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James Whitcomb Riley letter

Identifier: S2167

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a June 28, 1895 letter written by James Whitcomb Riley on Denison Hotel stationary and sent to Paul Trevor Payne of Wabash, Indiana regarding a job at the Bowen-Merrill Co. in Indianapolis. Payne was a nephew of Riley's sister, Mary Elizabeth Riley Payne. The envelope, also from the Denison, was addressed by Riley and includes his initials. One other item, an envelope from the Bowen-Merrill Co. postmarked June 20, 1895, was also sent to Paul Payne at Wabash and has a mirror image of Riley's signature in the upper left-hand corner and "Have You Read His Books?" printed below the signature.


  • 1895/06


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 Whitcomb Riley, the “Hoosier Poet,” was born October 7, 1849 in Greenfield, Indiana to Reubin A. and Elizabeth (Marine) Riley. He became a national celebrity through his poetry and performances and his best-known poems include “When the Frost Is on the Punkin,” “Little Orphant Annie,” “The Raggedy Man,” and “An Old Sweetheart of Mine.” Riley died in Indianapolis at the age of 66 on July 22, 1916.


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

"James Whitcomb Riley." Encyclopedia Britannica. Last updated October 3, 2022. Accessed November 21, 2022.

James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home. "About Us." Accessed November 21, 2022.


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 2022/11/21 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2022/11/21 by Laura Eliason.
James Whitcomb Riley letter
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.