Skip to main content

Harlow Lindley Collection

Identifier: FMS-4

Scope and Contents

The Harlow Lindley Collection, although relatively small, is rich in material related to Quaker history and the history of Wayne County, Indiana, especially its educational history.The collection consists of historical materials collected by Lindley and of Lindley’s correspondence with such prominent nineteenth- and twentieth-century Friends as Charles F. Coffin, Joel Bean, Allen Jay, Timothy Nicholson, and Barnabas C. Hobbs. The materials in the collection reflect Lindley’s interest in United States, local, and Quaker history and in genealogy. Many of the letters are responses to requests for documents or reminiscences of Quakers about early Quaker settlements and communities or the involvement of Friends in reform movements such as abolitionism.  Lindley directed observances of the centennial of Indiana Yearly Meeting in 1921 and of Earlham’s 75th birthday celebration in 1922, and files of materials reflect these events.  In the 1930s and 1940s, he also worked extensively with Thomas W. Marshall and William Wade Hinshaw to gather Ohio Quaker records for volumes IV and V of Hinshaw’s Encyclopedia of  American  Quaker Genealogy;  Lindley also acquired papers and manuscripts of other historians.  These include a manuscript history of education in Wayne County prepared by one J. M. MacPherson in the 1880s; papers of Isaac Jenkinson, a Richmond attorney and editor relating to his research on Aaron Burr, and a number of histories of monthly meetings of Friends in Ohio and Indiana.  A few photographs are also included in the collection.  Of special interest is a carte-de-viste of Nathaniel Newlin (1768-1867) of Parke County, Lindley’s great-grandfather and one of the first Quaker settlers in western Indiana.


  • 1788-1957

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

Some published materials may be protected by copyright. Permission to reproduce and to publish must be requested from the Archivist.

Biographical or Historical Information

Harlow Lindley was born in Parke County, Indiana, April 1, 1874, the son of Mahlon and Martha (Newlin) Lindley. He attended the Bloomingdale Academy and then graduated from Earlham College in 1898. Immediately upon graduation he joined the faculty as college librarian and history instructor. He received an MA from Earlham in 1899, and later undertook graduate study in history at the University of Chicago. Lindley gained a national reputation as an historian of the Old Northwest through numerous articles and through his presidency of the Mississippi Valley Historical Association. He remained at Earlham until 1928, taking leave to serve as director of the Indiana Historical Commission. After leaving Earlham he served as director of the Hayes Library in Fremont, Ohio, Director of the Indiana Department of Archives and History, and Executive Secretary of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society. Upon his retirement from the last in 1946, he returned to Earlham with the title of Director of Historical Research, charged with the writing of a history of the college to mark its centennial in 1947. The work, now in the college archives, was never published. Lindley died in Columbus, Ohio, in 1959.

Note written by


5 Boxes

Language of Materials


Arrangement Note

The organization of the collection follows that created by Opal Thornburg when the papers were received. Oversize items were placed in box 4.

Method of Acquisition

The Lindley Papers came to Earlham after his death and before 1964; records are unclear about the donor.

Separated Materials

In 1964, a number of materials were removed from the Lindley Collection and placed elsewhere in other collections in the library. Numerous pamphlets, for example, were transferred to the Friends Pamphlet Group. An Aaron Burr letter was placed in the Miscellaneous Rare Manuscripts Collection. Several monthly meeting minute books were housed with other monthly meeting records. A listing of the transferred material is included with the collection

Archon Finding Aid Title
Opal Thornburg
Description rules
Other Unmapped
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Friends Collection and Earlham College Archives Repository