Indiana University Press

Midwestern History and Culture

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Midwestern History and Culture


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Albion Fellows Bacon

Indiana's Municipal Housekeeper

Robert G. Barrows

Albion Fellows Bacon
Indiana’s Municipal Housekeeper
Robert G. Barrows

Examines the career of a leading Progressive Era reformer.

Born in Evansville, Indiana, in 1865, Albion Fellows was reared in the nearby hamlet of McCutchanville and graduated from Evansville High School. She worked for several years as a secretary and court reporter, toured Europe with her sister, married local merchant Hilary Bacon in 1888, and settled into a seemingly comfortable routine of middle-class domesticity. In 1892, however, she was afflicted with an illness that lasted for several years, an illness that may have resulted from a real or perceived absence of outlets for her intelligence and creativity.

Bacon eventually found such outlets in a myriad of voluntary associations and social welfare campaigns. She was best known for her work on behalf of tenement reform and was instrumental in the passage of legislation to improve housing conditions in Indiana. She was also involved in child welfare, city planning and zoning, and a variety of public health efforts. Bacon became Indiana’s foremost "municipal houskeeper," a Progressive Era term for women who applied their domestic skills to social problems plaguing their communities.

She also found time to write about her social reform efforts and her religious faith in articles and pamphlets. She published one volume of children’s stories, and authored several pageants. One subject she did not write about was women’s suffrage. While she did not oppose votes for women, suffrage was never her priority. But the reality of her participation in public affairs did advance the cause of women’s political equality and provided a role model for future generations.

Robert G. Barrows, Associate Professor of History at Indiana University at Indianapolis, was previously an editor at the Indiana Historical Bureau. He has published several journal articles and book chapters dealing with Indiana history and American urban history, and he coedited (with David J. Bodenhamer) the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis (Indiana University Press).

The Sheltered Life
The Clutch of the Thorns
Ambassador of the Poor
The Homes of Indiana
Child Welfare
City Plans and National Housing Standards
Prose, Poetry, and Pageants
Municipal Housekeeper and Inadvertent Feminist

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The American Midwest

An Interpretive Encyclopedia

Richard Sisson, Christian Zacher, and Andrew Cayton, editors

This first-ever encyclopedia of the Midwest seeks to embrace this large and diverse area, to give it voice, and help define its distinctive character. Organized by topic, it encourages readers to reflect upon the region as a whole. Each section moves from the general to the specific, covering broad themes in longer introductory essays, filling in the details in the shorter entries that follow. There are portraits of each of the region's twelve states, followed by entries on society and culture, community and social life, economy and technology, and public life. The book offers a wealth of information about the region's surprising ethnic diversity -- a vast array of foods, languages, styles, religions, and customs -- plus well-informed essays on the region's history, culture and values, and conflicts. A site of ideas and innovations, reforms and revivals, and social and physical extremes, the Midwest emerges as a place of great complexity, signal importance, and continual fascination.

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Dissent in the Heartland

The Sixties at Indiana University

Mary Ann Wynkoop

"More than other local histories of campus activism during this period, Dissent in the Heartland introduces national themes and events, and successfully places Indiana University into that context. The research in primary sources, including FBI files, along with numerous interviews, is superior, and the writing is lucid and at times provocative."
-- Terry H. Anderson, author of The Sixties

This grassroots view of student activism in the 1960s chronicles the years of protest at one Midwestern university. Located in a region of farmland, conservative politics, and traditional family values, Indiana University was home to antiwar protestors, civil rights activists, members of the counterculture, and feminists who helped change the heart of Middle America. Its students made their voices heard on issues from such local matters as dorm curfews and self-governance to national issues of racism, sexism, and the Vietnam War. Their recognition that the personal was the political would change them forever. The protest movement they helped shape would reach into the heartland in ways that would redefine higher education, politics, and cultural values.

Based on research in primary sources, interviews, and FBI files, Dissent in the Heartland reveals the Midwestern pulse of the Sixties, beating firmly, far from the elite schools and urban centers of the East and West.

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River of Enterprise

The Commercial Origins of Regional Identity in the Ohio Valley, 1790-1850

Kim M. Gruenwald

"Gruenwald's book will make the same contribution to historical knowledge of the Ohio Valley as Lewis Atherton's Frontier Merchant did for our understanding of the mercantile Midwest in the mid-nineteenth century.... a finely crafted narrative that lets the reader understand that the Ohio River always served more as an artery, that is, a river of commerce, than a dividing line or boundary." -- R. Douglas Hurt, author of The Ohio Frontier

River of Enterprise explores the role the Ohio played in the lives of three generations of settlers from the river's headwaters at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to the falls at Louisville, Kentucky. Part One examines the strategies of colonists who coveted lands "Across the Mountains" as space to be conquered. Part Two traces the emergence of a new region in a valley transformed by commerce as the Ohio River became the artery of movement in "the Western Country." Part Three reveals how relations between neighbors across the river cooled as residents of "the Buckeye State" came to regard the river as the boundary between North and South. From 1790 to 1830, the Ohio River nurtured a regional identity as Americans strove to create an empire based on the ties of commerce in frontier Ohio and Kentucky, and the backcountry of Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The book studies the local, regional, and national connections created by merchants by tracing the business world of the Woodbridge family of Marietta, Ohio. Only as regional commercial concerns gave way to statewide industrial concerns, and as artificial transportation networks such as canals and railroads supplanted the river, did those living to the north define the Ohio as a boundary.


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