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Indianapolis Centennial Committee collection

Identifier: L322

Scope and Contents

This collection includes mimeographed, typed minutes; typed or autographed, signed letters; photographs; brochures; parade float number placards; and financial reports from the Indianapolis Centennial Commission and various vendors in Indianapolis, Indiana and elsewhere from November 17, 1919 to July 3, 1920 regarding the planning, organization, supplies needed and finances of the six-day celebration planned by the Indianapolis Centennial Commission.


  • 1919-1920


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Administrative History

The Indianapolis Centennial Commission began meeting November 17, 1919, including John H. Holliday (elected permanent chair) and other illustrious residents of the city, representing the Indiana Historical Society, the Board of Trade, Chamber of Commerce, Daughters of the American Revolution, the city of Indianapolis and the Indianapolis Public Schools. Jacob P. Dunn was elected chair of the committee to select the date for the celebration and also of the History Committee. The Centennial Commission grew to encompass nearly two hundred people, with various responsibilities.

The celebration started June 5, 1920 at Tomlinson Hall, with other activities through the 9th, including a parade on the 7th, and the pageant on June 8 at the State Fair Coliseum. Compared to many of the Statehood Centennial celebrations, the Indianapolis Centennial was not quite as reverent with its subject matter. William Bates, the author, felt that "quite a number of quaint and amusing things have happened in Indianapolis within the past hundred years, and if some of them have crept into this picture they may be welcomed by those who delight not in dry-as-dust annals." More attention was paid to early events rather than those remembered by the still living, and "in doing so only a general sequence of events has been attempted, and the calendar has been condensed with a freedom bordering upon disrespect." Some of the events they portrayed included the following: An Indian chant; Settling of Pioneers; An attack by an Indian looking for whisky; Platting the town with a roll-call of prominent early settlers; An interpretive dance with the enemies of mud and malaria; Finishing the Madison Railroad; The Civil War; A Ballet of gifts to the city.


Items within the collection.

"Indianapolis Centennial Commission." Other Centennial Celebrations. Accessed April 17, 2015.


0.3 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records transfer from the Indiana Division.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions of Indianapolis Centennial Committee scrapbook, 1919-1921 are available electronically in Indiana Memory:

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

S2229: Indianapolis Centennial Committee record book

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2015/04/17 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2015/04/17 by Edythe Huffman.
Indianapolis Centennial Committee collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.