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The Indianapolis Public Library Digital Collections

Welcome to Digital Indy, the Indianapolis Public Library's digital collections. The purpose of these collections is to provide access to digital images and recordings of cultural and historical interest to Indianapolis residents as well as students, researchers and others. The Library offers these collections to allow free access to digital versions of increasingly valuable, fragile and hard-to-use originals.

If your organization is interested in contributing to our digital archives, or being included in an inventory reflecting Indianapolis' history, people, events, organizations, and places, please visit the Community Digitization Project page.

High School Collections

Arlington High School

Arlington High School was among the last three public high schools to open within the Indianapolis Public Schools system. Built in response to the rapid growth of the Indianapolis suburbs on the northeast side, Arlington opened in September 1961 ... (more)

Arsenal Technical High School

Arsenal Technical High School began as an actual U.S. Army federal arsenal. Created by an act of Congress during the Civil War, the arsenal was built on a wooded, 76-acre tract of land east of the Indianapolis city limits with buildings constructed of locally made brick and limestone hauled from southern Indiana. It was used to store ... (more)

Beech Grove High School

Beech Grove High School began in 1917 in a one story red brick building at the corner of Tenth and Main streets. One year later a second floor was added as well as a detached elementary school building. In 1924 the two buildings were then connected by a gymnasium, and in 1929 a middle school addition was made ... (more)

Ben Davis High School

Ben Davis High School is named for the Benjamin Davis, general superintendent of the Vandalia Railroad. He was instrumental in getting a railroad stop for a small community in Wayne Township. The first school was built on the corner of now High School Road in 1892, housing the grade school and the high school with 64 students ... (more)

Broad Ripple High School

Broad Ripple High School was originally established in 1886 with a two-year high school course of study for students in the little village north of Indianapolis. The school soon expanded to become a four-year institution and was annexed in May of 1923 to the city of Indianapolis, becoming the city's fourth public high school ... (more)

Emmerich Manual High School

In the late 19th century, some innovative educators conceived of the idea of a high school that would combine a traditional curriculum, including subjects such as mathematics, science, and Greek, with courses in manual skills, such as mechanics, drafting, and home nursing. The school, originally known as the Industrial Training School, ... (more)

George Washington High School

George Washington High School opened in 1927 in Indianapolis in the Haughville neighborhood. A thriving and solidly working-class community at that time, the near west side of the city was hit hard by the Great Depression and suffered through the following years from the loss of employers and neighborhood institutions. Finally, due to ... (more)

Harry E. Wood High School

In the fall of 1953, Wood High School opened in the refurbished school buildings vacated when Manual High School moved to its new site on the south side of Indianapolis. Wood was designed as a new vocational training high school with its primary focus on academics and the specific goal of providing secondary-level vocational education to ... (more)

John Marshall High School

On the far eastside of Indianapolis, John Marshall High School was one of three IPS high schools built in response to the rapid growth of Indianapolis suburbs in the 1950s and 60s. The school opened in September 1968 and saw its enrollment more than double in the first ten years ... (more)

North Central High School

North Central High School was established in 1956 in response to Washington Township's growing population. Prior to this, students from the township attended Broad Ripple and Shortridge High Schools in Indianapolis. In 1963, the current facility opened, and the original building was repurposed to become ... (more)

Northwest High School

Located on West 34th Street, Northwest High School is one of three IPS high schools built in response to rapid suburbanization of Indianapolis in the 1950s and 60s. The school opened in September 1963. The sophomore and junior classes transferred to Northwest from other area high schools, mainly George Washington ... (more)

Shortridge High School

From the beginning, Shortridge High School was an innovative educational force in the city. It is the oldest free public high school in Indiana, opening as Indianapolis High School on the Circle in downtown Indianapolis in 1864. The first superintendent, Abram C. Shortridge, took the unusual steps of hiring female teachers and ... (more)

Southport High School

In 1891 the first space was designated for a Perry Township high school, the upper floor of a building at Madison Avenue and Southport Road that housed lower grades below. A new building still serving all grades was built in 1912 on the same site, but it wasn't until 1930 when Southport High School would finally have a designated home of its own ... (more)

Thomas Carr Howe High School

The town of Irvington was annexed to Indianapolis in 1902 with the promise of a high school to serve the area. That school finally opened its doors in September of 1938 as Thomas Carr Howe High School, named for a former president of Butler University. The school's yearbook was named the Hilltopper for the original site of the ... (more)

Warren Central High School

Warren Central High School and Warren Township were named for Joseph Warren, a Revolutionary War doctor and patriot who died in the battle of Bunker Hill. The original Warren Central opened in January 1925 at the corner of 10th Street & Post Road on the far eastside of Indianapolis. It was a consolidation of the Cumberland and Shadeland schools... (more)

