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The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis Highlights our City's Past and Present

The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis Highlights our City's Past and Present
The Encyclopedia of Indianapolis Highlights our City's Past and Present

For the first time since it was published in print in 1994, the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis has been expanded and updated and is available in a digital format. The free-access, web-based encyclopedia, published at, builds on the information featured in the 1,600-page print encyclopedia created by The Polis Center in 1994.

The updated Encyclopedia of Indianapolis provides comprehensive social, cultural, economic, historical, political, and physical descriptions of Indianapolis while shedding light on the events, people, and organizations that shaped the city’s past and present. Visitors can research historical figures such as Madam C. J. Walker, learn what Indianapolis was like during WWI, and find timelines of current events such as the Covid-19 pandemic. Subject matter experts from all walks of life have authored the 1,900 entries. A search box allows users to enter a name, term, or phrase to begin a direct inquiry.

Heralded as a national model for urban encyclopedias when it was released in 1994, the publication now includes image-rich interactive content. David J. Bodenhamer, executive director of the Polis Center, directed the process of updating the encyclopedia. Now, the Indianapolis Public Library has assumed responsibility for the encyclopedia to ensure the ongoing updating of this valuable interactive resource.

The updated Encyclopedia of Indianapolis was created in partnership with The Polis Center, Indiana Historical Society, SAVI, University of Indianapolis, IUPUI University Library, Indiana State Library, The Indiana Historical Bureau, Indiana Landmarks, Butler University, Indiana Archives, and Indiana Humanities. Major funding for the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis was provided by Lilly Endowment Inc., Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, R.B. Annis Educational Foundation, The Indianapolis Foundation Library Fund, Nicholas H. Noyes, Jr. Memorial Foundation, M. Jacqueline Nytes, and an anonymous donor.

The Indianapolis Public Library Foundation is raising funds that will help the Library continue to expand and maintain the Encyclopedia of Indianapolis’ content and features. To give, text EOI to 317-967-9287.