In 1905, the Newspaper Cartoonists’ Association of Indianapolis produced a collection of portraits caricaturing the city’s leading businessmen, government officials, doctors, bankers, civil engineers, and other “men who perform their shares of the world’s work in such a manner so as to bring them into public notice.” Published contemporaneously with similar volumes found in Chicago, St. Louis, Milwaukee, Los Angeles, Cleveland, Toronto, and Sydney, Indianapolitans: As We See ‘Em contains 109 full-page, black-and-white portraits of early twentieth-century Hoosier notables, many of which first appeared in local newspapers, including the Indianapolis Star.
A product of the vanity press, Indianapolitans functioned as a “Pantheon” of the living, a veritable “who’s who” of Indiana elite. In illustrating this tome of tributes, the cartoonists examined their subjects “with a penetrating yet a friendly eye,” accentuating “their most prominent characteristics” by ink and pen to “present them in a proper perspective for the world to view.”
Among those documented in the book's pages include several prominent members of the Indiana bar. A few names may ring familiar to their modern-day counterparts; most, however, have been lost to posterity. The gallery presented here includes a selection of portraits (slightly refashioned for contemporary viewing enjoyment) depicting these erstwhile jurists.
Beyond its portrayal of contemporary figures, Indianapolitans illustrates the ubiquity of views on social hierarchy during the early-twentieth century. While certainly a gem in the archives of Indiana history, the book's pages reflect a glaring lack of diversity in representing not only the legal profession, but also the larger community of public figures in the state. As for lawyers, not only had women been admitted to the Indiana Bar at the time of the book's publication, but there was a small but growing practice among African-American lawyers as well.
During the late-nineteenth century, Indianapolis was a cultural hub for artistic expression. The city was home to the “Hoosier School” of American Impressionist artists—including William Forsyth, Otto Stark, T.C. Steele, J. Ottis Adams, and Richard B. Gruelle—and organizations such as the Art Association of Indianapolis, the Society of Western Artists, and the Indiana Artists Club. Coinciding with this artistic boom, a group of young newspaper illustrators emerged on the scene. Harnessing the latest technology in print and design, leading daily journals—including the Indy Star, Times, and News—began publishing cartoons to visualize and embellish top stories of the day. This new reporting technique quickly evolved into a flourishing industry, propelling many artists to the design and production rooms of the city’s news organizations. As trailblazers of illustrative journalism, several of these artists would become leading figures in the world of graphic print and design. Indianapolitians represents an early example of their avant-guard craft.
John Barton “Johnny” Gruelle, the son of Richard B. Gruelle (noted above), was an artist, political cartoonist, and children’s book author and illustrator. Born in Arcola, Illinois in 1880, Johhny Gruelle moved to Indianapolis with his family at the age of two. His artistic skills eventually landed him a job as an assistant illustrator with the Indianapolis Star, where in 1905 his cartoons first appeared in print. His work was subsequently featured in several leading news periodicals throughout country, including the Spokane Press, Toledo News-Bee, Pittsburgh Press, Tacoma Times, and New York Herald. Gruelle is perhaps best known for his creation of the Raggedy Ann and Andy dolls, which he patented in 1915.
Born in Germany in 1878, William Fred Heitman moved with his family to the United States at a young age, living in Indianapolis and Fort Wayne. After working as a sign painter for the Van Camp Company, Heitman pursued his creative talents at the Indiana School of Art (the predecessor the Herron School of Art and Design). Around 1897, he began working as an illustrator for the Indianapolis News. Over the course of his career, Heitman drew cartoons and illustrated feature stories for newspapers in Indianapolis, Cleveland, and St. Louis.
Other cartoonists with work featured in Indianapolitans included Homer McKee, John W. Davenport, and R. Scott.
caricatures of the indiana bar
Born in Gelderland, Holland, Henry N. Spaan (Dec. 13, 1851; d. ?) came to the United States with his family at the age of one. He studied law in Keokuk, Iowa where he practiced until 1876. That year he moved to Indianapolis, became a member of the Indianapolis and Indiana State Bar Associations, and developed a reputation as a skillful criminal lawyer.
As a young soldier in the Civil War, Robert Wesley McBride (Jan. 25, 1842; d. May 15, 1926) served as President Abraham Lincoln’s bodyguard. Following the War, McBride taught at public schools in Ohio and Indiana. In 1866, he moved to Indiana and settled in Waterloo, DeKalb County. There, he studied law and was admitted to the bar in 1867. In 1882, McBride was elected Judge of the 35th Judicial Circuit (comprised of DeKalb, Noble, and Steuben counties), a position he held for six years. In December of 1890 McBride was appointed to fill a vacant seat with the Indiana Supreme Court. When his term with the state’s highest bench ended, he moved to Indianapolis to resume the practice of law. In 1904, McBride served as general counsel for the State Life Insurance Company. Just prior to his death, he authored a memoir in which he reflected on his interactions with President Lincoln during the Civil War.
