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African-American History Materials

This guide describes manuscript and visual collections in the William H. Smith Memorial Library that document the experiences of African-Americans in Indiana. In 1982, a collecting effort was formalized at the Historical Society to address the concern for the paucity of records available for doing research on the history of African-Americans in the state. The purpose of that effort continues to be to collect, process, preserve and share information related to the history of black Hoosiers. Preserving Indiana’s African-American heritage is a cooperative venture. IHS needs your help in providing information about existing records in attics, basement and garages that can be added to the library’s collections.

As more records are collected and organized, a more accurate and complete interpretation of Indiana history will emerge. If you or someone you know has manuscripts (letters, diaries, account books, journals, etc.), rare books, photographs, or maps related to Indiana history, please contact the William H. Smith Library.

The Guide to African American History Materials in Manuscript and Visual Collections at the Indiana Historical Society is an annotated guide to the manuscript and visual holdings pertaining to blacks at William H. Smith Memorial Library. The guide is divided into six subject areas: Personal Papers (broadly defined to include those collections that pertain to a given individual); Organizations, Institutions and Projects; Communities; Education; Race Relations; and Religious Institutions.

Many of the collections listed in this guide were donated during the Black Women in the Middle West Project, a collecting effort to gather primary source materials of African-American women in Illinois and Indiana. The William H. Smith Memorial Library has the administrative records of the project, as well as numerous collections of individuals and organizations. Collections donated during the project are noted.

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