Indianapolis Gardeners Benefit Society Records, 1867-1985


Accession A91-50
Collection Mss 72


Table of Contents


Historical Note

Mutual benefit societies have served as social support organizations for many immigrant groups, including the German community in Indianapolis. Several societies of this type (known as "Unterstutzungs Vereins" in German) were formed in the city during the latter half of the nineteenth century. Many of these societies drew their members from a specific segment of the German community. One example is the Indianapolis Gardeners Benefit Society. Formed on July 6, 1867, its membership was restricted to Indianapolis area greenhouse and outside gardeners. The society remains active, offering its members sickness and death benefit payments and a monthly fellowship meeting. It is also a member of the city's Federation of German Societies.


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Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of six series: minutes, accounts, constitution, ribbons, photographs, and poster.

Minutes (1876-1938) are the minutes of the society's meetings. These are in two volumes, the first covering 1876-1897 and the second 1915-1938. The first volume is in German; the second volume is in German from 1915 to September 1934 and in English from October 1934 to 1938.

Accounts (1867-1985) includes both the treasurer's books and members' accounts. The records prior to the mid-1920s are in German.

Constitution (1920; 1935) are two copies of the society's constitution and bylaws. The 1920 edition is printed in both German and English.

Ribbons (no date) are two black (possibly mourning) ribbons worn by members of the society.

Photographs (1901-1962) are three composite photographs of members portraits.

Poster (ca. 1945) is a framed advertising poster for Hoosier Boy bib lettuce, grown by the Marion County Greenhouse Growers, Inc.


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Box and Folder Inventory


Box Folder Contents Date

1 1 Minutes 1876-1897
Minutes and accounts, 9/3/1876-2/7/1897.
One volume of 384 pages, handwritten in German

1 2 Minutes 1915-1938
Minutes of meetings, 1/3/1915-2/1938.
One volume of 500 pages, handwritten in German
until 9/1934 and in English from 10/1934

2 1 Accounts 1942-1985
Members' accounts, 1942-1985, covering people
who joined the society between 1942 and 1976.
One volume of 472 pages (only first 60 used),
handwritten in English

2 2 Accounts 1958-1968
Treasurer's book, 1958-1968.
One volume of 130 pages, handwritten in English

2 3 Constitution 1920
Pamphlet "Constitution and By-Laws of the
German Gardners' Benefit Society in
Indianapolis, Ind." Printed in both English
and German

2 4 Constitution 1935
Pamphlet "Constitution and By-Laws of the German
Gardners' Benefit Society in Indianapolis, Ind."

2 5 Ribbons n.d.
Two black ribbons (mourning ribbons?) with the words
"Deutscher Gartner Unterstutzungs Verein
Indianapolis, Indiana" on them

3 1 Accounts 1867-1909
Members' accounts, 1867-1909. One volume of
approximately 200 pages, handwritten in German

3 2 Accounts 1923-1925
Members' accounts, 1923-1925. One softbound
volume of approximately 100 pages, handwritten
in German

3 3 Accounts 1934-1948
Treasurer's book 1934-1948.
One volume of 146 pages, handwritten in English

4 1 Accounts 1912-1957
Members' accounts, 1912-1957.
One volume of 445 pages, handwritten in
German 1912-1924 and in English 1925-1957

4 2 Accounts 1898-1976
Members' accounts, 1898-1976, covering people
who joined the society between 1898 and 1942.
One volume of 373 pages

5 1 Photograph 1901
Composite of members' portraits,
"Deutscher Gartner Unterstutzungs Verein."
Size: 16" x 12", with mat: " x "

5 2 Photograph 1913
Composite of members' portraits,
"Deutscher Gartner Unterstutzungs Verein."
Size: 17" x 13.5", with mat: 19" x 15.5"

5 3 Photograph 1962
Composite of members' portraits,
"Deutscher Gartner Unterstutzungs Verein."
Size: 13.5" x 9.5"

5 4 Poster ca. 1945
Framed poster: "Enjoy a new salad treat!
Vitamin Packed, Too! Hoosier Boy Bib Lettuce.
Grown and Packed by the Marion County
Greenhouse Growers, Inc."
Size: 13" x 21"

Last updated by bburk on 03/04/2009