Friday, December 28, 2012

Ben-Hur on Broadway


In our tours of the Study, we often mention the mechanism that allowed the chariots to race on stage with eight horses galloping at full speed. This was an amazing feat for a stage production in the first decade of the 20th century. This was not, however, the only reason the Broadway presentation of Ben-Hur electrified audiences. There were a number of other tricks and mechanical devices that wowed the crowd.

First, as Scientific American pointed out in their August 25, 1900 issue, the wait time between the falling and raising of the curtain between scenes in Ben-Hur generally varied from between five and thirty seconds—although the arrangement for the chariot race sometimes took as long as eight minutes. In other complicated productions of the day the change of each scene routinely took between five and fifteen minutes! An interruption of the story long enough for many in the audience to loose interest. In Ben-Hur, the fast pace of the show was virtually uninterrupted.

Even before the chariot race, the audience had already received a bit of Broadway magic with the sea battle and wreck of Arrius’ ship. The scene opened with Arrius on a dais at center stage and the galley slaves rowing below him. At the climax of the battle, the theater was suddenly plunged into total darkness and the audience heard panicked screams and the crashing and grinding of timbers courtesy of a “crash” machine. Within seconds, the lights were brought up and Ben-Hur and Arrius were “adrift” at sea. The actors were up in a raft several feet off the floor in front of a dramatic shipwreck scene, lighted with special electrical effects. The raft itself was hinged to allow a rocking motion in two directions.

In order to accomplish this change of scene on stage in front of the audience without dropping the curtain, the “crash” machine kept crashing to cover the noise of movement on stage as the actors and stage hands used split second timing in the pitch black dark of the theater. The second the lights went out, the galley slaves with their oars fell flat to the floor and their benches were immediately pulled into the wings, Ben-Hur leapt to the dais with Arrius and pins were removed to allow the dais to be converted into a rocking bit of flotsam. One set of stage hands raised the backdrop scene of the galley ship to reveal the shipwreck scene, while another group of hands brought a large canvas from the back of the stage forward to the footlights, pulling it over the galley slaves laying on the floor. The galley slaves, covered by this tarp used their oars, arms and legs to simulate the rolling waves of the ocean. All of this was accomplished in the dark, among the props and scenery without stepping on anyone in about seven seconds!

Lew Wallace meeting with Joseph Brooks and
William Youngrepresentatives of the Broadway
producers, Klaw and Erlanger in front of
General Wallace's Study.
One of the most evocative special effects was the presentation of Jesus. Lew Wallace would not permit an actor to portray Christ--a central figure to the storyline. After much discussion and debate, it was decided that whenever the script called for Jesus to move the story forward, a strange and ethereal light would appear on stage and a voice that permeated the theater would be used. This unique solution left much to the imagination of the audience which made each performance a personal experience heightening the spiritual impact of the play and it eliminated any controversy about putting Christ on stage. It should also be pointed out from the producers point of view that it eliminated the need to pay an actor to play Jesus on stage as well.


One of the scenes that left little to the imagination was the chariot race. Cue the chariots! Horses on treadmills had been used before Ben-Hur, but never with the sophistication that was used in this production. The effect of the treadmill that allowed the eight horses to race at full gallop was heightened by the addition of belts turned at 90 degrees to the floor near the horses’ hooves, so that as they ran—faster or slower—these belts looked like the ground was moving at pace with the horses. To further the effect of the racing horses, a combination of powders was forced up through the treadmill by blowers under the floor to resemble dust.

Beyond the racing of the chariots and the paced rotation of the back and side scenes of the “arena”, the dramatic wreck of Messala’s chariot at the climax of the race was accomplished with a trick chariot. While Ben-Hur’s chariot wheels were actually in contact with the treadmill, Messala’s chariot rested on a yoke with springs that kept the wheels slightly above the treadmill. A motor was used to spin his wheels. At the critical moment, another small electric motor blew the wheels off of Messala’s chariot, the basket and rider dropped onto the springing yoke and the treadmill and adjacent flooring carrying Messala jerked back 15 feet allowing Ben-Hur to win. According to William S. Hart, who played Messala, this complicated mechanism worked all but one of the 400 times his horses raced.

With “crash” machines, rapid scene changes, and powder spewing horses, it’s no wonder the stage play electrified an estimated 20,000,000 people for over 20 years on several continents—making Lew, Susan, Henry, Harper Brothers, and the Broadway producers several fortunes. It also forever changed the way Broadway would present it's blockbuster productions.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Song for Children

This poem by Susan was written Christmas Eve, 1868, and published in the Crawfordsville Journal.

Christmas Song for Children

Oh, could I have my wish this Christmas night,
Some fairy should fly through the cold starlight,
And bear you away on her gentle breast,
To gardens enchanted, where all that's best,
Sweetest, and best, from every clime,
Should blossom in endless summer-time.
Of myrtle and rose should our garden be,
For the children only, their friends and me.

Built round it a wall, with towers high,
Should shut out all but the clear blue sky,
And circle a palace where banners bright
Float far and free in the soft sunlight.
And violet eyes, lifted meekly up,
And the tulip, bearing her golden cup
Of perfume, should greet the morning sun,
As the beautiful days come one by one,
With never a cloud, and never a tear,
From summer to summer, year to year.

And every path in that garden sweet
Should bear the light print of baby feet,
And ring with shouts of children at play
By babbling brooks that merrily stray
Through beds of lilies, away, away,
Where murmuring water, and bee, and bird,
Make the sweetest music ear ever heard.
There would we live and never grow old;
There measure the years with sands of gold;
In the rose garden whose gates are free
To children only, their friends and me.

It cannot be so--the wishes I bring
Are but the longing of Winter for Spring.
One fairy only haunts this world of ours;
His path is crowded with fadeless flowers;
And the spell that lies in his rosy wings
Is strange as the wonderful song he sings
To charm away sorrow--'twill pass you by,
While the fairy Love is hovering nigh.

This Christmas eve, oh, guard them well,
True love, thou sleepless sentinel!
Beneath they wings, warm lands and fair
Lie sheltered in enchanted air;
And circling walls to thee belong,
And mystic bars, unseen, but strong,
Oh, guard them, Love, with magic key,
The children dear, their friends, and me.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

New! Online Donations & Memberships at our Website

Have you been planning to join the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society, but just can't seem to find a stamp to mail us your check? Have you thought about doing it, but decided it was too much work? Are you looking for last-minute donations to write off on your taxes?

