Skip to main content
Society of Indiana Pioneers logo

About the Society

The mission of The Society of Indiana Pioneers is to honor the memory and work of Indiana’s pioneers by cultivating the interest of current and future generations in the lives and accomplishments of Indiana’s frontier settlers.

By facilitating historical research by descendants of Indiana’s early setters and cooperating with organizations that share our goals of promoting the heritage of Indiana, the Society fosters an understanding of and appreciation for Indiana’s pioneers, including providing archives of ancestral information for the study of Indiana’s frontier legacy.

The Society has four classes of membership available to those persons interested in supporting these goals: Regular, Junior, Associate and Honorary. More information on becoming a member of The Society of Indiana Pioneers is available on the Membership page.

The Society works closely with the Indiana Historical Society, the Indiana Junior Historical Society, and other state and regional historical organizations. We’ve sponsored numerous events to educate our members and celebrate the rich Pioneer heritage of the state of Indiana. Society membership is about 1,000.

From the Society’s office at 140 North Senate Avenue in downtown Indianapolis, we strive to serve our membership and further the mission and goals of our organization, celebrating its 108th year in 2024.

Society of Indiana Pioneers logo

The Hoosier Gym in Knightstown, featured in the 1986 film "Hoosiers."

The Society of Indiana Pioneers was founded in 1916 to honor and preserve the legacies of those who helped lay the foundation of the state of Indiana. Becoming a member of the Society of Indiana Pioneers is a wonderful way to pay tribute to your pioneer ancestors, well known or not, to assure their contribution to Indiana’s growth is not forgotten.

If you trace your ancestry to a settler who lived in Indiana during its pioneer era, the documentation you provide for that settler during your membership application process becomes a permanent part of the Society’s genealogical archives — a unique source of information about Indiana’s pioneers!

If your ancestors didn’t settle in Indiana during the Pioneer time frame, or perhaps your only connection is that you’re a Hoosier at heart, consider joining us to dive deeper into the state’s pioneer era and learn more about the settlers who became the backbone of today’s Indiana.

Benefits of membership

You can learn much more about the Society of Indiana Pioneers in this short 14 minute video that covers our history, benefits, activities, and membership information.

Our Yearbook

The Year Book of the Society of Indiana Pioneers is issued annually to all members either as a hard copy or in a digital format (depending on the preference of each member) and is distributed to many libraries around the state and throughout the Midwest. It contains articles on the early history of Indiana, news about the Society, a current roster of members with brief notes on their pioneer ancestors, and a complete list of deceased members. Physical copies of past yearbooks are kept in our archives.

Our Newsletters

The Pioneer Times is the official newsletter of the Society that is published at least once a year. Information about upcoming and completed projects, pilgrimages, and other events are covered in each issue. New members are listed that have joined since the last newsletter.


The Society has a long tradition of sponsoring “Hoosier Heritage Pilgrimage” trips to historic sites in Indiana and adjoining states. These trips are arranged specifically for our group and include Society members and their family or friends. Past pilgrimages have included visits to Lincoln’s boyhood home, Indiana’s first state capital in Corydon, and Vincennes which served as the capital of the Indiana Territory from 1800 until 1813.

Reviews of and photos from the pilgrimages since 2000 are archived on the Society Event Archive page.

Supporting Education

The Society provides graduate fellowships annually for master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation research in the field of Indiana pioneer history. We also present the Society of Indiana Pioneers John H. Holliday Award to an outstanding junior historical society project in the state. We have recently added field trip grants to History and Indiana Studies classes in grades 4 thru 12 that would otherwise lack the means to travel.

Interested in becoming a member of the Society? Click this button for more details on membership requirements and procedures:

Tell me more about Society Membership
Society of Indiana Pioneers logo

Society members participating in the Connor House Pageant in 1935.

Founded in 1916.

Still going strong today.

In 1915, the Indiana General Assembly created the Indiana Historical Commission which led the planning, preparation and conduct of the celebration of Indiana’s Centennial. Local Centennial committees were organized throughout Indiana. John Hampden Holliday, publisher of The Indianapolis News, was the chairman of the Indianapolis committee.

Sometime during the weeks of Centennial celebration, Mr. Holliday came upon the notion of organizing a society composed of people who were descendants of the early settlers of Indiana, the pioneers who opened the State to civilization, thereafter discussing, promoting and planning it with family, friends and acquaintances. On September 15, 1916, Mr. Holliday and a considerable number of people met to hear the report of a planning committee and its presentation of a proposed constitution that was adopted by those attending. In a subsequent order of business Mr. Holliday was elected the first President, a position he held until his death in 1921.