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CRA128 -- Anselm Forum Records

CRA 128: Photographs


0.50 Linear Feet
December 1996


The Anselm Forum Collection was deposited in the Calumet Regional Archives by Mr. Ed Mitchell of Highland, Indiana, on November 10, 1982. An additional portion of this collection was donated by Mr. Michael Grisak on April 23, 1992.

Property rights in the collection are held by the Calumet Regional Archives; literary rights are dedicated to the public. There are no restrictions on access to the collection.

Linear feet of shelf space: 0.50 linear feet
Number of containers: 1 box
Calumet Regional Archives Collection 128
Arranged and Described by: John Burgess
Date: December, 1996

Scope and Content

These records document the history of the Anselm Forum (1932- 1971), a Gary based community organization, founded on the principal of social harmony. These records include several compiled histories of the Anselm Forum, chronicling its creation, growth, activities, and accomplishments. The general correspondence illustrates the relationship between members, their views on society, and the decline of the organization. The J.H. Garnett and Garnett Library correspondence and literature illustrate the Forum's commitment to serving the public and cultural diversity.

Unfortunately, the collection offers very little information about this significant social welfare organization. For example, although the group met on a regular basis from 1932-1971, the newsletters are sparse and contain little information. The membership and committee rosters only cover eight years of the group's history from the 1950's to the early 1960's. Finally, there are only six photographs which depict few members and illustrate no interaction or community work.

While disappointingly small, the ANSELM Forum Records do provide a glimpse of an early attempt to shatter cultural barriers and promote social understanding and harmony in Gary.

Historical Sketch

The Anselm Forum was organized in Gary, Indiana in 1932. Its founders wanted "to create an atmosphere of harmony, a sense of belonging together, despite differences of creed, race or occupation." It was a diverse group whose ideals were, perhaps, before their time.

From a very humble beginning, with only nine members, the organization grew and spread out. At its height the Forum had 150 participants and a waiting list of potential members. It had branches in Gary's surrounding communities and at the major universities in Indiana. In addition, the Forum had a woman's auxiliary, a World Tape Forum, its own newsletter, and it tried to create a community library.

The Anselm Forum's belief in diversity was so strong that members were dismissed when they made objections to new members based on race, creed or ethnic background. In 1945, the Forum became directly involved in public school integration in Gary. When a group of white students protested the admission of black students at Froebel School, the Anselm Forum set up an office in the school and conducted meetings with the mayor until the situation was resolved.

But as time progressed, membership in the Forum declined. In the 1960s, as the racial composition of Gary changed, the group became somewhat unpopular among many people in the white community. By 1971, the group could no longer gather enough members to hold a breakfast meeting, and the group was disbanded.

A 50th anniversary reunion party was held in 1982. Since then, however, nothing else has been heard from the Anselm Forum.

Box File Description
1 1 Compiled History, (1943-1982)
2 Organizational flow chart, n.d.
3 General Correspondence,(1944-1971), n.d.
4 Newsletters, (1952-1971), n.d.
5 Officer & Committee Lists, (1955-1963)
6 Membership Rosters, (1955-1963)
8 Membership Dues, (1932-1962)
9 Membership Application/Pledge Card, n.d.
10 Budget and Expenditure Proposals, 1953
11 Financial Audits, (1951-1965)
12 25th Anniversary Correspondence, 1956-1957
13 30th Anniversary Comm. Minutes, 1961
14 50th Aniversary Correspondence, 1982
15 Anniversary Dinner Programs & Bulletins, (1952-1967)
16 J.H. Garnett / Garnett Library Literature and Correspondence, (1946-1957)
17 Materials relating to Ethnic and Race Relations, (1943-1956)
1 18 Materials from Church Activities, 1940, n.d.
19 Anselm Women, Correspondence & Articles, (1945-1982)
20 Film Dept. General Info., (1950-1955), n.d.
21 "World Tape Forum," News Articles, (1966-1970), n.d.
22 Honors Award Certificate, 1965
23 Graphics, n.d.
24 Forum Logo, n.d.
25 Song Book, n.d.
31 Congressional Records, (1952-1968)
32 Newsarticles, (1942-1982) n.d.