Here at the Study, we're operating on a small budget, and we're always looking for ways to make it easier for you to give us money. After all, it's your support that allows us to provide great programming such as this year's Civil War Lectures, the Civil War Encampment, the Lew Wallace Academy, and more. We're also trying to raise money to match a grant that will allow us to restore the interior paint of the Study to how Lew had it.

So this week we are unveiling online donations and purchases of memberships via Paypal. Just visit the Join and Support page of our website and choose either to donate online or to purchase a membership for yourself or someone you love.

Keep in mind that, while we have done some testing with this, it is still in early stages. If you experience any difficulty, please email us or comment here. If you are purchasing a gift membership, we need to know the recipient's name and address. Hopefully you'll see an "Instructions to Seller" box where you can enter that information. If that isn't the case, please email us at study@ben-hur.com to give us that information, and to alert us that the instructions box isn't showing up.

We are always interested in finding new ways to keep you informed about what's going on here and to get you engaged in our mission. Hopefully this addition to our offerings will benefit you as well as us!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Closing

December 15 will be the last tour date for the Lew Wallace Study & Museum in 2012. We will open again in February.

So what goes on during our closed period?

We take that time to focus specifically on changing the exhibits in the Carriage House Interpretive Center. During 2012 our exhibit has been centered on Lew Wallace's activities during 1862. In 2013 we will be presenting an exhibit surrounding Lew and Susan Wallace's descendants. A lot of work goes into setting up an exhibit. We have to research everything, decide which related artifacts will be on display, write interpretive text, and design the flow of the exhibit space.

Other things that will have our attention during our winter closing: a major fundraising effort to start in 2013--I'll be presenting a series of blog posts about that as we get closer to kickoff; finalizing our programming and event schedule for the coming year; selecting musical talent for the 7th Annual Taste of Montgomery County in August 2013.

So keep warm this winter, and we look forward to seeing you next year, when our new exhibit opens!

Sunday, December 9, 2012

2012 Holiday High Tea a Grand Success

The Holiday High Tea came off beautifully. Here are a few photos of the fun our guests had and the beautiful decorations and delicious delicacies!












Thursday, December 6, 2012

Christmas Shopping in the Carriage House

We all have that one person, don't we? That person who seems to have everything? That person who says, "I don't need anything this year?" So how do you shop for someone like that?

Consider giving them a gift that also supports local history and culture!

Proceeds from the gift shop here are used for the benefit of the museum. We have books about Lew Wallace, copies of Ben-Hur, Christmas tree ornaments, t-shirts, and even artwork. For the real collector in your family, you can purchase the two-volume autobiography Lew was writing at the time of his death; it was completed by his wife Susan. We also have Mama G beaded earrings created by a local artist and Indiana-shaped cheese boards made by a local artisan.

If you would prefer to give a gift that is less tangible but carries the benefits of being tax deductible and directly supporting our mission, buy a membership to the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society in someone's name. Membership levels start as low as $25 for the Lieutenant Level and go all the way to Ben-Hur Level at $500.

If you're interested in preserving Lew Wallace's legacy, Christmas is a great way to do it!

Monday, December 3, 2012

Holiday High Tea This Friday

It's not too late! Wednesday is the deadline for anyone wishing to attend the Holiday High Tea to RSVP.

The Holiday High Tea is this Friday, December 7, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m. Guests will tour the DAR Chapter House and the Elston Homestead, enjoy refreshments, live entertainment, a holiday wreath sale, and a fashion show.

Reservations are $25/person. Contact the museum at 765-362-5769 or email study@ben-hur.com.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

New Furniture in the Carriage House

Deb working on her desk
Thanks to the generosity of one of our board members, we have a new desk in our office upstairs. Deb King, our garden and grounds expert, had been using a tabletop supported by two filing cabinets until this past week, when outgoing board member Roger Adams presented her with a new desk!

 The desk was delivered last week, and staff spent some time assembling it. Now Deb has a comfortable and attractive workspace.

Thank you, Roger!


The completed project!


Monday, November 26, 2012

Greenery Workshop Planned


Just in time for the holiday season, the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum will host a garland making workshop on Saturday, December 1, from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Tannenbaum Cultural Center, located at 107 W. Spring Street, directly behind the Rotary Jail Museum.

The workshop is free and open to the public, but reservations are required. Please RSVP by calling 765-362-5769 or e-mailing study@ben-hur.com.

All garlands made at the workshop will be on display at the Dorothy Q Chapter DAR House during the annual Holiday High Tea & Fashion Show on Friday, December 7.

Live greenery will be provided, but attendees should bring their own gloves and clippers. Refreshments will also be provided. 

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thanksgiving and the Wallaces

We talk a lot about Lew and Susan Wallace here at the blog, but someone who isn't mentioned often is Lew's father David Wallace. David  attended West Point Military Academy and began practicing law in Indiana in 1823. He served in the Indiana State Legislature from 1828 to 1830. In 1831 he was elected Lieutenant-Governor of Indiana.

From 1837 to 1840, David Wallace served as Indiana's sixth governor. On October 30, 1840, David signed the first state proclamation for Thanksgiving and a day of prayer. So if you live in Indiana and are planning to have turkey and pumpkin pie later today, you have Lew Wallace's father to thank!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Week Hours

photo by tinaxduzgen on flickr

The Lew Wallace Study and Museum will be open Tuesday and Wednesday for tours. We will be closed Thursday and Friday for Thanksgiving.

We wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Holiday High Tea is fast approaching

As I write this, the weather is sunny and warm, but as impossible as it seems, the holidays are right around the corner. Christmas is less than two months away!

Here at the Lew Wallace Study, we always ring in the holiday season with our Holiday High Tea and fashion show. This year, the event is scheduled for December 7 from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Join us for a sneak peek into two of Crawfordsville's most prestigious historic homes, specially decorated for the holidays!

The Colonel Isaac C. Elston Home, chapter house for the Dorothy Q chapter of the DAR, and the Elston Homestead, home of the President of Wabash College, serve as the host locations for the fashion show and boutique, high tea, holiday concert, and the spirit of the season.

As in past years, hand-designed holiday wreaths like the one pictured at right will be available at the "Making Spirits Bright" sale beginning at 4 p.m. Local merchant Homestead Greetings and Gifts will be providing a Vera Bradley boutique and other home decor.

