Throwback Thursday: City Bands in the John Martin Smith Collection

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

In the early years of DeKalb County, entertainment often came in the form of the local band.


Silver Coronet Bands—some of the earliest musical groups in the county—were formed in Waterloo, Butler, and Spencerville during the 1870s. Band members purchased their Silver Coronets from traveling salesmen who also instructed them in how to play, a practice which possibly inspired Meredith Wilson’s The Music Man.


After the Silver Coronet Bands came other groups. The Auburn Band formed in 1897, and the early 1900s featured the Butler City Band, the Coburntown Farmers’ Band, and military bands from Garrett and Auburn, among others. The Royal Black Hussars—a band from Auburn—participated in parades and were described by The Evening Star as holding their audience “spellbound.”

These bands often played for special events, including the DeKalb County Fair, various parades, and the dedications of the Eckhart Public Library and the DeKalb County Courthouse.


Although high school bands gradually replaced these private groups, there are still some local bands who put on concerts and play at community events, such as the Auburn Community Band, which was formed in the 1970s.

To see more, click here and search “John Martin Smith” and “band.”

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Cheryl Strayed’s Wild – Read It Now, Watch It Later

Cheryl Strayed’s memoir Wild : From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail comes to the big screen on December 5th. There’s still plenty of time to read about her epic adventure before you see the film.

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This Week at Eckhart Public Library: October 27-November 1

Eckhart Curb Historic

It’s hard to believe the end of this week will be November! Where has the fall gone? It’s almost Thanksgiving!

Speaking of Thanksgiving, don’t forget to vote in our Pie Poll! Choose your favorite pie and you’ll get the chance to win a gift certificate for a pie from Dutch Heritage Catering! Read more and vote here.

Here’s what else is happening on the Eckhart Public Library Campus this week:

  • Chocolate Treats: Teens are invited to join us as we make several simple chocolate treats. We will be trying some fun recipes to make as gifts or to enjoy as snacks. Tuesday, October 28, 5 p.m., Teen Library.
  • Author Talk & Book Signing: Victor Baird, author of “Railroading on the Wabash Fourth District,” an illustrated history of the railroad and its workers, will be at Eckhart Public Library for a talk, question & answer period, and book signing. Call or email to register, 925-2414 ext. 120 or Tuesday, October 28, 6:30-7:45 p.m., Close Community Room at Main Library.
  • ATLAS – Movie & Popcorn: Join us for a movie and freshly popped popcorn in the Close Community Room. Kids will vote on what movie to watch! Thursday, October 30, 3-3:45 p.m., Close Community Room at Main Library.
  • Knifty Knitters: Join the Knifty Knitters for a special Fifth Thursday session! Beginning to advanced knitters and crocheters are welcome, and help is available for problem patterns. Thursday, October 30, 6-7:45 p.m., Board Room at Main Library.
  • Halloween at Eckhart Public Library: Visit the library for treats (no tricks please!) on Halloween! Show off your costume, and check out the staff members’ costumes! Friday, October 31, Eckhart Public Library Campus.
  • Game Day: The last Friday of every month is Game Day at the Teen Library! Bring a friend, and enjoy some video games or board games of your choice. Friday, October 31, 4-8 p.m., Teen Library.
  • Book Lover’s Day: We will be celebrating our love of books by creating artwork with our favorite book quotes and watching a book inspired movie! Saturday, November 1, 2-4 p.m.
  • Book Clubs: Join an Eckhart Public Library book club! Better Off Read, which meets on the second Thursday of the month at 6:30 p.m., will read “The End of the Affair” by Graham Greene. Turn a Page with Anni, which meets the third Wednesday of the month at noon, will read “How to Bake a Perfect Life” by Barbara O’Neal. Book club selections can be picked up at the Information Desk at the Main Library. And teens can join the Neon Readers, which meets Monday, November 17, at 5 p.m. Each member can choose a historical fiction book to read.
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Attention writers!

Are you looking for a challenge? Are you looking for a group to meet with? Have you heard of National Novel Writing Month (a.k.a. NaNoWriMo)?

The short of it is that NaNoWriMo is a challenge for anyone 13 years of age or older and the challenge is to write a full novel in November. You can do all your planning,  plotting, and character creation prior to November, but the novel writing doesn’t start until the clock says it’s November 1st! For those ages 18 and above your goal is 50,000 words. If you want a day-by-day breakdown that’s 1,667 words a day. If you’re using a computer with a size 12 font and either Times New Roman or Arial font type 1,000 words is about 4 pages double-spaced. It’s doable. In 2013, over 300,000 people took part in NaNoWriMo.

