Indiana University

Skip to:

  1. Search
  2. Breadcrumb Navigation
  3. Content
  4. Browse by Topic
  5. Services & Resources
  6. Additional Resources
  7. Multimedia News

Media Contacts

Mandy Clarke
IU Press

Nancy Hiestand
City of Bloomington

Last modified: Tuesday, May 8, 2012

'Town and Gown' book signing commemorates local history in Bloomington

May 8, 2012

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- On May 16, Indiana University Press and the City of Bloomington will present "Town and Gown," a celebration of the release of two recently published books: "The Showers Brothers Furniture Company: The Shared Fortunes of a Family, a City, and a University" by Carrol Krause, and "Herman B Wells: The Promise of the American University" by James H. Capshew.

The event, a part of Historic Preservation Month activities in Bloomington, will take place from 4 to 6 p.m. in the atrium of City Hall, 401 N. Morton St., and is free and open to the public. Mayor Mark Kruzan and IU Vice Provost for Faculty and Academic Affairs Tom Gieryn will introduce the authors, who will read from and sign books. Books will be available for purchase at a 20 percent discount.

"The Showers Brothers Furniture Company"

When the Showers family arrived in Bloomington, Ind., the railroad had only recently come to town, and a modest university was struggling to survive. Having spent the prior 18 years moving from place to place, the family decided to settle down and invest its modest resources to start a furniture company. The business proved to be extremely profitable and a stroke of good fortune for the small community.

The company's success strengthened Bloomington's infrastructure, helping to develop new neighborhoods, and the philanthropic acts of the Showers family supported the town's continued development. The family's contributions helped Indiana University through difficult times and paved the way to its becoming the largest university in the state.

In "The Showers Brothers Furniture Company," Carrol Krause, a member of Bloomington's Historic Preservation Commission and a Bloomington Herald-Times newspaper columnist, tells the story of a remarkably successful collaboration between business, town and gown.

"Herman B Wells: The Promise of the American University"

Energetic, shrewd and charming, Herman B Wells was the driving force behind the transformation of Indiana University -- which became a model for American public higher education in the 20th century. A person of unusual sensitivity and a skilled and empathetic communicator, Wells shaped the structure, ethos and spirit of the institution in countless ways.

Wells articulated a persuasive vision of the place of the university in the modern world. Under his leadership, Indiana University would grow in size and stature, establishing strong connections to the state, the nation and the world. His dedication to the arts, to academic freedom and to international education remained hallmarks of his 63-year tenure as president and university chancellor.

Wells lavished particular attention on the Bloomington campus, expanding its footprint 10-fold in size and maintaining its woodland landscape as new buildings and facilities were constructed. Gracefully aging in place, he became a beloved paterfamilias to the IU clan. Capshew, a faculty member of the Department of History and Philosophy of Science in the College of Arts and Sciences and former Wells house boy, shows how Wells built an institution and, in the process, became one himself.

For media review copies and interview requests, contact Mandy Clarke with IU Press, 812-855-4522 or For event information, contact Nancy Hiestand, program manager for historic preservation with the City of Bloomington, at 812-349-3507 or