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General William Harrison Kemper papers

Identifier: S0769

Scope and Contents

This collection contains items related to General William Harrison Kemper's Civil War service including his army diary dated from April 22, 1861 to August 3, 1861, a list of volunteers from Decatur County, Indiana who enlisted in Company B, 7th Regiment Indiana Volunteers, Kemper's discharge certificate from the regiment dated August 2, 1861, Kemper's certificates of promotion to assistant surgeon from February, 1863, and his discharge from service certificate dated May 5,1863. Also included are photocopies of People's and Republican parties tickets for Indiana elections from 1854 to 1870, a letter from Oliver Wendell Holmes, dated July 31, 1887, a certificate of enrollment of Dr. Kemper as a member of the Volunteer Medical Service Corps, dated June 29, 1918, and miscellaneous newpaper clippings ranging from 1896 to 1917. There is also a photograph of a group including Dr. Kemper on a science trip hiking at Winona Lake on August 5, 1916.


  • 1854-1922


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

General William Harrison Kemper was born on December 16, 1839 in Rush County, Indiana to Arthur and Patience Kemper. On December 31, 1860 he began the study of medicine under Dr. John W. Moody in Greensburg, Indiana. At the start of the Civil War, Kemper enlisted as a private in Company B, 7th Regiment Indiana Volunteers for a three-month term of service. He re-enlisted in September, 1861 and was appointed hospital steward for the 17th Indiana Regiment. Kemper was promoted to assistant surgeon in February, 1863 and completed his service on July 27, 1864. He resumed his medical studies at the University of Michigan and the Long Island Hospital in Brooklyn, NY, graduating in June, 1865. Kemper set up his medical practice in Muncie, Indiana in August of 1865 and continued to practice medicine there for more than 50 years.

Dr. Kemper married Harriet Kemper (1844-1914) on August 15, 1865 and they had three children: Georgette (1867-1952), Arthur (1870-1957), and William (1877-1957). He was a member of the Grand Army of the Republic (G.A.R.) and the Military Order of the Loyal Legion of the United States. Kemper authored many articles and books on medical topics, including the title, A Medical History of Indiana. He died on September 26, 1927.


"Dr. General W. H. Kemper is Dead at 87." Muncie Evening Press. September 26, 1927. "Dr. General William Harrison Kemper." Find a Grave Index. Accessed 2015/12/17.

"Physician for Fifty Years." Greensburg Standard (IN). Accessed December 18, 2015.


0.02 Cubic Feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Dr. G.W.H Kemper on 1921/11/18 and Dr. Arthur T. Kemper on 1933/05/04.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Philip Williams on 1999/06/17 and by Laura Eliason on 2015/12/18. EAD finding aid created 2015/12/18 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid revised 2018/10/12 by Brittany Kropf.
General William Harrison Kemper papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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