For those ages 13 to 17, you can participate in a branch of NaNoWriMo called the Young Writers Program (or YWP) and create your own goal.

If you have questions click here for the frequently asked questions of NaNoWriMo and here for the questions often asked about the Young Writers Program.

The Eckhart Public Library is having two meetings in November for NaNoWriMo.

Monday, Nov. 3rd, 6:30 P.M. until 7:30 P.M. we’re having a kickoff. Ask questions, brainstorm with other writers. You can sign up for NaNoWriMo at and share information about your novel, find writing buddies, find your local region, and so much more.

Monday, Nov. 24th, 6:30 P.M. until 7:30 P.M. is the library’s Final Stretch event. It doesn’t matter if you’re on track, ahead, or behind, we want to hear about your experiences. You never know, maybe someone there can help give you that little grain of inspiration that you’ve needed.

The creative writing group that meets at the library is for those 18 and older. The November meetings are Tuesday, Nov. 4th and Tuesday Nov. 25th both from 6:30 P.M. until 7:30 P.M.

The library has a lot of great books on writing, including the book No Plot? No Problem! by NaNoWriMo’s founder, Chris Baty.

Heather: I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2010. This will make my 5th year participating in NaNoWriMo. If you have questions we’ll be glad to answer what we can here at the library. The local region for our area is from Fort Wayne and there is a Facebook group for the region. You can find much more about this on the NaNoWriMo website under the region forums once you set your region. I hope to see you at the NaNoWriMo meet ups at the Eckhart Public Library.

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Throwback Thursday: Dr. Bonnell M. Souder in the John Martin Smith Collection

Willennar Genealogy Center’s collection is full of Throwback Thursday potential, so let’s get our #TBT on!

Today, let’s look at an important person from DeKalb County history, Dr. Bonnell M. Souder.


Affectionately known as “Dr. Bonnell,” Bonnell M. Souder was the daughter of Dr. Ulysses Grant Souder of Auburn. Following in her father’s footsteps, Bonnell earned her M.D. degree from the University of Illinois before returning to practice medicine in Auburn.

In 1915, the two founded Souder Hospital, which was a pioneer in using X-ray equipment and also featured one of the first fully equipped surgeries in the state.


Dr. Bonnell herself was a pioneer in maternity healthcare, and because of her efforts, Souder Hospital became the first in northern Indiana to offer maternity care.

Though she never married or had children of her own, Dr. Bonnell considered the many babies she’d delivered her family. She often took home movies of “her babies” and their mothers when they visited for examinations.


Souder Hospital closed in 1964, after the new DeKalb Memorial Hospital opened. Dr. Bonnell served on the new hospital’s first board of directors, and donated much of her equipment to the new facility.

To see more of Dr. Bonnell, click here and search “John Martin Smith” and “Souder.”

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New Nonfiction At The Library

birth of the pill boy on ice bricks mortals cast iron geek sublime how star wars killing patton lonely planet mantle of command michelangelo no good men on immunity organized mind short tragic lifeslip of the keyboard

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Friends Book Sale Features Special Section

books (1)

(Just a few of the books ready for you to purchase!)

The Friends of the Eckhart Public Library are holding a book sale this week! The book sales are a great way to boost your personal library and help your public library in the process!

This is an extra special sale, too. In addition to the normal books, there will be a special section of the sale on Wednesday and Thursday that features large, beautiful coffee table and art books!

The book sale starts on Wednesday evening with a Friends-only preview from 4-8 p.m. This is the chance for Friends of the Eckhart Public Library to get “first dibs” on the books in the sale. If you’re not a Friends member but you want to shop on Wednesday night, don’t worry – all you have to do to join the Friends! For as low as $10, you can be a Friend too!

Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., the sale is open to the public. And Friday is a very special day – it’s $1-a-bag day! You can load books into the provided plastic bags and take them home for just $1! It’s the best bargain in town!!

What are the Friends of the Eckhart Public Library, anyway?

So, what does this Friends group do, anyway?

Well, the Friends support a variety of activities, events, and collections at the library. Without the Friends, Eckhart Public Library wouldn’t be able to do nearly as much! The Friends support the library financially. Money from the Friends is used to give honorariums to people who come to the library for special events, provide materials for craft and cooking programs, offer snacks at selected events and classes, and more! They also give money for collections, including a significant part of the budget to purchase DVDs at Eckhart Public Library.

The Friends are also a solid volunteer core. The library relies on hundreds of hours of volunteer work to function, and our Friends are a provider of volunteers! They keep the library running efficiently and effectively.

Friends of the Eckhart Public Library is a nonprofit 501(c)3 organization.

For more information about the Friends, click here. If you’d like to join, stop in at the book sale, or visit the circulation desk at the main library building!

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