Sunday, January 23, 2011

Morgan County, Indiana Historical Resources, Part #1

Middle-aged patrons who visit the MPL Indiana Room to research county history frequently say that they couldn't have cared less about the subject when they were younger, but now that they have reached their forties, fifties, or sixties, their curiosity about their county history has blossomed. So they arrive, looking for introductions.

An excellent starter resource for Morgan County, Indiana history is Morgan County (2007), one of Arcadia Publishing's Postcard History Series, written by Joanne Raetz Stuttgen and Curtis Tomak. This book is a collection of historical postcards and photographs from roughly the last 125 years. It is divided into geographical sections, each focusing upon a Morgan County community or area for which these images have survived. The visual history is enjoyable and provides a smooth introduction to life as it was once lived in this part of central Indiana. Copies are readily available from online booksellers or various Hoosier public libraries (see bottom of next paragraph).

Another fine compilation of historical anecdotes for Morgan County, Indiana is Morgan County Scrapbook, volumes I-II (1985; reprinted, 1996), edited and compiled by Becky Hardin, who was the county historian at the time of publication. The first volume is a collection of historical snapshots for various communities in the county, examining primarily business and cultural history, with prominent persons highlighted. Each geographically defined section features short articles that include reproduced newspaper clippings and photographs along with commentary. Volume two concentrates upon schools and churches. There is a substantial amount of county history available in this set, and anyone interested in researching the subject should be sure to peruse these resources, which are available at Mooresville Public Library, Morgan County Public Library, Plainfield-Guilford Twp. Public Library, Greenwood Public Library, and the Indiana State Library (among libraries in the Evergreen Indiana integrated library system). Copies may be purchased from the Morgan County History & Genealogy Association.

If you live (or have ever lived, or plan to live) in Morgan County, Indiana, you will find that it has a rich, extensive, and interesting history spanning two centuries. Beneath the surface of everyday life, there is much from the past awaiting your discovery and exploration.

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