Skip to main content

James Elmore collection

 Collection — Folder: S2135
Identifier: S2135

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence regarding the authorship of “Sassafras,” a poem first published in the Crawfordsville Journal and attributed to James Elmore. Elmore denied authorship and it was later believed to have been written as a joke by Jesse A. Greene, editor of the Crawfordsville Journal. The collection includes typewritten copies of letters written in April 1945 by Caroline Dunn, Indiana Historical Society librarian; Louella D. Everett, associate editor ofBartlett's Familiar Quotations; and Frederic W. Bales, day editor of the Journal Review (Crawfordsville). The collection also includes two original documents: a May 3, 1945 letter from William Randel at the University of Minnesota to the editor of the Indianapolis News, and an April 9, 1955 letter sent by Wayne Guthrie of the Indianapolis News to Miss Nellie M. Coats at the Indiana State Library.


  • 1945-1955


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 Buchanan Elmore was born January 25, 1857 on the family farm near Alamo in Ripley Township, Montgomery County, Indiana, the son of Mattias and Mary Ann (Willis) Elmore. After graduating from the Alamo Academy, he taught school for twenty years and spent his summers farming. He married Mary Ann Murray on February 14, 1880 and they had 5 children, with two sons and a daughter living to adulthood. Referred to as "The Bard of Alamo," he wrote poems for newspapers in Crawfordsville and Indianapolis and published several books of poetry. He died at the age of 85 on March 12, 1942.


Banta, R. E., comp. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1816-1916. Crawfordsville, Ind.: Wabash College, 1949.

History of Montgomery County, Indiana: With Personal Sketches of Representative Citizens, Vol II. Indianapolis: A.S. Bowen and Company, 1913.


0.01 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged chronologically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a records transfer from the Indiana State Library correspondence file.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed in 1998 by Philip N. Williams. EAD finding aid created 2021/01/14 by Laura Eliason.
James Elmore 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.