Indiana Historical Society Seeks Historical Resources for Indianapolis Bicentennial

INDIANAPOLIS—The Indiana Historical Society (IHS) is issuing a call to action to neighborhoods, community groups and individuals ahead of the Indianapolis Bicentennial. IHS is seeking new historical resources about the city to be included in its Indianapolis History Collecting Initiative, generously supported by a $100,000 grant from Lilly Endowment Inc.

The initiative is the first step in IHS’s Indianapolis Bicentennial Project. Its goal is to identify resources about the people, places and events that have shaped the city over the past 200 years. Many of these documents, oral histories and photographs will be processed, digitized and made available to the public through IHS’s digital archive, exhibitions, programming and cross-collaborative projects. The new resources are expected to range in scope from architectural and community history to music, sports and more.

Efforts to locate new collection materials are already underway, with several items identified by Jordan Ryan, IHS coordinator of the Indianapolis Bicentennial Project. Recently, Ryan met with descendants of John McCormick, known as the first white settler of Indianapolis, about a ledger that while known to exist has never been available to the public.

“This ledger documents land purchases, transactions and family names of early settlers after McCormick arrived in Indianapolis,” said Ryan.

“This loan is just one example of how the Lilly Endowment grant is allowing IHS to digitize and transcribe incredible new resources for genealogists, historians and researchers.”

Once processed, items such as the McCormick ledger will be available through IHS’s digital archive, which is free and available to the public at The ledger will also be on loan to IHS for public display during its upcoming Indianapolis Bicentennial exhibit, which will open on Sept. 19, 2020, at the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center at 450 W. Ohio St. in downtown Indianapolis.

In addition, the finished archival collection will be a major resource for an exhibition at the History Center, which will launch alongside the city’s Bicentennial celebrations in 2020 and remain open through 2021.

For more information about the Indianapolis History Collecting Initiative, or to connect IHS to new historical resources, contact Jordan Ryan at or call IHS at (317) 232-1882.


Lilly Endowment is an Indianapolis-based private philanthropic foundation created in 1937 by three members of the Lilly family through gifts of stock in their pharmaceutical business, Eli Lilly and Company.

In keeping with the founders’ wishes, the Endowment supports the causes of community development, education and religion and maintains a special commitment to its hometown, Indianapolis, and its home state, Indiana.


Since 1830, the Indiana Historical Society has been Indiana’s Storyteller™, connecting people to the past by collecting, preserving and sharing the state’s history. A private, nonprofit membership organization, IHS maintains the nation’s premier research library and archives on the history of Indiana and the Old Northwest and presents a unique set of visitor experiences called the _Indiana Experience_. IHS also provides support and assistance to local museums and historical groups; publishes books and periodicals; sponsors teacher workshops; produces and hosts art exhibitions, museum theater and outside performance groups; and provides youth, adult and family programs. IHS is a Smithsonian Affiliate and a member of the International Coalition of Sites of Conscience.

About Brian Scott

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