Vonnegut, Clemens, Sr., 1824-1906
Clemens Vonnegut, Sr. was one of the founders of the first Turner society in Indianapolis. He was also a founder and president of the Indianapolis Freethinker society. He served on the Board of Trustees of the Indianapolis Public Schools and helped get physical education added to the schools' curriculum. His sons Franklin and George served as national officers of the American Turners and served on the Board of Trustees of the Normal College of the American Gymnastic Union when it relocated to Indianapolis. Another son, Bernard, was a partner in the architectural firm of Vonnegur and Bohn and helped design the Athenaeum. Clemens is the great-grandfather of author Kurt Vonnegut, Jr.
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Overview The Athenaeum Turner organization was founded in 1851 as the Indianapolis Turngemeinde. This athletic and social organization was patterned on German clubs that had supported the 1848 revolutions that attempted to form Liberal republics in several European kingdoms. The men who established the Indianapolis Turngemeinde and the competing Indianapolis Socialistischer Turnverein (merged in 1852 to form the Indianapolis Socialistischer Turnegemiende) tried to create a community focus for the...