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Sallie E. Coleman collection

 Collection — Folder: S1885
Identifier: S1885

Scope and Contents

This collection includes letters, invitations, postcards, and other documents of William and Sallie Coleman ranging from 1902 to 1927. The bulk of the correspondence is related to Mrs. Coleman's work with the Board of Lady Managers of the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. The collection also has a few items from Coleman's chauffeur, Henry Lewis, including a June 29, 1923 letter from the Western Oil Refining Co. and three purchaser's receipts from the Commercial Credit Trust for payments he made on a car in 1927.


  • 1902-1927


Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

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

Sallie E. Coleman was a well-known philanthropist in Indianapolis, Indiana. She was born in Louisville, Kentucky on January 13, 1860, the daughter of Michael and Susan (Duncan) Downing, and moved to Indianapolis, Indiana with her family when she was still a small child. She married Johh H. Vajen, Jr. in June, 1881 and they had one daughter, Suemma, before his death in 1884. She then married William Henry Coleman, a lumber industrialist, in May, 1889. She was active in a number of civic organizations and served on the Board of Lady Managers of the St. Louis Exposition of 1904. Sallie Coleman passed away at the age of 87 on August 30, 1947 and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery in Indianapolis.

Henry Lewis worked as the Colemans' chauffeur for 40 years. Born July 10, 1884 in Maysville, Kentucky, he moved to Indianapolis around 1907. Lewis passed away at the age of 75 on February 27, 1960.

Sources: "Mrs. Sallie E. Coleman." Indiana, Death Certificates, 1899-2011. Accessed July 6, 2020. "Sallie E. Downing." Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1800-1941. Accessed July 6, 2020. "Sallie D. Vajen." Indiana, Select Marriages Index, 1748-1993. Accessed July 6, 2020.

"Henry Lewis." Indianapolis News (Ind.), March 1, 1960.

"Funeral to Be Wednesday for Philanthropist, Civic Leader." Indianapolis News (Ind.), September 1, 1947.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)


This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


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:

P019: Coleman family photographs

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 1998 by Andrea Bean Hough. EAD finding aid created 2020/07/07 by Laura Eliason.
Sallie E. Coleman collection
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.