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Indiana War History Commission Conference

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The Indiana War History Commission was a committee that was assembled to document and create a report of the state of Indiana's involvement in the First (and later the Second) World War. The committee was initially created by Clarence A. Jackson, executive vice president of the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce who had been appointed Civilian Defense Director after the passing of the State Defense Act by the General Assembly of Indiana on March 10, 1941. As a guide in this new position, Jackson was interested in a historical account of the experiences of the Indiana Director of Defense during World War I but found that one didn't exist. So Jackson reached out to Indiana University and president Herman B Wells, who helped by planning and creating a committee who would work to compile an account of the Indiana's involvement during that war to aid the state government's efforts in contributing to the current war. Forty-two historians and other prominent Hoosiers were appointed by Indiana Governor Henry Schricker to serve on what was named the War History Commission. These Hoosiers attended the first meeting of the commission in Indianapolis on December 16, 1943. It was here that officers were appointed to head the commission. The men appointed as officers were Wells as chairman, Jackson as vice chairman, IU Professor John Barnhart as secretary and director, and Indiana Governor Schricker as an honorary chairman. The original chairman of the committee, prior to this first meeting, was Head of the History Department at IU Albert Kohlmeier. To foster more effective collection of documents, the task of collection was divvied up amongst six divisions, all focused on capturing different aspects of Indiana's involvement in World War I; Division of Economic Changes, chaired by Louis Ruthenburg, President of Servel, Inc., Evansville; Division of Agricultural Developments, chaired by Harry J. Reed, Dean of the Agricultural School, Purdue University; Division of Armed Forces, chaired by Dr. Christopher B. Coleman, Director of the Indiana Historical Bureau; Division of Special Forces, chaired by Dr. Clyde E. Wildman, President, DePauw University; Division of Governmental and Political Changes, chaired by Dr. Ford P. Hall, Professor, Indiana University; and Division of Libraries, Historical Societies, and Museums, chaired by Harold F. Brigham, Director of the Indiana State Library. All the divisions had sub-division and sub-chairs in charge of more specific functions. This image is from the commission's second meeting. The meeting mostly consisted of the division chairmen giving reports of their progress up to that point with Chairman Wells and Director Barnhart extolling the success of the collecting plan and the amount of support from Indiana citizens in aiding information gathering for the commission. Most of the information here was gathered from an account of the commission’s origins titled “The Indiana War History Commission” written by Dr. Barnhart that appeared in the Indiana Magazine of History, Vol. 40, No. 3 (September 1944), pp. 227-242.

date taken:

1944 June 9

film code:

Eastman - Safety - Kodak 24 ?

photographer studio:

Photographic Services

donor image number:


accession number:


copyright owner:

Indiana University

personal name:

Wells, Herman B

personal name:

Unknown Individual/s

location of individuals:

(front row, center left) IU President Herman B Wells

building name:

Indiana Memorial Union (Union Building)

corporate name:

Indiana War History Commission

event name:

Indiana War History Commission Conference




War work




World War I


World War II