Librarian Receives Grant to Document Hoosier Coal Mining

May 15 2006

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - An Indiana State University librarian has been awarded a grant to document coal mining in West Central Indiana.

Cinda May, project coordinator for the Wabash Valley Visions & Voices Digital Memory Project, received a 2006 Indiana Library Services and Technology (LSTA) digitization grant for "O Miners Awake: Indiana Coal Miners, Their Families, and Their Communities," a project that will document and to preserve in a digital format the lives and the experiences of Indiana coal miners, their families, and their communities through photographs, oral histories, documents and artifacts.

Myrna McCallister, dean of the Cunningham Memorial Library, said, "We are very excited to be able to preserve and document the impact coal mining has had on our region. We look forward to interacting with the public and hearing their stories."

The focus of May's research, which will require three to five years to complete, will center on Sullivan, Vermillion and Vigo counties with local content provided by three libraries, three museums, and an archive.

The ongoing story of Hoosier coal mining is a tale of ethnically diverse people struggling to support families and to create communities; of cities and towns whose fortunes depended upon "black diamonds"; and of a landscape shaped by the Industrial Revolution.

"This project presents for the first time this unique Hoosier experience and how it complements similar ventures in other Midwestern coal-producing states," May said.

Participants in the grant-funded project include the ISU Library, ISU Folklore Archives, the Clinton Public Library, the Coal Town Museum, the Dugger Coal Museum, the Sullivan County Public Library, and the Vigo County Historical Society. The Sisters of Providence at St. Mary-of-the-Woods, owners of the St. Mary?s Coal Mine, which the Congregation operated from 1894-1954, will contribute material to project.

Over 1,200 photographs, manuscripts, printed documents and texts, artifacts, film footage, and oral histories will be digitized and made accessible through a searchable Indiana coal mining heritage website as well as the Wabash Valley Visions & Voices Digital Memory Project, located at

Community history days focused on coal mining will be organized in each county for the public to contribute personal photographs, documents, oral histories and artifacts to the project.

For more information about Wabash Valley Visions and Voices or the coal mining project, contact Cinda May, Cunningham Memorial Library, at (812) 237-2534 or e-mail .


Contact: Cinda May, ISU Cunningham Memorial Library, (812) 237-2534

Writer: Paula Meyer, ISU Communications & Marketing, (812) 237-3783,

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An Indiana State University librarian has been awarded a grant to document coal mining in West Central Indiana.

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