Reservations are $25 per person and due by December 5. For reservations, please call 765-362-5769 or email study@ben-hur.com. Proceeds from ticket sales directly benefit the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum and the Dorothy Q Chapter DAR.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lew Wallace and Veterans Day

Veterans Day 2012 poster
Since Veterans Day wasn't established until 1919 (as Armistice Day), you may wonder about the title of this blog post. But although Veterans Day was not observed in Lew's day, Decoration Day (the precursor to Memorial Day) was. Lew was also very interested in the fate of veterans, and remained involved in veterans organizations.

On several occasions Lew spoke at the dedication of war memorials, in locations such as Shiloh National Battlefield in Tennessee; Greencastle, Indiana; and the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis. Some of the words spoken at the dedication of the monument in Indianapolis are worth remembering as we observe Veterans Day:
It has been said 'The world loves, not those who would sacrifice themselves for others, if they could find an opportunity, but those who have found one and used it.' She, our mother, the state, saw the distinction, and applied it to her sons of the sword and gun; and now it is the text of the sermon she means these stones to preach immemorially. In other words, making this matchless structure speak for her, she says: 'They are my best beloved, who in every instance of danger to the nation, discover a glorious chance to serve their fellow men and dare the chance, though in so doing they suffer and sometimes die.'
Happy Veterans Day, and to all who have served this country, in peacetime or in war, in the United States Armed Forces, thank you.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

A unique--if uncomfortable--piece of furniture

I'm often asked about this rocking chair in the Study. It doesn't look as if it would be very comfortable, thanks to the face carved on the back. The nose would probably poke the hapless sitter in the middle of the back!

But whether or not the chair would be comfortable, it is certainly ornate and intriguing. Why is there a face carved on the back? Is there some meaning to it? Where did the chair come from?

We don't have much information in our archives about the history of the chair, but the carved motif is very similar to one that can be found throughout Europe--that of the Green Man.

Depictions of faces surrounded by foliage, or with foliage coming from their mouths, can be found dating back as early as the Eleventh Century in England, and dating back to the First Century in Rome. There might be a link between the Green Man and the Greek gods such as Dionysus, Silvanus, Bacchus, and Pan. Celtic deities such as Cernunnos and the Oak King and Holly King may also be represented in these figures.

Whatever the symbolism, Lew must have appreciated the workmanship of this chair...even if he found it uncomfortable to sit in.

A close-up of the carving
For more information about the Green Man, visit The Enigma of the Green Man or The Mythology of the Green Man.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Memento Mori

I frequently have visitors ask me about the little paperweight displayed on a shelf in the Study. Titled Memento Mori, the paperweight depicts a human skull. So why would Lew want to display a skull on his desk?

The phrase "memento mori" is Latin, and means "remember you will die" or "remember you are mortal." It has a connection to the Roman era, when victorious generals were often given a triumph. As the general was being lavished with praise and glory, a servant stood nearby, whispering to him, "Remember, you are mortal." Wouldn't want those generals to get any ideas!

The Victorians embraced the concept of mortality and had a complicated relationship with death. There were strict guidelines about how long mourning should last and how long it should be done. Brooches were made from the braided hair of dead loved ones. Victorians often took photographs of their deceased.

Viewed in that light, Lew's little reminder of his own mortality doesn't seem quite so macabre!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Fall has hit with a vengeance with temperatures in the hi 70's and temperatures hovering around 45 degrees a day later. Typically unpredictable Indiana weather! The lawn is littered with leaves with only the pin oak and some gingko leaves left on the trees. The lawn mowers are chopping up the leaves and some of the leaves will be used as mulch on the gardens.

daffodils and magnolia blooming in the spring

We have been busy planting spring bulbs. Over 200 bulbs have been planted for an anticipated beautiful spring showing. Mixed giant alliums have been planted in front of the Study, with colors ranging from dark purple to white. Ivory Queen alliums have been planted with the white shrub roses for the last 3 years and make a beautiful showing. Red tulips have been replenished, adding to the 50 or so tulips planted a few years ago. The squirrels love to dig them up and chew on them, leaving half the bulb laying to waste on the ground.

Daffodils, a naturilizing mix, have been planted throughout the grounds. On the natural hillside, near the picnic area, by the Carriage House and in the gardens,  daffodils will be a beacon of color in an otherwise green oasis. Planted on a hillside of Siberian squill (bright blue blooms) the daffodils will provide a splendid photo opportunity. Crocus are being planted, in small groups, throughout the grounds. We are placing wire screening on top of the bulbs to protect them from the hungry squirrels.
 Wintertime blues can be lessened by imagining the bright and magnificent Spring color that is just waiting to burst through the ground.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Everyone's a Critic

Prince of India carving on Study Building
Lew Wallace is probably most famous as the author of Ben-Hur, which was the best-selling novel of the 20th century, but he wrote other novels, and they weren't all as well-received as Ben-Hur. The following is a letter written to him by a doctor from Colorado:

Dear Sir,

Perhaps advice may not be acceptable to you, and in case that it is not, allow me to make a request of you. It is this: in charity to English-speaking humanity, please do not attempt to write any more books of fiction.

Your first* book of the kind, or at least the first one of them that I got hold of, is a fine work. It is a beautiful story and beautifully told. The descriptions in it are superbly realistic, and an intense interest enthralls the reader from the beginning of the book to the end. I am speaking of Ben Hur, and I can not recall any book that gave me more pleasure in reading than Ben Hur.
With the next one I read, The Fair God (1873). I was awfully disappointed. It is hardly worth reading, and is inconceivably inferior to Ben Hur in every way.
But by far the worst of the lot is The Prince of India (1893). I have just managed to read the first volume, and that is all I could stand. It is apparently a rehash of the old yarn of the Wandering Jew, and certainly the most insipid and uninteresting lot of trash that I have had the misfortune to get hold of in years.
Had you been satisfied to stop writing after finishing Ben Hur your reputation as a writer of English literature would have been most admirable; but the effect of The Fair God and more particularly The Prince of India will be to leave the reputation of the author of Ben Hur decidedly clouded. So I repeat my request.
Please do not attempt to write any more works of fiction for you are evidently in your later years not equal to the attempt. In all kindness and thanking you for the pleasure your first book gave me, I am, most respectfully,
J.D. Brandon, M.D.

