Skip to main content

Richard Owen collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S1036

Scope and Contents

This collection includes Richard Owen's fall geological survey notebook from 1859, photocopies of the December 22, 1860 administrator's sale notice for the Dr. David Dale Owen estate, and seven typewritten copies of letters written by Richard Owen to family members from 1860 to 1887 and transcribed and edited by William M. Hepburn in April, 1845. At the time of the transcription, the original letters were in the possession of the Purdue University Libraries.


  • 1859-1945


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

Richard Owen was born on January 6, 1810 at Braxfield House, Lanarkshire, Scotland. He moved with his brother, David Dale Owen (1807-1860), to New Harmony, Indiana in 1827. He surveyed the Northwest Territory with his brother and was the chair of Natural Science of the U.S. Military Academy for 9 years. In the late 1850's Owen returned to Indiana and began work on the Indiana Geological Survey. He was appointed Indiana State Geologist in 1860. He served as a lieutenant colonel with the 15th Indiana Volunteers and as colonel with the 60th Indiana Volunteers during the Civil War, most notably gaining a reputation for fair treatment of prisoners of war at Camp Morton in Indianapolis. After the war, he became a professor at Indiana University. He was elected the first president of Purdue University in 1872 and served until 1874. He returned to teach at Indiana University and then moved back to New Harmony after retiring. He passed away on March 24, 1890.

Source: "Richard Owen." Find a Grave Index. Accessed August 16, 2016.

"Richard Owen: Colonel of the 60th Indiana Volunteers." Indiana Department of Administration. Accessed August 12, 2016.


0.05 Cubic Feet (2 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Purdue University in 1945/05.


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:

L122: Robert Dale Owen collection S1714: David Dale Owen letter S3348: Robert Dale Owen correspondence

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2016/08/16 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2016/08/16 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid revised 2017/09/19 by Laura Eliason.
Richard Owen collection
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.