Extra! Extra! Read All About It!

With recent developments of the Internet and 24-hour news cycles, access to information has dramatic increased! Prior to those developments, newspapers were the only real news outlets for the people to get their information, besides one another. The three major newspapers in Evansville were the Evansville Courier (1875-1991), Evansville Press (1920-1991), and Evansville Journal (1871-1936); however, the Courier and Press merged together and became the Evansville Courier and Press.

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Evansville Argus: 1938

Evansville did have an African-American newspaper, the Evansville Argus. It was published from June 25, 1938 to October 22, 1943. It was founded by J. Wendell Holder and he formed the Evansville Argus Publishing Company.  Courtesy of the David L. Rice Library University Archives and Special Collections, you can view the Evansville Argus for free by clicking on or copy and paste this link, http://library2.usi.edu:8080/cdm/search/collection/Argus.

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Evansville Argus: 1943

Entertainment in Evansville!

Almost everyone has some sort of entertainment that appeals to their tastes. Some like sports and others like music, books, theatre, and so on.  In Evansville, there are a plethora of entertainment opportunities to explore and discover!  Those chances allow us to see what we like and dislike.  In the end, Evansville has been a hub for various kinds of entertainment: from the music world to the square circle of wrestling!


John Denver stated, “Music does bring people together. It allows us to experience the same emotions. People everywhere are the same in heart and spirit. No matter what language we speak, what color we are, the form of our politics or the expression of our love and our faith, music proves: We are the same.”  Evansville native, Larry Aiken, seemed to believe that and followed that passion into the music industry.  Aiken was a well-known radio and television personality in Evansville.  He also was a businessman and created his own entertainment and promotion business.  A large majority of his collection relates to the entertainment industry here in Evansville.

In 1957, Aiken received a personal telegram from “the King of Rock and Roll”, Elvis Presley. Due to time constraints, Elvis was not able to be on Aiken’s program and apologizes; however, Elvis wishes on him the best with his career.

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Interstate 69 Opens!


I-69 opening

After decades of debate and delays, 4 out of the 6 sections of I-69 from Evansville to Indianapolis are finally open for business.  Sections 1-3 from Evansville to Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center opened a little over three years ago: now, section 4 is open all the way to Bloomington.  State Road 37 is currently being upgraded to interstate quality; however, the route from Martinsville to Indianapolis is still being debated.  If you want to see the original routes and plans for the entire I-69 project, the archives has the publication produced by the State on Indiana in 2003.  These include the environmental and economic impact statements as well as maps and past proposed routes.  To get the latest news on the new interstate, check out the I-69 website developed by the State of Indiana, http://www.in.gov/indot/projects/i69/ .



This piece was written by Jennifer Greene, Archives and Reference Librarian at the University of Southern Indiana.

The World Wars: 1914-1918; 1939-1945

1914 was the beginning of World War I, known as “The Great War” and “The War to End All Wars”.  World War I started over the assassination of the Austrian-Hungarian throne heir, Archduke Franz Ferdinand, by a group of Bosnian Serbs.  The assassination revealed secret alliances throughout Europe and the continent was thrown into chaos! With the major Allies forces of England, France, Russia, the United States, and their allies against the Central Powers of Austria-Hungary, Germany, and the Ottoman Empire. The war lasted until an armistice was signed on November 11th, 1918; however, the peace did not lasted.

Two decades later, the Second World War brought Europe and the rest of the world into a global war in 1939 because of Germany’s invasion of Poland. With the Allies of England, France, the Soviet Union, and the United States against the Axis Powers of Germany, Japan, and Italy. World War II ended in two periods overall in 1945: Germany unconditionally surrendered May 1945, known as V-E Day, and Japan surrendered August 1945, known as V-J Day.

The University Archives and Special Collections here at the University of Southern Indiana has several collections relating to the First and Second World Wars.  Roy Kennedy (MSS 256) is the only collection pertaining to World War I.  His collection has various photographs, postcards, and a Prussian/German army helmet. The photographs showed the conditions of the battlefields, German trenches, and Roy Kennedy in uniform.  Kennedy’s collection was donated by his daughter, Barbara Blevins, wife of former Dean of Liberal Arts, Jim Blevins.


The University Archives has multiple collections pertaining to World War II by several World War II veterans.  Kenneth McCutchan (MSS 004), resident of Vanderburgh County, served in the World War II in the Army Corps of Engineers.  His travels were in Europe and North Africa.  He donated his three war journals, a couple hundred correspondences, and a couple hundred photographs of his travels and time with the US Army.  His journals and personal correspondences gives insight into what was going on in McCutchan’s service: for example, he wrote what the weather was like or he describe what he had done that day.  On some occasions, he attached miniature photographs with captions and describe was that particular location.  His personal photographs illustrate his time in boot camp and travels in Europe and North Africa.