Ouch!



*Note: The Fair God was actually Lew's first novel, and Ben-Hur the second, though it was, of course, Ben-Hur that received widespread attention and secured Lew's fortune and reputation as a novelist.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Samuel K. Hoshour & Lew Wallace


Sometimes an educator is remembered less for their accomplishments than for the history made by their students. Such is the case with Samuel K. Hoshour. In 1840, when Lew Wallace was 13 years old his father, David, once again sought to impress the importance of an education on his son. David sent Lew to school in Centerville, Indiana (some reports report that the school was actually located nearby in Cambridge City). This area of Wayne County had been settled by whites beginning in 1814. It had a significant population of Quakers who held fast to their traditions of anti-slavery and the value of education. By 1827, the Wayne County Seminary was built and for more than 50 years it served as an institution of higher education.

The Seminary was later sold to the Methodist Church and renamed Whitewater College with the Reverend Cyrus Nutt serving as president in the 1850s. Nutt would later go on to serve as president of Indiana University. In addition to Lew Wallace, among the distinguished individuals educated in Centerville were Ambrose Burnside (Civil War general), John Stevenson Tarkington (father of Booth Tarkington), Emily Meredith (mother of Meredith Nicholson), and Oliver P. Morton (Indiana’s Civil War governor).

David sent Lew to Centerville because of Professor Samuel K. Hoshour’s great reputation as an educator. Professor Hoshour deserved this reputation, at least in Lew Wallace’s eyes. Hoshour was born in York County, Pennsylvania in December 1803. He was trained for the ministry in the Lutheran Church, but converted to the “Campbellite Doctrine” and was ostracized from his church. He travelled west with his wife, and settled in Wayne County in 1835 where he quickly developed a reputation as an outstanding instructor and intellect who could read five languages and speak three fluently.

Hoshour came nearest to being what young Lew imagined an ideal school master should be. While Hoshour wielded the rod, he did so with “discrimination and undeniable justice.” Wallace wrote: “He was the first to observe a glimmer of writing capacity in me. He gave me volumes of lectures on rules of composition, English, and style.” Hoshour invited Wallace to his home in the evenings to give Lew extra help with the thorny and perplexing problems of algebra.

Professor Samuel K. Hoshour
Recognizing that Wallace did not have an aptitude for mathematics, instead of beating the student, Hoshour humanely applied himself to cultivating the abilities he believed were within Wallace’s reach. In an evening’s interview with the student who could not find his way, Hoshour recognized Wallace’s native intellect and his interest in reading and self education. The Professor presented Wallace with lectures on rhetoric by John Quincy Adams that contained rules for composition. Wallace went on to write that Hoshour took a New Testament and gave it to the student, saying: “There, read that! It is the story of the birth of Jesus Christ. This was entirely new to me and I recall the impression made by the small part given to the three wise men. Little did I dream then what those few verses were to bring me—that out of them Ben-Hur, was one day to be evoked.”

Hoshour taught in Centerville and Cambridge City for eleven years. Teaching did not pay well, and he attempted to earn a better income to support himself and his family, but with health issues that began in the 1840s and a series of poor investments, after a decade Hoshour returned to teaching. In 1855 he joined the faculty of Northwestern Christian University (today’s Butler University) in Indianapolis. In 1858, he was pressed into service as president but after three years, he left the presidency and resumed teaching at the University. In 1862, he was appointed State Superintendant of Education. After a distinguished career in education he passed away in 1883 and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

As Wallace wrote in his autobiography: “I can see the professor standing in his door, lamp in hand and bareheaded, dismissing me for the night, with exactly the same civilities he would have sped an official the most important in the state. Ah, the kindly cunning of the shrewd old gentleman! He had dropped a light into my understanding and caught me. So, step by step, the professor led me into and out of depths I had never dreamed of, and through tangles of subtlety and appreciations which proved his mind as thoroughly as they tried mine. Before the year was out he had, as it were, taken my hand in his and introduced me to Byron, Shakespeare, and old Isaiah. The year was a turning-point of my life, and out of my age and across his grave I send him, Gentle master, hail, and all sweet rest.” Every educator who has sparked the imagination of a student would appreciate Wallace’s remembrance of the teacher who changed his life and changed history.

Source:
Lew Wallace An Autobiography, Harper & Brothers, 1906, pp 55-58
Montgomery Magazine, November 1980. “Wallace – the writer.” Pat Cline

The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum celebrates and renews belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture.



Saturday, October 20, 2012

Visitor Questions Answered

Every now and then I'll have someone ask me a question to which I don't have the answer. I always do my best to find out, but sometimes I don't find the answer until the visitor is already gone. Today I want to answer a few questions I've been asked lately.

What is this pedestal made out of?

This is an onyx pedestal from Rome, pale green with gold and white marbling.  It has seven metal rings around it. The pedestal stands in the mechanical room of the Study building, where our Ben-Hur exhibit is located.

Were the bricks around the inglenook painted?

No. The bricks were made that color, which is also used as an accent color on the outside of the Study building.

How tall was Lew Wallace?

According to his hunting license, he was 5'10".

What is this chunk of rock?

This is a piece of turquoise. Our records suggest Susan might have used it as a paperweight. You'll find it in one of the display cases on the south wall of the Study.


Anyone else have any questions? I love doing research to find the answers to these questions. I always tell people I learn things from our visitors just as often as they learn things from me! Chime in in the comments and play "stump the museum girl!"

Monday, October 15, 2012

Meet Our Lecturers


The last installment of the 2012 Civil War Lecture Series is scheduled for Thursday, October 18 at the Crawfordsville District Public Library. We will have two lectures that evening, beginning at 7pm.

Chuck Beemer will present "Breakfast at Fort Donelson," discussing Lew Wallace's actions at Fort Donelson in February 1862. Immediately following Beemer's presentation, Roger Adams will present "Tarnished Stars:  Lew Wallace and the Defense of Cincinnati, September 1862."

Chuck Beemer was born and raised in Crawfordsville and holds a MA from the University of Wisconsin and a JD from the University of North Carolina. He recently finished a manuscript, "My Greatest Quarrel with Fortune: Major General Lew Wallace in the West, 1861-1862." He is the Vice President of the Western North Carolina Civil War Roundtable and serves on the Wallace Scholars Advisory Board to the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum.

