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Dorothy Gardner oral history

Identifier: OH114

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of a transcript and 2 reel-to-reel audiotapes from 3 interviews with Dorothy Gardner, conducted by Susan Bell of the Indiana State Library, on August 19, 1974 and February 16-17, 1977. Gardner discusses her experiences with the Indiana Woman’s Prison, as well as the changes she made to the prison and her various roles in the state government. She also discussed her family, mainly her children and grandchildren, visiting her at the prison.


  • 1974/08/19; 1977/02/16; 1977/02/17


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Rare Books and Manuscripts.

Biographical Note

Dorothy Haberstroh Gardner was born on June 8, 1892 in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania. She graduated from the General Hospital School of Nursing in Renovo, Pennsylvania. Gardner moved to Fort Wayne, Indiana, with her husband, Glen Pierce Gardner, who worked for the Pennsylvania Railroad Company. The couple had three children. Her husband died September 3, 1935. In 1937, Garner ran for the Allen County Clerk’s office and won. In 1947, she was elected to the Indiana State Senate where she served through 1957. She was a superintendent of the Indiana Woman’s Prison from 1959 to 1960. While there, she helped improve the lives of the 175 inmates under her care. Although Gardner never served as a nurse, she claimed that the training she received helped her in the prison. After her two years as the superintendent, she went on to serve two terms (four years) as the Indiana state auditor. Dorothy Gardner died September 14, 1977.

Sources: Social Security Death Index.” Accessed March 20, 2013. 1930 United States Federal Census. Accessed March 20, 2013. 1940 United States Federal Census. Accessed March 20, 2013.

Shepherd, Rebecca A. Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly, Vol. 2. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Bureau, 1984, pg.148.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 transcript, 2 reel-to-reel audiotapes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by format.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as part of the ISL Oral History Project in the 1970s.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Erica Sgroi during March 2013. EAD finding aid completed by Bethany Fiechter on 2019/07/03. EAD finding aid revised 2020/06/10 by Brittany Kropf.


Dorothy Gardner oral history
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.