Muncie is a city in Center Township and the county seat of Delaware County in east central Indiana. As of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 70,085. It is the principal city of the Muncie, Indiana, Metropolitan Statistical Area, which has a population of 118,769.
Muncie is the home of Ball State University and the Ball Corporation (1888–1998) and the birthplace of the comic strip Garfield. Thanks to the Middletown studies first conducted in the 1920s, it is said to be one of the most studied U.S. cities of its size.
The area was first settled in the 1770s by the Lenape people, who had been transported from their tribal lands in the Mid-Atlantic region (all of New Jersey plus southeastern New York, eastern Pennsylvania, and northern Delaware) to Ohio and eastern Indiana. They founded several towns along the White River including Munsee Town (according to historical map of "The Indians" by Clark Ray), near the site of present-day Muncie.
In 1818, the tribes were forced to cede this land to the federal government and move farther west. The area was opened to white settlers two years later.
The city of Muncie was incorporated in 1865. Contrary to popular legend, the city is not named after a mythological Chief Munsee; it was actually named after Munsee Town, the white settlers' name for the Indian village on the site, "Munsee" meaning a member of the Lenape people or one of their languages.
Muncie was lightly disguised as "Middletown" by a team of sociologists, led by Robert and Helen Lynd, who were only the first to conduct a series of studies in Muncie; considered a typical Middle-American community; in their case, a study funded by the Rockefeller Institute of Social and Religious Research. In 1929, the Lynds published Middletown: A Study in Contemporary American Culture. They returned to re-observe the community during the Depression and published Middletown in Transition: A Study in Cultural Conflicts (1937). Later in the century, the National Science Foundation funded a third major study that resulted in two books by Theodore Caplow, Middletown Families (1982) and All Faithful People (1983). Caplow returned in 1998 to begin another study, Middletown IV, which became part of a PBS Documentary entitled "The First Measured Century," released in December 2000. The Ball State Center for Middletown Studies continues to survey and analyze social change in Muncie. An enormous database of the Middletown surveys conducted between 1978 and 1997 is available online from ARDA, American Religion Data Archive. Due to the extensive information collected from the Middletown studies over the last century, Muncie is said to be one of the most studied cities of its size in the United States.