Writer Booth Tarkington is identified with Indiana and the Midwest. Born in Indianapolis in 1869, Tarkington spent his first two years of college at Purdue before graduating from Princeton in 1893. His comical writing style epitomized the 1920s Lost Generation. His most known works were cheerful, realistic novels of life in small Midwestern towns.
Born in North Carolina in 1798, Levi Coffin observed first-hand the institution of slavery. His strong hatred for oppression and injustice was further bolstered when as a young man he saw a group of slaves chained together as he and his father chopped wood by the roadside.
Indiana 's official state song conveys the sense of nostalgia for a long-gone rural domesticity that characterized Paul Dresser's best-loved songs.
Eugene Victor Debs was a lifelong resident of Terre Haute. Having dropped out of school at an early age, Debs first worked on the railroad as a fireman. The bonds that he forged with his fellow workers shaped his lifelong philosophy, expressed in one of Debs’ famous court speeches — “While there is a lower class, I am in it. While there is a criminal element, I am of it. While there is a soul in prison, I am not free.”