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Booth Tarkington and his love for The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis

This is your museum. And it was theirs too. We’re celebrating the museum’s birthday with some famous quotes from extraordinary people: Kurt Vonnegut, Booth Tarkington, and Mildred Compton all admired and experienced this extraordinary place. They believed in the museum’s impact on the city, the neighborhoods, and the families that fill them.

Booth Tarkington was born, raised, and laid to rest in Indianapolis. Between 1869 and 1946, he would spend a majority of his life (40+ years) in Indiana. The two-time Pulitzer-Prize winning fiction writer lived less than two miles from the museum, and watched it take shape over the years, even taking a moment to reflect its value in  a letter.

“It seems to me that Indianapolis is fortunate in being one of those more advanced American cities that possess a children’s museum. A children’s museum is bound to be interesting...because children are never interested in what isn’t interesting; and their attendance at our Indianapolis Children’s Museum proves its value.” 

Tarkington attended Shortridge High School, Exeter Academy, Purdue University, and Princeton University. Though never receiving an official degree, he established a camaraderie wherever he went, and with many authored books, short stories, and plays, later earned honorary degrees from Purdue, Princeton, and Columbia University. He settled back in Indiana in 1923, a year after receiving his second Pulitzer-Prize for Alice Adams.  He often used Indiana as a setting in his written work.

Tarkington was laid to rest in Crown Hill cemetery in 1946. His historical home remains in-tact at 40th and Meridian. For many, he was a profound writer, and he was to us too, but he was also our neighbor. 

Read the full letter below: 

Booth Tarkington made an impact on us, and you can too. To learn more about our Extraordinary Transformations Campaign, start here

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