Hoosier History Live! features host Nelson Price, Saturdays at 11:30 a.m. on WICR 88.7 FM in Indianapolis.

New time! ... Saturdays, noon to 1 p.m. ET on WICR 88.7 FM.
And always online at hoosierhistorylive.org!

You can listen to Hoosier History Live! live on the air each Saturday, or listen online at the WICR website during the broadcast on any computer with speakers, anywhere, or on a smartphone. We invite you to visit our website!

New time! ... Noon to 1 p.m. on Saturdays

Hoosier History Live! expands to one hour

Old-fashioned microphone.The nation's only live with call-in talk radio show about history, Hoosier History Live! with Nelson Price, expands this week to a one-hour format and gains a new weekly time slot: noon to 1 p.m.

The show will continue to be heard over the air at WICR 88.7 FM in the central Indiana area, or online anywhere at www.hoosierhistorylive.org.

We thank all of our sponsors and individual supporters who have helped us over the years. With so many forms of media disappearing or diminishing, and in particular locally focused content about history, we are pleased to still be around. 

Sept. 8 show

Yearbooks: How to use in historical detective work

A page from the 1926 Broad Ripple High School Riparian shows a picture of the Class of 1900. The page lists where each graduate lived in 1926 or if the graduate was deceased. Courtesy Indiana State Library.For the first show in our newly expanded format, Hoosier History Live! will go back to school.
High school, that is. On a treasure hunt. The trove will be yearbooks from across the state, including some that date back more than 100 years.

Our guest, Rachael Heger of the Indiana State Library, will share tips about using high school yearbooks across Indiana to discover historical insights about everything from local businesses to people, fashions, fads and community news.

The state library, where Rachael is director of the Indiana division, has a stash of yearbooks available for the public to use. They include several from long-closed schools such as St. Agnes Academy, a Catholic girls school, and Harry E. Wood High School, both in Indianapolis, as well as from small high schools in towns like Monticello, Logootee and Salem.

Not to mention yearbooks from Culver Military Academy in northern Indiana, Ben Davis High School in Indy, and Bedford High School in southern Indiana. And although Rachael says high schools mostly gave "birth" to yearbooks beginning in the early 1900s, the state library's collection even has some from the 1890s.

A page from the 1949 Fairmount High School yearbook shows student James Dean. The caption says “N.F.L. (National Forensic League) state contest winner, dramatic declamation.” Dean’s signature is above the picture in pencil. The yearbook was sold recently by Antique Helper. Image courtesy Antique Helper.They include yearbooks from 1894 for Shortridge High School (then known as Indianapolis High School) and from 1897 for Wabash High School in Wabash, Ind. Other historic yearbooks include those from 1900 for Manual High School in Indy and from 1906 for Converse High School in Converse, Ind.

Fun fact: According to Rachael, a yearbook from the former Fairmount High School featuring future movie icon James Dean (class of '49) recently sold at an auction for $2,000.

"The ads in the back sections of yearbooks are an incredible resource about local businesses of the era, particularly those that marketed to teenagers," Rachael says. "You often see photos of their interiors, get a flavor of their products and pick up all kinds of other information."

Dig deeper, she urges, than just hunting up who was voted "Most Likely to Succeed" and who may have been regarded as the class nerd. Consider the insights available about ancestors or acquaintances who worked as teachers or school administrators. Town histories also unfold in yearbooks because many feature accounts of local news ranging from blizzards to festivals.

Sometimes you don't even have to turn pages when embarking on a yearbook search. IUPUI has digitized yearbooks for Attucks High School, and the Indianapolis Public Library did the same for Shortridge High School.

Rachael Heger.Even ancestry.com, the genealogical website, features various Hoosier high school yearbooks, albeit spotty runs for them. For example, North Central High School yearbooks on ancestry.com include the volumes for 1957, several years in the 1960s and some in the mid-1970s.

The bottom line, according to our guest Rachael Heger: "Yearbooks can be used as a research tool for more than just nostalgia."

Some more fun facts:

  • Rachael was our guest last January for a show about another area of her expertise: The Hoosier connections of Rev. Jim Jones, a native of Lynn, Ind., who founded his infamous Peoples Temple in Indy. You can click to see the Hoosier History Live! enewsletter from the Jim Jones show.
  • In the Shortridge High yearbook for 1940, Kurt Vonnegut Jr. gave himself a fake middle name ("Snarfield") in the caption for his senior photo. He's identified as Kurt Snarfield Vonnegut Jr. "He spoofs the whole yearbook process," says his lifelong friend, Majie Failey, who was a guest for a Vonnegut-themed show last year. You can click to see the Hoosier History Live! enewsletter from the Vonnegut-themed show.
  • According to the Broad Ripple High School yearbook for 1965, senior David Letterman was voted "Class Smart Alec." Anyone surprised?

History Mystery

Tri-West High School sign.If you looked through the 1989 yearbook for Tri-West Hendricks High School in Lizton, Ind., you would notice a familiar face in a photo of the senior who was elected prom king. While attending Tri-West, the future celebrity actually lived in the nearby town of Pittsboro with his parents.

Both then and now, Tri-West High School is attended by teenagers who live in three Hendricks County towns: Lizton, Pittsboro and North Salem. While living in Pittsboro and attending Tri-West, the future celebrity and his family often dined at Frank & Mary's Restaurant, a popular eatery known for its catfish.

Name the future celebrity who was a member of Tri-West's class of 1989.

