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Jacob Piatt Dunn collection

Identifier: L047

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of Jacob Piatt Dunn’s papers relating to his research on Native Americans in the state of Indiana, ranging from 1773 to 1865. Of particular importance is his English-Miami Indian dictionary on index cards (since photocopied), and stories and texts collected from Miami Indians (1906–1916). In addition to his research on the Miami people, the collection also contains letters from Chippewa Indian ministers in northern Minnesota to Rev. J. A. Gilfillan with translations (1880s–1890), a copy of the Peoria-French dictionary in the John Carter Brown Library in Providence, Rhode Island, and his various research notes in preparation of his book, True Indian Stories.

There are also oversize materials dated 1805-1865 (OB046) and Caroline Dunn's Native American comparative vocabularies originals, undated (OBC009), as well as Jacob Piatt Dunn's notebook, circa 1824-1865 (V046).


  • 1773-1865


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

Jacob Piatt Dunn, born April 12, 1855, was an Indianapolis attorney (1876–1879, 1884–1888), prospector, and journalist in Colorado (1879–1884). Aside from his law work, Dunn wrote for the Indianapolis Sentinel and other local papers (1889–1904). He also served the Indiana State Librarian from 1889 to 1893. Dunn had a strong interest in history and authored several historical books. He died June 6, 1924 at the age of 69.


4.2 Cubic Feet (7 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 3 index card boxes, 1 small oversized box, 3 oversize folders, 1 volume)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from the Dunn family on 1931/07/17, 1938/05/09 and during 1942 March.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digital reproductions are available electronically via the Myaamia Center at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio:

Related Materials

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

OBC009: Caroline Dunn, Native American comparative vocabularies originals

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Elizabeth Wilkinson during September 2007. Finding aid revised by Brent Abercrombie during March 2012. EAD finding aid revised 2021/09/02; 2021/10/15 by Lauren Patton; 2024/05/16 by Brittany Kropf.
Jacob Piatt Dunn collection
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.