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Domestic Life in the 1900s

The newly acquired Milhous Family Glass Plates and Prints Collection depicts household scenes, family and friends, and views of Indiana and California in the early 1900s. A gift of Gary A. and Shelley Milhous, the collection documents a Quaker family’s life in Southern Indiana and their move to the Whittier, California, area at the beginning of the 20th century to join a growing Friends community. 

Hannah (Milhous) Nixon, mother of President Richard Milhous Nixon, was a native Hoosier, born near Butlerville, Indiana, and her relatives, including her grandmother, Elizabeth Price (Griffith) Milhous, are among those photographed in scenes of rural and small-town life. 

Primarily taken by the donor’s great-grandfather, Charles Wright Milhous, who was born in 1858 and died in 1939, the images are circa 1900 to 1917 and showcase the interiors and exteriors of houses occupied by him and his family in Indiana, focusing on their two residences in Seymour, along with his drugstore, the old Milhous farm where Hannah lived, and properties owned by other family members in Jennings, Jackson and Scott counties. Included are additional scenes in Southern California, where Charles Milhous and his family moved around 1912 following his older brother, Franklin Milhous, grandfather of Richard Nixon, who had relocated to the area by 1898.

The future president is not pictured in the collection. The glass plates were accompanied by an updated genealogy of “The Descendants of William Milhous, Jr. and Martha Vickers,” catalogued separately. Some of the images are accessible here.