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Black Middletown project records

Identifier: MSC-002

Scope and Contents

This collection contains completed survey forms and survey processing records (codebooks, cross tabulations, and frequency tables); correspondence, grant proposals, and other administrative and project planning records; newspaper clippings, research articles, and other reference material; and oral history interview audio recordings and transcripts from the Black Middletown research project ranging from 1968 to 1986.


  • Creation: 1968 - 1986

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research. Separated materials are restricted. Contact the repository for more information.

Conditions Governing Use

Ball State University Libraries make every reasonable effort to provide accurate information regarding the copyright status of materials held by Archives and Special Collections. Patrons may scan items or request a reproduction of one or more items in the collection; however, it is the responsibility of the patron to evaluate whether or not the intended use complies with copyright law.

In cases where the University holds copyright to collection materials, staff must grant written permission for most commercial uses of the collection. Staff will not grant permission in cases where copyright is owned by other individuals or organizations.

Historical Note

The Black Middletown project was conducted by Rutledge M. Dennis from Virginia Commonwealth University and Vivian V. Gordon from the University of Virginia between 1980 and 1982 as part of the Middletown III project funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. Officially titled "Black Middletown: A Community Study of Social Progress," the research project was designed to be a comprehensive study of Muncie, Indiana's African American community similar to and employing the same type of methodology used in the previous sociological studies of Muncie carried out by Robert and Helen Lynd in 1924-1925 (Middletown I) and 1935 (Middletown II). Though in 1925 nearly six percent of Muncie's population was comprised of African Americans, the African American community was entirely omitted from the Lynds' original studies. As explained in the project proposal, the Black Middletown project examined "contemporary Black Middletown by means of participant observation and survey research in order to describe and interpret the changes that have occurred in each major cultural sector and with respect to the changing patterns of stratification, cultural differentiation, and the relationship of Black Middletown to the surrounding community and the larger outside world."


6.5 Cubic Feet (13 boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Survey forms, 1981

Subseries 1.1: Women's surveys, 1981

Subseries 1.2: Men's surveys, 1981

Subseries 1.3: Survey cover sheets, 1981

Series 2: Administrative and project planning records, 1968-1985

Series 3: Coding, cross tabulation, and frequency records, 1978-1986

Series 4: Oral history audio recordings and transcripts, 1980

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Howard M. Bahr.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

MSC.001: Middletown III project records

MSC.027: Middletown IV project records

Processing Information

Finding aid created 2009/10/27 by Jennifer Morrill. EAD finding aid completed 2011/01/11 by Bethany Fiechter. EAD finding aid revised 2016/05/09 by Brandon Pieczko.

Black Middletown project records
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Middletown Studies Collection Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana USA