News and Tribune

Floyd County

January 8, 2011

New display at New Albany-Floyd County Public Library showcases seldom seen historical pieces

FLOYD COUNTY — They are some of the most interesting historical pieces depicting Floyd County’s past that you’ve likely never seen.

Paintings, newspaper clippings and even design plans for a few of the most notable buildings in the city have laid mostly dormant in the Indiana Room of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library for years.

But a new display has been set up to highlight these somewhat obscure items — a showcase that will rotate monthly titled Seldom Seen Treasures from the Indiana Room Collection.

“It just seemed like a good way to bring out some of these things,” said Steve Anshutz, a part-time employee at the library charged with setting up the display.

It’s located on the bottom floor of the library, and the items to be shown are the kind that people typically “only see if they’re doing research,” Anshutz said.

Hoosier Room Director Betty Menges said she was enthused about the idea when Anshutz presented her with the new display plan.

“I think it’s a really great idea to show the community what treasures we really have that they’re not able to see all the time simply because they’re too fragile to put out and be handled all the time,” she said.

But the items are indexed and available for the public to view at any time, Menges said.

To ring-in the new year and to celebrate the launch of a fresh endeavor, the initial display features newspaper clippings from 1846 to 1856. The articles were written mainly by editors hailing a new year and expressing their desires politically and professionally for another 12 months.

An 1846 article from the New Albany Gazette entails a description of the wet and cold conditions carriers battled through in the former year to deliver newspapers, and the writer also takes time to dismiss platforms of the then popular Whig Party.

“It’s really extraordinary” to have the more than 150-year-old newspaper clippings that are all based on new year’s greetings, Anshutz said.

Future displays will include newspaper stories and photographs of natural disasters in Floyd County, including the 1937 flood and the cyclone that ripped through the area in 1917.

Diplomas from New Albany schools dating back to the 1850s will also comprise a future display, Anshutz said. There won’t be a shortage of interesting yet seldom seen items to showcase, he continued.

“There’s just an endless array of stuff we could show,” Anshutz said.

The new display also gives the library a chance to honor the numerous donors that have contributed over the years, he said.

“We really are so grateful,” Anshutz said. “This helps to acknowledge the generosity of donors, both living and dead.”

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