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!

Sept. 15 show

Amelia Earhart and her Indiana connections

Amelia Earhart in stride beside her plane. Image courtesy Purdue University.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 artifacts associated with the famous aviator, whose disappearance in 1937 remains a mystery.

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.

Amelia Earhart in 1931 set a world altitude record of 18,415 feet in a Pitcairn PCA-2 autogyro plane.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. 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.

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.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.

A statue honoring Amelia Earhart stands in front of what today is known as Earhart Dining Hall. The statue was arranged by Purdue's former president, France Cordova, an Earhart fan. Cordova, who stepped down in July, was Purdue's first woman president.

John Norberg.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. He also was an official guest at this week's celebration honoring Armstrong at the National Cathedral in Washington D.C.

At Purdue, the trove of Earhart artifacts began with donations from Putnam, who had his wife declared legally dead in 1939. In 2002, his granddaughter, a descendant from an earlier marriage, donated nearly 500 items to the university.

Purdue's sponsorship of her Lockheed Electra included arranging for financial assistance from Indianapolis business leader J.K. Lilly and other donors. Between 1930 and 1935, Earhart had set seven women's aviation records. She also was the first person (man or woman) to fly solo from Honolulu to Oakland, Calif.

The pioneer aviator was 39 years old when she disappeared with her navigator, Fred Noonan, while flying from New Guinea to the Howland Islands. She was attempting to become the first woman pilot to circumnavigate the globe.

History Mystery

Purdue University has been nicknamed the "Mother of Astronauts." From the beginning of America's space exploration program, many of the men and women who have become astronauts attended college on the West Lafayette campus. From the first man to walk on the moon, Neil Armstrong (class of '55), to physician-scientist David Wolf (class of '78), the first Indianapolis native in space, Purdue has influenced the exploration of "the New Frontier."

David Wolf.However, from the 1960s through the 1990s and beyond, Purdue waged a perpetual one-upsmanship battle with another institution of higher education over which school could claim the most Americans selected for space flight.

The other university also counts many alums among American astronauts - perhaps, on occasion, close to as many as Purdue.

Question: What is the other institution of higher ed?

Hints: It's not located in Indiana, and it is a private university.

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 Rick's Boatyard Café on Indy’s west side, courtesy of Visit Indy, and a pair of tickets to Conner Prairie, courtesy of Conner Prairie

Roadtrip: Eleutherian College, and 1950s Union Street in Indy

Eleutherian College in Lancaster, Ind.Amy Lamb of the Indiana Historical Society will step in for Chris Gahl of Visit Indy this week with a kind of double Roadtrip exploring the heritage of Hoosiers from special ethnic groups; free African-Americans who had the opportunity to study at Historic Eleutherian College near Madison, Ind., and a visit with displaced Eastern European Jews resettling in Indianapolis after World War II.

The fall festival to celebrate historic Eleutherian College will take place the weekend of Sep. 21-23 on the grounds of the college itself at 6927 W. State Road 250, near Madison, Ind.

The college site is actually in the country; from Madison go north on State Road 7 and turn east on State Road 250, and soon you will come upon the beautiful village of Lancaster and see the college, a three-story limestone building, on your left.

Berek and Frania (Bennie and Fanny) Kaplan’s are portrayed in the exhibit You Are There 1950: Making a Jewish Home. Courtesy Indiana Historical Society.Eleutherian College was one of only a few institutions before the Civil War to intentionally adopt a model of multiracial and coeducational education. Its location less than 10 miles from the slave state of Kentucky made it exceptional among its peer institutions. For more information about the fall festival, visit Facebook or call (812) 866-7291.

And, it is coming up on your last opportunity to visit You Are There 1950: Making a Jewish Home at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center in downtown Indianapolis, which closes on Sept. 29.

