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The Secret Thoughts of History Nerds – Part Two


We all know what it's like to have a crush – romantic or otherwise – on a celebrity or fictional character. But many of the people who work at the Indiana Historical Society have picked up obsessions with historical figures. And puppets. (I'm looking at you, Ramona.)

Intern Emily Anne Engle's adoration goes to Miep Gies, one of the people who helped hide Anne Frank and her family.

"My 'historical crush' is George Washington (Sorry, Martha!) because of his bravery, intelligence, leadership, faith, devotion to family and service to country," says Lindsay Borman, cataloger. "I simply love him – false teeth and all!"

Wilma Moore easily chose her Indiana crush, but said, "If we are going national, it would be a toss-up between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X."

"I have always been fascinated by the man who pushed for/pulled off the Boston Tea Party," says Nicea Yamber, senior accountant, who admires Sam Adams. "He may have been a failed businessman, but he was an absolute jewel of a human for pushing for our freedom from crazy King George."

Marianne Sheline, program specialist, loves Teddy Roosevelt for his conservation efforts with the national parks, forests and bird preserves. "I also love Louis L'Amour," says Marianne. "He lived an amazing life. His bio is insane."

"My historical crush is Octavius aka Augustus, the first Emperor of Rome," says intern Melissa Miller. (Sources tell me this crush scores high on the nerd charts.) "Through some pretty slick military and political maneuverings, Augustus gets revenge for the murder of his great uncle Julius Caesar, and after the demise of the tetrarchy, 'reinstates' the Roman Republic. This effectively makes him enormously popular amongst the public and enables him to unofficially rule Rome," she says. "Plus, he has a cute face!"

Eric Mundell, director of collections management, just couldn't choose. "First Lady Dolley Madison because she was quite entertaining, and who else can say they saved George Washington’s portrait from the flames of ruin?" he says. Eric also confesses his dream job would be an interpreter at the Margaret Mitchell house because of his love for Gone With the Wind and Scarlett O'Hara. And if we're looking to monarchs? "Elizabeth I of England because she kicked ass and left her imprint on history for generations," he says.

Our President and CEO John Herbst also has a royal bent. "I admit that I've had an obsessive interest in Queen Victoria," he says.

Perhaps the oddest answer I got to this question came from Ramona Duncan-Huse, senior director of conservation. "At a family dinner, we started talking about favorite Saturday morning shows," she says. "Mine was Supercar. I remember being 7 years old and having a crush on the main character, Mike Mercury. My son pulled out his iPad and looked him up. I realized for the first time he was a marionette. I also realized my entire career of 32 years was based on my crush! There he was in a white lab coat, all too familiar, all too documentary."

Don't miss the first part of The Secret Thoughts of History Nerds!

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