Roger Adams is associate professor of library science and curator of rare books & special collections at Kansas State University Libraries. He is from Kenton Hills, Kentucky. Growing up near the earthwork fortifications built in 1862 for the defense of Cincinnati led to a life-long fascination with Wallace. Adams serves on the Board of the Lew Wallace Study Preservation Society and owns a large collection of Ben-Hur and other Wallace books.

Come out to this free event and benefit from the expertise of these two scholars. We'd love it if you would RSVP at (765)362-5769 or study@ben-hur.com.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Bohumir Kryl photos

Be sure to visit Wabash College's online photo album for great pictures of the Bohumir Kryl Project!

http://www.wabash.edu/photo_album/home.cfm?photo_album_id=3346

You can view pictures and download hi-res images.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Dramatic Club of Indianapolis

Mary “Haute” Booth Tarkington was one of the leaders of a theatrical group which was established in Indianapolis in 1889. This group, originally called the Matinee Club, of twenty-five women from the city’s leading families was formed to provide private staged performances. The first performance of this all woman group was staged in a private ballroom in a home at 10th and Delaware Streets. By 1890, men were assisting in the productions and the group combined with another to form the Dramatic Club. Mary’s brother, Booth Tarkington, joined the group and designed the logo.


Beginning in 1890, the group began assisting local charities which led to its most ambitious effort when the group “adopted” four French children after World War I. The club grew from 149 people in 1890 to over 400 by the early 20th century. By the 1920s, the performances had moved from the confines of private ballrooms to English’s Hotel & Opera House, the Murat Temple, and the Athenaeum. By the 1950s the performances had been moved to the Civic Theatre. It continues to be an important theater group in Indianapolis.

Throughout its existence the Dramatic Club has attracted some of the leading social, civic and business leaders of Indianapolis including members of the extended Lew Wallace family. In the 1916 Blue Book for Indianapolis members of the Wallace clan listed as members in the Dramatic Club included Zerelda Leathers Grover (niece of Lew Wallace) and Mary Booth Tarkington Jameson (sister of Booth Tarkington and niece by marriage of William Wallace and his wife Cordelia Butler). More distantly related people listed in the 1916 Society Blue Book included Booth Tarkington and his wife, Mr. and Mrs. James Leathers, and Mr. Donald Jameson.

Lew Wallace, Jr. ca. 1917
Closer to home, Lew Wallace, Jr. (Lew and Susan’s grandson) and their future grand-daughter-in-law, Josephine Parrott, were active in the group. Lew, Jr. had grown up primarily in Indianapolis although he spent time in Crawfordsville with his grandparents. By 1916 he had finished his college studies at Yale and was back home for a stay. He had paralleled his famous grandfather’s military career with a stint in the mid-1910s chasing Pancho Villa during the Mexican border dispute which was followed by his military service in World War I in 1917 and 1918. Just when and how Lew Jr. and Josephine met is not recorded, but after their inclusion in the Blue Book in 1916, they made the social columns again in 1917 when they wed. Lew, Jr. and Josephine had four children and at least one of them, Margaret (Maggie Daly) followed her parents’ lead and enjoyed a brief career on the stage in the 1940s before she married and began her own family.


The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum celebrates and renews belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Clear Your Schedule for Two Civil War Lectures


Make sure to keep the evening of Thursday, October 18, open to attend the last lecture of the 2012 Civil War Lecture Series. The lectures are being held at the Crawfordsville District Public Library in the Donnelley Room at 7 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Chuck Beemer will present "Breakfast at Fort Donelson," discussing Lew Wallace's actions at Fort Donelson. The Battle of Fort Donelson in February 1862 was a strategic battle for the control of the Cumberland River in Tennessee. Brigadier General Wallace created a defensive line along Wynns Ferry Road against orders. The line held through three Confederate surges, protecting the Union right flank and leading the Confederates to surrender the fort the following day. Beemer will also discuss what these actions reveal about Wallace's character and personality.

Immediately following Beemer's presentation, Roger Adams will present "Tarnished Stars:  Lew Wallace and the Defense of Cincinnati, September 1862." Although Wallace lost his command after the Battle of Shiloh in April, 1862, he was called upon in September to help defend nearby Cincinnati, Ohio. Confederate armies had invaded Kentucky in the late summer and Cincinnati, with its strategic position on the Ohio River, was thought to be a prime target. Wallace was instrumental in preparing Cincinnati for such an attack and hoped to restore his military reputation along the way.

Both lectures are part of public programming associated with the museum's 2012 exhibit, "Courage & Conflict: Lew Wallace in 1862," on display in the carriage house on Study grounds until December 15, 2012.

Please RSVP for the lectures at (765)362-5769 or study@ben-hur.com.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Lew Wallace & Charles B. Landis

Charles B. Landis was a close friend of Lew Wallace. He also happened to be a United States Congressman elected from the 9th District near Delphi. Landis was born in Logansport and was an 1883 graduate of Wabash College. After graduating he worked on the Logansport Journal, but moved to Delphi in 1887 when he purchased the Delphi Journal. He served six terms in Congress from 1897 through 1909. As a newspaper man, Landis also served as the president of the Indiana Republican Editorial Association in the 1890s. After leaving Congress he worked for the du Pont Powder Company in Delaware. The paths of Wallace and Landis crossed frequently from the 1880s through the turn of the 20th century.


On February 14, 1905 Congressman Landis contacted J.J. Insley of Crawfordsville asking him to secure a copy of Ben-Hur with an inscription from Lew Wallace. Lew graciously acceded to the request and wrote on the flyleaf: “Charles B. Landis—our mutual friend, J.J. Insley sends me this book for autographing. He wishes to present it to you. You already know my deep regard for you and circumstances that make compliance with our friend’s wish a sovereign pleasure. Success to you in everything you undertake. There are rewards in good lives, and you are in the way of reaping them—go in that way. Lew Wallace, Crawfordsville.”

As it turned out, this testimony to a trusted friend is believed to be the last thing written by Wallace who died quietly the next day, February 15, after a long illness.

The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum celebrates and renews belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Museum Day Live!

Today is Museum Day Live, presented in affiliation with the Smithsonian. People who visit the Museum Day website and print out a ticket can get free admission to one museum for two people. So far today we've had a lot of people participate, and we've only been open two and a half hours! It's great to see people taking advantage of these offers. Some of my visitors just came from the Rotary Jail, another great museum here in Crawfordsville, and I understand they're also pretty busy today.

