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Carol Polsgrove
Indiana Forest Alliance

Cherry Williams
Lilly Library

Last modified: Monday, April 18, 2011

Lilly Library to host Deam Wilderness Celebration, Memory Fest April 20

April 18, 2011

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- How did a forest near Bloomington become Indiana's only national wilderness area? Some of the people who made the Charles C. Deam Wilderness possible will gather at 5:30 p.m. April 20 at Indiana University's Lilly Library to discuss how the area was formed.

Lilly Library

Lilly Library

The event is free and open to the public. The evening also celebrates the Indiana Forest Alliance's donation of Deam Wilderness papers (collected by Claude Ferguson) to the Lilly Library.

Claude Ferguson was supervisor of the Hoosier National Forest when the process of designating part of the forest area as "wilderness" began. After his departure from that post, he was a central advocate for establishing the wilderness area in 1982.

Indiana Forest Alliance president David Haberman will moderate the session at the Lilly. He hopes the files and recollections shared at this session can provide inspiration and ideas for expanding the Deam Wilderness, a goal of the alliance.

"We were particularly pleased to accept the donation of the Deam Wilderness papers, since it has been a long-term practice of the Lilly Library to collect the papers of important Indiana activists," said Cherry Williams, curator of manuscripts at the Lilly Library. Among the papers in the Lilly Library's collection are those of F.T. (Luella) McWhirter, who was active in the Women's Christian Temperance Union, the Indiana Audubon Society and the Women's Suffrage movement, and of Richard Lieber, who served as the first director of the Indiana State Department of Conservation from its creation in 1919-1933. "We look forward to continuing that tradition with the addition of new collections from time to time," Williams said.

"These files provide a valuable case study of how public and commercial institutions, politicians and citizens' groups interacted over a proposal to change the status of public lands," said Indiana Forest Alliance member Carol Polsgrove, IU professor emerita and historian.

Participants who will share Deam Wilderness memories include Bill Hayden, Jeffrey Stant, Bill Miller, Lane Ralph and Jeffrey St. Clair.

A reception will follow the one-hour session in the Slocum Room of the Lilly Library (1200 E. Seventh St., next to IU Auditorium). Selected items from the Deam Wilderness collection will be exhibited.

This event is part of Wild Indiana, a monthlong series organized by the the Indiana Forest Alliance to celebrate and promote wilderness in Indiana.

For more information, contact Carol Polsgrove,