Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Ralston, S.M. mss., 1868-1928, are the papers of Samuel Moffett Ralston, 1857-1925, Indiana Governor and U.S. Senator. Career: Born Dec. 1, 1857, on farm near New Cumberland, Tuscarawas County, Ohio; son of John and Sarah (Scott) Ralston; in 1865 or 1866 parents moved to Owen County, Indiana; in 1873 panic lost farm and removed to Rontanent, Indiana, and mined coal; later returned to Owen County; December 26, 1881, married Mary Josephine Backous who died within year; for seven years taught school during winter months and attended school during summer months; spent one term at Northern Indiana Normal School at Valparaiso, then transferred to Central Indiana Normal School, Danville, Indiana, graduating from scientific course on August 1, 1884; read law in office of Robinson & Fowler, Spencer, Indiana, and admitted to bar of the Owen County Circuit Court, January 1, 1886; 1886-1913 practiced law at Lebanon, Indiana; in 1888 defeated for State Senate; December 30, 1889, married Jennie Craven, the mother of his two sons, Emmet and Julian, and one daughter, Ruth; 1896 and 1898 unsuccessful Democratic nominee for Indiana Secretary of State; 1913-1917 Democratic governor of Indiana; 1917 resumed law practice in Indianapolis; elected to U.S. Senate in 1922; February 13, 1924, made his maiden speech on the Mellon Tax Plan; in 1924 ordered name withdrawn as candidate for Democratic nominee for president; died October 14, 1925. The manuscripts consist of letters from and to prominent political figures, friends, members of the family, constituents, and speeches of Ralston. The bulk of the material covers the gubernatorial and senatorial period. Some of the more important subjects include Indianapolis Traction and Terminal Company Strike, 1913; Indiana Centennial Commission; Indiana National Guard; Mexican Border difficulties, 1916; Fish and Game situation in northern Indiana, 1913-1915; Blue Sky Laws; federal and state elections; corrupt election practices; building of Dixie Highway; Indiana benevolent, charitable, correctional, and penal institutions; Indiana state universities and teachers colleges; Negro education in Indiana; requests for a constitutional convention, 1916; purchase of Turkey Run State Park, 1916; Freeman Corner Commission; Riley Day Proclamations; Mrs. Sarah (Lincoln) Grigsby Monument; Mrs. Nancy (Hanks) Lincoln Grave; Publication of Territorial Papers; Mellon Tax Plan; Isle of Pines Treaty.

Among the correspondents were George Ade, Mrs. Albion (Fellows) Bacon, Newton Diehl Baker, Henry A Barnhart, Claude Gernade Bowers, John Lewis Bretz, Charles Wayland Bryan, William Jennings Bryan, William Lowe Bryan, Amos William Butler, Nicholas Murray Butler, Mrs. Grace Giddings (Julian) Clarke, Cyrus Cline, Calvin Coolidge, John O'Hara Cosgrave, James Middleton Cox, William Elijah Cox, William Allen Cullop, Sumner Archibald Cummingham, Charles Curtis, Josephus Daniels, Elmer Holmes Davis, John William Davis, John Marcus Dickey, Jacob Piatt Dunn, Winfield Taylor Durbin, Edward Charles Elliott, William Eastin English, Logan Esarey, Charles Warren Fairbanks, William Dudley Foulke, James Putnam Goodrich, George Richmond Grose, James Frank Hanly, Norman Hapgood, Will Harrison Hays, William Banfill Hord, Edward Mandell House, Timoth Edward Howard, Frank McKinney Hubbard, Charles Evans Hughes, Cordell Hull, Benjamin Bates Johnson, George Washington Julian, John Worth Kern, Richard Lieber, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Henry Cabot Lodge, Theodore James Louden, William Gibbs McAdoo, Warren T. McCray, John Tinney McCutheon, Paul Vories McNutt, Mrs. Luella Frances (Smith) McWhirter, Mrs. Lois I. (Kimsey) Marshall, Thomas Riley Marshall, Claude Matthews, Andrew William Mellon, Gustavus Vasa Menzies, Winston Menzies, Sherman Minton, Maurice P. Murphy, Harry Stewart New, Meredith Nicholson, Horace Pestalozzi Owen, William Wood Parsons, John Joseph Pershing, Mrs. Gene (Stratton) Porter, Julian Craven Ralston, William C. Redfield, James Whitcomb Riley, John Cruden Robinson, Henry Frederick Schricker, Benjamin Franklin Shively, Mrs. Mary (Maxwell) Shryer, Alfred Emanuel Smith, John B. Stoll, Harlan Fiske Stone, Winthrop Ellsworth Stone, Joseph Swain, Lucius Burrie Swift, William Howard Taft, Thomas Taggart, Thomas Douglas Taggart, Joseph Patrick Tumulty, David Turpie, Daniel Wolsey Voorhees, Henry Agard Wallace, James Eli Watson, Henry Watterson, Jesse William Weik, Henry Lane Wilson, Woodrow Wilson, James Albert Woodburn, Orville Wright, Thomas Alfred Wynn.

The collection also includes a letter copybook, 1888-1893; scrapbooks, unmounted newspaper clippings; printed speeches by Ralston; pamphlets and leaflets relating to Ralston, his homes, members of his family, and other persons.

There is a folio folder of manuscripts, printed and photographic materials.

Collection size: 20,000 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.