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Ralph F. Gates collection

Identifier: L634

Scope and Contents

This collection includes correspondence, speeches, reports, and legislation from Ralph F. Gates'life and term as governor, ranging from 1917 to 1978, including papers relating to the Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Indiana State Highway Commission, the Tax Study Commission, flood control, veterans' affairs, and labor and the Standard Oil Strike in Whiting in 1945. Also included are papers relating to the Republican National Committee and the Republican Party in Indiana; papers relating to Gates' campaign for Governor, scrapbooks, and personal correspondence. Correspondents include E. Ross Adair, Homer Capehart, and William E. Jenner.


  • 1917-1978


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 / Historical

Ralph F. Gates was born in Columbia City, Indiana. After earning a law degree from the University of Michigan, he joined his father's law practice. He served as a naval officer in World War I and later became Indiana commander of the American Legion. After the war, he became more politically active, eventually rising to serve as Republican State Chairman. He later also served as Republican National Committeeman.

Gates was elected Governor of Indiana in 1944. He was the first Republican Governor since 1928 and the scandal with the Ku Klux Klan. Gates' administration created departments pertaining to revenue, veterans, flood control, and traffic safety. He served one term as Governor and then returned to practicing law in Columbia City. He remained very active in Indiana politics until the end of his life. He retired to Crooked Lake where the Ralph Gates Nature Preserve was dedicated in 1978.


Materials in the collection

State of Indiana. "Ralph F. Gates." Governor History. Accessed March 18, 2020.


20.3 Cubic Feet (55 manuscript boxes; 2 cubic foot boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series and subseries: Series 1: Political papers, 1939-1978 Subseries 1.1: Republican Party files, 1941-1974 Subseries 1.2: Gubernatorial files, 1941-1949 Subseries 1.3: General political files, 1939-1949 Subseries 1.4: Speeches, press releases, and media, 1932-1978 Subseries 1.5: Constituent files, 1941-1948 Subseries 1.6: Subject files, 1939-1967 Series 2: Personal papers, 1917-1975

Custodial History

This collection was received by Rare Books and Manuscripts as donations from Ralph F. Gates on 1973/11/06 and Ron L. Paige on 2015/05/27.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2020/09/22 by Lauren Patton. EAD finding aid created 2020/09/22 by Lauren Patton.
Ralph F. Gates collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Repository

140 North Senate Avenue
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.