Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Riley mss. III, 1876-1917, consist of correspondence and writings of James Whitcomb Riley, 1849-1916, poet from Greenfield, Indiana, who lived on Lockerbie Street in Indianapolis during his adult life. In the correspondence are letters from friends and fans, literary figures and editors, and from children. The letters from children are filed in a separate box. Among the writings are addresses and lectures, articles published in newspapers including the Buzz Club Papers from the Indianapolis Herald, poems, Child World, Mornin', poems by others in honor of Riley, and a group of poems once attributed to Riley but marked "not JWR's." Some of the poems are in a bound volume. Included also is a manuscript of a proposed book on James Whitcomb Riley by Edmund Henry Eitel, 1886-1960, author and nephew of Riley. Correspondents in the collection include Charles Adams, George Ade, Edward Jay Allen, Young Ewing Allison, John M. Anderson, Leonard P. Appleton, Irving Bachellor, Mrs. Katherine (Willard) Baldwin, Jens Christian Bay, Fairy Gertrude Beatty, Henry Augustin Beers, David Belasco, Arthur Fisher Bentley, George Augustus Bicknell, William Keeney Bixby, Mrs. Lilian Lida (Bell) Bogue, Edward William Bok, Mrs. Fanny (Butcher) Bokum, Scott Cardelle Bone, C.F. Bourke, Hjalmar Hjorth Boyesen, Anna Hempstead Branch, Alembert Winthrop Brayton, William P. Breen, Hilton Ultimus Brown, William Eugene Brown, William Lowe Bryan, Mrs. Carrie S. (Garrett) Brudette, Robert Jones Burdette, Mrs. Frances Eliza (Hodgson) Burnett, Richard Burton, Scot Butler, Nicholas Murray Butler, John Frederic Byers, Mrs. Sara Jane (Leyton- Walker) Cahier, Bliss Carman, Wallace Hugh Cathcart, Madison Julius Cawein, Joseph Mitchell Chapple, Joseph Chartrand, Hobart Chatfield Chatfield-Taylor, Howard Chandler Christy, Winston Churchill, John Cecil Clay, Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb, John Albert Cockerill, William Colby Cooper, Mrs. Ruth (Leclitner) Corey, George Bruce Cortelyou, Stanley Coulter, Eugene Chase Cowles, Edgar Dean Crumpacker, M.B. Culbertson, Will Cumback, Mrs. Isabel (Gordon) Curtis, John Jay Curtis, Marvin Dana, Josephus Daniels, Oliver Davie, Charles Gates Dawes, Mary Dean, Mrs. Katherine (Metzel) Debs, Theodore Debs, John Marcus Dickey, Nathan Haskell Dole, John Drew, John Thomas Dye, Edward Eggleston, Edmund Henry Eitel, Henry Eitel, Robert Erskine Ely, Charles Warren Fairbanks, Morris Marcus Feuerlicht, Roswell Martin Field, Mrs. Eleanor B. Floyd, Henry James Forman, Eugene Noble Foss, Daniel Chester French, Norman Rowland Gale, Hamlin Garland, Austin George, Leigh Robinson Gignilliat, Basil Lanneau Gildersleeve, Andrew W. Gillette, Leroy Albert Goddard, John Kennedy Gowdy, John Lewis Griffiths, George Richmond Grose, Frank Wakeley Gunsaulus, John Habberton, Arthur Twining Hadley, Hermann Hagedorn, Elijah Walker Halford, Hugh Henry Hanna, Joel Chandler Harris, William Ross Hartpence, George Brinton McClellan Harvey, Thomas Hastings, Myron Timothy Herrick, Alexander Hill, Ripley Hitchcock, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Rufus Hough, William Dean Howells, Hewitt Hanson Howland, Rupert Hughes, Walter Hurt, Charles Bacon Jackson, Maurice Johnson, Robert Underwood Johnson, Mrs. Annie (Fellows) Johnston, David Starr Jordan, General William Harrison Kemper, Calvin Noyes Kendall, John Worth Kern, Samuel Ellsworth Kiser, Marc Klaw, A.J. Knisely, Mary Hannah Krout, Franklin Knight Lane, Clara Elizabeth Laughlin, Albert Lee, Charles Little, John Uri Lloyd, Henry E. Lower, James MacArthur, Samuel Sidney McClure, Charles McCulloch, George Barr McCutcheon, John Tinney McCutcheon, Albert William Macy, Martin A. Marks, Thomas Riley Marshall, Edward Sanford Martin, Walt Mason, William Burdette Mathews, Lee D. Mathias, Constance Elizabeth Maud, Anita Metzger, Cincinnatus Heine Miller, DeWitt Miller, George Morey Miller, Jasper Miller, Donald Grant Mitchell, Mrs. Minnie Bell (Alexander) Mitchell, Silas Weir Mitchell, John Kearsley