Other Collections

Arts for Learning Indiana

Arts for Learning, the Indiana Affiliate of the Young Audiences, Inc. non-profit organization, was formed in 1961 and has since been empowering children to acheive their creative and intellectual potential through arts in education around the state. Utilizing a diverse, multifaceted approach to involving children with the arts, the affiliate has grown ... (more)

Athenaeum Pops Orchestra

The Athenaeum Pops Orchestra (APO) began in 1870 and has continued to flourish. In 1986, it started to give back to the community by performing for various retirement facilities. The APO has performed at the Arts Garden and Garfield Park. All concerts are free to the public. Most APO programs have a blend of Classical, Jazz, Ethnic and Popular music ... (more)

Burmese American Community Institute

Founded in 2011, The Burmese American Community Institute (BACI) is a non-profit organization that provides educational and vocational upport to the Burmese community in greater Indianapolis. The BACI strives to support community members regionally, nationally, and globally through strategic partnerships and advocacy. Since its inception, the BACI ... (more)

Central Library Architectural Drawings

In 1913 the Indianapolis Public Library Board solicited proposals for a new Central Library to take the place of the Meridian Street building, which had been quickly outgrown. The winner would be French-born architect Paul Philippe Cret (1876 - 1945) of the Philadelphia firm Cret, Zantzinger, Borie and Medary, who was already known for his design ... (more)

The Children's Museum of Indianapolis

Objects can be compelling storytellers that put other times and places in context. They bridge time periods and cultures and celebrate our differences. As a collaborative effort The Indianapolis Public Library and The Children's Museum of Indianapolis have selected 1,000 artifacts from the museum collection to photograph and make ... (more)

Cool Herron Reunion Collection

In 2013, members of the Facebook group "When Herron Was Cool", all alumni of the Herron School of Art and Design, gathered for their third unofficial reunion. Called "The Reunion Project", the gathering was hosted at the former location of the art college at 16th and Pennsylvania. Currently the buildings are home to the charter school, ... (more)

Dance Kaleidoscope

Dance Kaleidoscope is Indiana's longest performing professional contemporary dance company, having formed in 1972. It grew out of an educational program with Arts for Learning Indiana: Voice of the Arts (formerly Young Audiences of Indiana), the local chapter of the national arts organization that supports arts in education and has maintained a partnership ... (more)

Early Women Leaders of Indianapolis

Early Women Leaders of Indianapolis collection showcases the professional achievements of extraordinary turn-of-the-century Hoosier women, May Wright Sewall (1844-1920) and Eliza Gordon Browning (1856-1927), against the backdrop of the weekly magazine, The Indiana Woman (1895-1899), published by Earl E. Stafford ... (more)

Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art was founded by Indianapolis businessman Harrison Eiteljorg. Its mission - to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America. The Eiteljorg is the only museum of its kind in the Midwest ... (more)

English's Opera House

Formally opening on September 27, 1880, English's Opera House quickly became Indianapolis' leading theater presenting not only opera but drama, musical comedy, ballet, concerts, minstrel shows, lectures, vaudeville and film. The theatre was built by William Hayden English, businessman and 1880 Democratic vice-presidential ... (more)

Families Talk: Indianapolis Public School Oral Histories

Between 2012 and 2013, the FAMILIES TALK Oral History recorded the school memories of 195 past and present students, parents and grandparents with Indianapolis Public School (IPS) and charter school experiences. The goal was to explore how school experiences differ between people, places and times ... (more)

Free Soil Banner

The Free Soil Banner was published in Indianapolis from 1848 to 1854. Other cities had newspapers by the same name, but the Indiana version was edited by Lew Wallace and William B. Greer, and reportedly funded by Ovid Butler, the founder of North Western Christian University, later renamed Butler University ... (more)

Heartland Film

Heartland Film is a nonprofit arts organization founded in 1991 with the mission to inspire filmmakers and audiences through the transformative power of film ... (more)

Indiana Woman

"On February 25th, 1897, The Indianapolis News ran this notice: "Wanted -- Ladies of good appearance and address to take orders for the Indiana Woman, the largest and handsomest illustrated weekly journal in the world for $1 per year. To ladies of education and refinement most liberal terms will be made. Call between 5 and 6... (more)

Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce

"The Activities of the Indianapolis Chamber of Commerce" provides an intriguing glimpse of the city during the period of time between the two world wars. Although the primary focus of the newsletter was local business, the interests of the Chamber extended far beyond the business community. They actively promoted the fine and performing ... (more)

Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra

The Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra (ICO) made its debut on November 18, 1984 as Musicians of the Cloister at Trinity Episcopal Church in Indianapolis. In 1987 the name was changed to the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra and the following year Kirk Trevor was appointed Music Director and Conductor ... (more)

Indianapolis Children's Choir

The Indianapolis Children's Choir is built on the belief that all children have incredible potential - for artistry and many other achievements. Over the past 30 years, generations of young people in the ICC have attained lofty artistic and personal goals. ICC singers have shared the stage with premier musicians and artists ... (more)

