As Purdue University grows, the school’s rich history is sometimes neglected in lieu of developments in present-day interests and needs. Often, the only remaining evidence of community events and distinguished, local individuals are memorials, archive collections, and rarely seen documents. Many communities have access to such documents; however, as the available access to these collections slowly becomes unrecognized, so does the history and remembrance of the individuals and events. The purpose of this research was to determine the source of a small, tarnished trophy in Orlando Itin’s sports memorabilia collection in Bruno’s Pizza Restaurant. This trophy stands as one of the unrecognized items of living history in West Lafayette, Indiana, which spurred the research and development of a further question: how can community historians discover the concealed facts of their local history? Throughout this research, personal interviews and careful searches were conducted through Purdue University’s Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center, local collections, online databases, and academic journals to recollect the memory of the recipient of the forgotten trophy, former Indiana Governor Harry Guyer Leslie. Leslie was not only a Purdue graduate, but a survivor of the infamous 1903 Purdue Wreck. He made numerous contributions to the University and overcame adversity to become governor of Indiana, but his memory and contributions to the University and state are barely documented. This article explores not only Governor Leslie’s history, but also examines the methods community historians can use to conduct their own local research.
"The "Immortal" Boilermaker: Exploring the Forgotten History of Harry Guyer Leslie,"
The Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research:
Vol. 2, Article 5.