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Otis R. Bowen photograph collection

Identifier: P004

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographs and film negatives from Otis R. Bowen in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from 1945 to 1980, mainly regarding his time as governor of Indiana. The images depict him fulfilling his executive duties, including swearing in ceremonies for judicial and political appointees, the presentation of awards and proclamations, bill signings, and dedications of highways, buildings, and institutions. Other photographs show award ceremonies, Republican Party functions, and political and community events. There are also a few photographs from his political career prior to election as governor.

Occaisional clippings, receipts, correspondence, memos, and other papers accompany some photographs.


  • 1945-1980


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

Otis Ray "Doc" Bowen was born to Vernie and Pearl (Wright) Bowen on February 26, 1918 near Rochester, Indiana. He attended public schools in Fulton County, Indiana and went on to earn A.B. (1939) and M.D. (1942) degrees from Indiana University. Bowen married Elizabeth "Beth" Ann Steinmann (1918-1981) on February 25, 1939 and they had four children: Richard "Rick", Judith "Judy", Timothy "Tim", and Robert "Rob". He served as a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army Medical Corps during World War II, before discharging with the rank of captain. In 1952, Bowen was elected as coroner of Marshall County. Later, he served 14 years as a Republican member of the Indiana House of Representatives (1956-1958; 1960-1972). Bowen was elected as the 42nd governor of Indiana in 1972 and was relected in 1976. As governor, he worked to reform the state tax system, raising sales and other taxes in order to reduce property taxes. Beth Bowen died of a long-term illness in January, 1981 just before he left office.

That same year, Bowen went on to become the clinical professor of family medicine at Indiana University Medical School. Several months later, he married Rose May (Crothers) Hochstetler (1923-1992) in September 26, 1981. In 1985, Bowen was appointed as the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services in President Reagan's cabinet before he retired to Bremen, Indiana in 1989. After his wife Rose died in 1992, he married Carol L. (Hahn) Mikesell in February 3, 1993. He died on May 4, 2013 at a nursing home in Donaldson, Indiana and was buried in Bremen Municipal Cemetery in Bremen.

Sources: "Otis R. Bowen." 1930 United States Federal Census. Accessed September 10, 2021. "Otis R. Bowen." 1940 United States Federal Census. Accessed September 10, 2021. "Otis R. Bowen." Indiana, U.S., Marriages, 1810-2001. Accessed September 10, 2021. "Otis R. Bowen." Indiana, U.S., Marriage Certificates, 1960-2005. Accessed September 10, 2021. "Otis R. Bowen." U.S., Marriage Index, 1800s-1999. Accessed September 10, 2021. "Otis R. 'Doc' Bowen." Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed September 10, 2021.

Indiana Historical Bureau. "Otis R. Bowen." Accessed September 10, 2021.

Yardley, William. "Otis R. Bowen, Governor and Health Secretary, Dies at 95." New York Times, May 7, 2013. Accessed September 10, 2021.


2.3 Cubic Feet (7 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Otis Bowen political photographs, 1949-1980, undated

Subseries 1.1: Event photographs, 1949, 1971-1980 Subseries 1.2: Gubernatorial duties photographs, 1973-1979, undated

Series 2: Portrait photographs, 1945-circa 1980

Series 3: Miscellaneous photographs, 1949-circa 1980

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


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:

P061: Otis R. Bowen slides and film

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2004 by Amy C. Belcher. Finding aid revised December 2006 by Julie Reid and Elizabeth Wilkinson. Collection processing completed 2021/09/14 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2021/09/14 by Brittany Kropf.
Otis R. Bowen photograph 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.