One of the largest archival collections of Gene Stratton-Porter materials is available to researchers, online and in person, at the William H. Smith Memorial Library. The newly processed collection includes documents, letters and photographs that offer more details about the life of the Indiana author and naturalist.
“As we celebrate our Bicentennial, we are thrilled to preserve and make available this valuable collection documenting one of Indiana’s notable figures,” says Suzanne Hahn, IHS vice president of archives and library. “Gene Stratton-Porter was one of the most popular authors of her time.”
Born in 1863 on a farm near Wabash, Indiana, Stratton-Porter was famous for her novels and nature essays. She was also a noted photographer and early proponent of the importance of conservation in the natural world. After first achieving success in Indiana, Stratton-Porter moved to California where she became one of Hollywood’s first female producers with her own production company.
Today, two of Stratton-Porter’s former Indiana homes are state historic sites. Limberlost Cabin is located in Geneva, where she and her husband, Charles Porter, lived. They later moved to Wildflower Woods, located near Rome City.
IHS’s new collection includes candid photographs of the Hoosier author, from her childhood through her years in California, as well as images that she took as a photographer. Researchers also will find images of Stratton family members, such as nephew Donald F. Wilson in a World War I photo album.
In addition, the collection includes many letters written by Stratton-Porter, mostly typewritten and dated between 1922 and 1924. Stratton-Porter writes back and forth with her sisters, her daughter and even her father about her books and movies, as well as the California scenery.
Finally, the collection includes documents, such as Stratton-Porter’s wedding invitation and telegrams sent after her death. There is early information about her family, including some early account books and sermons by her father, Mark Stratton. In addition, there is correspondence regarding the transfer of the Limberlost property to the state of Indiana between 1945 and 1947.
Researchers can view selections from the collection online or in person in our library.
For more information about the Gene Stratton-Porter materials in IHS’s collection, or to make a donation of your own, call (317) 232-1882.