Sometimes you find something novel by happy accident. So it was that I came in contact with Dateline: Indiana, “Published By The Indianapolis Press Club In Its 25th Anniversary Year.” I wasn’t looking for it, and I only found it while searching the library catalog for another book entirely.
It’s a fun entry, copyrighted August 1958, a sort of yearbook that chronicles then-current and past members and highlights news stories and club events from the history of the club and before. There’s a lot of jovial personality in many of the entries. It’s obviously intended just for members of the Indianapolis Press Club or their associates, and there’s a sort of inside baseball at work that’s nonetheless easy to resolve into clarity. It’s history without ever really intending to be history–or at least, the history it intends is narrower than the history it actually provides to a distant reader. To read it feels like a harmless sort of voyeurism. And it’s widely available to anyone who visits an Indianapolis Public Library.
In some ways, the various journalists seem progressive, not only looking to the future but proud of their role in fighting corruption and bigotry. In other ways, they’re obviously of their era–most bizarrely, they were a men-only club, even though there were women journalists, and even though a previous Indianapolis Press Club mentioned in this volume did allow women and had female members. In short, the members of the 1958 Indianapolis Press Club are human, aspirational yet flawed.
I wouldn’t dare attempt to “review” such an artifact as this. It’s cool that it’s out there, though. It’s a cool find, and I’m glad that my library system preserves things like this.