Collection ID: LMC 2649
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Collection context


Wissing, Douglas A.
The Wissing mss., 1994-2016, consist of the papers of Indiana University alumnus and Bloomington-based journalist Douglas Wissing. The collection includes his freelance articles as well as several book projects, including two books on US aid to Afghanistan.
45 Boxes
English .
Preferred citation:

[Item], Wissing mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana


Biographical / Historical:

Douglas A. Wissing, b. 1949, is a journalist and writer based in Bloomington, Indiana. He received his B.A. in History and Political Science from Indiana University in 1971. From 1975 to 1995 he was president of Western Sun, a firm in Bloomington providing design, copywriting, advertising, and printing services. In 1995, after his two sons graduated from college, Wissing sold his company and spent a year traveling Asia and Europe. Upon returning, Wissing shifted his attention to freelance writing for magazines, chiefly articles about travel and Indiana history, and to a new company, Art Resource Consultants, which deals ethnic antiquities. He is the author of several books, including Pioneer in Tibet (2004), Indiana: One Pint at a Time (2010), and Crown Hill: History, Spirit, and Sanctuary (2013). His reporting for WFIU Bloomington on National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams (ADTs) from Indiana and other Midwestern states grew into two books on the US War in Afghanistan, Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban (2012) and Hopeless But Optimistic: Journeying Through America's Endless War in Afghanistan (2016).

Scope and Content:

The articles series consists of Wissing's drafts, queries, correspondence, and research for freelance articles, arranged chronologically and then by publication. Topics include travel writing, reviews of art exhibits and tourist attractions, and Indiana history. Two larger topics have been pulled out as subseries: Edd Bodkin and Brazil.

In 1999, Edd Bodkin was arrested for performing 5 orchiectomies without a medical license in his Huntington, IN home. Wissing profiled Bodkin and the "cutter" phenomenon in a 1999 article for Conde Nast's Details.

In 2002 Wissing married Flávia Bastos, a Brazilian native who completed her PhD in art education at Indiana University in 1999. Wissing visited Brazil in 1998, 2001, and 2003 and wrote travel articles about the experience for publications like National Geographic Traveler and Travel & Leisure.

The books series consists of Wissing's drafts and research for each of his books. The series is arranged chronologically by project. The series starts with proposals for two guidebook projects, Adventure Travel (1998) and Whistling in the Graveyard (2000), neither of which found a publisher.

Pioneer in Tibet (published 2004) is about Hoosier missionary and doctor Albert Shelton, who served as an intermediary between the Chinese and Tibetans and as an interpreter of Tibetan culture to the West. Materials in this series include drafts of the book, as well as photographs from Wissing's trip to Tibet.

Indiana: One Pint At A Time (2010) provides a historical overview of beer in Indiana and a guide to current Indiana breweries. Crown Hill: History, Spirit, Sanctuary (2013) is a guide to the Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis. Both books were published by the Indiana Historical Society.

In 2010 WFIU Bloomington aired Wissing's reporting on National Guard Agribusiness Development Teams (ADTs) from Indiana and other Midwestern states. These teams served in Afghanistan as part of the United States' counterinsurgency strategy of "winning hearts and minds" (WHAM). The Funding the Enemy subseries includes scripts of the WFIU "Cultivating Afghanistan" radio series; an exhibit, "Indiana in Afghanistan," that was shown at Indiana University's Lilly Library and other Indiana universities; and drafts of the book Funding the Enemy: How US Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban (published 2012). Also included in the subseries are Wissing's notes from embedding with the ADTs in Afghanistan twice in 2009, as well as his research on the US War in Afghanistan, which largely consists of printouts of newspaper articles, scholarly articles, and government reports.

Hopeless But Optimistic: Journeying Through America's Endless War in Afghanistan (published 2016) builds upon Wissing's work in Funding the Enemy. The subseries includes Wissing's notes from a third embed in Afghanistan in 2013, as well as further interviews and secondary research.

The photographs series contains prints and slides from Wissing's travels, especially in Brazil and Tibet, as well as photographs used in his freelance articles.

The audiovisual series includes CDs, DVDs, floppy disks, cassette tapes, a VHS tape, and an external hard drive. Much of the material is related to Wissing's Afghanistan radio stories. Also significant is his recorded interview with Edd Bodkin on cassette tape.

Acquisition information:
Gift: 2006, 2016

This collection is arranged into the following series: I. Personal, II. Articles, III. Books, IV. Photos, and V. Audiovisual.

Within each series, materials are arranged chronologically.

Physical location:
ALF (Auxiliary Library Facility)



This collection is open for research.

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[Item], Wissing mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Indiana University Bloomington
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Bloomington, Indiana 47405-5500, USA
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