John Garvey

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ruth Ann Alexander


Today the name "Hoosier" can be applied to anybody living in or coming from the state of Indiana. Many Americans first hear it as the name of Indiana University's athletic teams; tourists become familiar with the "Hoosier State" nickname which appears on interstate highway signs, travel brochures and maps. Because of the popularity ofc Kurt Vonnegut’s books in recent years, many of us have first learned the term in his work. Others think of it as a name for the landscape of James Whitcomb Riley's verse. And there are still alive some older folk among us who, like students of the local color and realist movements of American literature, know the term as the title of The Hoosier Schoolmaster. Written in 1871 and set in 1850, Edward Eggleston's first novel was only the beginning of his fictional an historical accounts of the early settlers on the north side of the Ohio River. There are several versions of how these settlers came to be called Hoosiers, none of which suggest that it began as a synonym or adjective for Indiana. The Hoosiers described in the novels of Edward Eggleston lived in the southern wildernesses of three states--Ohio, Indiana and Illinois--and eventually sent a surplus population northward into Wisconsin and Minnesota. By the end of the nineteenth century, "Hoosier" ranked with "Yankee" as "the sobriquet most famous as applied to the people of a particular division of the country.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Eggleston, Edward, 1837-1902



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University