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Indiana Women's Prison photographs

 Collection — Folder: SP077
Identifier: SP077

Scope and Contents

This collection includes photographs of the Indiana Women's Prison in Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from circa 1900 to 1961 regarding its buildings, grounds, and staff, as well as the inmates and their activities. The bulk of the staff photographs were taken in January 1935, while most of the building and interior views are from the early 1900s, 1935, and 1958.


  • circa 1900-1961

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.

Administrative History

"The Indiana Reformatory Institution for Women and Girls was founded in 1869 in Indianapolis, making it the first female correctional facility in the country. It opened in 1873 with the transfer of 17 women who were incarcerated at the Indiana State Prison in Jeffersonville. The institution focused on the rehabilitation of its inmates through labor and education—sewing, laundry, knitting, etc.

"By 1899, it was deemed necessary to separate the women and children, so the reformatory was divided into two sections, adults were housed in the prison and children younger than 15 lived in the reformatory. When the Indiana Girls School opened at 2596 North Girls’ School Road in 1907, the children were transferred there and the reformatory was renamed the Indiana Woman’s (later Women’s) Prison.

"Situated on 15 acres at 401 North Randolph Street, Indiana Woman’s Prison remained in one building until the late 1930s when an administration building, residential cottages, hospital, and chapel were added. In 1975, the prison board was disbanded and control was assigned to the Indiana Parole Board, which developed a master plan and renovated several buildings. By the early 1990s, the prison incarcerated 350 women and had a staff of approximately 240 full-time employees."

Excerpts from: Fischer, Jessica Erin. "Indiana Women’s Prison." Encyclopedia of Indianapolis, 1994, 2021. Revised March 2021. Accessd October 14, 2021.


0.02 Cubic Feet (1 folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/10/15 by Brittany Kropf. EAD finding aid 2021/10/15 by Brittany Kropf.
Indiana Women's Prison photographs
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.