We would like to begin our column today with a quotation from an article in the December issue of the Indiana History Bulletin. The article, written by the director of the Indiana historical bureau, is entitled "Homeless Historical Records."
"Every day something historically precious goes up in smoke or is otherwise destroyed. The director of the historical bureau has encountered two such tragedies in the past fortnight. Do you know of collections of letters, old files of newspapers, photographs and prints, old books, business records, et cetera which are not properly safeguarded? Your local library or historical society may be able to find a "home" for such materials. If the community facilities are not available please advise the director of the historical bureau. The preservation of Indiana's historical heritage is everybody's business."
This quotation underscores a situation which concerns historians--and should concern us all --very much. There are many valuable historical records which are destroyed at housecleaning time, largely because the owners of the material do not understand the importance of them. One historian has called these people "innocent arsonists." some times a file of valuable historical photographs may become a "family heirloom" passed from father to son for several generations, only to eventually be destroyed by someone who does not appreciate its value. How much better it would have been if some local historian had been called when the family was ready to dispose of the treasure!
A number of readers of this column have written us concerning historical records which they have in their possession. In many instances we have had the privilege of examining these, and by copying part of them have been able to ad valuable information to our files. Some materials have been turned over to us for safe-keeping, although we never put any pressure on anyone to do so.
It is our hope that our readers will continue to write us concerning historical records which they might have in their possession.
Warsaw Times-Union Tues. Jan. 12, 1954