Town On Fire Spring 2023

Welcome to Town On Fire Spring 2023, an exploration of Hoosier and Muncie women’s history during the Gilded Age and Progressive Eras (1870-1900 and 1900-1929 CE).

Town On Fire is a collection of student-made videos that combine historical investigation and reflection. This series of biographical exhibits grew out of the Delaware County Historical Society's desire to uncover previously passed over women's history. The project began in Fall 2020, in conjunction with the centennial anniversary of the 19th Amendment (1920) to the American Constitution, and has proven to be historically challenging and personally surprising. 

Working in teams, students from HIST 200-01 Introduction to History and Historical Methods have created six new short documentary videos to add to the previous twenty-three videos (2020-2022). All these videos grow out of archival sources that are contextualized using scholarly secondary sources. By creating these videos, students practice foundation historical skills and create new knowledge.

In Spring 2023 student teams took on new challenges. Traditionally, each team researchs one woman and begins with a name. This semester two teams investigated groups of women whose names are so far unknown. Muncie's Black female glass workers are remembered by an often reproduced photograph. Lenape women are part of the larger lost indigenous community that is known from generalized monuments. Another woman is known only from her migrant son's draft card. These women joined Edith Love, Ida Rickman, and Mattie McGuire as Spring 2023's Notable Women.

Change is the central theme in this semester's research. None of these women lived in Muncie their entire lives. One woman, Donatila Lizarraga, never set foot in the city. Other women were only memories. Some women migrated here for work and school, while others left for the same reasons. All of these women sought social and economic stability at a time when travel across the continent was easier than ever. Migrating from Kentucky, Ohio, or Mexico, and to Indianapolis, New York, and Chicago shows that women were just as willing to migrate and eager to work as men were. Geographic and professional change is central to this semester's notable women, yet some things stayed the same.

Feel free to move through the exhibition in order or explore at your own pace. 

Click “Introduction” to begin. 

This project was made in collaboration with the Delaware County Historical Society in Muncie, Indiana; the Ball State University History Department; the Ball State University Libraries; and the Notable Women of Muncie and Delaware County Project.

Banner Image Caption: Logo by Lacey Back Lantz, Notable Women of Muncie and Delaware County (2021).

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