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Donald E. Thompson collection

Identifier: L464

Scope and Contents

This collection contains correspondence and biographical documents compiled by Donald Thompson for use as sources for the publication of Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966 and Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1967-1980. The correspondence and documents range from 1960 to 1987, with the bulk received between 1970 and 1980. The correspondence and documents came from the authors, their families, libraries, universities, and historical societies and include newspaper clippings, photocopies from publications, bibliographical information forms, and a few photographs.

The collection also includes Thompson's typewritten draft entries for his 1917-1966 volume with corrections; uncorrected, typewritten draft entries of a small portion of the authors considered for the 1967-1980 volume; note cards with Thompson's handwritten notes regarding the authors; and research documents and typewritten draft entries compiled from 1981 to 1991 for a possible new volume of Indiana authors.


  • 1960-1991


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.

Historical Note

In 1949, R.E. Banta and Wabash College (Crawfordsville, Indiana) published Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1816-1916: Biographical Sketches of Authors Who Published during the First Century of Indiana Statehood with List of Their Books that contained 950 Indiana authors. After making a number of inquiries and receiving positive responses about compiling a fifty-year supplement to Banta's book, Donald E. Thompson, head librarian at Wabash College, began working on a new volume in 1970. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966 was published in 1974 and contained 2,751 authors. As with the first volume, authors needed to have been born in Indiana or have lived in the state for at least twenty to twenty five years to be included in the supplemental volume. In 1981, Thompson published a third volume, Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1967-1980. With this volume Banta and Thompson created a record of 6,819 Indiana authors.


Byrd, Cecil K. "Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1967-1980 by Donald E. Thompson." Indiana Magazine of History (June 1982). Accessed March 13, 2017.

Lang, Elfreida. "Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966 by Donald E. Thompson." Indiana Magazine of History (March 1975). Accessed March 13, 2017.

Thompson, Donald E., comp. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1974.

Thompson, Donald E., comp. Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1967-1980. Crawfordsville, IN: Wabash College, 1981.

Biographical Note

Donald Eugene Thompson was born on July 10, 1913 at McCallsburg, Iowa to Andy and Mable Thompson. He was a graduate of Iowa State University and received a library degree from the University of Illinois and a master's degree in economics from Temple University. Thompson served in library positions in Pennsylvania, Alabama, and Mississippi before serving as head librarian at Wabash College (Crawfordsville, Indiana) from 1955 to 1978. He was active in local and state organizations including the Montgomery County Historical Society, the Indiana Library Federation, the Indiana Historical Society Library board, and the Lew Wallace Study board. Thompson was the compiler and author of several books about Indiana and its authors. He married Jean Beecher on June 25, 1938 and they had two children. Mr. Thompson died at the age of 78 on February 18, 1992.


"Donald Thompson." Crawfordsville Journal Review (IN), February 19, 1992.

"Donald Thompson, 73, had been head librarian at Wabash College." Indianapolis Star (IN), February 21, 1992.


8.3 Cubic Feet (2 cubic foot boxes, 19 manuscript boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject then alphabetically in the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence and biographical documents, 1960-1987 Series 2: Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1917-1966 rough drafts with corrections, ca. 1973 Series 3: Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1967-1980 uncorrected drafts, 1978 Series 4: Research documents, 1981-1991 Series 5: Note cards, ca. 1970-1991

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Donald E. Thompson.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/03/13 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2017/03/13 by Laura Eliason.
Donald E. Thompson 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.