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Western and Northern Europeans


Gilles, John Francis Civil War Diaries, 1861-1865. SC 2392. One folder. Collection guide online. Gilles, a native of Antwerp, Belgium, served in the 33rd Indiana Volunteer Regiment during the Civil War. Gilles enlisted from Knox County and saw action in Kentucky, Tennessee and Georgia. The collection contains two small diaries kept by Gilles during his entire four years of service in Company B, 33rd Indiana Volunteer Regiment. The entries, in pencil and pen, are very small and badly faded.


Barkhimer, Dorothy Olsen Photograph Collection, Ca. 1918, 1919. P 0050. Two photograph folders. Collection guide online. Dorothy Olsen Barkhimer married Robert Barkhimer in August 1938. The 1940 census records show the couple living with her parents; he was an inspector for a fire insurance company and Dorothy was working as a clerk in a department store. Dorothy was born about 1914 to Edwin L. and Freda D. Olsen. Edwin’s father, Jens J. Olsen was born in Denmark in July 1858. He immigrated to the United States in 1880 and settled in Indianapolis. By 1900 census records show him married to Mary H. Olsen and the couple had three children, Rudolph O., Edwin L. and Alma M. Olsen. By 1910 Edwin was the only one found living in the Indianapolis area. Census records record him as seventeen and living with his aunt and uncle, Edward and Helena W. Olsen. By 1920, Edwin was married to Freda D. Olsen and the couple had two daughters, Dorothy and Helen. The collection contains early cartes de visite and photographs of men in military uniforms that were made at photographic studios in Denmark. There are also World War I era black and-white snapshots of unidentified American soldiers and postcard photographs of soldiers taken in Denmark. There are also crowd scenes on Monument Circle celebrating Armistice Day November 11, 1918, Welcome Home Day celebrations, and aerial views of Indianapolis. Finally there is an undated group portrait of the Indianapolis Newsboys Band.


Baird, Emily J. Letter, June 21, 1859. SC 2410. One folder. Collection guide online. The collection contains a letter from Baird in Cloverdale to William J. Koons, Bethel, Kentucky. Topics include Baird’s garden and farm, visitors, bigotry and the intermarriage of Dutch and Irish.

Ten Brook, Andrew Autobiography, 1888-1889. SC 2162. One folder. Typed transcript. No collection guide available. The autobiography of Andrew Ten Brook written in 1888-1889 in Rockville. 


Badollet, John Papers, 1768-1901. F 0032-0033. Two reels of microfilm. No collection guide available. Though Badollet was born in Switzerland the collection includes letters of Louis Salomon, 1807-1835. 

Berthier, Alexandre (1753–1815) Papers, 1800. BV 2578. One bound volume. No collection guide available.  Berthier was an officer in the French army (1770–1814) who fought in the American Revolution with Lafayette. He was chief of staff under Napoleon Bonaparte (1795–1814), and Ambassador Extraordinary to Spain, responsible for negotiating the retrocession of Louisiana from Spain to France (1800). The collection consists of Berthier's papers relating to his negotiations with Spain for the return of Louisiana to France (August–October 1800). Included are retained copies of Berthier's letters to Napoleon, Prince Talleyrand, General Menou, and the Spanish Secretary of State, the Chevalier Urquijo; Berthier's copies of his instructions from Talleyrand. A copy of a letter sent to Urquijo by French ambassador Alquier outlining the French argument for retrocession, and preliminary drafts of a treaty written by Berthier and Urquijo, as well as letters of Urquijo explaining the Spanish position are also present.

Coupin, Claude Antoine Gabriel Papers, 1790-1805. M 0416. One manuscript box. Collection guide in library. Coupin came to America from Sevres, France, in 1790. The collection contains legal documents, letters, and bills. 

Edwards, Abraham of Detroit, Account Books, 1817-1823. F 0005. One reel of microfilm. Collection guide in library. General store of Abraham Edwards used by residents of Michigan, Northern Indiana and elsewhere.

Fretageot Family Records. F 0242. One partial reel of microfilm.  Collection guide in library.  This collection comprises a portion of the New Harmony materials collection on microfilm.  Achilles Emery Fretageot was born in France in 1813.  He moved to New Harmony in 1826 and lived there until his death in 1873.  The collection contains one day book and one account book but also materaisl related to his sons Alexander and Achilles H. Fretageot.

Haldimand, Frederick Papers. SC 0667. One folder. Photocopies. No collection guide available. Ten documents, 1766-1774, longhand copies from Public Archives of Canada.

Julian Family Papers, 1861-circa 1971. SC 3037. Four folders, one folder photographs. Collection guide online. The Julians are among the more historically prominent families in eastern Indiana. The first Julians, then known as St. Juliens, arrived in the Carolinas from France in the seventeenth century, and made their way to Indiana in the early nineteenth century. A number of them were Quakers and abolitionists, and several were involved in Henry County’s initial organization in 1821. Rene Julian was elected as the first County Clerk and Recorder in 1822, and his name appears repeatedly in local histories. Another individual active in Henry County’s founding was Shubal Julian, on whose land Prairie Township’s first schoolhouse was built in 1824 or 1825. Other notable individuals include J.B. Julian, listed as Circuit Prosecutor for the year 1844, and Emsley Julian, who served as Treasurer for the county in the 1860s. The Julians are also associated with Wayne County, where Isaac Julian served as the area’s first schoolteacher in 1808-1809. The same Isaac Julian won a seat in the Indiana State House of Representatives in 1822. This short collection is devoted to Julian family history.

