News From Terre Haute, Indiana


April 7, 2013

Hidden treasures: Laborers phased out by machines

TERRE HAUTE — Today’s historical treasure will intone to many people an early experience of practical labor. For others, this artifact might lack a contextual notion.

The corn-husking glove pictured was crafted in the 1890s by Henry D. Christy and donated to the Historical Society by his grandson, Otto B. Christy in 1958. Gloves of this sort are usually embedded with rounded metal nubs or spikes to protect the hands while “shucking” the corn—to harvest the corn from the husks—as well as in the process of detasseling or cross-pollinating the corn’s genetic material. During the harvesting season, this requires the husker to walk one-by-one along the cornstalk rows pulling off the husks which easily rubs the hands raw without a glove. Detasseling the corn requires pulling off the tassels on top of the stalk and dropping them to the ground to be fertilized.

The general mechanization of the United States following World War II ended much of the laborious need for cornhuskers, as well as many of the neighborly cohesion practices reinforced within rural communities. This cultural cohesion was expressed in the practice of festivals, husking parties, topical songs and husking competitions based on speed and technique.

The practical purposes of this glove after more than a century the focus may have shifted from the physical to the intellectual. The origin of large-scale civilizations in the western hemisphere can be traced to the domesticating of corn in historical unison with the beginning period of classical Greek civilization.

To the multiplicity of notions this artifact might engender is a verse of thought by the folklorist Harry Everett Smith, paraphrased as, “each movement of the hand constitutes a variant universe.”

Historical Treasure

• The Vigo County Historical Society’s museum is at 1411 S. Sixth St. Hours are 1 to 4 p.m. Tuesday through


Text Only | Photo Reprints
Latest News Poll
AP Video
Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Today in History for April 18th Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Raw: Massive 7.2 Earthquake Rocks Mexico Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Crew Criticized Over Handling of Ferry Disaster
NDN Video
Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station My name is Cocaine Lohan Gets Candid About Her Sex List The 2014 New York Auto Show Meet Johnny Manziel's New Girlfriend Chelsea Clinton Announces Pregnancy Funny: Celebrating Easter with Martha Stewart and Friends Man Accuses 'X-Men' Director Bryan Singer of Sexually Abusing Him As a Teenager Man hit with $525 federal fine after he doesn't pay for soda refill Lea Michele & Naya Rivera Feuding? Jabari Parker declares for the NBA draft Singing Nun Belts Out Cyndi Lauper New West, Texas Explosion Video Swim Daily, Throwback Thursday Don't Be A Tattletale: Bad Bullying Tips For Students The trillest thoughts on marijuana "RHOA" Star Charged With Battery Grizzly Bears Get Snowy Birthday Party Weatherman draws forecast when another technical glitch strikes WGN

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
  • -


    March 12, 2010