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Hoosier History Live is an independently produced new media project about Indiana history, integrating podcasts, website, newsletter, and social media, created and produced by Molly Head. Its original content comes initially from a live with call in weekly talk radio show hosted by author and historian Nelson Price. You can hear the show live Saturdays from noon to 1 pm ET. It’s over the air in Central Indiana at WICR 88.7 fm, or you can stream at the WICR HD1 app on your phone.

New show podcasts are up!

October 14, 2023- Frontier conflicts about religion in pioneer Indiana Click here for podcast.

For a complete list of show podcasts and show enewsletters, please go to ARCHIVES on our website.


November 04, 2023

First cookbook published in Indiana and food fashions of 1840s and ‘50s- Encore

With the approach of Thanksgiving, Hoosier History Live will spotlight the trail-blazing woman who wrote the first cookbook published in Indiana. Also on the menu: We will explore food fashions of the mid-18th century era when the cookbook came out.

The author was Angelina Collins (1805-1885), who was living in New Albany, Ind., when her popular cookbook was published in 1851. Titled "Mrs. Collins' Table Receipts" (and retitled "The Great Western Cookbook" when it was reprinted in New York later during the 1850s), the cookbook "is an excellent reflection of the dishes served in middle class homes in mid-century Indiana", our guest says. (The word "receipts", as in the title of the book, was often used during the era to refer to recipes.)

Our guest on this encore show (originally broadcast last Feb. 25) is Indianapolis-based food historian Sheryl Vanderstel, an expert on foodways of late 18th century America through the pre-Civil War era. With more than 20 years of experience as a historic consultant to museums and historical societies in researching and developing programs, Sheryl helped launch the hearthside dinners at Conner Prairie Interactive History Park

In doing research, Sheryl says she became captivated by the colorful life of Angelina Collins, whose recipes indicate that she was paying attention to current events and was broad-minded. One of her recipes was titled "Succotash a La Tecumseh", a reference to the great Native American leader who was based in Indiana. Sheryl notes that, during the early 19th century, Tecumseh, a Shawnee who almost succeeded in uniting diverse Native American tribes in a confederation, "was vehemently hated by the western and southern whites . . . The fact that she used his name in the title of the recipe indicated he had moved out of hated status and into a hero".

The recipe is for what Sheryl calls a "classic succotash" of lima beans and corn cooked together. Angelina Collins concludes the recipe with the comment: "This is a real western dish".

Other recipes in "Mrs. Collins' Table Receipts" include one for "Sausage Hoosier Fashion". Sheryl describes the dish as "a casserole of potatoes, sausage, ham and bread layered, covered with water and butter, and stewed slowly." The cookbook also includes a recipe titled "Indiana Sauce"; it is made of horseradish, mustard, salt, celery seed, cayenne and minced onion in vinegar.

During our show, Sheryl Vanderstel will explain why few cookbooks were published during the era when Angelina Collins put hers together. In other states then, published cookbooks included "Kentucky Housewife" and "Virginia Housewife". Sheryl notes the mid-18th century cookbooks seldom included recipes for "common things like biscuits. It was assumed the cook had her own family recipe for such".

Angelina Collins was born in Petersburg, Va., where her father had been a wealthy merchant. But he lost his fortune just before her birth in 1805 and died six years later, leaving his family nearly destitute. Before arriving in Indiana, Angelina worked as a teacher and even wrote a novel. She eventually married a lawyer, James Collins; the couple lived in Paoli, Ind., before settling in New Albany. In addition to raising their five sons and writing a cookbook, Angelina Collins became active in the abolition and temperance movements. She also wrote poetry and a second novel.

Our guest Sheryl Vanderstel says she admires her on several levels. "Nineteenth century cookbooks are a study in plagiarism", Sheryl says. "So, I have checked Mrs. Collins' recipes against many of the mid-century cookbooks. I have found only one that she seems to have lifted a few recipes from."

Among Angelina Collins' recipes is one with a title that Sheryl says reflects her interest in current events: "California Soup". Sheryl explains, "This is a traditional recipe for what is called 'portable soup' --- actually, what we would call bullion cubes. Her naming it 'California Soup' is an indication that she was aware of the mass exodus of Americans to the Western gold fields".

Sheryl Vanderstel has been a previous guest on Hoosier History Live show about foods of the Indiana pioneers in April 2020 and a sequel in June of that year. She is a member of organizations including the Caroline Scott Harrison Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and the Society of Indiana Pioneers. Sheryl and her husband, historian David Vanderstel, live in the Irvington neighborhood of Indianapolis.


