Skip to main content

William Hendricks portrait correspondence

 Collection — Folder: S0047
Identifier: S0047

Scope and Contents

The collection contains letters regarding the finding of pictures of William Hendricks and the possibility of having a portrait created by Edward L. Morse from a portrait of members of the House of Representatives by his father, Samuel F. B. Morse.


  • 1922, undated

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

William Hendricks was born on November 12, 1872, in Ligonier Valley, Westmoreland County, Pennsylvania. In 1813, Hendricks moved to Madison, Indiana Territory. He was elected to the territorial legislature in 1813 and 1814. He served as Secretary at Indiana’s 1816 Constitutional Convention. When Indiana became a state, Hendricks was elected to U.S. House of Representatives. He resigned during his fourth term to become Governor of Indiana. He held this post from 1822 until 1825 when he resigned to become a U.S. Senator. Hendricks served in the U.S. Senate from 1825 to 1837. After failing to win reelection, he returned to the practice of law in Madison, Indiana. He died on May 16, 1850.

Governor Conrad Baker began the task of collecting portraits of Indiana governors in 1869. He had difficulty obtaining a portrait of William Hendricks due to Hendricks’ reluctance to pose for artists. R. H. Buckley painted the first portrait of Hendricks in 1870. Three years later, Governor Thomas A. Hendricks, William’s nephew, had the portrait removed because he felt it was a poor likeness. For the next fifty years, there was no portrait of William Hendricks. In 1919, H. J. Gensler discovered William Hendricks among the U.S. Representatives portrayed in a painting by Samuel F. B. Morse. Hendricks, however, was so ill defined in the painting that finding someone to paint a portrait from the likeness was difficult. In 1925, thanks to the efforts of the Indiana Historical Bureau and U.S. Representative Merrill Moores, Samuel Burtis Baker was commissioned to create a portrait of William Hendricks based on the Morse painting. The resulting portrait is atypical of the other governors’ portraits because of its impressionistic quality.


Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. 3 Feb. 2006. .

Peat, Wilbur D. Portraits and Painters of the Governors of Indiana, 1800-1978. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society and Indianapolis Museum of Art, 1978.


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.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

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

S0636: William Hendricks letters and abstracts of titles

Processing Information

Collection processing and finding aid completed by Christina Baich during February 2006. Finding aid revised by Brittany Kropf on 2015/11/06. EAD finding aid completed by Bethany Fiechter on 2018/05/02.
William Hendricks portrait correspondence
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.