Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Hovey mss., 1841-1927, consist of letters and papers of Alvin Peterson Hovey, 1821-1891, governor of Indiana, and correspondence of his daughter and Mrs. Deidre Dorothy (Duff) Johnson.

Career: born, September 6, 1821, near Mount Vernon, Indiana; father, Abiel Hovey, died 1823; mother, Mrs. Frances (Peterson) Hovey, died when Alvin Peterson Hovey was 15; November 27, 1847, admitted to Indiana bar having read law in the office of Judge John Pitcher; on November 24, 1844, married Mary Ann James, 1825-1863; commissioned first lieutenant, June 8, 1846, for service in the Mexican war; member of Indiana state constitutional convention, 1850; served as circuit judge of the 3rd and 4th Indiana Judicial Circuits, 1851-1854; member of the Indiana Supreme Court, 1854-1855; president of the Democratic State Convention, 1855; U.S. District Attorney for Indiana, 1856-1858; commissioned colonel of 24th regiment of Indiana Volunteers, August 14, 1861; commissioned brigadier general, April 30, 1862; commissioned brevet major general, July 9, 1864; in command of district of Indiana, 1864-1865; resigned October 7, 1865; married Rosalind Alice Smith, daughter of Caleb Smith, 1865; envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary to Peru, 1865-1870; returned to practice of law in Mount Vernon, Indiana, in 1870; elected as a Republican to the 50th Congress and served from March 4, 1887, to January 17, 1889, when he resigned; inaugurated governor of Indiana, January 1889 and served until his death, November 23, 1891; five children by his first wife, only two of whom lived to maturity, Esther, 1846-1915, who became the wife of Gustavus Vasa Mensies and Charles James, 1850-1926.

This collection consists of the papers preserved by Hovey's daughter, Mrs. Esther (Hovey) Menzies. Letters from Hovey to his first wife, Mrs. Mary Ann (James) Hovey constitute the greater part of the material from 1841 until her death on November 16, 1863. From 1850 to 1863, inclusive, they were written principally from the Indiana State Constitutional Convention, October 10, 1850-February 3, 1851, from towns on Hovey's judicial circuits, September 28, 1851-November 10, 1853; from Indianapolis, May 12, 1854- February 2, 1855, where Hovey was serving as judge of the state Supreme Court; from southern Indiana towns, July 8- September 30, 1858, where he was campaigning for Congress; and from the places at which he was stationed during the Civil War, these being mainly in Missouri and Tennessee. Included are letters, April 9 and 21, 1862, relating to the battle of Shiloh, and letters, April 13-July 4, 1863, concerning the siege of Vicksburg in both of which engagements Hovey took part. For the remainder of the Civil War period there are letters from Hovey to his daughter, Esther, from Tennessee and Georgia where he was in service.

Included also in the collection are some letters of Mrs. Mary Ann (James) Hovey to her husband; an undated autobiography of Hovey's early life, which has been published in the Indiana Magazine of History, XLVIII, pp. 80-84, March 1952; literary works of Hovey in manuscript and printed form, including both poetry and prose; speeches of Hovey; letters from prominent persons; judicial and military commissions issued to Hovey; Civil War military orders; and undated and unsigned history of the 24th regiment, Indiana Volunteers; letters from Esther Hovey in Lima, Peru, to Mary Leavenworth, Mount Vernon, Indiana, February 19, 1866, and August 8, 1868; letters and telegrams of condolence on the death of Hovey; correspondence, November 6, 1926-December 28, 1927, of Mrs. Deidre Dorothy (Duff) Johnson and John Eugene Iglehart concerning a proposed biography of Hovey; newspaper clippings and photographs.

Bound volumes in the collection include an undated list of names of men in Posey, Vanderburgh, Gibson, Pike, Perry, Warrick, and Spencer counties, Indiana, and five scrapbooks, September 26, 1854-October 11, 1858; July 1870-November 1886; January 9-July 11, 1891; January 10-October 16, 1891; and 1887-1892. The latter contains telegrams of congratulations on Hovey's election to governorship, 1888; letters and invitations to Hovey; telegrams, letters, and resolutions on his last illness and death, 1891-1892; printed broadsides, speeches, and poems of Hovey; newspaper clippings; photographs; programs; and calling cards.

The first box in the collection contains a "Key to Hovey material," by Mrs. Deidre Dorothy (Duff) Johnson and a folder of genealogical material on the Hovey family.

Correspondents represented in the collection include: Cyrus McCracken Allen, Adam Badeau, Albert Jeremiah Beveridge, Francis Preston Blair, Ira Joy Chase, Schuyler Colfax, Mariano Pio Cornejo, Samuel Ryan Curtis, John Dougherty Defrees, Charles Denby, Hamilton Fish, Ulysses Simpson Grant, Benjamin Harrison, James Hughes, Bowman Henry McCalla, Irvin McDowell, George Francis McGinnis, Edward Otho Cresap Ord, Peter Joseph Osterhaus, Mrs. Della (Mann) Owen, Horace Pestalozzi Owen, Robert Dale Owen, Mariano Ignacio Prado, Laura Ream, James Whitcomb Riley, William Henry Seward, William Tecumseh Sherman, James Richard Slack, Edwin McMasters Stanton, Edward Davis Townsend, John Palmer Usher, Daniel Wolsey Voorhees, Lewis Wallace, and Joseph Albert Wright.

Some of the material in the collection is in a folio folder.

Collection size: 707 items

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.