Dwight Hoover wrote that when Robert and Helen Lynd "stepped off the train in Muncie, Indiana, in January, 1923, little did they know that they were to initiate a chain of events which continues to this day." The book that resulted from the Lynds' research in Muncie, Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture, celebrates the 75th anniversary this year, and continues to be an inspiration and valuable resource for scholars.
The review that appeared on the first page of the New York Times following the publication of Middletown in 1929 stated that the book "should be inscribed on tablets of stone and preserved for future generations." The book may not be in stone, but the vast research that it sparked through the years, and that shows no signs of diminishing in the future, has evolved through print, audio, film, video, and now digital media and the World Wide Web, to serve many generations.
The exhibit on 75 Years of Middletown provides evidence of the historical significance of Middletown and looks to the future of Middletown research. The photographs, publications, and other documentation used in the exhibit is only a sampling of the rich resources available for students, faculty, and national and international scholars to use in studying Muncie as Middletown.
Happy anniversary, Middletown!
Credits: The "75 Years of Middletown" exhibit was prepared by Joan Dutour and graduate assistants Hannah Cox and Anne Tonne.