Saturday, September 17, 2016

A Visit to the General Lew Wallace (Author of Ben-Hur) Study & Museum

A few weeks ago, my husband and I traveled to Crawfordsville, Indiana, my husband's hometown. Crawfordsville is in the north central part of the state and the home of the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum. Wallace is the author of Ben-Hur, which was published in 1880, was the best-selling novel of the 19th century and the book has never gone out-of-print. There have been four movie versions, the latest released in theaters last month. The most memorable of these films may be the one produced in 1959 with Charlton Heston in the famous chariot race. An updated version of the book was released in July, written by Carol Wallace, the great-great-granddaughter of Lew Wallace.

Wallace was born in 1927 in Brookville, Indiana, but spent most of his early years in Covington. He moved to Crawfordsville in 1853, after his marriage to Susan Elston Wallace and the birth of their son, Henry Lane. He was an attorney, author, solider in the Mexican-American War and an officer in the Civil War. He was appointed United States Minister to Turkey by President Garfield. He was a diverse man. In addition to being an author of seven books, he was a painter, and a maker of violins. He built his study to write and create between 1895 and 1899.

There is also a building nearby called the carriage house, where you begin your tour and view a short video of Wallace’s life. You will also meet the staff, a great source of information and hospitality. They will escort you to the study for a tour.

Until November there is also an exhibit of The Golden Age of Indiana Literature. Some of the authors included, in addition to Wallace, are Booth Tarkington, Theodore Dreiser and Gene Stratton-Porter, to name a few.  

I highly recommend this visit if you are in the vicinity. Here is the website so you can explore more about Lew Wallace and Ben-Hur.