Skip to Content
Indiana University

Search Options

View Options

Indiana authors and their books 1917-1966.


It has long been said that Indiana has produced more than its share of people who liked to write. Mention of Indiana authors has been made in many publications. In Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1816-1916, Richard E. Banta indicates that William T. Coggeshall quoted about thirty Indiana writers of verse in his Poets and Poetry of the West (1860). Ora Cole Briscoe lists many people in Indiana Fiction Before 1870. In 1934 Edward Weeks compiled a list of American books that have had the largest sales since 1875; five of the titles were written by Indianans. A master's thesis at the University of Notre Dame entitled A Bibliographical and Biographical Dictionary of Indiana Authors, written by Thomas J. Barry just after World War II, contains hundreds of names. Banta's book lists about 950 Hoosier authors and this volume supplements it with 2,751 authors for a later period.

The numbers mean very little because there is nothing with which to compare them, but there is another measure that tells something about Hoosier writing. Banta describes a study made by John Moriarty based on the best-seller lists in Alice Payne Hackett's Fifty Years of Best Sellers, 1895-1945. Moriarty noted the ten best-selling novels of each year, determined each author's native state, and assigned a point system to the books. When the points were totaled New York state was first (218); Indiana, second (213); and Pennsylvania, third (125). In order to see what had happened in more recent years, the study was extended by using Hackett's Seventy Years of Best Sellers, 1895-1965, and following the same point system used by Moriarty. In the fiction category, New York state was first (460); Indiana, second (288); and Pennsylvania, third (212). For nonfiction Indiana was in eighth place, but when fiction and nonfiction were combined Indiana remained in second place.

In the introduction to his book, Banta comments on the literary output of Indiana and says "later there must be supplements and additions, and even then the story will be far from told." The present volume is the result of that statement. After the editor made a number of inquiries about the advisability of compiling a fifty-year supplement and received positive responses, work began in the spring of 1970. Funding for collection of the data has been provided through the Indiana State Library by a grant from Title III of the Library Services and Construction Act from the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Publication and distribution costs have been financed by a grant from the Lilly Endowment, Inc., and personal gifts from Roger D. Branigin, Richard E. Banta, Parrish Fuller, and Cecil K. Byrd.

In general, the criteria for this volume are the same as those for the original page: [xii][View Page [xii]] volume. To be included an author must be born in Indiana or have lived half of his or her life in the state. Since this is a fifty-year supplement, the authors must have had at least one book published by 1966. Authors from the earlier period are included if they were not located for the original volume. Types of publications excluded in addition to those mentioned in the introduction are pamphlets of less than twenty-four pages, duplicated works, genealogies, unpublished manuscripts, laboratory manuals, problem books, spellers, and books that have been compiled or edited unless they contained extensive notes or original writing by the compiler or editor. Because of limited time, very few books have been examined; therefore, some titles in the excluded categories, particularly textbooks, may be listed by mistake.

Since it is the purpose of this volume largely to identify writers, only brief biographies have been written. Biographies have been obtained from biographical dictionaries and individuals, but the main source of information has been the resources of the Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library. Since the biographies have been written by several people, a certain uniformity has been adopted with regard to details but no attempt has been made to greatly alter the individual writer's style. Positions listed are those last known as taken from the sources of information used for the biography. Bibliographies have been compiled from The National Union Catalog (Library of Congress), the card catalog of the Indiana State Library, and the source of the biography. The National Union Catalog has been checked through 1970 and books published after that year have been included only if they were found in other sources. If some titles are missing, it is because (i) they were not included in the sources already mentioned, (2) error by the compiler, or (3) they are part of the excluded categories previously indicated. For those books listed, a reasonable attempt has been made to procure the place and date of publication. Birth and death dates of authors have been located whenever possible.

The names of authors have been obtained in several ways. In the spring of 1970 a letter was sent to all academic, public, and special libraries in Indiana and to all local historical societies in the state. At the same time a news article was sent to all newspapers in the state and notes were placed in Focus ON INDIANA LIBRARIES, INDIANA HISTORY BULLETIN, LIBRARY OCCURRENT, and NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW. A follow-up story was sent to the same newspapers about two years later. The lists of Indiana authors in all issues of LIBRARY OCCURRENT and the complete file of names used by Arthur Shumaker for A History of Indiana Literature have been checked. In the 1930s the Indiana Historical Society collected a register of names of Indiana authors from the publications that are listed on p. xiv. Biographical sources on the same page have been checked for Indiana authors during the present project.

There is still much that can be done in recording the writing of Hoosiers and the literature of Indiana. Other supplements may follow this volume; hundreds of additional names have already been collected for this purpose. Another project that should be considered is gathering information about people who may not have written books but who have written poetry, drama, short stories, and similar material that has been published in periodicals, newspapers, and as parts of books.

There are many people to thank for helping with this volume but space permits page: [xiii][View Page [xiii]] naming only a few. The editorial committee, listed on a separate page, determined the overall policies. Librarians, newspapers, and many individuals around Indiana and elsewhere have supplied names and biographical information. Richard E. Banta has been a capable adviser on all phases of the project. Hazel Hopper read the preliminary manuscript and helped locate difficult information. Ida Mae Miller, Martin F. Barlag, and Mrs. Charles O. Yount have supplied many names and biographies. Dr. Thaddeus Seymour, president of Wabash College, has made helpful suggestions and has been generous in granting time to the editor for compiling the volume. The staff of the Indiana Division of the Indiana State Library has supplied much material and has answered many questions. In the early stages, Mrs. Paul Husting, Mr. and Mrs. William Kovacs, and Mrs. Donald Herring helped collect information and did considerable writing. During the last two years, Marilyn Gannon has written biographies and proofread the manuscript, galleys, and pages. I offer special thanks to my wife for her patience and understanding during the four years needed to complete the work.

Errors that may occur are the final responsibility of the editor and it is hoped that they will be reported. It is requested that names of authors not included in this volume and its predecessor and names that should be included in future volumes be sent to the undersigned.