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Fannie Gardner papers

 Collection — Folder: S2249
Identifier: S2249

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence sent to Miss Fannie Gardner, including an October 1892 letter from The Embalmer publication regarding women embalmers, several letters she received in 1896 regarding her election as president of the Indiana State Funeral Directors' Association, a February 9, 1898 letter from George Wagoner of St. Louis asking about her experience using "Uptimum Embalming Fluid," and a September 28, 1898 letter from the United States School of Embalming. Other items in the collection include a copy of the booklet Report of the Proceedings of the Indiana State Funeral Directors' Association, Held in Indianapolis, May 18, 19 and 20, 1897; an August 1899 letter sent by E. (Emma) Inveen Upcraft, a missionary in Yachow, China, that was sent in the envelope addressed to Miss Sara B. Clarke of Vincennes, Indiana; a recommedation letter written on behalf of Miss Gardner by Will D. Nash of Denver, Colorado dated March 7, 1900; and an official form for the National Funeral Directors' Association certifying Gardner's credentials to attend the annual meeting in Portland, Oregon that was signed and dated by the national president and secretary on July 17, 1909.


  • 1892-1948


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

Frances Dorcas "Fannie" Gardner was born April 27, 1876 in Vincennes, Indiana to Dexter and Amanda (Johns) Gardner. Her family operated a funeral home in Vincennes and in 1892, following attendance at a school of embalming at Richmond, Indiana, she passed her examination and was considered at the time to be the youngest female embalmer in the United States. In 1896, she was elected president of the Indiana Funeral Directors' Association, the first woman to be elected to the office of any state funeral directors' association. Gardner worked in Denver Colorado for a few years then moved to Knoxville, Tennessee and went into parnership with Mr. J. H. Sammons under the firm name of Gardner, Sammons and Co. in 1904. Gardner died of Bright's disease on October 31, 1913 and was buried in Greenlawn Cemetery in Vincennes.


Information found within collection. "Frances Dorcas Gardner." Tennessee, U.S., City Death Records, 1872-1923. Accessed December 9, 2021.

"Died Friday at Knoxville: Miss Fannie Gardner Passed Away After Brief Illness - Remains to be Brought Here." Vincennes Commercial (IN), November 1, 1913. Accessed December 9, 2021. "Frances Dorcas “Fannie” Gardner." Find A Grave Memorial. Accessed December 9, 2021.

"Funeral Directors Leave. Elect a Woman for President - Other Officers Selected." Indianapolis Journal (IN), May 22, 1896. Accessed December 9, 2021.

"New Enterprise an Innovation: A Lady Who Embalms the Dead Has Permanently Located in Knoxville." Knoxville Sentinel (TN), November 26, 1904. Accessed December 9, 2021.

"Suprised Her." Richmond Item (IN), June 7, 1892. Accessed December 9, 2021.


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 from Harrison M. Townsley on 1949/08/29.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/12/10 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2021/12/09 by Laura Eliason.
Fannie Gardner 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.