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Otis R. Bowen papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S1772

Scope and Contents

This collection contains documents related to Dr. Otis R. Bowen's time as governor of Indiana, including press releases, schedules, and photocopies of his proclamations for "School's Open Safety Week," "U.S. Space Program Week," Will Rogers Research Center Week," Captive Nations Week," and "Freedom of Enterprise Week" from July and August 1973. Other items in the collection include two election slate cards for the April 1974 United Auto Workers (U.A.W.) National Convention; a photocopy of the November 4, 1974 Indianapolis Star article, "Indian Protesters Ready for Seige"; a copy of his remarks made at the 150th anniversary of the Indiana State Library on February 11, 1975; an October 9, 1975 letter from Warren J. King of Warren King and Associates of Chicago, Illinois regarding the "Governor's Council on Cost Control" created at the request of Ohio Governor James A. Rhodes; and a program and cocktail napkin from Governor Bowen's January 10, 1977 inauguration.

This collection also includes a land grant certificate issued to a Jacob Huffman for property in Wabash County, Indiana on May 1, 1849 that was given to Governor Bowen by Bob Yoho for preservation at the Indiana State Library. A handwritten note by Bowen that was sent with the land grant to the State Library in September 1974 is housed with the certificate (OB155).

There is also an oversize portrait of Bowen (OBC194).


  • 1849; 1943-1946; 1973-1975


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

Otis R. "Doc" Bowen was born in Richland Center, Fulton County, Indiana to Vernie and Pearl Bowen. He received his bachelor's degree from Indiana University in 1939 and received his medical degree from the university's medical school in 1942. He served in the Pacific with the Army Medical Corps during World War II then returned to Indiana and began his private practice in Bremen. He was a member of the Republican Party and was elected coroner of Marshall County in 1952. He later served 14 years in the Indiana House of Representatives and was Speaker from 1967 to 1972. He was elected the 44th governor of Indiana in 1972 and served two consecutive terms from 1973 to 1981. In 1985, President Ronald Reagan appointed him U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services and he held this position until 1989. Governor Bowen passed away at the age of 95 on May 4, 2013.


Disis, Jill. "Bowen Served State and Nation: A Physician, Governor Became Health Secretary." Indianapolis Star (IN), May 6, 2013. "Otis R. 'Doc' Bowen." Find a Grave Memorial ID 110018880. Accessed June 40, 2021.

"Otis R. "Doc" Bowen: A Life of Service." Indianapolis Star (Ind.), May 6, 2013.


0.14 Cubic Feet (3 folders, 2 oversize folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Otis R. Bowen in 1974/09, 1975/02 and in 1977/09.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

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

OB155: Otis R. Bowen oversize collection

OBC194: Otis Bowen portrait

OH169: WIRE News, Otis Bowen interview

P004: Otis R. Bowen photograph collection

P061: Otis R. Bowen slides and film

SP111: Otis Bowen bust ceremony photographs

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 2006/12 by Julie Reid and Elizabeth Wilkinson and in 2014/03 by Edythe Huffman. EAD finding aid created 2021/06/07 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid revised 2021/10/13; 2021/11/17 by Lauren Patton.
Otis R. Bowen papers
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.