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Captain Alexander Lawrie Jr. collection

 Collection — Folder: S0813
Identifier: S0813

Scope and Contents

This collection contains Captain Alexander Lawrie's handwritten list of his 130 portraits of United States generals from the Civil War that were hanging in the library of the Indiana State Soldier's Home at Lafayette, Indiana (now West Lafayette). Lawrie notes that the generals were from both the regular and volunteer service and that 72 were from Indiana. Captain Lawrie also supplied a list of 25 portraits that he had not yet completed when he gave the document to the Indiana State Library on August 23, 1916.

The collection also includes a one page "Overview of the Lawrie Library Project" document that has a picture of the library, a brief description about its history, and notes that the Wabash Valley Trust for Historic Preservation was deeded the building by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources and the Trust had plans to renovate the building (circa 2007). The Lawrie Library building is located at the Indiana Veterans' Home in West Lafayette, Indiana.


  • 1916, 2007


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

Captain Alexander Lawrie Jr. was born on February 25, 1828 in New York City to Alexander and Sara Lawrie. His parents opposed his desire to become a painter and apprenticed him to a wood carver instead. However, by the end of his apprenticeship in 1852, he'd already begun studying painting and crayon portraiture. He attended the National Academy of Design (New York), the Philadelphia Academy of the Fine Arts and went to Europe to study in Paris, Florence, and Dusseldorf.

By 1860, all Captain Lawrie's immediate family had moved to Indiana, but he did not visit the Hoosier state until 1867. At the onset of the Civil War, Lawrie enlisted on April 18, 1861 for three months with the 17th Regiment, Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry as a private. On September 5, 1862, he re-enlisted as a captain with Company B, 121st Pennsylvania Volunteer Infantry and was honorably discharged from service on June 21, 1863. After the war, Lawrie enjoyed some early success with his art and had many of his paintings represented at the annual exhibition of the National Academy of Design. By 1878, his commissions had dwindled and he moved frequently trying to find a more profitable location. He lived for a time in Indiana in the 1880's, then again from 1895 to 1898 before being admitted to the State Soldiers' Home at Lafayette, Indiana on January 12, 1902. Captain Lawrie spent the rest of his life in Indiana and painted more than 160 portraits of United States generals before his death on February 15, 1917.


"Famous Artist-Soldier Dies at Lafayette Home." White County Democrat (Monticello, IN), February 23, 1917.

Gibbens, Victor E. "Alexander Lawrie, Painter." Indiana Magazine of History, March 1, 1944. Accessed March 6, 2017.


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 Alexander Lawrie on 1916/08/23.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Material

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the Indiana Collection, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

ISLI 920 S6275B: Biographical Sketches of Alexander Lawrie's Portrait Subjects on Display in the Lawrie Library at MacArthur Hall

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/03/07 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2017/03/07 by Laura Eliason.
Captain Alexander Lawrie Jr. collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

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