Skip to main content

Percival Brooks Coffin collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: G-079

Scope and Contents

This collection includes genealogical charts, correspondence, research, and published materials from William Edward and Percival Brooks Coffin in the United States ranging from 1847 to 1921 regarding the Coffin family.


  • 1847-1921


Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with the Genealogy Division, Indiana State Library, Indianapolis, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to the Genealogy Division.

Biographical Note

Percival Brooks Coffin was born on April 25, 1965 in Richmond, Indiana to Charles Fisher and Rhoda Johnson Coffin. Percival was the youngest of three brothers, his sister Mary died in 1861 when she was two and a half. He was never sent to public school and was instead taught at home by his parents or tutors. Percival married Lucy V. Baxter in 1887.

Percival, while employed at the Indianapolis Cabinet Company, along with his brother Frank A. Coffin and Albert S. Reed, were charged with aiding and abetting with the president of the Indianapolis National Bank, Theodore P. Haughley to commit bank fraud between January 1, 1891 and July 26, 1893. They were convicted in June of 1894, Percival was sentenced to five years in prison. In 1895 the Supreme Court ruled that they were charged in error and the case established the presumption of innocence for a person charged with a crime (Coffin v. United States).

Percival was also a naturalist and bird watcher, and was deeply involved in the Chicago Ornithological Society of which he was a charter member as well as a member of the Wilson Ornithological Society. In 1920 Percival spoke with Indiana’s senators as well as the Governor of Indiana petitioning for the creation of a state park in the Indiana Dunes, in 1925 a park was established. Percival Brooks later purchased a farm near Richmond named “The Brooks”. He and his wife often spent up to half the year there. On October 7, 1935 Percival Coffin passed away at his farm.


2 Cubic Feet (2 cubic foot boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged by subject.

Custodial History

This collection was received by the Genealogy Division as a donation from Percival Brooks Coffin on 1934/04/20


No further additions are expected.

Related Materials

The Charles F. Coffin collection (S3467) is located within the Rare Books and Manuscripts Division, Indiana State Library.

The Charles F. and Rhoda M. Coffin collection 1831-1919, is located in the Quaker Archives, Earlham College.

The Coffin Family papers 1797-1932, RG5/031 and the William Baxter papers (formerly the Coffin-Baxter papers), RG5/011 are located at the Friends Historical Library, Swarthmore College.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2019/01/10 by Sarah Pfundstein. EAD finding aid created 2019/01/15 by Sarah Pfundstein.
Percival Brooks Coffin Collection
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Genealogy Repository

315 West Ohio Street
Indianapolis, Indiana 46204 U.S.A.