(June 30, 1853-January 5, 1929). Evaline Holliday (née MacFarlane) was born in Baltimore in 1853 to Alexander Rieman (1814-1888) and Nancy Evaline MacFarlane (1822-1875). Her father and his brothers operated Rieman & Sons, successful wholesale grocers and commission merchants.

Evaline met John Hampden Holliday met while vacationing at the White Sulphur Springs resort in 1874. They married the next year. The Hollidays moved into their permanent home at 1121 North Meridian, where they raised seven children: John, Mary, Elizabeth, Alexander, Katherine, Lucia, and Evelyn. John Holliday had apprenticed for the Indianapolis Journal; in 1869 he founded the successful Indianapolis News. The couple became active in religious, social, and philanthropic circles. The Hollidays belonged to First Presbyterian Church during its peak prominence, when members included the Harrison, Lilly, and Wishard families.

Evaline Holliday participated in more than a dozen clubs and charities. She served as a trustee of the Flower Mission, Orphan Asylum (the Children’s Bureau Of Indianapolis) Christamore House, Church Women United, and the Mothers’ Aid Society. Her major work was as president of the Indianapolis Free Kindergarten (IFK), a position she held for 21 years (1899-1920), the longest tenure as president in the agency’s history. At its peak in the 1910s, the IFK operated 60 schools and volunteers made thousands of kindergarten and home visits annually.

By 1911, the IFK had secured an annual state tax appropriation to support its schools at a time when public-private partnerships were emerging. IFK formed the Teachers College to train kindergarten teachers, which became Butler University’s College of Education in 1930. In 1952, Indianapolis Public Schools incorporated free kindergartens into the public school system.

Evaline was an initial investor in the Propylaeum. She belonged to the prominent literary club, the Indianapolis Woman’s Club (IWC), for 50 years. Her IWC papers ranged from history to philosophy to philanthropy. She donated a bound IWC history to each member to commemorate the club’s golden anniversary. Keeping with IWC tradition, her daughter and granddaughter continued as members throughout their lives.

The Hollidays contributed to the Indiana (1916) and Indianapolis (1920) centennial celebrations (see Anniversary celebrations. In 1916 the Hollidays founded the Society of Indiana Pioneers. Also in honor of the centennials, the couple bequeathed their 80-acre summer estate to the city to form Holliday Park.

Revised July 2021

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