National Archives and the Library of Congress. Click on the thumbnails to go to the record.

poster Atomic Bombing Careloc3



 Here are some more resources available through our department!

Bert the Turtle says Duck and Cover (poster)

FCD 1.2:B46 Click photo to see the IUCAT record

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The H-Bomb

On this day in history (November 1, 1952) the United States tested the first hydrogen bomb. I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, didn’t the United States drop The Bomb on Japan during WWII?” How was the first hydrogen bomb only tested in 1952? Well, the atomic bombs used on Hiroshima and Nagasaki were fission bombs, whereas the hydrogen bomb is a fusion bomb, which can be hundreds of times stronger than atomic bombs. This is the difference between the A-Bomb, which is the atomic bomb of the kind used in Japan, and the H-Bomb, which is the more powerful hydrogen bomb. The H-Bomb has not been used in warfare.

Testing the first hydrogen bomb. Photo from

Testing the first hydrogen bomb. Photo from

The first hydrogen bomb was exploded on Eniwetok Atoll, part of the Marshall Islands. Joanne Lamm describes the blast for the U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center:

[The bomb] was detonated remotely, from the control ship Estes, thirty miles away from ground zero. The three-mile wide fire ball reached 57,000 feet in ninety seconds. One minute later it reached 108,000 feet and ultimately reached 120,000 feet. The mushroom cloud spread out 100 miles across. The yield was 10.4 Megatons (equivalent to 10.4 million tons of TNT), the first “megaton-yield” explosion to occur. The radius of the blast was ten times that of an atomic explosion and 1,000 times as powerful as an atomic blast. Mike’s destructive blast, more than three megatons, contained as much force as that in the combined weight of all bombs dropped on Germany and Japan in World War II.

The island was completely vaporized. The crater that was left behind was 6,240 feet across and 164 feet deep. Atomic Energy Commission Chairman Gordon Dean summarized the results for the new President, Dwight D. Eisenhower: “the island of Elugelab is missing!”

The bomb was so powerful IT DESTROYED AN ISLAND. The next year, in 1953, the Soviets tested their own hydrogen bomb, and the nuclear arms race continued. Today, 8 countries are confirmed to have tested nuclear weapons: The United States, Russia, France, China, India, Pakistan, and North Korea. Israel is suspected to have nuclear weapons, and Iran is suspected to be pursuing nuclear weapons, according to this article from CNN.

 Further Facts and Resources: 

Resources in the Government Information, Maps, & Microforms Department:

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Government Shutdown

You have no doubt heard a lot about the government shutdown in the past few weeks. For a good background source that explains the reason for the shutdown, as well as historical precedent, check out this report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

Are you interested in what government websites look like during the shutdown? Archive-It has been collecting and archiving these messages for posterity. You can see their collection here:

Here are some examples of shutdown notices:

eric panda usa zoo

One of the most important issues for libraries during the shutdown is being able to provide you (our students and patrons) with the government information you need, even though these websites are down. This is one of the reasons that we have kept much of our print collection of government documents. For example, even though and the national map websites are shut down, here in the Government Documents, Maps, & Microforms department we keep every year and every edition of USGS topographic maps for every state. Although this information is no longer available online, you can find it in the library… talk to us.  Since gov’t information is in the PUBLIC DOMAIN,  we can scan you a digital copy if needed.

IU also subscribes to several databases that allow you to access government information. Proquest Congressional has access to Congressional documents, LexisNexis Academic for Federal Case Law, and SimplyMap for Census data. You could also try the Council of State Governments for information.

Have you been effected by the government shutdown? Comment and let us know how!

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ET2 Update

ORIGIN OF PLACE NAMES is the feature of our front display for October.  This is exciting because the German Heritage Society of Indiana loaned us their exhibit on German place names in Indiana.  We have also posted the 1932 map from the Indiana Department of Conservation on places whose origin stems from the Native Americans. Last but not least are new maps that are part of the series: Atlas of True Names. These maps show the etymological roots of modern place names. For example, did you know that Great Britain means “Great Land of the Tattooed”?


