An American Hometown

An American Hometown

Terre Haute, Indiana, 1927
Tom Roznowski, foreword by Scott Russell Sanders
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/17/2009
Format: Paperback 82 b&w photos
ISBN: 978-0-253-22129-2
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They lived "green" out of necessity—walking to work, repairing everything from worn shoes to wristwatches, recycling milk bottles and packing containers. Music was largely heard live and most residential streets had shade trees. The nearby Wabash River—a repeated subject of story and song—transported Sunday picnickers to public parks. In the form of an old-fashioned city directory, An American Hometown celebrates a bygone American era, focusing on life in 1920s Terre Haute, Indiana. With artfully drawn biographical sketches and generously illustrated histories, noted musician, historian, and storyteller Tom Roznowski not only evokes a beauty worth remembering, but also brings to light just how many of our modern ideas of sustainable living are deeply rooted in the American tradition.

Author Bio

Tom Roznowski, based in Bloomington, Indiana, is a writer and musician. He is host of Hometown, a radio program broadcast by NPR affiliate WFIU.


“Evoking memories of life in the 1920s small town of Terre Haute, Indiana, artfully drawn biographical sketches and histories bring light to our deep roots as noted musician, historian, and storyteller Tom Roznowski explores American traditions. ”

“Roznowski has the storyteller’s skill for isolating relevant detail and employing rhetorical flourish to illuminate both character and scene.”
 — Jacob Jones, University of Maryland

“Tom Roznowski uses an innovative way to capture the image of Terre Haute in 1927. The City Directory listings become a social history carried along by humor, deep feeling and a sense of national history. The prosperous and famous share the stage, as they should, with ordinary residents. Even those living at the County Poor Farm find their rightful place in the fabric of community.1983, IUP”
 — Dorothy W. Jerse, On the Banks of the Wabash: a photograph album of Greater Terre Haute 1900-1950

“Tom Roznowski has deployed the 1927 City Directory of Terre Haute like a mist net across time to catch a vanished place. An American Hometown is part Akenfield--Robert Blythe's portrait of an English village--and part Edgar Lee Master's Spoon River Anthology. Terre Haute, 1927, is more alive than many American cities today.”
 — Howard Mansfield

“Tom Roznowski brings the lost world of a city back to life, and in so doing asks us to re-imagine the way we live now. December 2009/January 2010”
 — Bloom Magazine

“For Roznowski, the pursuit of the past is not an exercise in nostalgia, but an attempt to bring wisdom forward—to learn not just from our mistakes as a culture, but from the things we did right as well, and then left by the wayside in the 20th century's mad dash to a consumerist, automobile-centered society.February/March 2010”
 — Bloom

“Roznowski is an evocative, romantic storyteller, and his research revives a simpler time and place not far from here. March 28, 2010”
 — The Herald Times

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Table of Contents

Foreword by Scott Russell Sanders


Abel Manufacturing Company--to--Robert Axlander
Bachelor Club--to--Roxie Byrd
Barden Calloway--to--John Crowe
Daphne Confectionary--to--Lemon H. Dunn
Tilatha East--to--Mary Euriga
Ethel Failing--to--Emma Fyfe
James H. Gallian--to--Flora G. Gulick
Joseph A. Haddox--to--Frances Hughes
Josephine Ice--to--Abe Issac
Mary Jackman--to--William R. Joyce
Albert Kaeling--to--Lillian Kuhn
Minnie Mayme Lacy--to--Lena B. Lyda
Albert McBride--to--Ernestine Myers Dancing Academy
Agnes Nairn--to--North Baltimore Bottle Glass Company
Harry E. Oaf--to--James Osler
Mabel P. Paine--to--Arvella Pushback
The Quality Shop--to--Jacob Ryan
St. Joseph's Academy--to--Marcella Swim
Elmer E. Talbott--to--Alice Twadell
Jacob Umble--to--Alm Utz
Ohmer D. Vance--to--Robert T. Vrydagh
Clarence W. Wagner--to--John Wright
Ivan Yates--to--George A. Zwerner


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