Do you love a good picnic in one of Indiana’s many beautiful state parks? How about a hike through nature or a canoe trip down a creek? If you are the “outdoorsy” type who takes advantage of Indianapolis Parks regularly, then you have one man to thank: Richard Lieber. Learn about Richard Lieber and his family’s contributions to society in The Liebers: an Indianapolis Family at the Indiana State Library Wednesday May 5. This Indianapolis education event begins at 11:00 am Wednesday morning in Indianapolis downtown and is FREE to all Indianapolis people.
Richard Lieber was born in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1869. After completing his secondary education in London, England and mastering the English language, Lieber moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where two of his paternal uncles were living. After reaching the Hoosier state, he secured a job working for the Indiana Tribune. His position at the paper led to his meeting Emma Rappaport, the owner’s daughter, whom he eventually married. After the paper was sold, he started his own business. The freedom he acquired in America was intoxicating to Lieber, causing him to publicly forsake his German citizenship.
In 1900, Richard Lieber took a life changing tour of Yosemite National Park. Lieber was so enamoured by the majesty of America’s natural landscape that he soon became a leading proponent of conservation. His love of natural beauty in the United States increased after a six week tour of the Rocky Mountains in Idaho and Montana. With a new found sense of purpose, Lieber went as a delegate to conservation conference being held at Theodore Roosevelt’s White House. After this meeting, Lieber worked to make Indianapolis the site of the Fourth National Conservation Congress. With himself as chairman, Lieber’s status as a major figure in conservation was solidified. At that conference, Lieber gained a great ally in Woodrow Wilson, forming a partnership for American conservation.
In 1916, Lieber began his campaign to create Indiana state parks. That year he opened both McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run, without any state funding and with major financial support from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway as a private donor. His work over the years earned him the position of Forestry Board Secretary and title of Colonel Lieber. By 1933, he oversaw the creation of ten state parks and five state memorials, with hardly any state funding. Lieber had a special knack for motivating private donors for his cause. His life’s legacy remains in our state parks today. Lieber died in 1944, and his buried next to his wife Emma in Turkey Run State Park.
In addition to his work on the creation of state parks for Indiana, Lieber is a distant relative of famed author Kurt Vonnegut Jr. In fact Vonnegut named one of his children Edith after his mother Edith Lieber a great granddaughter of Richard Lieber. As the Lieber genes continued on in the Hoosier state, his family made many contributions to Indianapolis society. Whether through their support of Indianapolis museums or contributions to American literature, Richard Lieber’s family remains an important part of Indianapolis history.
Learn about this incredibly interesting family at the Indiana State Library in Indianapolis downtown on Wednesday, May 5. Manuscripts and Rare Books Collection Librarian Brent Abercrombie leads this educational and informative lecture on the legacy of the Lieber family. This Indianapolis event is FREE to all Indianapolis people.
After you attend The Liebers: an Indianapolis Family at the Indiana State Library, head to any of the many delicious Indianapolis restaurants or Indianapolis bars for lunch. Stay tuned to Indianapolis News, Events and Information on Fun City Finder.com for all the latest on fun things to do in Indianapolis. We cover Indianapolis arts to Indianapolis sports and everything in between. Get out in Indy and find some fun!
The Lieber: an Indianapolis Family
Wednesday, May 5 at 11: 00 am
Indiana State Library
315 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202