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 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 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!