World War II veteran, Owen Hamilton (MSS 116), gave over a hundred personal correspondences to the University Archives.  His correspondences date from 1943 and 1945 and the majority of his letters were written to his sister, June.  In one of his letters, censors cut a square in the letter and removed it the word from his letter back home.  During the war, censors were reading the soldiers’ letters and making sure they didn’t give too much information about the war efforts.


Photographs are worth a thousand words and correspondences are gateways to the past; however, there are more ways to experience history than looking at photographs and letters.  In the Dorothy Zehner (MSS 027) and Philip Thomas (MSS 028) collections, they have World War II ration booklets.  William Sonntag (MSS 286) was close to sixty war bond posters from World War II.  Archives recently received multiple World War II uniforms: Leonard Schlamp’s (MSS 157) US Navy uniform and caps, Dr. Marlene Shaw’s (MSS 301) father’s US Army jacket and hat, and Joel Matterly’s (MSS 254) father’s navy uniform.  Through all of these pieces of history, there is a story behind all of them.  Veteran’s Day is coming soon November 11th: let us remember our freedom came at a price.

Navy_Suit          IMG_1166           Shaw_WWII_Jacket

W.C. Bussing Autograph Collection

W.C. Bussing was born in November 8, 1889 in Evansville, Indiana.  He began his career in the business as a newspaper carrier in high school for the Evansville Press. Afterwards, he became a salesman for the Evansville Press.  In 1916 until 1918, Bussing was the advertising manager with the Evansville Press.  In 1918, Bussing became the business manager for the Evansville Press until 1926; however, he left for a short time and returned as business manager from 1934 to 1936. In 1939, he helped to create the Evansville Printing Corporation, which bought together the Evansville Press and Evansville Courier.  He stayed in the newspaper business until 1976.  As Bussing continued to grow in prominence in Evansville, he became a civic leader in various ways: a trustee at the University of Evansville and St. Meinrad Seminary, and chairman of the advertising board with Little Sisters of the Poor.  Bussing died in January 23, 1977.


Bussing’s collection has a wide variety of materials: scrapbooks, photographs, letters of correspondence, account ledgers, annual reports from the Evansville Press, and autographs. Bussing’s autographs come from prominent athletes, advocates, actors, and former government officials in history; yet, they are still spoken about today! Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Bob Feller, Jack Dempsey, Gene Tunney, Johnny Weissmuller, Helen Keller, and J. Edgar Hoover … just to name a few!

Baseball hall of famers Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig could be considered two of the most recognizable baseball players in the Major League Baseball. They played together for the New York Yankees. As teammates, they were World Series champions in 1927, 1928, and 1932. They held various records in different categories and some of their records remain today. In 1999, they were selected by the fans through online voting to be on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team, Ruth as outfielder and Gehrig as first baseman.

Babe Ruth Signature              Lou Gehrig Signature

As Ruth and Gehrig’s careers were coming to an end by the 1930’s, Bob Feller, Hall of Fame pitcher for the Cleveland Indians, was beginning his career. He was in Cleveland from 1936-1941 and 1945-1956. He left baseball from 1941 to 1945 in order to serve in the World War II in the United States Navy. While playing for Cleveland, he won a World Series title in 1948. He maintains three records for the Indians in pitching strikeouts in a single-season, career wins, and career strikeout.

Bob Feller Signature

In the world of boxing, Jack Dempsey and Gene Tunney became boxing legends in their two fights against each other. They fought in 1926 and 1927. Their first fight occurred in Philadelphia on September 23rd, 1926. Dempsey was the reigning World Heavyweight Boxing Champion and had been champion since 1919. Their fight went ten rounds: Tunney won by decision and the title. Dempsey received a rematch and their second fight occurred in Chicago at Soldier Field on September 22nd, 1927. Like their last match, Tunney would prevail in ten rounds by decision over Dempsey. This was Dempsey’s last match and his record was 66-6-11; however, Tunney fought one more match in 1928 and retired with a record of 65-1-1.

Jack Dempsey Signature              Gene Tunney Signature

As we keep “swimming” through history, Johnny Weissmuller was a world-class swimmer turned Hollywood actor. Weissmuller competed in the 1924 and 1928 Summer Olympics. He won three gold medals in 100m freestyle, 400m freestyle, and 4x200m freestyle relay swimming events and a bronze medal in water polo in 1924; in 1928, he won in two more gold medals in the 100m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle relay swimming events. He would go onto Hollywood and be well-known for playing Tarzan from 1932 to 1948 in twelve films. He continued his movie career until 1976.