To win the prize, you must call in with the correct answer during the live show and be willing to be placed on the air. Please do not call if you have won a prize from any WICR show during the last two months. The call-in number is (317) 788-3314, and please do not call until you hear Nelson pose the question on the air.

This week's prize is a gift certificate to Crowne Plaza Hotel near the Indy airport, courtesy of Visit Indy, and a pair of tickets to Conner Prairie, courtesy of Conner Prairie.

Roadtrip: A weekend of festivals

Chris Gahl of Visit Indy will be Roadtripping about with 250 travel journalists from all over the world this week, so standing in will be Garry Chilluffo of Chilluffo Photography with the message that if you can't find the right event to suit your mood or ethnic persuasion this weekend, you are simply in the wrong state of mind!

Indianapolis Chinese Festival, 2011. Photo courtesy theredthreadjourney.blogspot.com.Indianapolis seems to enjoy celebrating its diversity. Greek, Chinese, German, French and, the venerable Penrod Art Fair on the grounds of the Indianapolis Museum of Art at 4000 Michigan Road, all take place this weekend all over the city.

And if you are a regular listener, you will know that "Penrod" is actually a rather mischievous boy character created by Indiana author Booth Tarkington.

Pick from:

Garry will be calling in live from the annual meeting of Indiana Landmarks at Indiana Landmarks Center at 12th and Central in Indianapolis.

As always, check the links on the Hoosier History Live! website and enewsletter for all your Roadtrip details.

Your Hoosier History Live! team,

Nelson Price, host and creative director
Molly Head, producer, (317) 927-9101
Chris Gahl, Roadtripper
Richard Sullivan, webmaster and tech director

Pam Fraizer, graphic designer
Garry Chilluffo, creative consultant
Michele Goodrich, Jed Duvall, grant consultants
Joan Hostetler, photo historian
Dana Waddell, volunteer-at-large


Indiana Historical Society logo.AIA Indianapolis logo.

Story InnDan Ripley's Antique HelperIndy Reads Books logo.

Aesop's Tables logo.Lucas Oil

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables | AIA Indianapolis | Antique Helper | Indiana Historical Society | Indy Reads Books | Kurt Vonnegut Memorial Library | Lucas Oil | The Society of Indiana Pioneers | Story Inn.

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Acknowledgments to Print Resources, Monomedia, Indiana Humanities, Indianapolis Convention & Visitors Association, WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Heritage Photo and Research Services, Conner Prairie, Derrick Lowhorn and many other individuals and organizations. We are an independently produced program and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorships, grants and through individual tax-deductible contributions through Indiana Humanities. Visit our website to learn how you can support us financially.

Sept. 15 show

Amelia Earhart and her Indiana connections

She vanished 75 years ago over the South Pacific while attempting to fly around the world in a Lockheed Electra 10E twin-engine airplane sponsored by Purdue University.

That's just one of the connections between famous aviator Amelia Earhart and the Hoosier state. She was particularly associated with Purdue, which has the world's largest and most comprehensive collection of items associated with the famous aviator, whose disappearance in 1937 remains a mystery.

Amelia Earhart in 1931 set a world altitude record of 18,415 feet in a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro plane.During the final two years before she vanished, Amelia Earhart was a sort of visiting-celebrity-in-residence on the West Lafayette campus, where she was a career counselor for women students, and where she lectured and conducted conferences. She also was an adviser to the university's department of aeronautics.

Despite her fame, Earhart chose to stay in a women's dorm (then known as South Hall, today it's part of Duhme Hall) and eat with students in the cafeteria.

In 1935, the same year she joined the Purdue faculty, "Lady Lindy" visited the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. She became the first woman to receive an official position during the Indianapolis 500, serving as a race official. Earhart also demonstrated a parachute training device before the race began.

To explore these and a sky-high stack of other Earhart links to Indiana, Nelson will be joined in studio by Purdue staff writer and historian John Norberg, an aviation expert who has written extensively about her colorful life. The huge collection of Earhart memorabilia at Purdue includes some of her flight suits, logs and diaries, lecture notes, letters, poems and even a pre-marital agreement with her husband, George Putnam.

She wasn't a native Hoosier. Born in Atchison, Kansas, in 1897, Earhart earned her pilot's license in 1922 and within a month set an altitude record (14,000 feet) for a woman aviator. Another famous aviator had Purdue ties. Astronaut Neil Armstrong was in Purdue’s class of 1955. His statue on campus was covered with flowers on the day of his death, Aug. 25, 2012. Image courtesy The Exponent.Subsequently, her list of record-breaking achievements included becoming the first woman to fly across the Atlantic Ocean, in 1928, and two years later setting a speed record (181 mph) for a woman in flight.

Invitations to establish a relationship with Purdue apparently were appealing for several reasons. She liked the fact that engineering and mechanical training were fully open to women students, and she was appreciative that, in 1935, Purdue was the only university in the country with its own airstrip.

With this year's 75th anniversary of her disappearance, Amelia Earhart (click to view a Discovery News video clip) has been in the news again. Nelson plans to ask guest John Norberg for his reaction to the recent discovery in the South Pacific of  a jar of anti-freckle cream, apparently of a kind used by the redheaded aviator.

Fun fact: When Earhart, who loved buttermilk, was observed drinking it several times in the Purdue cafeteria, a campus craze for the beverage kicked off.

While Nelson has John Norberg in studio, he also plans to ask the aviation historian for insights about the Purdue years of astronaut Neil Armstrong, who died last month at age 82. John, the author of Wings of Their Dreams: Purdue in Flight, spoke at a recent memorial service for Armstrong, who was a member of Purdue's class of 1955.

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