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Clowes Family Digital Collection

Edith Clowes
Edith W.H. Clowes standing next to El Greco's St. Matthew at the Herron Art Institute in 1959. (Gift of the Clowes Family, IHS)

The Preservation Imaging Lab recently completed the Clowes Family Digital Collection, the largest collection to be digitized by IHS to date. The IHS Preservation Imaging Department, headed by David Turk, and technician Abigail Pratt (me), along with other part-time staff, utilized the majority of our equipment to accomplish this. Three high resolution scanning stations, a large-format roll scanner, a book scanner, two slide scanners, a video transfer unit, photography lighting studio, and post production software and metadata management systems all came to use as staff worked some 5,000 hours over 17 months. More than 40,000 scans pertaining to the Clowes family and the history of Indianapolis are available online thanks to their work and grants from The Clowes Fund, Inc., and the Allen Whitehill Clowes Charitable Foundation, Inc.

George Henry Alexander Clowes was a native of Ipswich, England. He graduated from the Royal College of Science in London and earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Gottingen, Germany. In 1901, he moved to Buffalo, N.Y., where he served as co-director of what was then the Gratwick Cancer Research Laboratories. While there he met and married Edith Whitehill Hinkel a native of Buffalo. In 1919, he accepted a position with Eli Lilly and Company and they moved to Indianapolis. Following the discovery of insulin in 1921, Dr. Clowes was responsible for the mass production of the drug at the company.

In Indianapolis, they established their home, Westerley, in the Golden Hill neighborhood. Mrs. Clowes created a beautiful English garden there. They also maintained a home in Woods Hole, Mass., which they named Easterly, and resided there in the summer while Dr. Clowes continued his research. Photographs of both homes and their gardens are in the collection. Mrs. Clowes was a member of the Indianapolis Garden Club and the Garden Club of America. Dr. and Mrs. Clowes contributed to numerous philanthropic endeavors in the Indianapolis community. They were active in renovations of Trinity Episcopal Church, were major supporters of the Indianapolis Symphony and the Indianapolis Museum of Art, had a hand in the founding of The Orchard School and saved mementos from their sons days at Park School where Dr. Clowes served as a trustee. After Dr. Clowes' death, his family built Clowes Memorial Hall on Butler University campus in his honor.

This remarkable collection contains personal and professional correspondence, scientific literature, World War I material, family genealogy charts, sketch books, calling cards, family and vacation photographs, and home movies. Please take some time to view the material and discover the remarkable contributions the Clowes family made to the community which we continue to enjoy today, and thanks to our Imaging staff for their work in making it available online. IHS is fortunate to have the equipment and staff to handle a project like this.