Johnny Weissmueller Signature

Outside of sports, Bussing had letters from historical figures in United States history, like Helen Keller and J. Edger Hoover. Keller was well-known for being deaf and blind from a young age. She attended the Perkins Institute for the Blind in Massachusetts in 1888, the Wright-Humason School for the Deaf in 1894, Cambridge School for Young Ladies in 1896, and Radcliffe College in 1900: she graduated in 1904 cum laude Bachelor of Arts. She became an author and political advocate for women’s suffrage, labor rights, and socialism.

Helen Keller Letter

J. Edgar Hoover is well-known as the first director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for almost thirty-seven years; however, prior to the FBI, he was director of the Bureau of Investigation (BOI) for over eleven years.  He began creating the FBI has a crime-fighting agency, which lead to modernizing police technology with fingerprint files and forensic laboratories. He served under six presidents, from Franklin Roosevelt to Lyndon Johnson.

J_Edgar Hoover Letter

The Traveling Archives

Have you always wanted to learn more about Rice Library’s Archival Collections? Maybe you were too afraid to come to IMG_5260the archives, maybe you weren’t sure what you wanted to see. The good news is that our Archives and Reference Librarian, Jennifer Greene, is giving two presentations next week about collections! Stop by and see these amazing collections and learn more about USI and Evansville History!

Fifty Years of Knowledge for Life

Jennifer Greene, Archives & Reference Librarian University of Southern Indiana will talk about the history and impact of USI on the community

When: May 19, 6:30pm-8:00pm
Where: David L. Rice Library, Lab A
Sponsored by: Southwestern Indiana Historical Society

100 Years of Vintage Clothing


Bizarre Books

The rolling snowball of knowledge has gradually accumulated weight during society’s educational, industrial, and technological rise. The dark corners of the unexplored have been blasted with light; every nook, cranny, crevice, and dust mite dismembered, analyzed, and put back together with the haste of perpetual possibility. The ideas behind literature are no different: Every genre has been explored and exploited to its limit. The most ludicrous of topics have been best-sellers; movies have been written and produced detailing the most insignificant events in human history. Make no mistake, the absurd is not being equated to the dull; rather the opposite. Our entertainment surpasses the boundaries of reality once society begins scraping the bottom of the barrel for ideas. Flirting with the edges to enter a zone of chaotic ingenuity, infinity is put on trial.

My constant pursuit of new information mixes an enticing cocktail. Liquid curiosity blends with the compelling notion that society’s best ideas spawn from desperation. With my first sip, I dive into the bizarre books of the world, greatly anticipating the envelopment of the unusual and the self-affirmation that comes from contrasting crazy.

Titles are the easy part. The Internet embraces weird, celebrating the absurd with vigor. My difficulty rests in purpose. A publication exists, but why? Books like “Yoga for Equestrians: A new path for achieving union with the horse,” and “Extreme Ironing,” garnered more confusion than satisfaction.

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It didn’t compute. I have taken various marketing courses here at USI and I know there’s an intense and thorough process that a product goes through before it is released to the public, a safety net of sorts to ensure no money will be wasted. The biggest aspect marketers look for is desire, is there a need for the product? Is there an audience that is willing to spend money on this product? The fact that these books exist means yes, there is a need and there is an audience, or at least there was.

This revelation frightened me. Is there a gang of yoga-fanatics out there contorting their body into shapes along the spine of a confused horse? Are there people who, instead of jumping off airplanes, climbing mountains, or running marathons, are instead getting their kicks from ironing atop bridges? Or, in the case of the David Rice Library’s very own “Knitting with Dog Hair,” are there those who gradually horde their pet’s hair, anticipating the moment when they have enough fibers to knit a sock?


The question remains, what are we to do with these books? Perhaps categorize the literature as nothing more than detailed crazy, an irrelevant anomaly that obtrusively pushed its way into society only to live a shelved life. Doing so would be a severe injustice, however. Their existence as a physical representation of a demographical fad that came and went, and now viewed as a comical artifact, is surely cause for a generational analysis. Compiling the literature of the unusual would represent a portrait of human interest: A history. The books are a portrayal of who we are today, a testament to the past crazy that has shaped the current crazy.

Above all, it is the imaginative and perseverant individual behind the literature that I am most appreciative of, the person who shows that the bottom of the barrel is not a limitation, but a starting point for a new story.