Valentine’s Day in Bloomington, 1925


Happy Valentine’s Day! When I think of Valentine’s Day, I think of candy, cards, chocolate, and flowers. I also think about how restaurants often have dinner specials, highlighting a wine or special foods, all designed to enhance romance. Or that I could pick up a newspaper and see recipes for making an intimate dinner at home. And of course, I think of children and those Valentine’s Day cards that are available everywhere – always have to have enough for every child in the classroom!

But I wonder, has this always been true? What would it have been like to say, live in Bloomington in the early 20th century and celebrate Valentine’s Day? To answer this question, I decided to peruse the one of the local newspapers available at that time, the Bloomington Evening World from 1925 and see what I could learn about early 20th century Valentine’s Day celebrating.

The first advertisement for Valentine’s Day shows up on February 6 with an ad for “Valentine Tokens” at Wylie’s. The ad proclaims: “Sweethearts of every age and every preference will find a truly delightful assortment of Valentine’s here” with the added reassurance: “most of them inexpensive.” Not only that, Wylie’s entices us with the promise of a window display: “Our window will interest the kiddies.” Aside from that, one other small reference appears to Valentines for sale at The Fair Store.

Continue reading Valentine’s Day in Bloomington, 1925

Lois (Luette) Bruce: One of Bloomington’s First Female Police Officers

Senior Portrait from Bloomington High School Gothic, 1948

Lois Luette, a native of Monroe County and a daughter of Arthur Nelson and Lois (Freeman) Luette, graduated from Bloomington High School.  On June 4, 1948, not long after her graduation, she married Max H. Bruce who was also a Monroe County native.

Like most young couples, they set up housekeeping, and it wasn’t long before the family included two children, Cheryl and Marc.  For a while Bruce worked at RCA, and Lois took some part-time jobs with flexible hours in order to provide for the children while supplementing the family’s income. 

About 1960, when the children were both in school, Bruce became a fireman and Lois took a full-time job as a dispatcher at the Bloomington Police Department.  Six years later, in 1966, Lois was given a new job title and responsibilities along with her co-worker, Barbara Webb.  Both women were appointed as Bloomington’s very first female police officers.  

By the late 1970s, Cheryl and Marc were young adults living on their own.  Cheryl moved to Arizona with her husband.  Because Lois and Max wanted to be near Cheryl, they also moved to Arizona. 

It was there that Max passed away in 1996, Lois in 2011.  Both were subsequently returned to their native home for burial in Valhalla Memory Gardens on the west side of Bloomington.

Bloomington Herald Telephone, January 6th 1972
– 1948 Bloomington High School Gothic
Monroe County (In.) Marriage Records

Post Submitted by Randi Richardson (Research Library Volunteer)

Willis O. Tyler: Early Civil Rights Activist, Orator Extraordinaire and IU Graduate


Willis O. Tyler, the son of Isaac and Mary Tyler, members of Monroe County’s black community, was born in Bloomington on July 19, 1880.  His parents lived on East 10th Street in what was at that time known as the “Buck Town” neighborhood.  He attended Bloomington’s public schools including, undoubtedly, the Center School at 6th and Washington, the only Bloomington school designated specifically for black children.

Continue reading Willis O. Tyler: Early Civil Rights Activist, Orator Extraordinaire and IU Graduate

New Library Resources

marriage book A

A new edition of the 1818-1881 Monroe County Marriage Records Index is available in the library and for purchase in the museum store. The second edition, re-indexed by volunteer Lee Ehman, makes many corrections to the index originally published in 1995. Lee has also been busy digitizing our marriage records. Now records through April, 1921 are available in PDF format.

Marriage Index
18181-1881 Monroe County Marriage Records Index, 2nd Edition

We have also added the Buildings and Houses Index to our website. This resource makes it easy to locate materials on local structures found in the library’s collection of print materials. This index was created by volunteers Lee Ehman, Beth Lau, and Ben Williams. Currently, it is only available online.

Buildings & Houses
Buildings & Houses Index

Post Submitted by Emily Noffke (Library Manager)

Indiana’s Vital Records on Ancestry

In early June 2016, Ancestry made available on their subscription website
tens of thousands of digital images of vital records from the State of

Birth Records: 1907-1940
Marriage Records: 1958-2005
Death Records: 1899-2011

While these records represent a rich and valuable resource for Indiana
genealogists, it isn’t quite as good as it sounds. For starters, this is a
monumental project, and it takes considerable time to put all the records
online. When all is said and done, however, it is expected that 17,000,000
records from these three sources will be available online. Some of the
records are up now and others are being added until the project is complete.
Those records already online are searchable.

Continue reading Indiana’s Vital Records on Ancestry

A Bicentennial Burial Ground: Rogers Cemetery

Rogers Cemetery Far View

On Fee Lane, north of the railroad tracks and on the east side of the road facing north, stands Foster Quadrangle, an Indiana University dormitory built in 1964 as part of the university’s post-war expansion. Between the dorm and Fee Lane is a small cemetery enclosed by a low limestone wall. This is called the Rogers Cemetery, and is one of the original ones in the county. Its oldest grave is that of a one-month newborn, James Baugh, who was born and died in 1818, Monroe County’s founding year.

There are 32 graves listed in the County Cemeteries of Monroe County index, which names it as Rogers 2 Cemetery. Half the graves are from the Rogers family, with Baughs and Hooks also buried there. The pioneer Rogers and Baugh families lived in log cabins on the knoll just north of the cemetery. Most died before the Civil War, and the most recent recorded burial was in 1879.

The Bloomington Evening World reporter writing about Rogers Cemetery (“Little Cemetery on Fee Lane is Old Burying Ground,” Bloomington Evening World, Nov. 21, 1926), pointed out the unusual proximity in time, within a week during early July 1829, of three Baugh children’s deaths, at ages 2, 7 and 14, perhaps due to an epidemic or fire. Life in those frontier years was often short– the ages of the Rogers’ buried in the cemetery show that except for six of the 16, they died very young: two as newborns, two one year-olds, a four year-old, and five between 10 and 20.

The land on which the cemetery stands is in the northwest quarter of Section 34 of Bloomington Twp. This 160 acre tract was originally purchased in 1821 from the Vincennes Land Office by John Henderson, who in 1830 sold 85 acres of it, for $750, to George W. Hook. George, who died in 1839, and his wife, Sarah, who died in 1863, are buried in the cemetery.

George Hook’s two daughters, Martha and Eliza, sold the 85 acres to William O. Fee in 1863 for $3,825. The deed mentions the cemetery:

 “But it is agreed and so understood that the grave yard or burial ground on said land is reserved and not conveyed by this Deed which is now inclosed [sic] by a plank fence. [Deed Book U, p. 298]”

I could find no subsequent deed that mentioned the cemetery, so I assume that it still belongs to the Hook family. The land eventually passed to the Rogers family, who sold it to Indiana University in 1914 (Deed Book U, p. 298).

Post submitted by: Lee Ehman (Library Volunteer)

Lake Monroe Oral History Project

Colored Map

Using materials generously donated by Alice Reed Morrison, the History Center Research Library has launched its first online exhibit. The Lake Monroe Oral History Project focuses on the stories of Salt Creek Valley residents who were displaced by the construction of Lake Monroe in the 1960s.

This exhibit, created for the History Center by interns Delainey Bowers and Dorothy Berry, uses original audio recordings and photos from Morrison’s 1986 dissertation entitled “Portrait of a Lost Community: A Folklife Study of the Salt Creek Valley of South Central Indiana and the Effects of Community Displacement Following Formation of the Monroe Reservoir.” Continue reading Lake Monroe Oral History Project