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HST 337 Emergence Of Modern America (Deno): Resources for the History of Butler University in the Gilded Age and Progressive Era

Special Collections, Rare Books, and University Archives at Butler University

For more information on Special Collections—including collection guides and inventories for collections listed below, resource guides on the Library's digital collections, and Department hours and policies—please visit our website: 

Please email with questions.


  • The sources listed below are by no means exhaustive; to explore more of what is available, please contact Special Collections for a research appointment. To access the many materials held in Special Collections, please make an appointment at least 24 hours in advance because of Covid protocols. Appointments are available M-F 10-4. Our service guidelines and the times we are open are available here:
  • When materials are available digitally or in the circulating collections, we have tried to note it.
  • The Butler Drift is available through the Digital Commons (link below); physical copies are available behind the Information Commons desk (ask at the desk) and in Special Collections (IL345) by appointment. 
  • The Butler Collegian is available here digitally only for the years 1886-1892 and 1936 forward: 
  • The years 1893 to 1935 have not been digitized. All years of the newspaper are available in the basement of Irwin on the west wall; look under Butler Collegian. The microfilm reader-printer is in the computer quad on the first floor, southeast corner. Ask at the Information Commons desk if you need help. 
  • Waller, George M.  Butler University: A Sesquicentennial History.  LD701.B82 W35 2005. This history of the university covers the Golden Age and Progressive Eras nicely.  It is available in hard copy in the circulating collection and also in Special Collections, and digitally here: 

Sigma Gamma Rho (founded 1922): Special Collections holds these materials: 

  • Sigma Gamma Rho folders in the Greek Organizations section. 
  • Sigma Gamma Rho Centennial Collection MSS 084 manuscript materials; collection guide available here: 

  • Behind These Doors—A Legacy: The History of Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority LJ145.S4 W55 1994 
  • The Divine Nine: The History of African American Fraternities and Sororities LC2781.7 R68 2000  

Founder’s Day Speeches:  

  • Available in Special Collections in the Butler Alumnal Quarterlies, UA 00.04.05, 1912—forward. The Alumnal Quarterlies are a rich resource for university history; they are not yet digitized or indexed, and are best searched by date. 

Hilton U. Brown and Hilton U. Brown Jr. materials in Special Collections: 

  • Hilton U. Brown Jr., One of Three Brothers in Artillery.  D570.9 B76 1920 (also in circulating collection) 
  • A Book of Memories PN4874 .B77 A3 1951 (also in circulating collection; Brown’s autobiography) 
  • Hilton U. Brown Papers, 1890-1958. MSS 006 manuscript materials; collection guide available here: 

  • Hilton U. Brown and Hilton U. Brown Jr. in the university biography files 
  • Hilton U. Brown portrait is in Robertson Hall in the hall leading to the Johnson Room.  View whenever the building is open. 

Catharine Merrill materials in Special Collections

  • Catharine Merrill, Life and Letters: Collected and Arranged. PR55.M4 A3 1934 (also in circulating collection) 
  • The Hoosiers F526.N62 1900 see chapter on Merrill 
  • Catharine Merrill in the university biography file 
  • See her portrait by T. C. Steele in the provost’s office in the provost’s suite (call to arrange) 

Eliza Blaker and the Teachers College of Indianapolis materials in Special Collections: 

  • Blaker was a leader and innovator in early childhood education, providing teaching degrees to students of any race and creating kindergartens for students of all races and ethnic groups, including recent immigrants. 
  • Eliza Blaker and the Teachers College of Indianapolis Collection MSS 005  The collection guide is available here: 
  • The digitized collection is available here: 
  • Eliza A. Blaker: Her Life and Work.  LA2317.B52 T4 1956 (also available in circulating collections, South Campus) 

Gertrude Amelia Mahorney materials in Special Collections (first documented African American graduate, 1887 and 1889; taught in Indianapolis Public Schools) 

  • University biography file 

World War I materials in Special Collections: 

  • Graydon, Katharine Merrill.  Butler College in the World War: A Record of the Men and Their Achievements…. D639.E4 B8 1922 
  • Butler University in the Wars Collection (ask in Special Collections) 

For People Affiliated with the University: 

  • University Biography File 
  • Butler Alumnal Quarterly 
  • Butler Drift 
  • Butler Collegian 


Email Butler University Libraries
Irwin Library: 317-940-9227
Science Library: 317-940-9937
CAT: 317-940-8575

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