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Chris Clements
Indiana Magazine of History

Last modified: Monday, July 8, 2013

Indiana Magazine of History offers a new look at the experience of Hoosier orphans

July 8, 2013

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- Orphan trains, exploitation, abuse and abandonment -- these are the sad but often accurate images conjured by thoughts of orphaned children living at the turn of the 20th century.

Rose Orphan Home, Cottage 3

Courtesy of Indiana University

Residents of the Rose Orphan Home

Print-Quality Photo

In the June 2013 issue of the Indiana Magazine of History, Megan Birk uncovers the story of a man who sought to revolutionize child welfare. Lyman P. Alden led Terre Haute's Rose Orphan Home from its founding in 1883 until his unexpected death in 1904.

At Rose, Alden veered radically from institutional standards of his day: cottages replaced massive dormitories; positive encouragement trumped corporal punishment; and individualized care and attention catered to children's needs. Alden was ahead of his time -- although his model attracted national attention, it remained controversial and largely ignored for decades.

In another article, historian Tom Rodgers challenges Civil War scholars to rethink their conversations about Indiana's war-era Democrats. Were they a loyal opposition, or were they co-conspirators with the Confederacy? Were they members of a political party opposed to the Lincoln administration's position on civil liberties, or were they the treacherous Copperheads they had been named -- or perhaps a bit of both? Rogers reconsiders the traditional historical perspectives on the subject to suggest new directions for future study.

Finally, Linda Warrum closes the issue with a mystery. In 1830s New Harmony, Ind., an artist produced a number of sketches and paintings that ranged in subject matter from the human anatomy to the natural world. The artist left behind only the signature "Clorion." Drawing on the history of the community and the sleuthing of a handwriting analyst, Warrum seeks to reveal the identity of this fascinating figure.

The Indiana Magazine of History is published quarterly by the history department of Indiana University Bloomington. For general information on the articles, contact the editorial office at 812-855-4139.