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1 HARRY O. LANNING 1911 - 1914 ARCHIVE OF HANDWRITTEN MANUSCRIPT DIARIES BY AN ASTUTE, WIDOWED INDIANA SCIENCE TEACHER AS HE PURSUES HIS NEW LOVE - SUPER PRE WORLD WAR I AMERICANA
SWEETSER INDIANA IN 1911 Leather Good 
On offer is an archive of four [4] handwritten manuscript diaries (there is a 5th book only partially written, mostly religious poetry) representing the years 1911, 1912, 1913 and 1914. The diaries belonged to Harry O. Lanning who was a science teacher at the high school in Sweetser Indiana at the turn of the century. This diary set is an extraordinary record of pre-World War I Indiana with a sweet and interesting back story of romance too. Harry was born on October 21st, 1882. His parents are William J. Lanning and Mary F. He has three brothers; Carl, Hugh and Paul. Research suggests he was also a widower at the time the diaries were written because on several occasions he mentioned things like "she, being a widow too" and other such phrases. Throughout all 4 of these well filled diaries you'll find Harry courting a woman by the name of Edith Lucille Cranor. Edith was born on April 13th, 1889 and her folks are McClellan and Florence V. (Chenoweth). The on-again, off-again love affair and courtship of these two makes for a simmering backdrop to local news, his duties and other 'affairs' as at times both are seeing other people. At one point Edith takes a 3 month trip to the West Coast and Harry finds out by word of mouth she wants to stay in the west and teach in New Mexico. That never turned out because on May 21st, 1914 Edith and Harry marry. Harry is also very interested in politics especially with the Roosevelt elections and talks about the events surrounding the election a great deal. His teaching takes up a great deal of his life also (not quite as much as Edith does) and when it comes to writing about any of it, Harry doesn't leave anything out. He's a member of the organization "Red Men" (I believe it might be The Improved Order of Red Men fraternity) and not only writes about his meetings but also mentions the surrounding Indian villages. Harry is a marvelous writer too. Here are just a few snippets of this marvelous bit of Hoosier Americana: 1911 "January 2nd, School started off nicely after the vacation. Everybody seems to like the new program better than the older one. Well, they all ought to considering the trouble I had to make it. Carl Masterson has started in bringing our number again to 49; but I am not certain that he will stick. Worked until 10 p.m. on the Red Men's books but we can't make a report. I had a suspicion that I was "stung" when the sachem put me on the audition committee, and now I know it. The books are in a fearful tangle showing either ignorance or willful neglect on the part of at least two of the chiefs. The other members of the committee are Furgeson and Jerry Flinn. I imagine the report when it does come in, will be an eye opener." "January 20th, Edith Cranor called up this morning before I was out of bed to tell me that a little deal we had prearranged was due for this evening. So this evening I took Ferguson and went out to call on her and her friend, Miss Shamshaw of Marion. We had a very pleasant time. About 10:30 I spread my handkerchief over the face of the clock and when I did look at my watch it was 1:10. Miss Edith informed me that she often spent her Sunday evenings alone, in fact, she took pains to repeat it three times, with emphasis, so I am just conceited enough to take it as a suggestion and shall act accordingly. Funny, I haven't had a girl, or even a chance at one for so long and now I have three chances at once….." "February 21st, ……Went to lodge this evening. The tribe honored me by elevating me to the Prophet's stump. After lodge Ferguson and I went to the missionary tea to the parsonage. I took Edith home according to schedule…..I didn't want to wait until Sunday to see Edith again so I asked for Thursday evening in case the other affair is cancelled….." "March 11th, ……In the afternoon I went to the Indiana to see the Countess Swiriska in her famous bare foot dances. She is certainly an artist and seemed totally oblivious to the fact that her attire was, well, scanty. As Edith had said she was going, I was not surprised to see her and Mary S. there. She was enthusiastic in her and I am delighted to find that she is not a prude. Came home at 6:13. Went to lodge, we had to take the first degree…." "April 24th, This has been a very quiet day at school, the lull before tomorrow's storm. The Juniors spent a part of the day in cleaning up the mess of last Friday nights reception. Edith came home this evening at 6:13. I met her and drove out north with her. I had seen her mother at church and told her it would please me very much if she, Mrs. Overman, would remain quietly at home and let me meet the girl. And she did. As tomorrow night is commencement and we both act, I came home at 10:30. Talked with Mr. Shockey this evening and told him I did not want Cohn retained for next hear. He is too foolish after the little girls." "April 26th, Was over at the school building this forenoon, straightening up. We all settled with Shockey. It is the understanding that the Supt. and Assistant will be retained but that we will have a new principal. Cohn shook the dust of Sweetser from his feet this afternoon and departed for parts unknown. Was sorry to "sting" him but did not feel that it would be to the best interest of the school to keep him. The board looked over the building this forenoon and decided to give us an addition to the building and to put in furnace heat. Shockey told me definitely that I was to be retained and has left the interests of the school in