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Brayton family papers

Identifier: L411

Scope and Contents

The collection consists principally of personal correspondence of the Springer and Brayton families from 1842 to 1940. Included are William Springer’s letters to his wife while serving in the Union Army during the American Civil War. Also included is the personal correspondence of the John Brayton family and related families in Warren County, New York and Washington, Indiana. There are also a significant amount of papers on Margaret Brayton (1895-1986) of Muncie, Indiana.

Papers include a great deal of genealogical information on the Brayton, Sears and Springer families including death certificates, obituary clippings, funeral notices, family bibles, marriage certificates, land deeds, etc. Also included are 2 boxes of family photographs including tintypes and daguerreotypes, a letter from A. M. Springer to his mother, dated January 25, 1852, while he was in Oregon and California during the gold rush, and letters from William H. Springer to his family while he served in the 38th Indiana Regiment during the Civil War. Other family names include Palmer, McVey, Gilman, and Walker.

There are also 2 oversize folders containing land indentures (1820-1888), William H. Springer's military commission, an 1869 marriage certificate for Jesse M. Sears and E. Ella Springer, an 1878 teacher’s license for Carrie Springer, Margaret Brayton's Northwestern University diploma (1932), a photograph of canteen workers of the American Red Cross, Chicago Chapter (1919), and undated broadside, insurance certificates, and floor plan of John E. Brayton’s home (OB169, OBC047).


  • 1820-1969


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

The Springer and Brayton families included William H. Springer, born 1829, who was a tinner and a farmer in Oakland City, Indiana in the 1850s to 1887, and Washington, Indiana from 1887 until his death in 1915. William H. Springer was served as a lieutenant in the 38th Indiana Regiment from 1861 to 1864. Springer had two daughters, Ella (Springer) Sears and Carrie (Springer) Brayton.

Ella Springer was born in 1850 and was a music teacher in southern Indiana and Kentucky. She married Jesse M. Sears. Springer passed away in 1876.

Carrie Springer was born in 1860 and passed away in 1934. She married John Brayton who was a bookkeeper in Chicago. Together they had 2 daughters, Ruth (1892-1972) and Margaret (1895-1986).

Margaret Brayton graduated from the National Kindergarten College in 1916 and was a kindergarten instructor in Chicago in the 1920s. Later she moved to Muncie, Indiana where she taught at Ball State Teachers College from 1932 into the 1960s. She died in Muncie in 1986.


4.9 Cubic Feet (10 manuscript boxes, 1 half manuscript box, 2 clamshell boxes, 2 volumes, 2 oversize 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 Margaret Brayton in 1968.


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Rare Books and Manuscripts, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN:

OB169: Brayton family oversize papers

OBC047: Brayton family oversize papers

OH147: William Henry Springer oral history

OH088: Margaret Brayton oral history

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2001/02 by Jill Campbell. Finding aid revised 2005/05 by Jennifer Duplaga and 2005/09 by Elizabeth M. Wilkinson. EAD finding aid created 2018/05/14 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid revised 2021/09/01; 2021/10/19 by Lauren Patton; 2022/10/26 by Brittany Kropf.
Brayton family 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.