Indiana Magazine of History looks for the origins of Hoosier basketball

  • Jan. 7, 2015


BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- When was the first basketball game played in Indiana? An often-repeated story from a 1940s newspaper article holds that the sport first appeared in the state at a Crawfordsville YMCA in March 1894. But tracing the earliest games -- with accounts buried on back pages of local newspapers -- has been difficult.

In the lead article of the most recent issue of the Indiana Magazine of History, Chandler Lighty of the Indiana State Library reviews a wealth of recently digitized Indiana newspapers from across the state and discovers the game being played at least as early as April 1893 in Indianapolis and November 1892 in Evansville. Lighty’s work offers an interesting take on how new digital resources can transform historical research.

Elsewhere in the December 2014 issue, Kevin Fish, grandson of gourmet popcorn king Orville Redenbacher, looks at how advertising transformed an entrepreneurial popcorn grower into a pop culture icon and made his product into a nationally best-selling brand. Executives tasked with promoting the first gourmet popcorn brand quickly realized that Orville Redenbacher was his own best advertisement, and Fish looks at how they created a long-running series of television commercials around his charm and likeability, his distinctive name and his high-quality popcorn.

Finally, University of Indianapolis history professor A. James Fuller offers a fascinating look -- from the 1870s into the 21st century -- at how historical figures are remembered through time. Fuller considers Oliver P. Morton, Indiana’s great Civil War-era governor, and how Hoosiers in different decades interpreted and memorialized Morton’s life and his political career for their own time period and often for their own political purposes.

The Indiana Magazine of History is published quarterly by the history department of Indiana University Bloomington. For general information on the articles or to order a copy of the issue, contact the editorial office at 812-855-4139.

Related Links

Rose Polytechnic Institute basketball team, 1898

Rose Polytechnic Institute basketball team, 1898

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Media Contacts

Dawn Bakken

Associate editor

  • The Indiana Magazine of History
  • Office 812-855-4139