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Clowes Family Collection Now Available

Clowes
Edith Clowes with sons George, center, and Allen in 1922.

The papers of one of the most recognizable philanthropic names in Central Indiana are now  available for researchers. The Clowes Family Collection contains nearly 100 linear feet of correspondence, photographs and printed items focusing on the lives of three members of the family: Dr. George Henry Alexander Clowes (1877 to 1958), his wife Edith Whitehill Hinkel Clowes (1885 to 1967), and their youngest son, Allen Whitehill Clowes (1917 to 2000). 

Dr. Clowes was born in Ipswich, England, and educated in England, Germany and France. In 1901, he moved to Buffalo, N.Y., where he worked in a research laboratory. It was during this time that he met Edith Whitehill Hinkel, the Vassar-educated daughter of a Buffalo doctor. They were married in 1910 and had three children. Alexander (1911 to 1914),George Henry Alexander Jr. (1915 to1988) and Allen Whitehill (1917 to 2000). The family moved to Indianapolis in 1919 when Dr. Clowes accepted a position with Eli Lilly. 

Dr. Clowes and Edith contributed to numerous philanthropic endeavors in the Indianapolis community. “The Clowes’ Family Archives reflect the family members’ passion for the arts and their dedication to Indianapolis,” says Project Archivist Kathleen Clark. “Manuscripts pertaining to the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, Orchard Day School, Park School, Herron Art Museum, Clowes Memorial Hall, The Clowes Fund and numerous other organizations provide evidence of the Clowes’ outstanding leadership in the development of arts and education.” 

The bulk of the collection consists of correspondence with the Clowes family, primarily Dr. Clowes, Edith and Allen, including correspondence between Dr. Clowes and Edith, letters with family members in England and New York, and letters between Allen and his parents while he was at Harvard and serving in the U.S. Navy. Other items in the collection include photographs and slides taken by the family during their many trips around the world and family activities; formal portraits; material regarding the family’s philanthropic interests and Edith’s gardening interests; and Dr. Clowes’ scientific research. •

The inventorying, processing, conservation and cataloging of this collection were only made possible through the generous support of The Clowes Fund Inc.