my hands for the summer……" "May 3rd, …..Met Edith at the train and we drove home. Enjoyed the drive very much. I wonder if I shall get to thinking so much of her that I shall attempt to "cut out" all my rivals for her affection. There is only one serious rival, I think, Mr. L. of Galveston…." "May 15th, ……Saw Edith today in her working clothes and with her hair done up in everyday style. They are cleaning house but she looked good to me even that way, and the girl that can stand that test is certainly all o.k….." "August 6th, …..Am more than a little uncomfortable about last evenings developments; but am still hoping it will come out all right. Don't know just how much I care but it is more than a little. This evening I walked and walked and thought about the things she told me to think of but didn't solve the problem. Her greatest kick seems to be that I have been too good to her. Funny thing to kick about but she says I don't understand girls. I admit it. What man does. Am going to bed now (9:15) and try to forget it till morning….." "October 29th, …..Edith came home today. She got into Marion last night or rather this morning at two. Saw her at the train this evening. She brought Mary Shamshaw up. Mary had spent the day with her. Didn't ask to go out only told her to call when she got ready to see me. This meant I was ready any time. Can't just figure how I stand with her…" "November 27th, The John Stevens funeral was held today. Ferguson and I went up to the hall at eight and marched up with the Red Men. Then we held school until rest and dismissed about a half hour during the funeral. It has not been our policy to dismiss for funerals but said Stevens was related to almost half of the pupils and while I could not personally feel any great respect for a man who had been in the saloon business and wished to enter it again, still he was a Red Man….." 1912 "January 29th, …..I hear they had a scene at church last night. Vella Masterson was overcome with excitement and hysterics and lay unconscious for several hours. This is the natural result of the band of preaching that has been put out. It is a pity the courts can't be induced to grant injunctions in such cases." "January 30th, Used my whole page last evening and didn't have room to say that Frank R. Ferguson, Hugh and I played cards at Renbarger's while Pearl was at church. After she came home we took her in and played rum till 11:30. She reported another scene at church. A quarrel between John Spencer and his wife as to whether she should make a show of herself. Tonight I went to church and the measly little preacher made certain remarks for my special benefit that made me rub his name off my list of gentlemen. He hoped that my influence which was keeping the students from become Christians would soon be removed. This was wholly uncalled for and is utterly false." "February 29th, Took Mills to see "Naughty Marietta" this evening. Enjoyed the show very much and altogether had a very pleasant trip. Although the evening was rather cold we managed to keep each other comfortably warm. It seems that she has "promised to be true" to J.J. but I am not sure that if he knew he would think she had kept her promise. In fact I am sure he would think she had not. But that is his lookout and hers, not mine. I am by nature a poacher and she is very lovable as well as loving little girl. I shall look for every opportunity to poach some more." "April 8th, Mr. Ferguson and Lucille had a misunderstanding today and the affair come to me to settle. As Mr. Ferguson tells me, he charges Lucille with impertinence or even impudence. As she tells me he charged her with attempting to flirt with him during school hours. The affair is causing some stir. Mrs. Stife feels grievously offended over it." "April 17th, ……Have spent the evening reading among other things the news of the Titanic disaster. Titanic hit iceberg in mid ocean Sunday night and went down. 1300 drowned, 700 saved in life boats is wireless report…." "May 2nd, …..The supreme court has decided that Marion is dry territory and that the saloon licenses issued last Sept. by Judge Nash are invalid or rather the case from Kokomo decided by the supreme court is similar and the decision applies to Marion. All the saloons are closed and Marian is again a dry town…." "May 23rd, …..Spent the morning making that map of the Indian lands for Sarah Line. Had dinner with G. H. Terell and talked my township supervision proposition over with him. He is anxious to give it a trial next thing is to get Shockey in line for it……""May 26th, ….This afternoon I attended the memorial meeting with the Red Men. Rev. Shannon delivered the address. It was excellent. The size of the audiences was disappointing both in number of Red Men and of Pale Faces. It seems that Cuyama tribe is dying out as fast as it possibly can. This evening I lay in the hammock from 6:00 to 9:15.…" (He also mentions the Shanahan and the Peconga Tribes) "June 20th & 21st, ….The convention was in session only five minutes today. It is waiting for the report of the credentials committee. Everything seems to indicate that the Roosevelt men will be forced to quit the convention and form a new party. If they do, they can count me in…..No change in the political situation. The Taft credentials committee sustained the committee, made delegates and they voted themselves in…" "July 7th, …..Attended the new party meeting at the hotel this evening. I was chosen delegate for this township to the state convention with Wm Baum as alternate. Reports from all over the country indicate that the new party will win. At least Taft will not be in the race at all." (Goes to the district convention and describes it) "August 25th, …..Met Edith at the train this evening and took her home. Dr. Daniel's were there and after a little visit with them we went for a drive. We went to Connor's back to Jalapa and then around the Wabash Pike almost to the park and home over the Chapel Pike. It was a beautiful night and we had a dandy drive. There was a full moon and we did a little of something that rhymes with "it" Home at twelve a.m……" "October 13th, ……We took a drive over to the Indian Village. Got back after supper at 6:30.