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English family photograph collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: SP014

Scope and Contents

This collection includes black-and-white photographs from the English family in Lexington and Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from circa 1900 to 1910 regarding William E. English and his family and friends engaged in activities such as hunting, golf, driving, and vacationing; the family estate, Englishton Park, near Lexington and local subjects such as farming, dogs, gardens, cemeteries; and an event, most likely the unveiling of the William H. English monument, which took place on September 28, 1907 in Scottsburg, Indiana, There are also scenes of Monument Circle in Indianapolis taken from and around the English Hotel and Opera House. There are two photographs of William E. English and Governor Frank Hanly of Indiana with two women who are probably their wives aboard the steamboat Indiana in Madison, Indiana.


  • circa 1900-1910


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 and Historical Note

The English family's history in Indiana began when Kentucky natives Elisha and Mahala English moved to southern Indiana in 1818. A prominent businessman, Elisha English was active in the local Democratic Party and served in the Indiana General Assembly.

William Hayden English was born in Lexington, Scott County, Indiana on August 27, 1822, the only son of Elisha Gale and Mahala (Eastin) English. He attended Hanover College and became a lawyer in 1846, but much of his attention was devoted to his political career. In 1843, English served as principal clerk in the Indiana House of Representatives and later as clerk in the U.S. Treasury (1844-1848). He was secretary of the Indiana Constitutional Convention in 1850 and elected to the Indiana House of Representatives (1851-1852), before he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives (1853-1861).

In November, 1847, English married Emma Mardulia Jackson and they had two children: William Eastin and Rosalind. The English family moved to Indianapolis in 1865, as his business interests were centered in the city. He had established the First National Bank of Indianapolis two years before in 1863 and served as its president for 14 years. English also built the English Hotel and Opera House, which opened on September 27, 1880 on Monument Circle. He was also president of the Indiana Historical Society from 1886 until his death. English died in Indianapolis on February 7, 1896 and was buried in Crown Hill Cemetery.

William Eastin English, son of William H. and Emma English, was born at Englishton Park near Lexington, Indiana on November 3, 1850. His family moved to Indianapolis in 1865, where he attended public and private schools and later, graduated from North Western Christian University (now Butler University) with a law degree in 1873. English married actress Annie Josephine Desmond Fox in 1885, 5 years after they met when she performed at the Metropolitan Theater in Indianapolis. She died in 1885 of chronic dysentery. Later he married Helen Orr on January 5, 1898 and they had one daughter, Rosalind Orr (English) Parsons (1903-1924), who died tragically at age 21 in a car accident.

Like his father and grandfather, English was active in the Democratic Party and served in the Indiana House of Representatives in 1880 while also practicing law in Indianapolis until 1883, when he was elected to th U.S. House of Representatives (1884-1885). In 1885, he resumed his business pursuits in Indianapolis. Several years later, he served as a delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 1892 and 1896. English also fought in the Spanish-American War as a captain and aide-de-camp of General Joseph Wheeler. After leaving the Democratic Party in 1900, he joined the Republican Party and was a delegate to Republican National Convention in 1912. English later served as an Indiana state senator from 1916 until his death in Indianapolis on April 29, 1926.

The old manor home at the 800-acre English family estate, Englishton Park, near Lexington, Indiana was built in 1840-1841 and expanded to a 23-room home in the style of Mount Vernon in 1896. The estate stayed in the family, until the death of William E. English in 1926 when it was left for the establishment of a summer home for Hoosier children in need. The estate stood abandoned until 1958, when the court awarded it to Presbyterian National Mission Home, Inc. to use the estate for children and other age groups from Indiana. The original manor home, in great disrepair, was razed in 1969.


Draegert, Eva. "Cultural History of Indianapolis: The Theater, 1880-1890." Indiana Magazine of History 52, no. 1 (1956): 21-48. Accessed August 25, 2020.

Dunn, Jacob Piatt. Greater Indianapolis: The History, the Industries, the Institutions, and the People of a City of Homes, vol. 2. Indianapolis: Lewis Publishing Co., 1910. Accessed March 13, 2019.

Englishton Park Presbyterian Ministry. "History." Englishton Park. November 19, 2015. Accessed March 13, 2019.

U.S. Congress. "English, William Eastin, (1850-1926)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed March 13, 2019.

U.S. Congress. "English, William Hayden, (1822-1896)." Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Accessed March 13, 2019.


0.1 Cubic Feet (4 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 the English family; William H. English on 1934/01.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Digitized materials from the collection are available online in the ISL Digital Collections (

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Indianapolis, Indiana:

S0427: William H. English papers, Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library

M0098: William Hayden English family papers, Indiana Historical Society

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/01/02 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid created 2019/03/13 by Brittany Kropf.
English family photograph collection
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.