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Edgar Apperson papers

 Collection — Folder: S031
Identifier: S0031

Scope and Contents

This collection includes materials ranging from 1928 to 1955 concerning Edgar "Ed" and Elmer Apperson and Apperson cars from Kokomo, Indiana, including typed articles from the South Bend Tribune on June 24, 1928, a mimeographed copy of the article "Ed Apperson and the Horseless Carriage" by Robert E. Pinkerton in True Magazine, March 1952, and a souvenir ticket for the dedication of Apperson Way in Kokomo on October 20-22, 1955.


  • 1928-1955

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

Edgar "Ed" Landon Apperson was born on October 3, 1869 in Howard County, Indiana, the son of Elbert S. and Anne Eliza Landon Apperson. He was the youngest of three brothers, including Oscar and Elmer. They were cousins of Phoebe Apperson Hearst, mother of William Randolph Hearst and great-grandsons of Daniel Boone. Ed was a hunting enthusiast and owned a long rifle made for his grandfather in 1811. He played on the Kokomo Elks baseball team into his 30s and was also a car racer.

At the age of 24, he and his brother Elmer, along with Elwood Haynes, put a gasoline powered marine engine onto a buggy and created one of the world’s first “horseless carriages" for Elwood Haynes. Edgar drove that car on its trial run July 4, 1894 near Kokomo, Indiana. The car is now in the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.

On May 24, 1898, the Haynes-Apperson Automobile Company was created. The first year, the small company sold nearly a dozen automobiles, without advertising. In 1901, the Apperson brothers created their own company, the Apperson Brothers Automobile Company, producing 14,000 to 16,000 cars a year. The most successful model was the “Jack Rabbit” cars, developed in 1908. The brothers sold the company in 1924.

Apperson retired in 1933 and moved to Phoenix, Arizona. In 1946, he was installed as a charter member of the auto industry's Hall of Fame in Detroit, Michigan. In 1955, Apperson returned to Kokomo for the dedication of Apperson Way. He died on May 12, 1959 and was buried in the Greenwood Memory Lawn Cemetery, Phoenix, Arizona.


Information found within the collection. "Apperson, Edgar." 1880 United States Federal Census. Retrieved 2015/08/05. "Apperson, Edgar." Find a Grave Index. Retrieved 2015/08/05.

Indiana State Library. "Apperson, Edgar Landon." Indiana Biography Index Before 1990. Retrieved 2015/08/05.

"Ex-Hoosier Builder of First Auto Dies." Indianapolis News, May 15, 1959, p. 27, c.5.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Mary Landon on 1967/11.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2004/11 by Jennifer Duplaga. EAD finding aid created 2015/08/05 by Edythe Huffman.
Edgar Apperson papers
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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