Great Map, Great Gift

In 1850, 4,658 families lived in Indiana County, many of them on the county’s 2,496 farms.

These farms produced more than 470,000 pounds of butter and 209,763 bushels of wheat. According to U.S. Census figures, the number of families in Indiana County in 2000 had increased to more than 34,000. Although the county’s population has grown and thousands have moved in and out during the last 150 years, an 1856 map on display in the Patrick J. Stapleton Library at IUP lists hundreds of landowners with family names still recognizable in the county. The map is the work of David Peelor, the county’s chief surveyor and draftsman from 1856 to 1859. Full of facts and beautifully illustrated, it was first displayed at the Indiana County Fair in 1856.

The Peelor Map

The Peelor map is a recent gift to IUP from David Johnson ’53 and Audrey Vogan Johnson ’52. David’s father found the map in an Indiana house he owned. Even though his friend Alex Stewart (Jimmy Stewart’s father) teased and cajoled, Ward Johnson refused to give him the map, instead storing it in his attic until the 1950s, when he gave it to David.

David put the map in his own attic, where it stayed in a cardboard tube for another forty years. Now, restored and framed, it is displayed for public view on the second floor of Stapleton Library.

David and Audrey Johnson have made IUP a philanthropic priority for their charitable gifts as well as the beneficiary of their volunteer time and expertise. David has served on IUP’s Council of Trustees for twenty-two years, and he and his wife have logged thousands of miles in travel from southeastern Pennsylvania to IUP football games, band concerts, alumni events, and trustees’ meetings. Intimately familiar with the university, they know the impact their own gifts and those of thousands of other alumni and friends can make on providing an extraordinary educational experience for the students here.

David Johnson was instrumental in developing the Safety Sciences program at IUP, and Sally B. Johnson Hall is named for his mother. The Johnsons’ children and several extended family members attended IUP. The choice to donate the map to IUP was a natural and easy one for the Johnsons to make. Phillip Zorich, Special Collections librarian, was delighted to find that, because the map had spent over a hundred years rolled in a tube in a dark attic, it was in excellent condition. Along with the map itself, the Johnsons provided the funds necessary to have it restored; the Peelor map at IUP is now the only one of its kind available for public viewing.

The library’s Special Collections originated in 1981 upon completion of the Patrick J. Stapleton Library building and houses the Pennsylvania Collection, the University’s Rare Book Collection, and the University Archives. The Special Collections supplement and support the research of faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students, as well as private scholars. They document the heritage of western Pennsylvania with many original documents. Much of the information can be accessed on line, and the articles and exhibits of the Special Collections can be accessed at www.lib.iup.edu/depts/speccol/exhibits/exhibits.html 

The gift of the Peelor map of Indiana County is a significant addition to the holdings at Stapleton Library and is one of many charitable contributions made in recent years. It is estimated that over the next half-dozen years the libraries at IUP will need at least $2 million in private gifts to supplement the state funds that have been directed for physical improvement and resource acquisition. The library of the future will look different as collections expand and technology facilitates scholarly research and collaboration. This means gathering not only comprehensive and stimulating collections but electronic resources as well. For more information on making a tax-deductible gift to the library, visit the website or contact Bonnie Juliette, director of Individual Giving, at 724-357-5555 or at iup-giving@iup.edu or the Foundation for IUP at 724-357-5661.

For a high-resolution image of the Peelor map, please visit www.lib.iup.edu/depts/speccol/map of Indiana/peelor map 300.jpg