This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

William C Babcock scrapbook, part 1

A week or two ago I posted about scrapbooks at the historical society museum. I only briefly glanced at one done by William C Babcock, and I decided I wanted to take a closer look. He was a Rensselaer businessman and served in the Indiana House of Representatives for at least two terms. I have not been able to find much about him, but I think his cemetery record is here. It does not appear that he has any surviving descendants.

The historical society has two scrapbooks of his, one for the years 1931 to about 1933, and the other from about 1933 to about 1935 or 1936. They contain a wide range of items such as membership cards. (Note the signature on the Hazelden Country Club cards.)
 His membership card for Curtis Creek was on a different page.
I think this sample ballot was for 1932. He is listed second under the Republican ticket. The other notable name on the ballet is listed fourth, Charles Halleck, running for Prosecuting Attorney. Part two of this post will have more about Halleck.
 Babcock was named after his father, and in turned gave his son the same name. The school recorded the son's height monthly when he was in first grade.
Below is a questionnaire from the Indianapolis Athletic Club. I suspect many state representatives used their facilities while the legislature was in session. I do not understand it what the purpose of the questionnaire is, but I like the response the question, "Do you especially desire a Chairmanship?"
 Among the organizations that Babcock joined was Rotary.
 In 1932 Indiana had twelve congressmen. Lake County had enough people to be its own congressional district, but Allen County (Fort Wayne) did not.
 Babcock had a questionnaire from the Indiana Anti-Saloon League in his scrapbook. I wonder if its inclusion meant that he did not bother to reply to them.
 Babcock ran a grain company and he seems to have had an interest in a quarry in Monon. During the early years of the New Deal, the Roosevelt administration tried to raise prices and wages by edict through the NRA (which was not the National Rifle Association.) The NRA was declared unconstitutional in 1935. I have never seen a convincing argument that it a good idea. Most economists who have spent any time looking at it conclude it was a program that impeded recovery. Here is that argument.
The stamp of the NRA suggests that these prices were approved by the government.

I assume that the Babcock Quarry is named after him.

I will include more tidbits in a future posts.


Anonymous said...

For what it's worth, I suspect that that questionnaire is not from the Indianapolis Athletic Club, but rather than an official of the House used the Club as his local mailing address.

Dave Vohlken said...

Mr. Babcock must have been quite an outdoorsman, as the floor joists in his basement on Thompson St. were tacked full of hunting/fishing related caps. It was said that there was a cap there for each trip.