Mitchell, Nelson O. Nelson, Wilbur Dick Nesbit, Meredith Nicholson, Charles Henry Noble, Harriett Noble, Edwin Lee Norris, Mrs. Clara Frances (Smith) Nye, Edgar Wilson Nye, Mrs. Elizabeth Mitchell (Loring) Nye, Frank Wilson Nye, Walter K. Osborne, Walter Hines Page, Albert Bigelow Paine, Horatio William Parker, Harrietta E. Patton, Stanton Canfield Peelle, Bliss Perry, William Lyon Phelps, John James Piatt, Joseph Roland Piatt, Mrs. Lillian (Hoxie) Picken, Joseph Pulitzer, Herbert Quick, Mrs. Kate (Milner) Rabb, Samuel Moffett Ralston, Mrs. Hannah Roxana (Smythe) Ridpath, Mrs. Kate Douglass (Smith) Wiggin Riggs, Edward Riley, Julia (Wilson) Riley, Mrs. Martha C. Riley, William King Rogers, John Richie Schultz, Arthur Hawley Scribner, Ellery Sedgwick, Ernest Thompson Seton, Mrs. May (Wright) Sewall, Albert Shaw, Frank Dempster Sherman, Benjamin Franklin Shively, Otis Skinner, William Milligan Sloane, George C. Smith, Nora Archibald Smith, William Nicholas Selig, Lorenzo Sosso, John Philip Sousa, Joseph Lincoln Steffens, Harry Peyton Steger, Ward Stephens, Arthur Edward Stilwell, Melville Elijah Stone, Winthrop Ellsworth Stone, A.W. Stubbs, John Mohler Studebaker, Mark Sullivan, Booth Tarkington, Charles Lewis Taylor, Frederick Eugene Taylor, Augustus Thomas, Edith Matilda Thomas, George Thompson, E.F. Tibbott, James Eaton Towers, Ralph Waldo Trine, John Townsend Trowbridge, Henry Tyrrell, John William Vawter, William Henry Venable, James Randolph Walker, Lewis Wallace, John Wanamaker, David Warfield, Henry Watterson, Carolyn Wells, Andrew Dickson White, Stewart Edward White, William Allen White, Brand Whitlock, Albert Edward Wiggam, Marshall Pinckney Wilder, Erasmus Wilson, Robert Burns Wilson, Woodrow Wilson, Paul Wilstach, William Winter, Owen Wister, Irving Wood, George Edward Woodberry, James Albert Woodburn, Arthur Henry Young, and James Carleton Young.

The writings include Abe Martin; Acceptance speech for loving cup presented by citizens of Cincinnati, Ohio (draft); "Afterwhile,-as you've inferred" [first line of poem]; "Ah, Youth is fine, and Beauty fine" [first line of poem]; Albumania: Marion-County Man Homesick Abroad; All Alone; "All faiths are faith, all truths are true" [first line of poem]; Almost Beyond Endurance; America. O thou, America--Messiah of Nations!; The Amiable Old Sister; The Ancient Printerman; "And as the grateful West, in peace, or war" [first line of poem]; "And everybody with the grip'" [first line of poem]; "And gaily spangled days of shade and shine" [first line of poem]; "And I git my fancy focused on the past" [first line of poem]; "And it was resky in that den" [first line of poem]; Anna Harris Randall; Anuther Crostic; Apart; Art and Poetry; As "Clog-Step Johnny" Tells It; As Created (later draft); As my Uncle ust to say; "As One who spake the dead awake, with life-blood leaping warm" [first line of a fragment]; "As to our birthdays, let 'em run" [first line of poem]; An Assassin ("Cat-like he creeps along where ways are dim"); At Madame Manicure's; At Oakland, August 3, 1878; At Rev. McIntyre's; At the Talking and Mechanical Dolls' Reception; An Autumnal Extravaganza "With a sweeter voice than binds"; Babe Herrick (typescript); Babyhood (typescript); Bad Air; Badinage; Bald; Bear Family; Becalmed (typescript); The Bed (first draft); Billy and His Drum; Billy Could Ride (typescript); Billy's Alphabetical Animal Show; A Black Hills Episode; Blind: "His world, you fancy must be cold"; "Blue-Monday" at the Shoe Shop; The Boy Behind the Soda-Fount; The Boy Patriot; The Boys of the Old Glee Club; "The Brightest Star's the Modestest" [first line of poem]; Bryant; Bub Says; Bud Writes Some Rhymes; A Bully Boy in Blue; Cassander; The Chamber Over the Gate; A Character ("Swallowed up in gulfs of tho't"); The Child-Heart; Child's Christmas Carol; A Child's Home Long Ago; The Christmas Long Ago; Chuck's Hoodoos; The Clover (typescript); "Come turanting form midst of men" [first line of poem]; Consolation; Cousin Rufus' Story; Craqueodoom; Curly Locks (typescript); Das Krist Kindel; Dead in Sight of Fame; The Dead Leader; "Dear Old Gran and J. Jackman" [first line of a fragment]; Death is Dead; Dedication speech for Herron Art Institute (drafts); "Deep in the shadows of the past my memory falls" [first line of poem]; Defeat; Delilah (typescript); "Didst ever meet a Sun dog on thy path?" [first line of poem]; The Diners in the Kitchen; The Dismal Fate of--Tit; A Ditty of No Tone; A Diverted Tragedy; Doc says: "Let classic ages bei..." [first line of poem]; Doc Sifers; Dr. James Newton Matthews.