Stephen J. Taylor

Stephen J. Taylor grew up in Terre Haute, earned a Master's in Folklore at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and currently lives and writes in Indianapolis, where he's hot on the trail of under-reported Hoosier history and local lore. He also writes for Hoosier State Chronicles at the Indiana State Library and formerly worked for Ancestry.com at DePauw University in Greencastle.

All posts by Stephen J. Taylor

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December 14, 2015

Oh, tired Christmas shoppers!  Burned out on commercial Christmases?  So were people back in 1911, when a league that sought to call a halt to unfettered Christmas gift-giving established its national headquarters in Indianapolis. If the date of an Indianapolis News article is […]

Misc Monday: Die Weihnachtseinkäufe

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December 7, 2015, 1 Comment

Die Weihnachtszeit ist nahe.  Christmas time is near. That’s not an ad from overseas.  At the turn of the 20th century, Indianapolis had a thr ...

Misc Monday: Grasshopper Jails & Other “Monkey Business”

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November 16, 2015, 1 Comment

If you peek into newspapers from any decade, it doesn’t take long to find some downright strange human activity going on.  In spite of the ofte ...

Misc Monday: Bacteria, Blood & Bad Dreams: The Unsolved Murder of Helen Knabe

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November 9, 2015, 2 Comments

How did one of Indiana’s pioneer investigators into STDs and rabies come to a gory end?  The mystery of Dr. Helen Knabe’s death remains o ...

  • Misc Monday: The Rise and Fall of the Billy Goat Beer
    November 2, 2015, 2 Comments

    If you strolled down the streets of Indianapolis in 1900, you would have needed a bale of cotton stuffed in your ears not to hear a conversation or two auf Deutsch. Thanks to Germany’s turbulent 19th-century history, many Germans had ...

  • Misc Monday: Keep Your Sauerkraut Away From My Bicycles
    October 26, 2015, 1 Comment

    In 1896, readers of the Christmas Eve edition of Cycling Life, a trade magazine for America’s exploding bicycle industry, might have noticed this clever ad.  Probably drawn by an illustrator at an advertising house in Chicago, where ...

  • Misc Monday: Rufus Cantrell, Intruder in the Dust
    October 19, 2015, No comments

    In 1935, the Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges weighed in on what mathematicians later called chaos theory: the results of some phenomena are simply impossible to predict, control, or even explain.  Take the freak reasoning of Bartolomé ...

  • Misc Monday: A Ku Klux Quaker?
    September 28, 2015, 6 Comments

    Women are often the most fascinating characters in Hoosier history. Their lives continue to be relevant to pressing issues today.  Yet while most notable Indiana women could still be held up as role models, a few figure into the dark [&hel ...