Lasselle, Hyacinth Accounts List, 1816. SC 0958. One folder. No collection guide available. List of debts due to A. Marchall’s estate recovered by Lasselle as administrator.

Lasselle, Hyacinth Collection Transcripts and Translations, 1713-1908. M 0435. Three manuscript boxes. Collection guide online. Hyacinth Lasselle was a French trader and officer in the Indiana militia. He married Julia Bosseron, the daughter of a Vincennes fur trader. The couple’s children were Charles B., a lawyer and politician of Cass County; Stanislaus, a dry goods merchant and newspaper publisher; Hyacinth Jr., a merchant, lawyer, and newspaper publisher; and Jacques Magloire, a Cass County lawyer and judge. The collection contains transcripts and translations of about 800 French language documents from the Lasselle Collection of the Indiana State Library. The documents are the personal and business papers of the family and deal with French traders, the early military history of the state, and the business and political activities of Lasselle’s sons.

New Harmony, Indiana Collection, 1814–1884, 1920, 1964. M 0219. Three manuscript boxes, three photograph folders, three OVA graphics boxes, one oversize graphics folder. Collection guide online. New Harmony, in Posey County in southwestern Indiana, was the site of two utopian experiments in the early nineteenth century. The first, the Harmony Society, was a group of German Pietists who had come to Pennsylvania in 1804 and founded a communist society. Led by George Rapp and his adopted son Frederick, they settled at New Harmony from 1815 to 1825, but then moved again, to Economy, Pennsylvania, on the Ohio River near Pittsburgh. In 1825 the New Harmony settlement was sold to the British industrialist and philanthropist, Robert Owen. There Owen attempted to put into effect his theories of socialism and human betterment. These were based on absolute equality of property, labor, and opportunity, combined with freedom of speech and action. The Owenite community failed within two years, but Owen and his family continued both their ownership of the land at New Harmony and their interest in social reform. Many who believed in the ideals of these communities came to New Harmony. Charles Alexandre LeSueur was born in LeHavre, France. He came to America in 1816 and moved to New Harmony in 1826 staying until 1837. His niece, Virginia DuPalais married William Augustus Twigg in 1828. An account of a flatboat trip to New Orleans in 1833-1834 made by Achilles Fretageot who was born in France in 1813 is also present in the collection.

Northwest Territory Papers and Documents, 1721-1802 (bulk 1780-1801). M 0367. Three manuscript boxes, ten oversize folders. Collection guide online. The Northwest Territory was created by the Ordinance of 1787 and consisted of land between the Ohio River, the Mississippi River and the Great Lakes. In 1800, the Indiana Territory was separated from the Northwest Territory and two years later, the present state of Michigan was added to the Indiana Territory. In 1803, the Northwest Territory ceased to exist with the admission of Ohio as a state. The collection contains miscellaneous papers in English, German and French; some French materials have been translated into English. The papers relate to the exploration, settlement and administration of the Northwest Territory. Topics include the U.S. Army in the west; the campaigns against Native Americans by Harmar, St. Clair, and Wayne; the Ohio Company and land settlement; the French and British in the Northwest Territory and in the American Revolution; territorial court records; territorial politics and government; French fur trading expeditions; government relations and treaties with Native Americans; Clark’s expeditions against Vincennes and Kaskaskia; and military actions in the west during the American Revolution.

Rivet, Adrian Papers, 1840-1864. M 1032. One manuscript box, two oversized folders. Collection guide online. Adrian Rivet was born in France around 1822 and came to the United States where he became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1844 at Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana. He became prominent businessman in Hancock and Marion Counties, Indiana in the 1850s living in Cumberland in Hancock County. In 1855, he was named to the Indiana delegation for the Paris Exposition. Rivet was listed as living in Rensselaer, Jasper County, in 1860. The bulk of the collection consists of Rivet’s business records including receipts, indentures, and two pocket journal account books relating to Rivet’s various business ventures in Hancock, Marion and Jasper counties, 1840-1864. Also included are letters to Rivet in French from friends primarily in the Cincinnati, Ohio region, 1848-1860. Additional items include Rivet’s naturalization paper in Greenfield, Hancock County, September 18, 1844, his appointment as a delegate from Indiana to the Paris Exposition, 1855, handwritten poetry in French and English and documents regarding his membership in the Masonic Lodge.

Vacelet, Jean Désiré Passport. OM 0211. One oversize folder. No collection guide available. Passport from 21 February 1865 (in French) written in French for Vacelet who lived in Vincennes.


Badollet, John Papers, 1768-1901. F 0032. One reel of microfilm. No collection guide available. John Badollet was born in Switzerland. The collection also includes three letters of L. Gex Obussier, 1836-1837.