"Hoosier History Live is a bright spot in my media constellation. I also frequently forward your weekly enewsletters to friends around the globe. I may now be a Californian, but my Hoosier interest is endless. The podcasts and streaming are good tools. By all means, persevere!"

- Tom Cochrun, former news anchor, WTHR-TV Channel 13 Indianapolis

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Roadtrip: Historic marker for John Freeman in downtown Indianapolis

After Angelina Collins ' husband died in 1869, she eventually moved to Salem, Ind., to live with one of her sons. She is buried next to her husband and two of their sons in Fairview Cemetery in New Albany.

Guest Roadtripper Dona Stokes-Lucas, historic researcher, suggests a visit to the John Freeman Historic Marker on this encore show. The marker commemorates the story of John Freeman and is located on the west side of Pennsylvania Street between 10th and 11th streets in downtown Indianapolis.

Dona will tell us more about how John Freeman eventually retained his freedom but lost his savings in the process. She will also tell us more about the Fugitive Slave Law of 1850 and how it adversely affected free blacks.



Hoosier History Live looks back:

Block's, Wasson's and Strauss: bygone major retailers in Indy

Our March 26, 2022 show with guest Ken Turchi, author of "Looking Forward, Giving Back: The Jewish Merchants of Downtown Indianapolis" spotlighted the two department stores that rivaled Ayres for about 100 years: William H. Block Co. and H.P. Wasson & Co., known conversationally by generations of Hoosier shoppers as "Block's" and "Wasson's". On this show we also explored L. Strauss & Co., which also was based in downtown Indy and specialized in high-quality clothing. Jewish merchants founded or built all three retailers in the late 1800s, with multiple generations of Jewish families overseeing the businesses for much of the 1900s. (The Ayres family was Protestant.)

There certainly was a day when shopping at a glamorous downtown Indianapolis department store was an exciting thing to do!

Click here to listen to the show podcast. You can also see a list of our show podcasts on our website at www.hoosierhistorylive.org and go to ARCHIVES. You can also sign up for our free weekly enewsletter at our website.

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Podcast listening, and Hoosier History Live copyright policies

We still do a live radio show every Saturday from noon to one broadcasting on WICR 88.7, but more and more of our listeners are listening to our podcasts, which are basically audio copies of our live shows. Our website is www.hoosierhistorylive.org, and you can sign up at our website to get our free weekly newsletter.

At the top of our newsletter and website we put notice, and links, to our newly published podcasts. We also provide a link to ARCHIVES, which is a list of our past enewsletters and published podcasts.

If you have a preferred podcast provider like Apple Podcasts or Spotify, you can use their search function to call up Hoosier History Live as well. Look for the yellow Hoosier History Live logo.

We copyright our work, and we have a crew of very talented people putting it together. But we WANT you to share it! We believe that learning should be accessible to everyone! You are welcome to copy, link to, or forward any of our Hoosier History Live material. Just please do not edit it! Our underwriter logos and voiced credits are on our material; and these underwriters make our work possible. 


We'd like to thank the following recent individual contributors who make this show possible. For a full list of contributors over the years, visit  Support the Show on our website.

  • John and Flo Stanton
  • Susan Life and Mark Ostendorf
  • Dave and Theresa Berghoff
  • Joseph B. Young III
  • Tom Cochrun
  • Norma Erickson
  • Marion Wolen
  • Jane Ammeson
  • Kathleen Angelone
  • Bruce and Julie Buchanan
  • Mark Ruschman
  • Robin Winston

Molly Head, executive producer (317) 506-7164 
Nelson Price, host and historian
Corene Nickel, web designer and tech manager

Richard Sullivan and Ryan DeRome, tech consultants
Cheryl Lamb, administrative manager
Pam Fraizer, graphic designer


Please tell our sponsors that you appreciate their support!

Facebook logo links to the Hoosier History Live! page.Acknowledgements to WICR-FM, Fraizer Designs, Monomedia, Henri Pensis, Maddie Fisher, Austin Cook, and many other individuals and organizations. We are independently produced and are self-supporting through organizational sponsorship and through individual contribution, either online at our yellow button on our newsletter or website, or by U.S. mail. For organizational sponsorship, which includes logos, links, and voiced credits in our podcasts and in our show, please contact Molly Head at (317) 506-7164 or email her at molly@hoosierhistorylive.org.

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