ET2 houses several excellent gazetteers including the original 1848 gazetteer for Indiana.  We need to use these to come up with comparable exhibits like the German one for France (Paris, Versailles), Latin American (Brazil, Peru, District of Columbia, and other regions of the world.  The IUB Libraries subscribes to Columbia Gazetteer online at:  My favorite online source is GNIS:  Geographic Names Information System from U.S. G.S but it is affected by the Government SHUTDOWN!

Visit our webpage for other resources:

Just a reminder that Lou will talk about Indiana Sanborm Maps and Indiana Historic Maps Digital Collections at noon on October 8th in Wells Library 043. We hope to see you there!

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Poison Ivy

While you’re out enjoying Indiana’s beautiful woods, parks, and forests, you may come across some poison ivy. Poison ivy is found in all states of the U.S. except Alaska and Hawaii. If you come in contact with poison ivy, you may experience itching, a rash, and sometimes blisters. You may start experiencing symptoms anywhere from a couple hours to several weeks after contact. The allergic reaction is caused by an oil in the plant’s leaves.

How to Recognize Poison Ivy

The saying goes, “Leaves of three, let it be”, although some types of poison ivy may not have exactly 3 leaves. According the the FDA, poison ivy generally has glossy leaves and can grow as a vine or a bush.

Poison Ivy

Poison Ivy

 What to do if you come in contact with poison ivy?

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suggest that you immediately rinse the area with rubbing alcohol or dishwashing soap to remove the plant oil from your skin. You should keep the area clean, scrub under your nails, and apply a wet compress or calamine lotion.

IU Health also has a wonderful guide to poisonous plants, including a section on poison ivy. The guide points out that you should also wash any clothing items that may have come in contact with the plant oils, because while poison ivy rashes are not contagious, the plant oil can remain on surfaces for several years. That means if your dog runs through a patch of poison ivy, you could get a rash from the oil remaining on the dog’s fur or collar.

How to protect yourself from poison ivy

poisonivy2The best thing to do is wear long pants and sleeves. You should also make sure to wear gloves if you are working with plants outdoors. Knowing what poison ivy looks like will be your best tool for avoiding a reaction.

According to IU Health and Purdue’s Department of Horticulture,  poison oak does not grow in Indiana… so that’s one less poisonous plant you have to worry about!

Other Resources

IU Health Guide to Poisonous Plants

The Food and Drug Administration Consumer Update on Poison Ivy

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention- Poisonous Plants

Indiana Department of Natural Resources- Poison Ivy

Purdue University Department of Horticulture

We also have a microfiche titled, “Eradication of Poison Ivy”



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Polling the Nations

Database Highlight!


Do you know about Polling the Nations? It’s a database with over 18,000 public opinion polls from over 100 countries. It covers topics such as health care, religion, immigration, and foreign policy. From the about file: “Each of the nearly 350,000 records reports a question asked and the responses given. Also included in each record is the polling organization responsible for the work, the date the information was released, the sample size, and universe, i.e., the groups or areas included in the interview, such as parents with children in public schools, Great Britain or California.”

It covers such topics as…

  • Statistical Resources
  • Government Information: International Documents
  • Military Science
  • International Studies
  • Global Studies
  • Public Administration
  • West European Studies
  • Geography
  • Criminal Justice
  • Political Science
  • Government Information: Foreign Documents
  • American Studies
  • Economics
  • African Studies

You can search in several different ways:



So there you have it. The next time you want to add some public opinion polls to your research, look no further! Polling the Nations is here!

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Mobile Congressional Resources

For all you mobile users…Relax because you can now find out about your Congressman on your mobile device.  The press release also mentions some of my favorite historical directories to Congress including the Congressional Pictorial Directory which started in 1951.  (See sample page below from the 1955 Indiana delegation—from the HathiTrust.)












For other Congressional materials see our Research Guide:

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