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Benjamin F. Phemister papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: S2259

Scope and Contents

This collection contains a variety of poems written by Benjamin F. Phemister, the "Bard of the Brandywine," ranging from 1917 to 1951 and undated. His poems include "The Stained Gown," written for Memorial Day in 1917; "Yester's Yearning," published in the May 13, 1920 edition of the Journal of Education: New England and National; "The Interview of John Doe with Judge Jackass" from circa 1944; and "Fiddling?" with a February 1946 clipping of the newspaper article "Truman Fiddles While Byrnes Roams, Says Gov. Gates."

The collection also includes Phemister's correspondence from 1938 to 1951; a newspaper clipping of his prize oration, "Lincoln" from the February 19, 1897 Anderson Herald; newspaper clippings about Phemister and other topics from 1917 to 1946; a pamphlet regarding financial affairs of the Second Presbyterian Church of Indianapolis from February to March, 1938; a 1946 program for Maurice Evans's production of Hamlet; and an undated photograph of five women in Egyptian costumes.


  • 1897-1951, undated


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

Benjamin Franklin Phemister was born October 1, 1868 at Acton, Indiana to Charles J. and Permelia C. (Miles) Phemister. He had normal school and college training and was a teach for seventeen years in both Madison and Hancock counties. On August 17, 1898, he married Dora Alice Jarrett at Frankton, Indiana and they had three children. They divorced on October 23, 1924. Known as the "Bard of the Brandywine," Phemister's poetry was often published in newspapers under an assumed name or as "author unknown," and his work was sometimes credited to James Whitcomb Riley. He died in Indianapolis at the age of 84 on September 17, 1953.


Information found within collection. "Benjamin F. Phemister." Michigan, U.S., Divorce Records, 1897-1952. Accessed January 18, 2021. "Benjamin Franklin Phemister." Find a Grave Memorial. Accessed January 18, 2022.

"New Greenfield Poet Brought to Light by Evangelist's Error." Indianapolis News (IN), December 4, 1914.


0.02 Cubic Feet (2 folders)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Dona Phemister Lee on 1977/05/17.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2022/01/18 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2022/01/18 by Laura Eliason.
Benjamin F. Phemister 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.