….We had some rather serious conversation this evening and I committed myself to the point of saying that while she had the right to have dates with other fellows, if she wished, I intended to try to get her to the point where she wouldn't want the others. I know it would mean a great deal to me for us to quit finally." "October 15th, …..Roosevelt was shot by a fanatic at Milwaukee last night but is not thought to be in a dangerous condition. Think it will help rather than hinder his campaign. Still wondering what will be the outcome of my affair with Edith.." 1913 "February 11th, Everything ok at school. Went to Marion this evening. Saw Nels Shockey on the street at 7:30. Bertha has disappointed him completely. She came to town with him this morning and was to start home at four. Spent the whole evening with Nels trying to get some trace of her. We were at the police station and laid a case before Philips. Bertha was to be married Thursday to Glen Philips of Converse. She has either been kidnapped or has gone away to avoid her marriage. I am inclined to the latter view of the case…." "February 13th, ……No clues to Bertha's disappearance yet. This was to have been her wedding day……." "February 20th, …We have news this evening that Bertha Shockey has been found. She was found on the street in Lafayette and was brought to Wabash this afternoon. She doesn't know what has happened to her or where she has been during these nine days……" "March 25th, Only half attendance at school. Roads flooded so they could not get in. Rain all day and again tonight. Marion under water. Destructive storms reported all over the country. 20 dead in tornado at Terre Haute. Train running irregularly or not at all……..News is scarce. No papers are coming into town. Trains not running regularly. Reports say 3000 dead at Dayton O. from bursting of dam; over 1000 lost at Pecqua and 150 at Peru….." 1913 "June 6th, Had a great picnic today. Started at 8:30 this morning and just got home. Drove to the historic Frances Slocum burying ground. Had a picnic dinner and took picture with Milt's camera. At 4:30 we started back. Crossed the river at Somerset and camped for supper at our favorite place along the river road. Made a fire and broiled steak. Sat by the fire until 8:30 and then started home reluctantly. Would have rather had less driving time and more time for a picnic. Our little camp fire made us wish the time for our real camping would come sooner." "October 7th, …..Edith has not quite made up her mind yet. Admits that she cares enough for fair weather but is not sure that her liking is great enough for the storms yet. Thinks that she will be able to tell me something before many days, if I will but have patience." "October 12th, ….Edith said three little words I have been waiting for so long and I am the luckiest man in the world. She is not sure that she cares enough yet for me to talk to her mother about it but we are certainly getting along. Don't think it will be long until I have some serious conversation with Mrs. O and invest in a diamond." "October 24th, …..We are about to make our important decision. She said she would tell me "yes" or "no" Sunday. Don't think it will be "no" because she let me take her ruby ring so I could get one with a diamond in to fit the same finger." 1914 "May 21st, Got up at 5:45. Paul took mother and me out to Overman's at seven and went back for father. After some trouble such as having a shirt too small and getting another brought out I got dressed and ready at 8:25. At 8:50 the ceremony was over and Edith was Mrs. L. breakfast was finished by ten and at eleven we left for Marion. Geo. B. brought us over. Golda, Pearl and Madge S. came with us. After showering us with rice, they left at twelve. We left Marion on the Big 4 at 12:20. Arrived at Indianapolis at 3:10 and are located at Hotel Metropole. Have taken things very easy for the little wife's sake since we got here. Didn't go out any place and I brought supper to the room. The only incident was a fire at the Plaza across the street. We are preparing for bed at nine. Am mighty glad things are as they are." The covers of all of the diaries are in poor condition but the pages and the bindings look great so please keep that in mind. These diaries are a treasure trove of genealogical information as there are many hundreds of people mentioned including just these few: Carl Masterson, Jerry Flinn, Frank Renbarger, Starbuck, Mary Mallott, Mabel Stephens, Virgil Stevens, Bert Bragg, Earle Anderson, Vella Masterson, Line, Gerald Trowbridge, Rev. Zerby, Hollie Smith, Vaughn Leming, and so many more. The last little diary has hardly any entries but one very important one in the front. There is also a University of Maryland Matriculation card I found slipped between the page belonging to Mary F. Riddick (Lanning). It dates from the 1950's. The diary however is from 1905 and in the front it says "December 18th, 1905, Three more days until I will be a married woman. Dearest Savior, guide me, keep me, near thy side. Help me to hold thee up in my new home. O! Help me for I trust only in thee….." Not sure who this belongs to. There are about 35 handwritten pages, mostly religious poetry. Overall G. 
Price: 2595.99 USD
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