Gorney believes the "Hundred Leading Hoosiers" series would provide an interesting look back at Indiana's first century as the state prepares to celebrate its bicentennial this year.
Active in area conservation efforts, Gorney also volunteers at Limberlost State Historic Site in Geneva, for which she has done extensive research on naturalist and author Gene Stratton-Porter.
Gorney first learned of the "Hundred Leading Hoosiers" series in July while doing Stratton-Porter-related research.
She was poring over newspapers from 1916 to learn more about any efforts by Stratton-Porter and Enos Mills to help start a state park system in Indiana. Mills often is called the “father” of Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.
Next to an article about Stratton-Porter and Mills, Gorney noticed a short profile story that was identified as part of the “One Hundred Leading Hoosiers” series. Curious about who was among the 100, she tried to track down all of the profiles.
She first asked the Indiana Historical Society, Indiana State Library and Indiana Historical Commission, the latter of which actually produced the series in 1916.
“Nobody knew what I was talking about,” she said.
She received the same response when she asked two respected Indiana historians.
So she set out to track them down herself. To date, she’s found 87 profiles, but she hopes someone may have a copy of the entire series so she can determine the remaining 13 "Leading Hoosiers."
“It is part of our history,” she said of finding all 100 profiles. “It is neat to look at the founding of the state, how Indiana became a state and who was involved in it.”
She discovered the profiles appeared in some — but not all — newspapers around the state, generally from February through September 1916. She has had the best luck finding the articles in the Fort Wayne Daily News, which later became The News-Sentinel, and newspapers published then in Huntington, Seymour and Madison.
“After I had about 40 of them, I realized you had to be dead” to be among those profiled, she said.
People featured in the articles included politicians, pioneers and prominent educators, including several women, Gorney said. The 87 profiles she has discovered so far include several people with Fort Wayne ties.
However, she believes some newspapers may have played politics with the series. The Fort Wayne Daily News, for example, seemed to publish some profiles and skip others, sometimes re-using a previously published profile as a substitute.
Gorney said her search has been rewarding personally.
“I learned a lot about Indiana history,” she added, “especially about southern Indiana, which I knew little about.”
More InformationHow to help
If you have information about the “One Hundred Leading Hoosiers 1816-1916” newspaper series, contact researcher Terri Gorney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The following people with Fort Wayne ties were included in the 1916 newspaper series "One Hundred Leading Hoosiers 1816-1916":
* George Washington Ewing, a businessman who also found Frances Slocum, a white woman who had been captured by Delaware warriors as a child and later married a Miami warrior
* Samuel Hanna, business and community leader
* Gen. Henry W. Lawton, U.S. Army hero
* Hugh McCulloch, U.S. Treasury secretary
* James H. Smart, Fort Wayne Schools superintendent
* Jesse L. Williams, Wabash & Erie Canal chief engineer
* Francis Comparet, Fort Wayne fur trading post partner and local business leader
* Alexis Coquillard, Fort Wayne fur trading post partner and South Bend founder