--Whaur is He?; The Doctrine of Total Depravity; "Dory Ann--A friend of mine," [first line of poem]; Dot Leedle Poy of Mine; A Dream of Autumn [fifth stanza only with first line, "Now no more the sunbeam twinkles"]; A Dream of Long Ago; A Dubious "Old Kriss" (early draft-incomplete); The Earthquake; An Easy Shave; Ebb--Tide; Edgar Lee Maines; Ef Uncle Remus Please Ter 'Scusen Me; Elizabeth ("O noble, true and pure and lovable"); Elmer Brown; The Enthused Banshee (early draft); Extremes; False and True; Father William; A Feel in the Chris'mas Air; Figure and Fact; Find the Favorite; Finis (typescript); Fool- Youngens; For--The True Poet. Wilbur D. Nesbit; Friday Afternoon (early version of stanzas 6, 7, 10); From a Car Window (copy); From the Bastile; Gastronemy; The Gathering of the Clans; General Lew Wallace; Gherkins; "Gitt and gew-gaw-- spangled bands" [first line of poem]; Glimpse ("O but a flash of some inward light") [first line of poem]; Goldie Goodwin; Gone A-Fishing ("Love's gay 'good-byes!'"); Good-by, Old Year (typescript); Grandpa's Choice; Granny (typescript); The Green Grass of Owld Ireland; A Gustatory Memory; Harlie; Has She Forgotten (typescript); The Harp of the Minstrel; He and I; Henry Irving (draft); Her Lonsomeness; Her Poet-Brother; Her Smile and Cheer and Voice of Song; The Highest Good (typescript); The Hired Man Says; The Hired Man's Dog Story; His First Womern; "Ho! ho! how our old hearts shall rake" [first line of poem]; A Hobo Vocabulary; The Homestead; Honey Dripping From the Comb; The Hoosier in Exile; Hot (typescript); "How did you rest, last night?" [first line of poem]; "How doth the little busy 'comp'" [first line of poem], (typescript); Humbert Gammerding; A Hymn of Faith (typescript); "I can but underthank you: [first line of poem]; I' Got to Face Mother Today!; "I ist only want my Ma!" (fragment); I Should Smile (typescript); "I want to say some gentle thing" [first line of poem], (typescript); Illileo (typescript); An Impromptu Fairy Tale; An Impromptu on Roller Skates (typescript); In Days to Come (typescript); In "Smithses Settlement" (typescript); In the Corridor (typescript); In the Heart of June; In the Kindergarten of Noble Song; "In the old days 'ats past and gone" [first line of poem]; In the South (typescript); Independence Bell (typescript); Indiana; An Invocation; The Iron Pup (typescript); "Is it but the night-time-blind-black an' still" [first line of poem]; The Jaybird; Jim (typescript); "Jim Dumps he testifies" [first line of poem]; Job Work (typescript); John Boyle O'Reilly (typescript); John Clark Ridpath (typescript); John Golliher's Third Womern (typescript); John Milton (typescript); John Walsh (typescript); Johnson's Boy (typescript); The Jolly Miller (typescript); Josh Billings (typescript); Just a Fiddler (typescript); Kate Kennedy Philips (typescript); Katydids; The Kind Old Man (typescript); Kingry's Mill (typescript); Kismet ("I will know the worst"), (typescript); Kismet ("Our fortunes! O we need not waste"), (typescript); Kith and Kin; Kneeling with Herrick (typescript); Lawyer and Child (typescript); Lee O Harris--Christmas 1909; Leedle Dutch Baby (typescript); L'Envoy--Snow in the Air (typescript); Leoloony (typescript); A Letter to a Child's Mother (typescript); Liberty (early draft); Lincoln--The Boy; Lines Penned on a Pianola; The Lisper; "Listen, as the shepherds then" [first line of poem]; Little Dick and the Clock; The Little Girl at the Toll Gate; The Little Red Ribbon (typescript); A