Indianapolis Firefighters Museum

Opened in 1996, the Indianapolis Firefighters Museum's mission is to celebrate the history of the Fire Service in central Indiana and the Fire Departments' contributions to the community. Located on the north end of the Massachusetts Avenue corridor and originally built in 1872, the Museum resides in the remodeled Fire Station #2, ... (more)

Indianapolis Postcard Collection

Since the first copyright for it in 1861, people have found that the small, thin postcard is a quick and inexpensive way to keep in touch with others. Deltiology, the study and collection of postcards, is one of the most popular hobbies today. The cards offer unique views of life as it once was and give us a glimpse of society and ... (more)

Indianapolis Public Library

Since 1873, The Indianapolis Public Library has served the people of the city, both growing and changing to fit their needs, making it "a live thing in the whole town." ... (more)

Indianapolis Public Library African American History Committee

The objective of the Indianapolis Public Library African American History Committee is to present the diverse accomplishments and heritage of African Americans to the general public. The AAHC was created in 1978 by Elizabeth Levy, and was sponsored by Celia (Cathy) Gibson. Early signature events included ... (more)

Indianapolis School of Ballet

Founded in 2006, the Indianapolis School of Ballet provides world-class dance training with the goal of preparing Indianapolis students for placement in elite university dance programs and professional companies across the nation. Located in downtown Indianapolis, the school is unique in its focus on intellectual and emotional ... (more)

Indianapolis Scientech Club

In October 1918, a group of business leaders, scientists, engineers, and other professionals banded together to provide a forum for interdisciplinary exchange of technical knowledge. They chose the name The Scientech Club. Among the 107 charter members were D.J .Angus, Hugh J. Baker, Elwood Haynes, W. H. Insley, Eli Lilly, Willbur Shook, and Dr. Frank Wade ... (more)

Indianapolis Sister Cities International

Sister Cities International, created at a 1956 White House Summit initiated by President Eisenhower, is an organization founded on the principle of citizen diplomacy. Indianapolis Sister Cities International carries this legacy as a champion for peace and prosperity by promoting the program's goal of fostering bonds ... (more)

Indianapolis Symphonic Choir

The Indianapolis Symphonic Choir was founded in 1937 to perform the great choral-orchestral masterworks. Unlike many peer symphonic choruses throughout the United States, this chorus was established as a separate non-profit arts organization from its sister symphony orchestra, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra ... (more)

Irvington Oral Histories

Irvington is a historic neighborhood on the east side of Indianapolis, bounded by 10th Street, Arlington Avenue, Brookville Road, and Emerson Avenue. From its inception, Irvington, named for the author Washington Irving, was planned to be a community of culture and refinement. Created from the land holdings of Jacob B. Julian, ... (more)

James Whitcomb Riley Recordings

On Friday, June 7, 1912, James Whitcomb Riley finished his last recording session for the Victor Talking Machine Company. Out of around twenty recordings made during five days of readings, only four of the discs were ever issued by Victor ... (more)

May Wright Sewall Papers

The May Wright Sewall Papers are a collection of documents comprised of approximately 500 letters written to May Wright Sewall dated between 1879 and 1919, and three guest books with remarks and signatures from 197 guests of the Sewall house. The correspondents represented in this collection include not only people important to the ... (more)

Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood

Founded in 1965, the Meridian-Kessler Neighborhood Association has served its 15,000 plus residents for half a century. Its boundaries extend from 38th Street on the south to Kessler Blvd. on the north, from Meridian Street on the west to the Monon Trail on the east. This choice location gives residents quick trips to the symphony, IRT, Lucas ... (more)

Philharmonic Orchestra of Indianapolis

From 1930 to 1937 a local musician could both play in the Indianapolis Symphony and pursue another career. In 1937, however, the Symphony began hiring full-time professional musicians only. Herman Rinne, an Indianapolis music store owner, decided he would try to fill the musical gap this left in his adopted city by forming a community orchestra like those in his native Germany ... (more)

Slovenian National Home

Slovenians came to Indianapolis from the early 1890s through the mid 1920s. Recruited to work at Link Belt Foundry, Ketcham & Haugh Foundry, and the Kingan meat processing firm, the men and women would re-pay their employers for their passage to America by working for them. These new residents established a community around the foundries called Haughville, building homes ... (more)

Urban Times Newsmagazine

Urban Times is a monthly newsmagazine (published every month except January) which serves as the "official neighborhood newsletter" for thirteen Indianapolis neighborhoods. As of October 2015, Urban Times is distributed to over 7,000 homes in these Downtown and near-Downtown Indianapolis neighborhoods ... (more)

World War I Poster Collection

When the United States entered World War I in April of 1917, a means of communication was needed to encourage the public to support it. President Woodrow Wilson established the Committee on Public Information (CPI) and its offshoot, the Division of Pictorial Publicity (DPP). Director George Creel and artist Charles Dana Gibson ... (more)