It's a beautiful fall day in Indiana, so if you don't have afternoon plans, check out the Museum Day Live offer and come visit us!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Cooking With Susan - Baltimore Sandwiches


Lew's wife Susan contributed several recipes to cookbooks over the years. This one is from the 1913 Sunshine Cookbook.

Baltimore Sandwiches:

2 tablespoons of sugar                                      
1 teaspoon of salt
½ pint of vinegar                                    
2 large tablespoons of melted butter
2 teaspoons of mustard                                     
2 large coffee cups of boiled ham minced fine, using a portion of the fat
A little pepper
2 tablespoons of fresh cream                 
Yolks of 3 eggs             

Heat the vinegar, beat the yolks of the eggs, sugar, salt, mustard, butter, pepper, well together, and stir into the hot vinegar.  Continue stirring on the stove till the sauce bubbles; then add the cream and pour it over the ham; have ready baking powder biscuits rolled thin and cut small.  Thoroughly bake or they will be soggy, split and spread with butter while slightly warm, then spread thickly with the minced ham and lay the halves together.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Exciting Archaeological Find!



Dr. Chris Moore (right) explains the find to his students and
members of the public participating in History Beneath Us.

Unit 12 (the unit that was opened near the Carriage House) has proven to be interesting.  Yesterday, the archaeologists from the University of Indianapolis found flat glass (like what is used in window panes), coal, a piece of yellow ware and square nails.  Both the yellow ware and the square nails date to Lew Wallace's use of the property.  Today they uncovered a feature of dark, ashy soil that could be left over from a chimney.  They have also found more square nails in this feature which dates it to Lew!

The dark soil in the upper left corner of the unit contains the
dark, ashy soil and could be the remains of a chimney.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Archaeologists in Training



More pictures of archaeology on the grounds today.  Kids are uncovering some great finds in the Archaeologist Training area and helping out at the reflecting pool, too!

History Beneath Us

The archaeologists from the University of Indianapolis are here and have started working.  They have already opened up a new unit between the Carriage House and the south wall and have found some window glass, coal and bricks.  They have also started opening up new units around the reflecting pool to continue uncovering the top layer of bricks.  This will allow us to see the original shape of the pool and how it relates to the Study building.
 
Come out and assist in the dig, sift for artifacts, check out the Archaeologist Training area or just observe the archaeologists at work! 

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ben-Hur & J.K. Lilly, Jr.

Lew Wallace, Jr.
In the mid-1930s, Josiah K. Lilly, Jr. noted Indianapolis philanthropist and partner in the Eli Lilly pharmaceutical business was acquiring papers and memorabilia significant in Indiana history. One of the documents he acquired was the original manuscript of Ben-Hur. He purchased the document, hand-written in purple ink by Lew Wallace, from the author’s grandson, Lew Wallace, Jr.

J.K. Lilly

Upon closer inspection, Lilly realized that the manuscript was missing the opening pages of several chapters including the pages from Book 1, Chapter 1. Lew, Jr. had no idea where the missing pages had gone, but speculated that his grandfather might have taken the pages and had them bound in a long missing special edition. A total of twenty-seven pages were gone. Lilly searched for almost twenty-five years, but never found the missing pages.

J.K. Lilly, Jr. donated over 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts to Indiana University in the 1950s. These gifts became the foundation for the Lilly Library at IU which was dedicated on October 3, 1960. At the dedication, Frederick B. Adams, Jr., director of the Pierpont Morgan Library in New York, was one of the featured speakers. Adams diverted from his prepared script to say: “It is not easy to hit the moon with a satellite and it is almost equally difficult to plan the right conjunction of mind and book and time. The proper conditions are here in Lilly Library . . .ready and waiting.”

The audience did not understand Adams’ point until with a broad smile he announced that “Here in my hand are the missing leaves to the original Ben-Hur manuscript.” Confusion turned to disbelief and then to cheers as the audience realized the magnitude of the announcement. Wallace’s original manuscript was on display for the dedication and the pages held by Adams were taken over and matched to the torn edges in the original manuscript. All twenty-seven pages were there!


Ben-Hur. First Edition, First State
Adams explained that Harper Brothers, the original publishers of Ben-Hur had held the missing pages until 1959. At that time, the publishing house gave them to the Pierpont Morgan Library. When the Lilly Library dedication was announced the trustees of the Morgan Library and Harper Brothers decided the pages should be reunited with the Wallace’s original work. On October 3, 1960, after a separation of almost eighty years, Lew Wallace’s masterwork was again whole thanks to the generous philanthropy of the Pierpont Morgan Library, Harper Brothers and Josiah K. Lilly, Jr.

Source: Montgomery Magazine, November 1980, article by Pat Cline

Bohumir Kryl Project This Saturday


Saturday, September 22 has been designated Bohumir Kryl Day by Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton. Bohumir Kryl was hired in 1896 by General Lew Wallace to carve the limestone frieze on his Study building. Kryl also worked on the Soldiers and Sailors Monument in Indianapolis. While in Indianapolis, Kryl auditioned for John Phillip Sousa and was hired as the virtuoso cornetist. Kryl joined several bands during his musical career, travelling and performing across the country and the world. Kryl also wrote his own music.

In cooperation with the Wabash College Visiting Artist Series and the Michigan & International Antique Phonograph Societies, the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum will present The Bohumir Kryl Project on September 22 from 8-10pm at Salter Hall on the Wabash College campus, with a pre-show program at 7:30pm.

The Bohumir Kryl Project will include a narration of Kryl’s life and live audio phonograph recordings of Kryl’s music. An hour-long concert band performance will follow featuring music Kryl wrote and performed during his lifetime.

This event is free, but seating is limited and tickets are required. Call the Wabash College ticket office for more information. If you aren't able to get tickets for the evening show, consider attending the dress rehearsal from 3-5pm. It is free and open to the public, and we will have souvenirs for sale at both dress rehearsal and the main event.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

History Beneath Us This Weekend at the Study


The History Beneath Us archaeology program returns to the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum on September 22-23 from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. each day to revisit the excavation begun in General Wallace’s backyard in September and to break some new ground.