Local Politician From Away Back (typescript); Longfellow--O gentlest Kinsman of humanity; Longellow--Let us rejoice with thee (typescript); Lord Bacon (typescript); The Loveliness; The Lovely Husband; Lusus Naturae; Luther A. Todd (typescript); The Mad Love (typescript); Make Home Attractive (typescript); Mal Meller; The Man; A Masque of the Seasons; May Blossoms; Memorial--Nellie M. Cooley; "Mine--but a pipe half-cleared of pith ..." [first line of poem]; "Miss Medairy Dory-Ann" [first line of poem]; A Mockery (typescript); Mona Machree; A Mood (typescript); Morning ("A dark-eyed Gipsy maiden, with dim look"), (typescript); Morning ("Breath O' Morning--Breath o' May"); Mother; "Music, music with glad heart throbs" [first line of poem]; My Bachelor Chum (typescript); My Bride That Is To Be (early draft); My Conscience (typescript); My Father's Halls (typescript); "My Grandfather, taking his socks off at night" [first line of poem]; My Topic Wiles (typescript); New Year's Nursery Jingle (typescript); "Next to my nearest friend or kin" [first line of poem]; Nicholas Oberting; Night--"Fold me away in your arms" (typescript); No Boy Knows (early draft); The Noble Old Elm; Now We Can Sleep, Mother (typescript); "'O Father mine: e'en as Thine own" [first line of poem], (typescript); O. Henry; "O there was an old poet named John" [first line of poem], (typescript); "O, what strange tragedy is this of mine" [first line of poem], (typescript); O What Strange Tragedy (printed); Of the Whole World, Mine (typescript); Old Bob White; The Old Cabin (portion of a Child's Home Long Ago), (typescript); The Old Days; Old Granny Dusk (typescript with holograph corrections); Old Indiany (typescript); "Old Man Mumblety: he can't talk" [first line of poem]; Old October (typescript); The Old Retired Sea Captain (typescript); An Old Settler's Prelude (typescript); The Old Swimmin'-hole and 'leven more poems; also Neghborly Poems on Friendship, Grief and Farm-life, by Benj. F. Johnson, of Boone (printer's copy for book published in 1891); On Reading Eugene Ware's "Old Kansas Veteran" (typescript); On Reading Dr. Henry Van Dyke's Volume of Poems--Music; One Angel (typescript); One of Uncle Sidney's Stories; Only (typescript); Only a Dream (typescript); Only a Love Letter (typescript); Only the Riddles--The Answers Not Yet Made; Orlie Wilde; Our Betsy; Our Chosen Hero (typescript); "Our common friend and fellow is not here:" [first line of poem]; Our Dancin' Days; Our Fortunes (typescript); Our Little Girl (fragment and a typescript); Ours (three drafts); Out of Nazareth (typescript); Out of Reach; "Pa thinks he's a philosopher" [first line of poem]; Paint Shop Chanson; "Pass the butter gently, Mabel" [first line of poem], (typescript); The Passing of a Zephyr (early draft); Peace Hymn of the Republic; A Pet of Uncle Sidney's (typescript); "Pictures creep" [first line of poem], (typescript); Plantation Hymn (typescript); The Poet to the Palmist; The Poetry Man; Police Poetry (typescript); Pomona; The Poor Student; A Portrait; Post Cards--"When Dory Ann once came out West"; Preston Hamilton Cawein; Proem; The Quest of the Fathers (draft, incomplete); Rabbit; The Raggedy Man (typescript); The Raggedy Man Observing (typescript); The Rambo Tree; A Random Shot; The Rest--V.K. Naturalist; A Rhapsody (typescript); The Rossville Lectur' Course (typescript); Saidie Sue's Serenade; The Same Old Story (typescript); Santa Claus (typescript); The Schoolboy's Favorite; Scraps; Sence John Was Here; September Park (typescript); "The serious humorist; the blithe divine" [first line of poem]; The Silent Victors; A Simple Recipe; Since My Mother Died (typescript); Sing [second stanza of A Song of Singing], (printed); Sing On; "Sing, ransomed ones! ..." [first line of poem], (typescript); Sis Rapalye; The "Smooth" Young Man (typescript); The Soldier ("The Soldier!