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Archives and Special Collections

logo of the calumet regional archives, 50 years, 1973-2023

The Calumet Regional Archives was founded in 1973 by Dr. James B. Lane and Dr. Ronald D. Cohen, Professors Emeriti of History. In 1982 Stephen G. McShane became Indiana University Northwest’s first archivist. This page acknowledges and commemorates the work of these scholars for their commitment to preserving the history of Northwest Indiana.

On October 12, 2023, the archives celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an event located on the third floor of the John W. Anderson Library. Below are photographs of the celebration and a slideshow tribute featuring quotes on the archive's impact. 


Co-Founders of the Calumet Regional Archives

Dr. Ronald D. Cohen and Dr. Janes B. Lane began their careers at IU Northwest on the same day in 1970.

Dr. Cohen’s original specialty was Colonial American history but soon his focus shifted toward American folk music and education history, including the history of the Gary school system. In fact, when Wirt High School closed, Dr. Cohen purchased a bust of Wirt and donated it to the archives for preservation. A few of his many publications include Children of the Mill: Schooling and Society in Gary, Moonlight in Duneland: The Illustrated Story of the South Shore and South Bend Railroads, Gary: A Pictorial History, and Rainbow Quest: The Folk Music Revival and American Society. In 2001, Dr. Cohen was nominated for a Grammy for his work on the Best of Broadside 1962-1988: Anthems of the American Underground from the Pages of Broadside Magazine. In 2022, Dr. Cohen sadly passed away.

Dr. Lane was hired at IU Northwest as an urban historian. Dr. Lane’s research chronicles a social history of the region. A few of his many publications include City of the Century: A history of Gary, Indiana, Forging a community: The Latino Experience in Northwest Indiana, 1919-1975, Gary: A Pictorial History, and Steel Shavings Magazine, which Dr. Lane describes as “a first draft of history.” Steel Shavings was established in 1975 as an outlet for student research on the history of the region. In 2023, it celebrated its 48th year of publishing. In 2020, Dr. Lane received the Indiana Historical Society’s Dorothy Riker Hoosier Historian Award.

Despite their unparalleled records, both Dr. Cohen and Dr. Lane considered the establishment of the archives, their greatest legacy.


"We know much about the Lincolns and Roosevelts but little about the history of what is closest to us, our communities. Too often community studies have been the private preserve of antiquarians, who are basically concerned with glorifying their ancestors.

Only recently has interest been focused on family history and institutional studies more meaningful to the lives of common people. The collection and preservation of local documents and artifacts is crucial to the encouragement of relevant community history. Without the source materials we would have little comprehension of the richness of our past. Urban collections such as the Calumet Regional Archives are a vital element in this search.”

Excerpt from: Cohen, Ronald D., Lane, James B. Establishing a Program: Calumet Regional Archives. Drexel Library Quarterly, v13 n4, Oct 1977.


IU Northwest's First Archivist

Stephen G. McShane served as the Archivist/Curator for the Calumet Regional Archives for nearly 40 years. He earned an M.A. in History from Northern Illinois University, a Masters in Library Science from Indiana University Bloomington, and became a Certified Archivist. McShane authored and co-edited numerous books on Northwest Indiana history, including Steel Giants: Historic images of the Calumet Regional Archives, Moonlight in Duneland: The illustrated story of the Chicago South Shore and South Bend Railroad, and Skinning Cats: The war time letters of Tom Krueger. Steve’s dedication and commitment to preserving the history of the region is evident through the 500 collections he processed.

Over the years there have been many people from around the community who have provided invaluable service to the archives. This includes the assistance of local genealogists, historians, educators, and library staff. Among them was Margaret (Peg) Shipley Schoon, a graduate of Indiana University. After retiring from Purdue University Calumet as head of their library technical services department, Peg served as the Assistant Archivist at the Calumet Regional Archives, working alongside Stephen McShane.