The previous archaeological excavations on the grounds were so popular that our partner organization, University of Indianapolis, is coming back to reopen units in the General’s reflecting pool, and to investigate recently discovered evidence of a building near the Wallace’s Carriage House. During the spring History Beneath Us program, Dr. Chris Moore from the University of Indianapolis took soil core samples and found deposits that could be left over from a cistern, privy or possible outbuilding.

Visitors to the grounds will be able to observe the archaeologists at work, examine the findings as they are uncovered, and participate in parts of the process by scraping dirt with trowels and screening for artifacts alongside the excavation crew.  For families with smaller children, the Archaeologist Training area offers them the chance to dig in a separate area where they will be sure to find "artifacts."

This is a great event for the whole family, so come out and make a day of it!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Exciting New Gift Shop Items


We have some exciting new items in our gift shop. There are two new bookmarks, one with a design featuring photos of Lew Wallace and another with a design featuring photos of the Study itself. They sell for $2.75 each and have information and quotes on the back.

We've also added a brand new t-shirt design. Drawn by our own Deb King, the design is a clean, simple line drawing of the Study building. T-shirts are available in dark green and maroon, in adult sizes. They sell for $14.95.

Stop in soon and check out the new souvenirs!





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Museum Day Live!

Smithsonian magazine museum day live! 9/29/2012
On September 29, we are participating in Smithsonian magazine's 8th Annual Museum Day Live!

For one day only, the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum will grant free access to visitors who download a Museum Day Live! ticket at Smithsonian.com. This emulates the free admission policy of the Smithsonian Institution's Washington, D.C.- based facilities, in order to encourage learning and the spread of knowledge nationwide.

To get your free ticket, go to www.Smithsonian.com/museumday and download the ticket. Visitors who present the ticket will gain free entrance for two at participating venues for one day only. One ticket is permitted per household, per email address.

More information about Museum Day Live! 2012 and a list of other participating museums can also be found at the website above. Other participants here in Montgomery County include the Rotary Jail Museum, the Carnegie Museum of Montgomery County, and the Montgomery County Historical Society.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Lew's Young Fan

I had a family visiting from northern Indiana recently who already knew a lot about Lew Wallace. The son was a fan of Lew's and wrote a report about him last year in school. This year he is planning to write about Montgomery County for a school report. I'm sure Lew will feature strongly in that report, too.

It's always fun to have visitors of every age, but our young visitors are especially enjoyable. They always have great questions, and it's exciting to see young people so interested in our history!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Upcoming Events at the Study

Fall is going to be a busy season for the Lew Wallace Study!

We will also be participating in Ask A Curator Day on Twitter with @Wallacestudy, so if you have questions you want to ask, you can Tweet them Wednesday, September 19, with the hashtag #askacurator.

September 22 brings a once in a lifetime opportunity to enjoy the Bohumir Kryl Project, presented in cooperation with the Wabash College Visiting Artists Series.

September 22-23 are also our History Beneath Us days, when archaeologists from the University of Indianapolis continue excavations on Lew's reflecting pool. Visitors can join in and help!

September 25 we have a short program on Estate Planning and Planned Giving, presented by Phil Purcell, Vice President of the Ball State University Foundation.

September 29 is Smithsonian Museum Day Live, when visitors get in free to the Study if they present a Smithsonian pass.

October and December also bring exciting events. If you want to download a PDF flyer of upcoming events, click here.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Geocaching on the Study Grounds

Did you know we have a geocache located somewhere on our 3.5 acres?

According to Wikipedia, "[g]eocaching is an outdoor recreational activity in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device and other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers, called "geocaches" or "caches", anywhere in the world." Treasures are hidden inside a waterproof box located at a specific location, and vary from place to place.

What treasures are hidden on the Study grounds? Plenty of historical ones, but also some recreational ones as well.

Come test your navigational skills and pick up a new hobby while you're at it!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

People Lew Knew: Charles Major, Indiana Author

Recently I had two literary guests visiting the Study who asked about Charles Major of Shelbyville, Indiana. I didn’t recognize the name at first, though I should have--Major is remembered now for having written The Bears of Blue River, but he was a celebrated author in his day. His book When Knighthood Was in Flower, published in 1899, was a bestseller and was adapted on Broadway and in film.

Lew made a habit of encouraging young and struggling authors in Indiana. He knew most of those who are today remembered as Indiana’s greats--James Whitcomb Riley, Booth Tarkington, George Ade, and many others. But he also had an influence on Charles Major.

They met shortly before Major’s first novel was published, and after the meeting, Major wrote a letter to Lew. He confessed that, many years earlier, he had traveled to Crawfordsville in the hopes of meeting the famous author...but then lost his nerve and went back home! It made their meeting in 1898 even more important to Major.

I wish I had known all this before my visitors asked. Hopefully by sharing it on the blog, I’ll be able to reach those who asked as well as all our regular readers.

For more in-depth information about Charles Major, see our earlier post about him here.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

A Great Variety of Flavors at the Taste


The 6th Annual Taste of Montgomery County arrives this Saturday, August 25, and the variety of foods being offered this year is sure to please almost every palate.

Two Guys Cooking will return with their famous ribbon chips with cheese and deep-fried caramel turtle cheesecake. The China Inn will serve California sushi rolls and crab rangoons; while Waynetown Bar and Grill will serve frog legs and catfish bites. Bon Appétit will present a popcorn barn with assorted mix-ins and flavorings.

Three new exhibitors to this year’s Taste are Lil Sweetums Cupcakery, featuring cupcakes from their new store on Main Street, the General Store in Darlington, featuring delicious cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, and Chewy’s, with authentic Mexican food. Favorites from previous years will also be returning, including Norvell’s BBQ, China Inn, The Iron Gate, Miller’s Quality Meats & Catering, A Country A-Fair, Hawg Wild BBQ, The Big Dipper, Coal Creek Cellars, 1832 Brew Espresso Bar, and the Juniper Spoon.

The Taste of Montgomery County takes place at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum in Crawfordsville on Saturday, August 25 from 12:00 noon to 10:00 p.m. Tickets for the Taste are now on sale at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum and several downtown locations. Advance tickets to the Taste are $4 for adults and $2 for students; on the day of the Taste, tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for students. For the full menu and more information about the Taste, visit our website at www.tasteofmontgomerycounty.com.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Get a Taste for a Good Cause


It’s become one of the area’s most anticipated annual festivals, but the Taste of Montgomery County also fulfills a very important role: the Taste is the largest fundraiser for the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum, located on the grounds in Crawfordsville where Lew Wallace penned his masterwork, Ben-Hur. The 6th Annual Taste of Montgomery County will be held this Saturday, August 25, from 12:00-10:00 p.m.

