From his key role in adopting the Australian ballot system in Indiana to his ultimately failed attempt at enacting a new state constitution, Jacob Piatt Dunn, Jr. did more than anyone to reduce fraud and ensure honest elections in Indiana.
Boomhower documents Dunn's merging of his careers in both politics and the study of history, becoming a political man of letters. He also examines the Hoosier historian's role in the revitalization of the Indiana Historical Society during the 1880s, his campaign to establish free public libraries throughout the state, his work to help enact a new city charter for Indianapolis, his devotion to preserving the language of the Miami Indians, and his lifelong commitment to ensuring the purity of the ballot box.
Born in Lawrenceburg, Indiana, on 12 April 1855, Dunn moved with his family to Indianapolis in 1861. He remained an Indianapolis resident until his death in 1924. During his life, Dunn was elected state librarian by the legislature in 1889 and 1891, served on the Indiana Public Library Commission for 20 years, and was Indianapolis city controller for two terms. His historical works include the books Massacres of the Mountains: History of the Indian Wars of the Far West (1886), Indiana: A Redemption from Slavery (1888), the two-volume Greater Indianapolis (1910), and his five-volume state history Indiana and Indianians (1919).