DuFour, John James et al. SC 1687. One folder. No collection guide available. Covenant d’association pour l’etablissement des terres de Suisserland fur le fleuve de l’Ohio. January 20, 1803. The document outlines the establishment of a colony of Swiss vintners in what would become Switzerland County, Indiana. Translation printed in IHS Publications, vol. 13.

Gay, R. Henry Letters. SC 0617. One folder. No collection guide available. Two letters of R. Henry Gay, written from Cannelton, Indiana December 23, 1857, and January 9, 1858. It is noted in the letters that the Swiss Colonization Society is settling here, buying land and provides a description of land and location.

Heberhart Family Collection, 1874, Cs. 1890s–Cs. 1910, 1922. P 0445. One manuscript box, one bound volume. Collection guide online. Francis C. Heberhart Sr. was born in Switzerland and was married to a woman named Anna Elizabeth (b. March 25, 1797 in Switzerland, d. February 5, 1881), and had two daughters, Rosalie and Elizabeth, and a son, Francis C. Heberhart Jr. Francis “Frank” Heberhart Jr. married Matilda V. Childs. Frank was born in Ohio, and Matilda was born in Switzerland. According to the census, they lived in Madison, Indiana, in 1870 and 1880 and had four children living with them, all born in Indiana: Charles E., Mary, Emma H., and William G. Frank was working as a clerk in a brewery, and Charles was working as a clerk in a store. Charles E. Heberhart married Jennie McClure (b. October 28, 1855, d. May 15, 1893) on October 14, 1873 in Jefferson County, Indiana. By 1874, Charles was in partnership with Ben Abberger, running Heberhart and Abberger’s Drug Store on Mulberry Street in Madison. Charles’s younger brother, William, also worked at the store. This collection consists of 26 mounted black-and-white photographs, one diary, one small pharmacy log book, and one theater voucher.

Hirshbrunner, John Caspar Autobiography, 1900-1997. SC 1666. One folder. Collection guide online. A native of Berne, Switzerland, Hirshbrunner worked as a journeyman tanner until he immigrated to New York in 1851. In 1853, he married and moved to Indianapolis. The family moved to Terre Haute in 1856, then to Parke County in 1859, settling in Lusk Springs and then Rockville. The collection contains a photocopied 16-page typescript of Hirshbrunner’s 1900 autobiography, and a 1997 edited and bound version of the typescript, including photocopies of family photographs. There are also two pages of notes by Hirshbrunner’s great-granddaughter, Melita J. Campbell. Topics include Hirshbrunner’s childhood and youth in Switzerland; his years as a journeyman tanner; his immigration to the U.S.; and life in Indiana.

Martin, Jacques Coorespondence and Journal. M 0345. One manuscript box. No collection guide available. Translation of the book, Le Rendex-vous Americàin, Correspondence et Journal Inédits de Jacque Martin, 1853-1868. Swiss immigrant who owned a ferry in Spencer County and served in 6th Ohio Regiment during the Civil War, 1861-1864.

Obussier, Louis Gex Papers, 1803–1843. SC 0620. Four folders. Collection guide online. Louis Gex Obussier (1761–1845) was born in Canton de Vaud, Switzerland. He married his first wife, Lucille, sometime before 1790 and they produced six children. Gex Obussier came to the United States in the early 1800s on behalf of Swiss merchant Jean Mennet to manage land he had supposedly purchased in Virginia. The land proved non productive and Gex ended up joining John Dufour’s Swiss settlement at Vevay, Switzerland County in Indiana Territory where he was a farmer and wine maker. The papers primarily deal with Louis Gex Obussier’s business operations and are mainly in French, 1803-1843.

Perry County Microfilm. F 0180. One reel of microfilm. Swiss Colonization Society Papers, 1852-1859. Collection guide in library.

Scherrer, Adolph Papers, 1853–1928. M 0245. One manuscript box, two bound volumes, two OVB size photograph folders. Collection guide online. The architect Adolph Scherrer (1847-1925) designed many important public structures and residences in the city of Indianapolis during the late 19th century. He was born in Switzerland and studied in Vienna and Budapest before coming to the United States about 1870. Practicing first in New York City and Chicago he moved to Indianapolis about 1873. His first position here was as a draftsman for Indianapolis’ leading architect Edwin May. In 1878 May was commissioned to design the new state capitol but died in 1880 soon after the project began. The building was completed by Scherrer in 1888. By 1891, he was appointed to the first Indianapolis Board of Public Works. Scherrer’s sons, Anton and Herman, were also architects and worked in collaboration with their father and continued after his death as Adolph Scherrer and Sons.

 Zulauf, John Papers. M 0308, BV 1769-1772. One box, four bound volumes. Collection guide in library. Zulauf came from Thurgan, Switzerland, to Clark County. He operated a lace and silk importing store in Louisville, Ky., and employed Swiss heirs of John Fischli (d. 1838). The bulk of the letters are in German to Zulauf from family and employers in Switzerland, 1835-1866.