Find out about a family's story of tragedy, courage and new beginnings by visiting the kitchen of Berek (Benny) and Frania (Fanny) Kaplan's Union Street home in a southside Indianapolis neighborhood on April 5, 1950, just a year after their resettlement from a post-World War II displaced-persons camp. Guests will join Mrs. Kaplan as she prepares a kosher meal and learn how Hoosier hospitality helped the Kaplans create a new home.

As always, visit the Hoosier History Live! website to for links to more information about these events.

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.Broad Ripple Historic Home Tour logo.

Story InnDan Ripley's Antique Helper

Aesop's Tables logo.Lucas Oil

Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support: Aesop's Tables | Antique Helper | Broad Ripple Historic Home Tour | Indiana Historical Society | 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. 22 show

Unique history of New Harmony

A small, idyllic village that became world-famous because of two experimental Utopian communities during the early 1800s will be the focus of the next show in our rotating series about Hoosier towns.

The interdenominational Roofless Church is one of many striking examples of elegant architecture in New Harmony, Ind. Photo by Darryl Jones.New Harmony, located on the Wabash River in far-southwestern Indiana, was the setting for two historic attempts at communal living. The town's founders in 1814 were German immigrant George Rapp and his followers, who became known as the Harmonists. Devoted to hard work and self-sacrifice, including celibacy, they built the village while waiting for the second coming of Christ.

The Harmonists eventually sold their scenic village to Scottish industrialist Robert Owen, a social reformer who attracted some of the era's most progressive educators and scientists to New Harmony, many of whom arrived in a "Boatload of Knowledge" in 1826.

To explore these two attempts at utopia, why they did not last, the current vitality and cultural appeal of the village, as well as a wealth of other aspects of its heritage, Nelson will be joined in studio by the collaborators on a new book, New Harmony: Then and Now (Indiana University Press). They are :

  • The author, Donald Pitzer, a professor emeritus of history at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville. He also is director emeritus of the university's Center for Communal Studies and has spent more than 40 years researching the Harmonist and Owenite communities in New Harmony.
  • Acclaimed photographer Darryl Jones, who is known for his images of Indiana. Darryl also has collaborated on books written by two favorite Hoosier History Live! guests: Historical novelist James Alexander Thom (they collaborated on Spirit of the Place: Indiana's Hill Country, and you can click on the Thom link to hear the podcast of the Hoosier History Live! show) and Ray Boomhower of the Indiana Historical Society, who partnered with Darryl for Destination Indiana: Travels through Hoosier History.

Book cover of New Harmony Then and Now, by Donald Pitzer and Darryl Jones.Colorful aspects of New Harmony heritage - beyond the intriguing attempts at utopia - that Don, Darryl and Nelson plan to explore include the village's interdenominational Roofless Church, which was designed by legendary architect Philip Johnson in 1960.

Some insights related to New Harmony:

  • The followers of prophet George Rapp fled Germany because they objected to some teachings of the Lutheran church. After initially settling in Pennsylvania, the Harmony Society came to the Indiana wilderness in a quest for spiritual fulfillment. According to our guest Don Pitzer, the Harmonists of George Rapp, about 2,000 in total, "were the largest religious group to immigrate to America following a single leader."
  • Harmonist building techniques, which used Roman numeral markings still visible on some of the historic New Harmony structures, "anticipated modern pre-fabricated construction," Don Pitzer writes.
  • The Harmonists sold the village and 20,000 acres of forests, orchards, meadows and farmland to Owen, a wealthy cotton mill owner in Scotland. He had been born in Wales in 1771. At the dawn of the Industrial Revolution, Owen became appalled at miserable living conditions, lack of sanitation and rampant crime.
  • "Robert Owen set up the first infant school in the United States at New Harmony, starting the kindergarten movement in America," Don Pitzer writes.
  • Even today, New Harmony is known for its cultural retreats, interfaith seminars, musical performances and art galleries.

© 2012 Hoosier History Live! All rights reserved.

Hoosier History Live!
c/o WICR at University of Indianapolis
1400 E. Hanna Ave.
Indianapolis, IN 46227
(317) 927-9101