Skip to main content

James Eli Watson papers

Identifier: L237

Scope and Contents

The collection consists of school papers, speeches, correspondence, and other papers of James Eli Watson ranging from 1879 to 1913. Also included are a collection of U.S. and foreign stamps and a stamp album.

There are also oversize newspapers dated 1890-1913 (OBC032).


  • 1879-1913


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

James Eli Watson was born in Winchester, Randolph County, Indiana, on November 2, 1864. He graduated from DePauw University and was admitted to the bar in 1886. Watson practiced law in Winchester until 1893 when he moved to Rushville. He established a practice there with Gates Sexton. On December 12, 1893, Watson married Flora Miller with whom he had four children, Edwin, James, Catherine, and Joseph. He served as a U.S. congressman (1895-1897, 1899-1909) and a U.S. senator (1916-1933). He was the majority leader in the Senate from 1929 to 1933. Watson also served on a number of committees including the Committee on Woman Suffrage, Committee on Revision of the Laws, Committee on Enrolled Bills, Committee on Interstate Commerce, and the Republican Conference. After leaving the Senate, he continued to practice law in Washington, D.C. until his death on July 29, 1948. He was buried in Cedar Hill Cemetery in Suitland, Maryland.


United States Congress. "Watson, James Eli." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed November 2005.

Monks, Leander. Courts and Lawyers of Indiana. Indianapolis: Federal Publishing Co., 1916.

Reed, George Irving. Encyclopedia of Biography of Indiana, vol. I. Chicago: Century Publishing and Engraving Co., 1895.

Thompson, Donald Eugene. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1974.


0.66 Cubic Feet (2 manuscript boxes, 1 large oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

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


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2005 October by Christina Baich. EAD finding aid created 2005 October by Christina Baich. EAD finding aid revised 2015/11/24; 2021/10/18 by Lauren Patton.
James Eli Watson 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.