After graduating from the University of Michigan, Frederick Augustus Joss (b. May 5, 1867; d. ?) moved to Frankfort, Indiana to read law with the Hon. S.O. Bayless. Around 1889, Joss became a member of the state bar. He practiced in Frankfort until 1892 when he relocated to Indianapolis to form a partnership with Ovid B. Jameson. Joss later served as city attorney and state senator representing Marion County.
John S. Duncan (b. Jan. 11, 1846; d. Nov. 28, 1914), a graduate of Harvard Law School, served three years as Prosecuting Attorney of the Indianapolis Criminal Court. In private practice, he was managing partner of the law firm of Duncan & Smith. Duncan was perhaps best known for his prosecution of the Cold Springs murder case.
Beyond his lifelong career in private practice, Roscoe O. Hawkins (b. Feb. 21, 1848; d. ?) served as delegate to the Republican National Convention of 1880, president of the Indianapolis Bar Association in 1894, and state senator from 1897 to 1901.
A graduate of Indiana University Law School, Samuel O. Pickens (b. Apr. 26, 1846; d. ?) practiced for several years in Spencer, Indiana. He served as prosecutor of the Fifteenth Judicial Circuit—composed of Morgan, Owen, and Greene counties—from 1876 to 1881. He moved to Indianapolis in 1886 where he eventually became a founding partner of the law firm of Pickens, Moores, Davidson & Pickens.
Smiley Newton Chambers (b. Mar. 18, 1845; d. Feb. 8, 1907) practiced law in Vincennes, Indiana prior to his appointment as U.S. District Attorney for the District of Indiana by President Benjamin Harrison in 1889. He held this position until 1893, when he started a law practice in Indianapolis with Samuel Pickens and Charles Moores.
A graduate of Wabash University and Central Law School (Indianapolis), Charles Washington Moores, Jr. (b. Feb. 15, 1862; d. Dec. 7, 1923) practiced law in Indianapolis and lectured at the Indiana Law School. Moores was a member of the Indianapolis School Board, serving as vice-president from 1903 to 1908 and president from 1908 to 1909. His involvement in education led him to write a number of children’s educational books.
A native of Germany, Joseph B. Kealing (b. Jun. 25, 1850; d. ?) attended Butler College and graduated from the Central Law School of Indianapolis in 1881. He served as a pauper attorney from 1881 to 1883, deputy prosecutor from 1883 to 1885, U.S. district attorney from 1900 to 1908, and city corporation counsel from 1909 to 1913.
A graduate of the Michigan University School of Law, Martin M. Hugg (Mar. 17, 1858; d. Oct. 17, 1938) served as deputy prosecutor in charge of the Marion County Police Court from 1885 to 1886. He then entered private practice, forming a partnership with Joseph B. Keating. In 1896 he was elected state Senator, and from 1901 to 1905 he served as county attorney.
Following his graduation from Northwestern Christian University (the predecessor to Butler University) in 1868, Judge Alexander C. Ayres (Nov. 9, 1846; d. Oct. 12, 1918) served for two years as principal of the common schools at Greenwood, Indiana. He then studied law in the offices of Hendricks, Hord & Hendricks. Ayres practiced for several years with his partner Byron K. Elliott, who would later become a judge of the Indiana Supreme Court of Indiana. Ayres himself was elected judge of the Marion Superior Court in 1876, and in 1882 served as judge of the Nineteenth Judicial Circuit, then composed of Marion and Hendricks counties. Upon retiring from the bench in 1885, he reentered private practice, partnering with several lawyers over the years, including Edgar A. Brown, Lawson M. Harvey, Aquilla Q. Jones, John E. Hollett, and his son, Frank C. Ayres.
A graduate of Northwestern Christian University (Butler) in 1862, Addison C. Harris (b. Oct. 1, 1840; d. Sept. 2, 1916) studied law in the offices of Barbour & Howland and later with Samuel E. Perkins. Upon his admission to the bar in 1865, he partnered with John T. Dye, with whom he practiced for seventeen years. Harris served as president of the Indiana Bar Association (1904-1905), president of the Indiana Law School (1899-1904), and president of the board of trustees of Purdue University (1909-1916). He represented Marion County as a state senator from 1876 to 1880. And in 1899 President McKinley appointed him minister to Austria-Hungary, a position he held for three years before returning to private practice.
After receiving his degree from the Iowa College of Law in 1875, John L. Griffiths (b. Oct. 7, 1855; d. May 17, 1914) moved to Indianapolis where he specialized in corporate law. A close friend of Benjamin Harrison, Griffiths led the campaign for the nation’s twenty-third president. From 1889 to 1893, Griffths served as Reporter of Decisions for the Indiana Supreme Court. And in 1905 he was appointed as U.S. Consul General at London, England, a position he until his death.
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