James Whitcomb Riley Collection

During his lifetime, James Whitcomb Riley, known as the Hoosier Poet, achieved a height of fame that few literary figures ever attain. His poems reflected memories of childhood and nature and were quite popular. Poems such as "Little Orphant Annie" were written in the "Hoosier dialect". Riley toured the country to recite his poems and was known for his use of language and his sense of humor. Born in Greenfield, Indiana on October, 7, 1849, Riley wrote much of his poetry at his home on West Main Street before moving to Indianapolis. He died on July 22, 1916 and was given the honor of lying in state in the rotunda of the state Capitol, where 35,000 people paid their last respects.

This digital collection celebrates the works of James Whitcomb Riley and is a valuable resource for students, teachers, and researchers in Indiana, throughout the country, and beyond. Livin' the life of Riley provides access to manuscripts, personal letters, photographs, early edition books, and artifacts that represent the Hoosier Poet. This is a collaborative effort between the Hancock Public Library, the Riley Old Home Society, the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home, and IUPUI University Library and was made possible by an LSTA grant.

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This project is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services.


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