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Hugh Arthur Barnhart collection

Identifier: L509

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, scrapbooks, photographs, periodicals, advertisements, and financial records from Hugh A. Barnhart ranging from 1898 to 1964 regarding his business ventures, his personal life, and his political career.

The first series includes papers regarding Barnhart's family life, business ventures, and state government positions. Major topics include family correspondence; World War I correspondence; News-Sentinel newspaper; State Highway Commission; George B. Durgan campaign; the Cole Bros.-Clyde Beatty Circus; 1936 Indiana 2nd District Congressional campaign; Alcoholic Beverages Commission; the Hugh Barnhart-Lester Ginther insurance claims; the Commission on Interstate Cooperation; the Indiana Department of Conservation; the Little Hoover Commission; the Indiana State Chamber of Commerce; the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference; the Public Service Company; the Rochester Telephone Company, and the U.S Independent Telephone Association (USITA).

Series 2 contains Barnhart's personal financial records as well as insurance records and estate analyses.

Series 3 contains newspapers dated from 1863-1949. The majority are Indiana based newspapers with articles concerning Barnhart's involvement with the State Highway Commission, his 1936 Congressional campaign, his involvement with the Cole Bros. Circus, and clippings from his work with the Democratic Editorial Association.

Series 4 contains telephone company records from Rochester Telephone Company, and the U.S Independent Telephone Association (USITA ranging from 1937 to 1964.

Series 5 includes a variety of materials regarding subjects such as Barnhart's Democratic Editorial Association work, the Boeing Airplane Company plane statistics and photographs, lithography company samples, and published material.


  • 1863-1964


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

Hugh Arthur Barnhart was born on July 14, 1892, in Rochester, Indiana to Henry A. Barnhart and Loretta Ann Leffel. He attended Indiana University, Bloomington, where he graduated in 1915 at age 22 with a degree in economics. During college he was a member of the Delta Tau Delta and Sigma Delta Chi fraternities, president of the senior class, and a member of the varsity football and basketball teams. He served in the army during World War I as a 2nd lieutenant of field artillery and cavalry from 1917 to 1918. He married Martha Estella Anspaugh on June 23, 1928, in Rochester, Indiana.

After the war, his career consisted of multiple business ventures and state government positions. Barnhart was a director and member of the Barnhart-Van Trump Publishing Company and the News Sentinel newspaper in Rochester, Indiana. Barnhart served as the director of the Indiana State Highway Commission (1932-1933); member of the Indiana Telephone Association (1933-1935); member of the Rochester Telephone Company (1937-1963); the Excise Administrator for the Indiana Alcoholic Beverages Commission (1937-1941); member of the Commission on Interstate Cooperation regarding liquor control; the Indiana Department of Conservation (1941-1948); member of the U.S. Independent Telephone Association (1943-1964) on the Bell System (American Telephone and Telegraph Company) Committee; member of the Little Hoovers Commission (1952-1953) on flood regulation and water resources; member of the Public Service Company of Indiana (1951-1955). He also had financial investments in the Cole Brothers-Clyde Beatty Circus, later Cole Bros. Circus.

In 1936, Barnhart ran for Congress as a representative for Indiana's 2nd District as a Democrat, but lost in the election. His father, Henry A. Barnhart, had been a representative in Congress for Indiana's 13th district and served from 1908 to 1919.

Over the course of his career, Barnhart kept business and personal correspondence with notable individuals such as Alben W. Barkley, 35th vice president of the U.S.; Glenn Griswold, U.S. representative from Indiana; Charles A. Halleck, U.S. representative from Indiana; Louis Ludlow, U.S representative from Indiana; Sherman Minton, U.S. senator from Indiana and associate justice of the Supreme Court of the U.S.; Henry F. Schricker, governor of Indiana from 1941 to 1945 and 1949 to 1953; M. Clifford Townsend, governor of Indiana from 1937 to 1941; Herman B. Wells, eleventh president of Indiana University, Bloomington.

Hugh A. Barnhart died on February 16, 1986 in Rochester, Indiana. He was buried in Rochester IOOF Cemetery.

Sources: "Hugh A. Barnhart." U.S., Select Military Registers, 1862-1985." Accessed November 3, 2017.

Gross, April. "Hugh Arthur Barnhart." Find A Grave Memorial. Last modified November 9, 2009. Accessed November 3, 2017.


9.1 Cubic Feet (26 manuscript boxes, 1 medium oversize folder)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Correspondence and general papers, 1898-1964

Series 2: Financial and insurance records, 1919-1953

Series 3: Newspapers, 1863-1959

Series 4: Telephone company records, 1937-1964

Series 5: Subject files, 1940-1955

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as a donation from Hugh A. Barnhart during December 1975.


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:

OB205: Hugh Arthur Barnhart high school diploma

SP157: Hugh A. Barnhart photograph collection

S3153: Hugh A. Barnhart letter

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2017/11/03 by Julia Deros. EAD finding aid created 2017/11/03 by Julia Deros. EAD finding aid updated on 2021/09/10 by Lauren Patton.
Hugh Arthur Barnhart 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.