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Benjamin Harrison collection

Identifier: L063

Scope and Contents

The bulk of the collection consists of invoices and receipts for Benjamin Harrison’s personal and household expenses in Indianapolis, Indiana (1893-1897) and for expenses incurred in the construction of his Indianapolis home (1874-1875).

The correspondence includes Harrison’s letter (1896-1900) to his law partner, W. H. H. Miller, regarding Republican Party politics, Harrison’s work in the Venezuelan boundary dispute, investments, and family and personal matters; letters regarding a federal appointment for his son, Russell B. Harrison (1875-1881); letters and invitations relating to the Harrison’s social life in Washington, D.C. (1889-1893); copies of letters to Judge R. S. Taylor; and scattered letters regarding politics and Harrison’s writings. Other items include notebooks containing names and notes on political supporters (1881); campaign materials and programs from Harrison’s presidential campaign and inauguration (1888-1889); two articles written by Harrison about life in the White House (1897); biographical pamphlets printed during his presidential campaign and shortly after he was elected (1888-1889); and the “Catalogue of Library and Index to Vocal and Instrumental Music” by Lizzie S. Lord, Caroline Scott Harrison’s niece (1866).

The collection is organized into correspondence, speeches, other printed materials, and financial records. The correspondence, speeches, and financial records are organized chronologically as is each type of printed material.

There is also an oversize folder containing "The Presidents Home: Portraits of the Family and Biographical Sketches" booklet and Mortgage and Russell B. Harrison special passport, 1888-1889 (OB165).


  • 1852-1900


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

Benjamin Harrison was born on August 20, 1833, in North Bend, Ohio. His father, John Scott Harrison, was a U.S. Representative from Ohio, and his grandfather was William Henry Harrison, ninth President of the United States. Benjamin Harrison was raised in Ohio and attended Miami University (Oxford, Ohio). After graduating in 1852, Harrison studied law for two years at a Cincinnati law firm. In 1853, he married Caroline Scott with whom he had two children, Russell and Mary.

After a year of marriage, the Harrisons moved to Indianapolis, Indiana, where Benjamin Harrison established a law firm. In 1855, he joined the practice of William Wallace (father of Lew Wallace). He was elected Indianapolis City Attorney in 1857. He also served as reporter for the Indiana Supreme Court. In 1862, Oliver P. Morton asked Harrison to recruit men for the 70th Indiana Volunteers. Harrison served throughout the Civil War and reached the rank of Brigadier General. From 1874 to 1889, he was the law partner of William Henry Harrison Miller. Harrison was narrowly defeated in the 1876 gubernatorial election by James Williams. In 1879, he was appointed a member of the Mississippi River Commission. He served three terms as a U.S. Senator (1881-1887).

In 1888, he was elected President of the United States. Among his accomplishments were the first Pan American Congress and the Sherman Anti-Trust Act. Towards the end of his term, his wife Caroline died of tuberculosis. Harrison failed to win reelection in 1892, perhaps partially due to his distraction from the campaign when his wife died. After leaving office, he returned to Indianapolis and his law practice. In 1896, he married Caroline’s niece, Mary Lord Dimmick. He served as senior counsel for Venezuela in its boundary dispute with Great Britain before an arbitration tribunal in Paris (1899). He remained an active writer and lecturer until his death on March 13, 1901, of pneumonia.


University of Virginia. "Benjamin Harrison." Miller Center of Public Affairs. Accessed March 2, 2006.

United States Congress. "Harrison, Benjamin (1833-1901)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed March 2, 2006.

"Harrison Family." President Benjamin Harrison Home. Accessed March 2, 2006.


1.35 Cubic Feet (4 manuscript boxes, 1 medium oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts from multiple purchases.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Christina Baich during February 2006. Finding aid revised 2015/11/06 by Brittany Kropf; 2021/12/22 by Lauren Patton.
Benjamin Harrison 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.