-meek the title, yet divine:" [first line of poem]); Some Christmas Youngsters: The Strngth of the Weak; Some Songs After the Master-Singers; Something; Something Good (typescript); Song (typescript); Song ("Linger, my Lady! Lady Lily-fair"), (typescript); A Song for Christmas (typescript); Song--For November; Song No. 1 ("My true-love is a handsome wight"), (typescript); A Song of Singing; The Song of the Lonely Gnome (printed); Song of Parting (early draft); A Sonnet ("I lay my head down in the lap of night"), (typescript); Sonnet--To the Cricket (typescript); Speech for the New England Society; A Spring Song and a Later (early draft); Stanzas for a New Song (typescript); A Sudden Shower (typescript); Summer's Return (typescript); Suppressed Puns--"O, where shall the hum of the Bumble be?" (typescript); Sutter's Claim (typescript); Symptoms; Tague Farrell (typescript); A Tale of the Airly Days (typescript); "Tears" ("I put the poem by--someway"), (typescript); The Telling of Love (typescript); A Test (typescript); A Test of Love (typescript); The Text (typescript); Thanksgiving Day at Hunchley's (typescript); "That-air old sayin' of the poet's pen" [first line of poem]; Them Old Cheery Words; "There are many places that lure us" [first line of poem]; Thinkin' Back; "This Dear Child-Hearted Woman That is Dead"; Thomas the Pretender; The Thoughts of Youth; Three Dead Friends (typescript); Three Sonnets to Autumn; Time (later draft), (typescript); Tiptoe Up; To a Jilted Swain (typescript); To A Poet--On His Marriage (later draft); To a Real Triller from an Old Troller; To a Western Singer--James Newton Matthews; To Almon Keefer (typescript); To an Old Chum; To C.H.P. (typescript); To Edmund Clarence Stedman; To Elizabeth ("O noble, true and pure and loveable"), (typescript); To Frank L. Stanton (typescript); To Hewitt Hanson Howland (typescript); To Joel Chandler Harris; To Leonainie (typescript); To Lesley (typescript); To Lizzie Harris (typescript); To My Brother John A. Riley (typescript); To My Fellows and My Foes and My Good Master; To Old Age--Greeting; To the Bard (typescript); To the Boy With a Country (typescript); To the Mother (typescript); To Will S. Otwell (typescript); A Toy Balloon; "Tradin' Joe" (typescript); The Treasure of the Wise Man; True to People and conditions (typescript); The Twins: "Igo and Ago"; Two Poets Break Loose (typescript); Two Sonnets to the June Bug (typescript); An Unexpected Result (typescript); "Uncle Bob's Boy" (typescript); Up and Down Old Brandywine; An Utterly Indifferent Spring and Summer Song; Voices of the Night (typescript); Wait for the Morning (typescript); Want to Be Whur Mother Is (typescript); The War-cry of Billy and Buddy; Wash Lowry's Reminiscence (typescript); We Are Not Always Glad When We Smile (typescript); We Must Believe (four drafts); We've Got 'em On the List; The Weather (typescript); What! (typescript); What Little Saul Got, Christmas; What Smith Knew About Farming (typescript); What Title?; When Evening Shadows Fall; "When has us little American boys" [first line of poem]; "'When I,' said The Raggedy Man, 'was a lad'" [first line of poem]; When It Rains (typescript); When the Booze is in the Bottle; When the Hearse Comes Back (typescript); When the World Bu'sts Through (typescript); When Uncle Doc Was Young; When We First Played Show; "When we're children and can make" [first line of poem]; Which Ane? (typescript); "Why do we always talk too loud to a blind man" [first line of poem]; William McKinley (two drafts); The Willow (typescript); With a Child Book (typescript); A Wrangdillion; "Wunst Th' Raggedy Man he maked me a beard" [first line of poem], (early draft); Yesterday (typescript); Ye Scholar (typescript); You Didn't Go to do It!; The Young Old Man; Youth and Age.

Also see the Guide to the Collections: James Whitcomb Riley

Collection size: 2,624 items

Related manuscripts: Riley mss., Riley mss. II, Riley mss. IV, Riley mss. V, Riley mss. VI

For more information about this collection and any related materials contact the Public Services Department, Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN 47405. Call (812) 855-2452 or send an email using our Ask a Question form.