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Calumet Regional Archives

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Calumet Regional Archives
Directors Issue Library Personnel
Ronald D. Cohen NUMBER 29 Robert F. Moran, Director
James B. Lane Spring / Summer 1997 Stephen McShane, Archivist

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Recent Acquisitions

Children having fun at Enchanted Forest amusement park

In pursuit of a mission to document the history of Lake and Porter Counties, the Calumet Regional Archives has gathered and preserved the records of local churches, community organizations, environmental groups, ethnic groups, industries, labor unions , politicians, and women's groups. In addition, many persons have donated their personal papers relating to the subjects above, as well as documenting individual achievements and accomplishments, during their lives as residents of Indiana's Calumet Region.

In this issue of the Archive's Newsletter, we present brief descriptions of selected acquisitions received by the repository in recent months. Our cover illustrates one of those accessions: records from the Enchanted Forest, for many years known as the "Playground of the Indiana Dunes."

We are grateful to the donors of the collections presented in this Newsletter, and to all the donors of the Archives' holdings; the people of the Region who have realized the importance of preserving these precious records for posterity. For more details on the collections described below, or on other materials in the repository, please contact at the Archives. Also, please visit us on the World Wide Web at

NW Indiana Federation of Labor Labor Day Picnic at Lake County FairgroundsNorthwest Indiana Federation of Labor Records (1947-1984)
CRA 333
2.75 Linear Feet

Largely a photograph collection, these records document events sponsored by the Northwest Indiana Federation of Labor (formerly the Lake-Porter Central Labor Union). Several hundred photographs depict Labor Day picnics at the Lake County Fairgrounds, annual awards banquets, officer installation, and other functions of the Federation. The collection also contains programs from many of these events, along with directories of officers of many local unions in northwest Indiana.

Photo of event at Gary Navy Mother's ClubGary Navy Mothers Club #371 Records (1942-1992)
CRA 346
2.50 Linear Feet

Chartered in 1942, Gary Navy Mothers Club #371 pursued a variety of activities to assist servicepeople in times of war and peace. Minutes, correspondence, membership records, and printed material provide a useful record of the Club's patriotic efforts. Of particular importance is a series of Club scrapbooks (1942-1975), containing numerous photographs, programs, and other records of over thirty years of Club service.

Enchanted Forest Records (1956-1991)
CRA 353
2.75 Linear Feet

Known as "The Playground of the Dunes", the Enchanted Forest served as the amusement park of choice for thousands of children from 1956-1990. Through newsletters, brochures, business records, and some photographs, this collection provides a brief historical glimpse of a mainstay of northwest Indiana tourism in the mid-twentieth century.

Photo of Robert Kennedy's visit to Northwest IndianaJoseph Klen Papers (1956-1975)
CRA 354
2.25 Linear Feet

Entering public service as a state legislator at age twenty-eight, Joseph E. Klen held a variety of Lake County posts, including county commissioner, county recorder, and city controller and mayor of Hammond. These records partially document Mr. Klen's mayoralty from 1968-1975. Brief files of correspondence, memoranda, and assorted city department reports furnish helpful information on Hammond history in the early 1970's. A series of scrapbooks, the highlight of the collection, retains clippings and other documents from Mayor Klen's tenure as mayor, including photographs of Senator Robert F. Kennedy's visit to the Calumet Region in 1968.

Fred Collins Architects Records (1956-1989)
CRA 362
61.00 Linear Feet

A truly "regional" collection, these architectural drawings depict buildings designed by Fred Collins Architects over three decades. From the First National Bank of Valparaiso to Merrillville High School, numerous structures in northwest Indiana are represented; drawings are arranged alphabetically by the name of the building. While the collection is not comprehensive, it does provide helpful information on the physical development of the Calumet Region during the last half-century.

Photo of Balbina Ybarra Tomsic riding a float as Queen of the Fiestas PatriasBalbina Ybarra Tomsic Papers (1953-1995)
CRA 365
0.25 Linear Feet

A delightful collection of photographs, the Balbina Tomsic Papers document the life and times of an East Chicago family. Balbina's father worked at Inland Steel Company, while her mother operated the Las Flores de Jalisico grocery store for many years in Indiana Harbor. After graduation, Balbina worked in the store before embarking on other occupations, including banking and real estate. An active member of the community, she held the honor of Queen of the Fiestas Patrias, the Mexican Independence Day parade, in 1953. The Tomsic Papers provide a fine visual record of a close-knit family in the Latino neighborhoods of East Chicago during the mid-twentieth century.

Cover of 'Gary 1952-1955 - Progress - A Report to the People' featuring photo of Peter MandichPeter Mandich Papers (1946-1989)
CRA 370
4.00 Linear Feet

Peter Mandich earned the distinction of being the first person in Gary history elected to successive terms as mayor of the steel city. Speeches, correspondence, scrapbooks, and photographs constitute the Peter Mandlich Papers, offering documentation of the rise of ethnic politics in post WWII Gary. Campaign materials are particularly strong and cover not only Mr. Mandich but also many of his Club SAR colleagues in office. A 16 mm film of the Gary Golden Jubilee parade of 1956 furnishes a striking visual record of the city's heyday during the 1950's.

WYIN-TV Records (1990-1997)
CRA 375
403 Videotapes

The WYIN-TV Records serve as the first comprehensive video collection to enter the Calumet Regional Archives. The tapes comprise the nightly news telecasts over Channel 56 (Indiana Nightly Report and 56 News) from 1990 to 1996. In addition, The Tom Higgins Program appears in the collection, producing a visual record of the regional information program. Special topics broadcasts, such as election coverage and holiday programming, are included, along with a copy of the four-hour long documentary, "The Magic City of Steel: A History of Gary, Indiana."

Poster promoting the  Lake County Association for Mental HealthLake County Association for Mental Health Records (1957-1968)
CRA 390
1.75 Linear Feet

The Lake County Association for Mental Health Records document the history of this community organization from 1957-1968. Particularly strong series of minutes and correspondence offer information on the group's efforts to improve treatment od and educate the public about the mentally ill. In addition, the records include many reports on the mental health initiatives and studies throughout the region and the state during the late 1950's and early 1960's.

Al Boswell Papers (1964-1996)
CRA 394
5.00 Linear Feet

Actor/teacher/director/writer Alger Boswell of Gary donated his collection of local theater programs and pamphlets to the Archives in 1996. The materials encompass productions from the Gary Community School Corporation and Indiana University Northwest, as well as community theater groups such as the Gary Music Theater and The Company Players. In addition, the Boswell Papers comprise programs from numerous local organizations and events, including the Miss Gary and Miss Black America pageants.