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“There is…a poetic quality about such a college. Its poetry is in its past.”

-President Byron Trippet in his inaugural address of October 13, 1956

About

The Robert T. Ramsay, Jr. Archival Center provides a climate-controlled environment for the preservation of records of the college, related materials that document its history, and special collections. The Reading Room is custom designed to accommodate individual research and student seminars. The primary purpose of the Center is to serve the archival needs of Wabash College, but researchers are welcome.

Reading Room Hours

When Classes are in Session
Monday-Friday:
9:00 a.m.- noon & 1:00 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Break & Summer Hours
Monday-Friday:
9:00 a.m.- noon & 1:00 p.m.- 3:00 p.m.

Visitors are encouraged to call (765.631.6378) and confirm hours before traveling to campus.

Collections

The Robert T. Ramsay, Jr. Archival Center houses both archival and special collections; the most extensive are listed below.

  • The Archives of Wabash College. Materials that predate our founding in 1832 and that document the life of the College up to the present day. Including college publications from all eras.
  • Tuttle Miscellany, over 100 bound volumes of 19th century pamphlets, speeches, sermons, college publications, including rare items.
  • Oral History Project, tapes with transcripts that record the Black experience at Wabash and in Crawfordsville during the turbulent years of integration in American higher education.
  • Dewitt O'Kieffe Collection, 900 volumes of early western Americana, including rare early imprints, first editions, and fine bindings.
  • Byron Price Collection, 119 signed first editions by authors prominent primarily in the first half of the twentieth century.
  • Ellington-Busard Collection of 78 r.p.m. recordings of Duke Ellington's bands between 1926 and the late 1940s, with an additional 300 recordings of other bands of that era. Includes band memorabilia.
  • Dave Gerard Cartoon Collection documenting the making of nationally syndicated strips, "Citizen Smith" and "Willyum," from original sketches to printing plates.
  • First editions of books and other formats that have been published by Wabash College alumni, faculty, and staff.
  • Government documents and British and American bound periodicals from the 19th century.
  • Rare books and fine bindings, a small collection.

Services and Staff

Researchers are welcome to use the Archives in person or may request information via e-mail or by phone. Because of limited staffing, we do not conduct extensive research for users, but do assist researchers to identify and access appropriate sources for their research.

Archives and Special Collections do not circulate. A photocopier is available for public use in the Reading Room and charges are minimal.

 

Please direct all inquiries to:

Beth Swift

Archivist of the College
Lilly Library
Wabash College
PO Box 352
Crawfordsville, IN 47933-0352
Phone: 765-361-6378
E-mail: swiftb@wabash.edu
Instagram: @WallysAttic

 

 Digital Collections

                         

Archives blog: Dear Old Wabash

A blog by Beth Swift which features a collection of entries from 2008 to the present-day covering campus history, faculty biographies, alumni stories, and hundreds of photos.

 

Chapin Letters Collection

Letters from the Chapin family written primarily during the Civil War. Lucius and his brother Elisha Chapin served in the Indiana 4th Cavalry unit. This collection also provides glimpses of life at Wabash College in the 1850s. In all, four Chapin brothers attended Wabash – Lucius, Johnathan, Elisha and Henry. This collection consists of 336 pieces of correspondence primarily to and from Lucius Chapin, Jonathan Chapin and Alice Chapin. All letters are scanned, and transcripts provided. This collection is served via the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana [PALNI] as part of an initiative to highlight rare or hidden collections.

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Civil Rights and Prohibition Archives Exhibits

These online exhibits were developed by Wabash College students and created in the online platform Omeka as part of their political science coursework using materials from the Ramsay Archives.

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Historic Images

Scanned photographs of campus scenes, professors and a select number of students. This collection is served via the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) as part of an initiative to highlight member institutions’ collections.

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Hovey Letters

The Hovey Letters Collection consists of nearly 400 letters written between 1822 and 1876 that document the life of Edmund O. Hovey as student, Presbyterian minister, and educator. They also provide accounts of events in the early history of Wabash College, pioneer life in frontier Indiana, Presbyterian thought and missionary activity, the personal concerns of early 19th century Americans, and the Hovey family history.

Most of the letters were written to or from Edmund O. Hovey and his wife Mary Carter Hovey, who came to Indiana from Vermont in 1831. Hovey, a Presbyterian missionary, was a founder of Wabash College and served as a trustee and faculty member for over fifty years until his death in 1877. The correspondents include relatives, friends, other trustees of the College, ministerial colleagues, Wabash students and alumni, and others.

This collection is served via the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) as part of an initiative to highlight member institutions’ collections.

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Hovey Scrapbook

The Hovey Scrapbook is a collection of Ephemera related to the earliest decades of Wabash College. It was assembled by Edmund O. Hovey, a founder and the first professor of the sciences at Wabash, and consists of letters, memoranda, annual catalogues, programs of College events, and newspaper clippings covering the period from 1832 to 1876. Hovey used much of this material in writing his 1849 History of Wabash College.

After his death in 1877, his children, Horace and Mary F. Hovey, presented the scrapbook as a gift to the College. Due to the age and fragility of the paper not every document has been reproduced in full. This collection is served via the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) as part of an initiative to highlight member institutions’ collections.

National Horse Thief Detective Association Collection

This collection consists of materials pertaining to the National Horse Thief Detective Association held by the Robert T. Ramsay Jr. Archival Center at Wabash College. Includes proceedings of twenty-six annual NHTDA meetings held between 1878 and 1932, complete minutes of meetings and ledgers of the Waynetown Detective Company from 1866 to 1934, as well as constitutions, by-laws, and articles of association of local chapters, miscellaneous documents, personal accounts, letters, newspaper articles, two essays on NHTDA and vigilantism in Indiana, and other related items.

This collection is served via the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) as part of an initiative to highlight member institutions’ collections.

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The Wabash College Catalogues

The Wabash College Catalogues collection comprises the annual academic bulletins of the College from 1833 to 1889. Catalogues from this period contain descriptions of the courses of study offered, annual listings of officers, faculty and students, and other information for prospective students. The names of faculty members and surnames of all students are indexed for searching.

The images were scanned from the bound issues of the Catalogue held in the Robert T. Ramsay, Jr. Archival Center at Wabash College. The collection also includes a commemorative volume published on the occasion of the semi-centennial of Wabash College containing papers and speeches on the history and development of the College presented at events preceding the 1882 commencement exercises.

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Three Years in the Saddle

Three Years in the Saddle is a diary of the Civil War service of Henry Campbell, a Montgomery County native and alumnus of Wabash College. Campbell’s father was, for several years, a Trustee of the institution. This diary came to Wabash following Campbell’s death in 1915.

The Henry Campbell diary, Three Years in the Saddle, is an important narrative of the Civil War covering, primarily, the activities of Eli Lilly’s 18th Indiana Battery. Lilly’s artillery was under the command of Colonel John T. Wilder, an innovative thinker who mounted his infantry and equipped his men with the Spencer Repeating Rifle. This brigade came to be known as “Wilder’s Lightning Brigade” and was highly effective in combat.

This digital version of Three Years in the Saddle is provided by Wabash College and Crawfordsville District Public Library in hopes of increasing its use in scholarly research while protecting the original documents from regular handling. This collection is served via the Private Academic Library Network of Indiana (PALNI) as part of an initiative to highlight member institutions’ collections.

Lilly Library is a founding member of PALNI, ALI, and The Oberlin Group


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301 W Wabash Avenue
Crawfordsville, IN 47933
(765) 361-6100