Revenues from the gate sales at this year’s Taste will go to fund the Museum’s extensive programming and the 2013 annual exhibit focusing on Wallace descendants. 2013 programming will tie into exhibit themes and will include genealogy and family history workshops, lectures, and a walking tour.

Tickets for the Taste are now on sale at the General Lew Wallace Study & Museum and several downtown locations. Advance tickets to the Taste are $4 for adults and $2 for students; on the day of the Taste, tickets will be $5 for adults and $3 for students.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Fun Fact: Lew Wallace, Fishing Fanatic

Did you know that Lew Wallace was crazy about fishing?

Patent diagram for
traveler's fishing pole
 
Lew had a moat on two sides of the Study and stocked it so he could fish from the back porch. In the winter, he could fire up the coal furnace in the Study basement and stick his fishing pole out the windows.

In fact, he loved fishing so much he invented a special traveler’s fishing pole.

The line reel was integrated into an aluminum handle. A hollow wooden pole attached to the end of the handle and carried the line inside. US Patent No. 460,272 was issued for the invention on September 29, 1891.

Be sure to stop by the Study for a tour, where you can see this invention along with his collection of fishing poles!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Lew's Legacy Continues


I had a great story from one of our visitors the other day. Several years ago they came to see the Study and brought their young son. We have Lew’s violin on display here, as well as several violin pieces that he used to build violins. After seeing the display, the son took up playing the violin. Now, several years later, he still plays!

It’s great to know that Lew Wallace is still inspiring people today.

Monday, August 13, 2012

New in the gift shop--My Indiana: 101 More Places to See




Past visitors to the Study gift shop will recognize My Indiana: 101 Places to See by Earl L. Conn. New to the gift shop this week is Mr. Conn’s sequel, My Indiana: 101 More Places to See. Both books sell for $19.95.

The books are divided into regions of the state: North, East, Central, West, South Central, and South. Each region features notable locations in several cities. Crawfordsville, listed in the West region, is mentioned because of the Rotary Jail Museum.

Many nearby locations in the West region are just a short drive from the Study. Come in to see us, pick up a copy of the book while you’re here, and plan some short excursions from the book!

Friday, August 10, 2012

Lew Wallace's Carriage

In 1873, perhaps feeling flush with royalties from his book The Fair God, Lew Wallace ordered a new carriage. This was not just any carriage. It was a made to order French Victoria Carriage that cost $1,000 with an additional $200 for shipping. At this same time, Lew and Susan were completing work on their new Carriage House immediately north of their home.


It is reported that Wallace bought the carriage during one of his trips abroad while he was visiting in Paris and no expense was spared. It has a relatively low body with one forward-facing seat for two passengers and a raised driver's seat supported by an iron frame, all beneath a calash top (one that folds back in accordion style). In front adjacent to the driver’s seat, there are mounted brass lanterns and a holder for the buggy whip. Behind the main seating there is a footman’s seat. The wheels all have expensive brass boxings (a part of axle and hub connections) and the two front wheels were removable so that they could be attached to another body to make a two wheeled cart. The carriage has leather curtains, cushions, and fenders. With a simple conversion, this one horse buggy could be pulled by a beautiful matched pair of horses. The front drivers’ seat was also removable so that the driver (Lew Wallace himself) could sit in the main compartment of the carriage.

Lew Wallace's carriage after its purchase by Frank Oliver
in 1915. 

A carriage of this general form might have been called a phaeton in the early 19th century. These were sporty open carriages drawn by a single horse or a pair, typically with four extravagantly large wheels, very lightly sprung, with a minimal body, fast and even considered dangerous. Phaetons usually had no sidepieces in front of the seats. The name phaeton refers to the disastrous ride of the mythical "Phaëton," son of Helios, who nearly set the earth on fire while attempting to drive the chariot of the sun. American versions often had a higher carriage of light construction, with a covered seat in front and a footman's seat behind just as Wallace’s carriage has.

The Victoria version was an elegant French carriage based on a phaeton that had been made for King George IV who ruled Great Britain until 1830. The name Victoria was not actually attached to this kind of carriage until 1869, when one was imported to England by Prince Albert for his wife, Queen Victoria. As a result of its association with the Queen these carriages became very popular with the wealthy in the late 19th century.

Wallace owned this carriage for over 30 years and probably did not begin to retire it from service until he purchased his horseless carriage around 1900. In 1915, ten years after his death, it was purchased by Frank Oliver of Crawfordsville, for this mother. Sometime after her death it was returned to the Study. Over the years it was exhibited at community gatherings across Indiana and around the country and it was shown several times at the Indiana State Fair. Years ago, some enterprising person disassembled the carriage and moved it to the basement of the Study where is continues to be on display.

To see a phaeton in action, each June, during the official "Queen's Birthday" celebrations, Queen Elizabeth II travels to and from Trooping the Colour Horse Guards Parade in an ivory-mounted phaeton carriage made in 1842 for her great-great-grandmother, Queen Victoria. In this country, another vehicle carries on the tradition of Wallace’s French Victoria Carriage if in name only—the Ford Crown Victoria.

The General Lew Wallace Study & Museum celebrates and renews belief in the power of the individual spirit to affect American history and culture.



Lew Wallace Needs Your Help!

Are you interested in the programming and events we have here at the Lew Wallace Study? Do you wish we did more about the gardens and less about the Civil War? More about the Civil War but less about study architecture?

Now is your chance to speak up and be heard! We really want to know what you think. Take our BRIEF survey and we'll be grateful!

And as always, feel free to comment here at the blog.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A Taste of What’s to Come

The Sixth Annual Taste of Montgomery County is fast approaching! Come out to the grounds of the Lew Wallace Study & Museum on Saturday, August 25. From noon to 10 pm we will have great food and great music for you to enjoy!

Bands performing are Nut Hatch from 1-3, Mike Butler & Slim Pickin’ from 4:30-6:30, and The Snakehandlers Blues Band from 8-10. With all the wonderful restaurants in Montgomery County, there will be tastes to please every palate.

Be sure to pencil August 25 on your calendar!