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Richard Lew Dawson papers

Identifier: L043

Scope and Contents

This collection contains the papers of Richard Lew Dawson ranging from 1857 to 1921, including: drafts of his larger poetry and essay collections; original handwritten stories, poems and music; editorials and newspaper columns written by Dawson; and advertisements and programs from his speaking engagements. Also included in the collection is a series of newspaper articles regarding the history of the modern calendar, together with Dawson's own homemade perpetual calendar. The correspondence includes letters from T. E. Dawson, Richard Lew Dawson's grandfather, to his parents during the Civil War. The bulk of the letters are to Dawson from correspondents such as J.W. Carr, Henry M. Buttes, Mary Rodifer Wilson, Barton Evermann, John D. Shelley and W. W. Grant. The Dawson family records include the grammar school attendance records for Lovinia Dawson; Methodist Episcopal Church quarterly tickets for Riley and Catherine Dawson, an obituary for T. E. Dawson and a handwritten copy of U.S. Grant's first field order during the U.S. Civil War.


  • 1857-1921


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

Richard Lew Dawson was born to Riley and Catherine Dawson on January 20, 1852 in Franklin County, Indiana. Dawson was a writer of humorous sketches and poetry and often gave his characters Hoosier dialects. His works appeared in popular newspaper and magazines, such as the Chicago Current, Saturday Herald, the Indianapolis Journal, the Indianapolis Sentinel, and Century Magazine. He was one of the founding members of the Western Association of Writers, formed in 1866. Dawson died April 23, 1921.


0.5 Cubic Feet (1 manuscript box, 1 half manuscript box)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Kitty Thompson Wirick in 1934, 1937, 1946.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

SP066: Richard Lew Dawson photographs

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Jennifer Duplaga in 2004. EAD finding aid revised 2024/05/16 by Brittany Kropf.
Richard Lew Dawson papers
Under Revision
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.