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Indiana State Prison collection

 Collection — Folder: S2137
Identifier: S2137

Scope and Contents

This collection includes a typewritten transcription of entries from the minute book of the Board of Control for the Indiana State Prison from March 1859 to June 1860 regarding the history of the prison at Michigan City; two copies of a document about the wardens who served the prison from 1822 to 1933 (circa 1930s); and a copy of the address by Alfred F. Dowd, warden of the Indiana State Prison, before the American Prison Association General Session on October 12, 1944.


  • 1859-1944


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.

Historical Note

The first Indiana State Prison was built in Jeffersonville, Clark County in 1822. On March 5, 1859, the Indiana legislature passed an act to provide for the erection of a new prison north of the National Road. Almost every county seat in northern Indiana was visited and Michigan City was finally agreed upon by Governor Willard and the board on March 1, 1860. Land was purchased from Chauncey B. Blair for $4,500. Lyman Blair's pork house was rented and enclosed to house the prisoners who were to be transferred from Jeffersonville to work on clearing the land for the construction of the prison. Charles W. Seely served as the first warden of the Michigan City facility. To date, 33 men have served as warden, including Alfred F. Dowd who held the position from 1938 to 1945 and again from 1949 to 1953.


Information found within collection.

"Alfred Dowd was State Prison Warden." Indianapolis News (Ind.), March 25, 1981.

Indiana Department of Correction. "Indiana State Prison: Facility History." Accessed January 14, 2021.

"Some Early History." Goshen Democrat (Ind.), December 26, 1894.


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 donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/01/14 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2021/01/14 by Laura Eliason.
Indiana State Prison 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.