Indianapolis Motor Speedway and IUPUI library bring racing history to life online

IUPUI Library

INDIANAPOLIS — The Indianapolis Motor Speedway has a rich history that has shaped the culture of Indiana as well as the worlds of sports and racing.
A new digital collection made possible by the collaboration of the motorsports organization and the University Library at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis captures that history through more than 14,000 images.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Collection features highlights from the Speedway’s 100-plus years with photographs taken from 1879 to 1997. The photographs can be viewed online due to an ambitious digitization project, funded by grants from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services and administered by the Indiana State Library.

Some of the highlights include the very first public event at the Speedway, the 1909 U.S. National Balloon Championship. That helium-filled-balloon competition took place at the Speedway more than two months before the oval was completed. Other historic moments represented in the collection are the 1909 motorcycle race, dominated by “Cannon Ball” Baker, and the first Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in 1911.

This online collection will allow users from across the world to explore the storied past of the iconic Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Users can browse the collection by searching for drivers by name or searching for particular races by year.

The Indianapolis Motor Speedway Collection is one of more than 60 online collections created by the IUPUI University Library and its community partners. These unique online repositories, containing digital images of historic documents and objects, were created with the help of local organizations such as the Conner Prairie Interactive History Park, in nearby Fishers, and the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper.

Located at 755 W. Michigan Ave. in the heart of the IUPUI campus, the University Library is a public library, serving nearly 1 million visitors a year, 10 percent of them community users. University Library supports students and faculty across all of IUPUI’s more than 200 degree programs with research expertise and a wide array of resources. Any resident of Indiana is eligible for an IUPUI University Library card.

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