There are approximately four hundred and thirty images, as well as tons of great ephemera in this playful and well-preserved scrapbook and photo album from the 1920’s Midwest. Measuring 10” x 14,” this red faux leather-bound memory book is full to the brim with carefully arranged photos, images and ephemera, annotated in neat white ink, often with drawn borders and a great eye for design, and some wonderful tiny illustrations to go along with some of the more fun adventures. From train ticket stubs and a Kiwanis Club State Convention ribbon attached to a page, it appears the album belonged to Mrs. Lela Lawson of Richmond, Indiana. The album spans several years of trips taken by Mrs. Lawson, by rail and by car (including a 1100-mile trip with the family!) and some boats, in a small group with the whole “crowd” of their family, and the last third or so is photos of family and events at home. Travel photos are primarily of prominent and important spots along the way, “fun and frolic” tourist attractions, noteworthy buildings and street scenes, and parks.
Places pictured among her trips include: Dayton (OH), Indianapolis (IN), Greenfield (IN), Chicago (IL), Richmond (IN), Evansville (IN), Knightstown (IN), Rockville (IN), Waveland (IN), Terre Haute (IN), Harmony (IN), Bloomington (IN), North Vernon (IN), Rushville (IN), Vincennes (IN), Eaton (OH), Brookville (IN), and Celina (OH).
Her husband was a member of the Kiwanis Club, an international “service society” headquartered in Indianapolis, so several of the trips are Kiwanis Club Conventions (there is a letter included from the Wives of the Kiwanis Club, encouraging women to attend conventions and “show that this a place for women at conventions,” ostensibly towards equal membership – the club eventually accepted women as members in 1987).
Notable attractions visited include: the National Soldier’s Home of Dayton; Shubert-Murat Theatre of Indianapolis, the birthplace of children’s poet and author James Whitcomb Riley; the 1923 Clinical Congress of American College of Surgeons in Chicago; Garfield Park Conservatory of Chicago, Museum of Natural History of Chicago; Art Institute of Chicago; Lincoln Monument in Chicago; Kiwanis Club Parade in Richmond; Turkey Run State Park; The Shades of Waveland; the historic district of Vincennes; a Bedford Stone quarry in Bloomington; University of Indiana; Vinegar Mills State Park of North Vernon; Indiana State Fair; an adorable spring Playlet by first graders at the Garfield School; aerial views of Terre Haute from an airplane; Christ Brothers Circus; Camp Ki-Ro; and a parade in Eton.
The album is chock full of little details and moments over time tucked in between ephemera and family photos. Included in these details is the immediate smoking aftermath and newspaper clipping of a fire at the “famous Old Jennings county landmark” of North Vernon, destroying homes, a railroad station, a mill building, and Civil War relics, a racist smattering of printed minstrel characters and quotations around the Kiwanis Club Minstrel show benefit for Camp Ki-Ro; a lovely festive collage of balloons for the Kiwanis club Governors Ball and Pageant; collages of commercial printed tourism images, newspaper comics, the theater features; wonderful tiny drawings surrounding the day at the circus, and more. A very carefully kept, thoughtfully composed and well-preserved record of what to do and see in the Midwest at the time!