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Cornelius family collection

Identifier: L485

Scope and Contents

This collection includes family documents, newspaper clippings, sheet music and songbooks of the Cornelius family of Indianapolis, Indiana ranging from 1884 to the 2009. The collection contains genealogical documents of the Cornelius family and correspondence, manuscripts, and paste up items regarding the unpublished book "The Cornelius Story: Four Generations of Printers." The collection also includes promotional cards, recital programs, travel guides, and other documents of Melissa Jane Cornelius; newspaper clippings compiled by Melissa regarding a variety of subjects, including her singing engagements, artists, composers, opera, travel, the British Royal family, the coronation of King George VI, and the political climate in Europe prior to World War II; and Melissa's opera books, sheet music and song books.


  • 1884-2009


Language of Materials

Sheet music in English, French, German, and Italian.

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

George Martin Cornelius was born in May, 1866 at Terre Haute, Indiana to Pembroke S. and Eliza Cornelius. He married Alice M. Hooper (1870-1957) in Washington, D.C. on July 8, 1896 and they had four children: George, Pembroke, Melissa Jane, and Phillip. Interested in printing from boyhood, George worked for several newspapers before founding the Cornelius Printing Company in 1900 with only one Linotype machine. Around 1905, he partnered with E.P. Fulmer for a few years before organizing his own company again in 1910. By the time of his death on August 27, 1946, his company had 150 employees in Indianapolis and at a plant in Maryland.

George Hooper Cornelius was born June 21, 1897 in Washington D.C. He was a graduate of Butler University and a World War I veteran. He married Beulah Stockdale in 1920 and they had four sons and one daughter: George, Edmund, Pembroke, Kenneth, and Mildred. He served as president and treasurer of the Cornelius Printing Company and was 76 years old when he died on June 2, 1973.

Pembroke was born on May 21, 1899. He attended Purdue University and was a World War I veteran. He married Florence Gordon in 1922. He worked for the Cornelius Printing Company for 45 years and served in many positions, including company secretary. He died at the age 67 on March 9, 1967.

Melissa Jane was born December 7, 1901. She attended Indiana University and was a singer. She married three times - Ralph Polk, Jr. in 1927, J. Vaughn Cornish in 1933, and William Floyd Lasater in 1958. She died in Florida at the age of 59 on April 14, 1964.

Phillip Martin was born September 22, 1905. He attended the Culver Military Academy and Indiana University. He married Cecilia Guedelhoefer on August 27, 1930 and they had nine children: Sally, Alice Sondra, Philip, Constance, Cecilia, Melissa, Carol, David, and John. He served as president and chairman of the board of the Cornelius Printing Company. He died at the age of 78 on March 22, 1984.


Information found within collection. "Melissa Cornelius." Web: Marion County, Indiana Marriage Index, 1925-2012. Accessed August 1, 2017. "Melissa Jane Cornish." Florida Marriage Indexes, 1822-1875 and 1927-200. Accessed August 1, 2017. "Melissa Jane Polk." Indiana Marriages, 1810-2001. Accessed August 1, 2017. "Pembroke Willis Cornelius." U.S. World War I Draft Registration Cards, 1917-1918. Accessed August 1, 2017. "Philip M. Cornelius." 1940 United States Federal Census . Accessed August 1, 2017. "Philip M. Cornelius." Indiana Death Certificates, 1899-2011 . Accessed August 1, 2017.

"George Conrelius Dies; Founded Printing Firm." Indianapolis Star (IN), August 29, 1946.

"George Cornelius Dies; Was Printing Executive." Indianapolis Star (IN), June 4, 1973.

"Mrs. Floyd Lasater." Indianapolis Star (IN), April 15, 1964.

"P.W. Cornelius, Former Printing Official, Dies." Indianapolis Star (IN), March 10, 1967.

"Philip Cornelius Dies: Headed Printing Firm." Indianapolis Star (IN), March 23, 1984.


2.3 Cubic Feet (3 manuscript boxes, 3 large oversize boxes)


This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Cornelius family documents, 1907-2009

Series 2: Newspapers clippings, 1925-1938

Series 3: Sheet music and songbooks, 1884-1944

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Cecelia Cornelius on 2008/11/25 and in 2009.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/08/17 by Laura Eliason. EAD finding aid created 2017/08/17 by Laura Eliason.
Cornelius family collection
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.