Lilly Library Manuscript Collections


The Woodburn mss. II, ca. 1911-1974, consist of letters and papers of the Woodburn family. The majority of the collection belongs to James Albert Woodburn, 1856-1943, and his son, James Gelston Woodburn, 1894-1980.

James Albert Woodburn, 1856-1943, was born in Bloomington, Indiana, and received his A.B. from Indiana University in 1876, his A.M. in 1885, and his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University in 1890. He taught in the public schools of Grayville, Illinois, and in the Preparatory Department of Indiana University before becoming Professor of American History at Indiana University in 1890, a position which he held until his retirement in 1924. Outside of his career as a historian, he worked to further efforts of the League of Nations by promoting their world peace programs.

James Gelston Woodburn, 1894-1980, was born in Bloomington, Indiana to James Albert Woodburn and Caroline Louise Gelston. He received college degrees from Indiana University and Purdue University before earning his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in 1929. Over the course of his career as a civil engineer, he held faculty positions at Wisconsin State College and the University of Wisconsin before serving as the chair of his department from 1949-1958.

Biographical and genealogical information on members of the Woodburn family may be found in James Albert Woodburn's Woodburn History: Some Generations of a Family, 1936. Keepsake letters and notes for James Albert Woodburn's fiftieth wedding anniversary to Caroline Louise Gelston are also included in the collection.

The collection is organized into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Ephemera; III. Legal Documents; IV. Personal; V. Professional; VI. Photographs; VII. Print Materials and VIII. Realia.

Correspondents include: W.G. Ballentine, Ward G. Biddle, Enoch Lowe Bryan, William Lowe Bryan, Wilson Chenoweth, H.M. Kenyon, Peyton C. March, David Randall, Austin Seward, Claude Halstead Van Tyne, and Herman B Wells.

An inventory is available.

Acquired: 2012

Related manuscripts: Woodburn mss.

Collection size: 750 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.