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January 15, 2022

WW II pin-up girl, auto engineer in China and more links to Wabash

Margie Stewart

Warren PresslerDid you know the official "pin-up girl" of the U.S. Army during World War II was a native Hoosier? Selected because of her wholesome image, Margie Stewart, who grew up in Wabash, Ind., appeared on 12 different posters with a combined distribution of more than 90 million copies to soldiers (both overseas and in this country), potential recruits and civilians in the homeland.

Margie Stewart, who was an Indiana University student and a model before her selection as the official pin-up girl (that's the phrase used then for her designation), also had other distinctions. In addition to touring in World War II bond drives and USO shows, she became one of the first American civilians to enter Berlin after Germany's surrender. Stewart (1919-2012) also had small roles in Hollywood movies.

She is among the World War II connections to Wabash County in northeastern Indiana that we will explore during our show. Others will include an engineer who got his start at an early truck assembly plant in Wabash before being hired by the Chinese government to launch their auto and truck industry in the late 1920s. During World War II, he remained in China, which then was an ally of the U.S., before returning to Wabash. 

Daniel MyersThe Wabash County Museum not only has artifacts associated with Dan Myers (1889-1973), the engineer, its collection includes a 1922 truck assembled in Wabash at Service Motor Truck Company, his early employer. Nelson's guest will be T.J. Honeycutt, the museum's director of archives and outreach.

In addition to sharing insights about Stewart, Myers and Service Motor Truck Company, which left Wabash in 1927 after a corporate acquisition, T.J. will discuss an artist who grew up in Wabash and was a bomber pilot during World War II. After the war, Chuck Showalter (1919-2005) became a Chicago-based artist for an ad agency and created the postwar image of Santa Claus featured on Coca Cola bottles during the postwar era. He also created other iconic advertising art during the late 1940s and '50s. Fun fact: Showalter, the Santa Claus artist, was born on Christmas Day in Wabash.

Margie Stewart, the WW II pinup girl, also had a link to the advertising world. She was a model in the Sears & Roebuck catalogue and for clothing brands when she was selected by the U.S. Army as the poster girl. Some of her posters carried this message to departing soldiers: "Please get there and back."

TJ HoneycuttIn addition to our show's focus on World War II era connections to Wabash County, we will broaden and explore a World War I link to the region. Warren Pressler, the son of a Wabash County farmer, became a bomber pilot during World War I. Our guest T.J. Honeycutt plans to discuss the exploits of Pressler, who initially was a barnstorming pilot, landing in farm fields to, as T.J. puts it, "increase wartime enthusiasm that capitalized on the novelty of flight."

T.J.. Honeycutt was a "Hoosier History Live" guest last October about "Weird and spooky stories from Wabash County."

 

 

 

 

 

From the Hoosier History archive

Both before he became a household name nationally, and after he was a famous public figure, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made trips to Indiana. How those visits during the 1950s and '60s unfolded, where Rev. King stayed and other details, was the focus of the Hoosier History Live show which aired live on January 19, 2019.

MLK Radio ShowOur gueststhat day were Rev. Thomas Brown, retired pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Susan Hall Dotson, African American Collections Curator at the Indiana Historical Society, and David Leander Williams, author and an adjunct professor at IUPUI.

Click here to listen to the show podcast.

Hoosier History Live’s African American History podcast collection is under development and is available for sponsorship. 

Both before he became a household name nationally, and after he was a famous public figure, Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. made trips to Indiana. How those visits during the 1950s and '60s unfolded, where Rev. King stayed and other details, was the focus of the Hoosier History Live show which aired live on January 19, 2019.

Our gueststhat day were Rev. Thomas Brown, retired pastor of Ebenezer Baptist Church in Indianapolis, Susan Hall Dotson, African American Collections Curator at the Indiana Historical Society, and David Leander Williams, author and an adjunct professor at IUPUI.

Click here to listen to the show podcast.

Hoosier History Live’s African American History podcast collection is under development and is available for sponsorship. 


 

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