Indiana Legends: Famous Hoosiers from Johnny Appleseed to David Letterman
Contemporary famous Hoosiers are just part of my focus. I also have thoroughly researched — and included in my books — the lives of distinguished Hoosiers from history. To share fresh insights, I tracked down anyone who knew them. My quest lead me to the last person alive who knew Hoosier poet James Whitcomb Riley; former Lockerbie resident Agnes Bridgford was 92 years old when I first started interviewing her. (She was over 100 when she passed away.) It also lead me to Madam Walker’s’ great-great-granddaughter as well as to Randy Carmichael, Hoagy’s youngest son, and to Cole Porter’s cousin.
All of this interviewing and research has resulted in a busy life for me as a public speaker about the Hoosier state’s spectacular array of distinguished people. (Not to mention a few infamous public figures such as John Dillinger.) For example, I’m active on the “fourth grade speaking circuit”. That’s when schools teach Indiana history. PTAs and PTOs sponsor by famous Hoosiers presentation, so I have traveled, accompanied by a display of visuals such as Dillinger’s “wanted” poster, an illustration of Little Turtle and color pix of Peyton Manning, to schools from Lake County to the Ohio River and dozens of points in-between.
I’m equally busy speaking to “grown-up” audiences. Civic groups, conventions, and any other gathering of folks with an interest in our state’s rich heritage have extended invitations. I even do commentary on motor coach tours to sites across the state associated with famous Hoosiers. I love taking questions and comments from audience members.
Just don’t make any cracks about Hoosiers being merely supporting acts.
The 4th edition of Indiana Legends features more than 160 famous Hoosiers, with new material and updated profiles.