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Lucius Burrie Swift collection

Identifier: L155

Scope and Contents

This collection consists primarily of Lucius B. Swift’s correspondence from the period 1885-1908 relating to his work with federal civil service reform, including correspondence relating to the work of the National Civil Service Reform League; Swift’s publication of the Civil Service Chronicle; federal appointments in Indiana and elsewhere, and the work of the U.S. Civil Service Commission; and the role of reformers in state and national elections. Also included is correspondence regarding Swift’s involvement with progressive Republicans, particularly Theodore Roosevelt and Albert J. Beveridge; correspondence regarding his work in the campaign to prepare the United States for war with Germany (1914-1918), and reactions to his pamphlets: "Germans in America" (1915) and "America’s Debt to England" (1917); correspondence regarding tariff reform (1908-1912); papers regarding Citizens Gas Company and the Indianapolis Sanitary Commission (1920s); papers regarding his lecturing and writing on historical reform topics (1910s-1920s); his letters to his wife (1885-1916), primarily written from the east while he was attending reform and political meetings, including meetings with Theodore Roosevelt; his diaries written during a meeting of the National Civil Service Reform League (1889), during a meeting to discuss the creation of a reform political party (1892); on a trip to Massachusetts (1897); his journal (1875-1888), including notes on LaPorte, starting a law practice in Indianapolis, politics, and reminiscences of his Civil War experiences; and drafts of his letters and essays on reform and politics.

Correspondents include Albert J. Beveridge, Eliza A. Blaker, Charles J. Bonaparte, James H. Breasted, William Lowe Bryan, Edward Cary, French Ensor Chadwick, Edward P. Clark, George William Curtis, Richard Henry Dana, Dorman B. Eaton, Charles W. Fairbanks, William Farnum, William Fortune, John Watson Foster, William Dudley Foulke, James P. Goodrich, John K. Gowdy, Albert Bushnell Hart, William Dean Howells, Louis Howland, Charles Evans Hughes, Jules Jusserand, George Kennan, Henry S. Lea, Francis E. Leupp, Henry Cabot Lodge, Arthur O. Lovejoy, George W. McAneny, Franklin MacVeagh, W.H.H. Miller, Oliver T. Morton, Henry Raymond Mussey, Meredith Nicholson, Walter H. Page, William Potts, Edith Kermit Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, John C. Rose, Carl Schurz, Francis Lynde Stetson, Moorfield Storey, Mark Sullivan, Charles P. Taft, William Howard Taft, Frank William Taussig, Oswald Garrison Villard, James W. Wadsworth, William English Walling, Everett Wheeler, Charles R. Williams, Horace White, Wong Kai Kah, James A. Woodburn.


  • 1851-1931


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

Lucius B. Swift was a soldier in a New York regiment during the American Civil War. Swift graduated from the University of Michigan (1870) and became a principal and superintendent of schools in La Porte, LaPorte County, Indiana (1872-1879). He eventually moved to Indianapolis where he worked as a lawyer (1879-1929), and became a leader in civil service reform movement. Swift was also editor and publisher of Civil Service Chronicle (1889-1896), as well as member of board and officer of the National Civil Service Reform League (1880s to 1929). In addition, he also served as a trustee for Citizens Gas Company, Indianapolis (1905-1929), and member of 1st Sanitary Commission, Indianapolis (1917-1923). Swift authored two books, Germans in America (1915) and How We Got Our Liberties (1928).


1.3 Cubic Feet (4 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Mrs. Lucius Burrie (Ella Lyon) Swift in 1931-1932.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2011 October by Laura Williams. EAD finding aid created 2011 October by Laura Williams. EAD finding aid revised 2020/09/25 by Brittany Kropf.
Lucius Burrie Swift
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.