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William M. Hepburn papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSF 173

Scope and Contents

Materials relate to Purdue history, Purdue faculty members, the Purdue Library system, and various individuals affiliated with Purdue history such as Charles Major, Bruce Rogers, and Richard Owen. The collection also includes Hepburn's personal and professional correspondence, personal documents such as a passport and articles on Hepburn's birthplace, a collection of books, and publications from both the Indiana Library Association and the American Library Association.


  • 1880 - 1962


Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Portions of material in this collection are in the public domain. Other material copyrights held by Purdue University or original creator. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

William M. Hepburn was born in Pictou, Nova Scotia, Canada, and attended Dalhousie College. He worked in libraries in Canada and the United States before becoming Librarian at Purdue University from 1904 until his retirement in 1944. He led the library system through construction of the General Library in 1913, a major stack addition in 1934, and the creation in the 1920s of departmental libraries for agriculture, biology, chemical engineering, chemistry, mathematics, pharmacy, and physics. Hepbur co-authored a history of Purdue and served as bibliographer and curator for the Goss Library of the History of Engineering. He also researched Indiana History and was an active member of the American Library Assocation.


7.35 Cubic Feet (12 manuscript boxes and three cubic foot boxes)

Language of Materials



The William M. Hepburn papers are arranged into six series.
  1. Purdue Library Administration
  2. Research and Writing
  3. Correspondence
  4. Professional Involvement
  5. Personal
  6. Books

Acquisition Information

The John Purdue research materials were donated ca. 1985 by Margaret Hepburn Funston, daughter of William Hepburn. The majority of the collection was acquired from Hepburn at unknown dates.

Related Materials

UA 30, Purdue University Libraries records, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

MSA 35, Bruce Rogers papers, Purdue University Archives and Special Collections, Purdue University Libraries

Separated Materials

Some materials intended for other archival collections were originally housed with the William M. Hepburn papers. Those materials have been moved to the appropriate locations: papers related to the Purdue Weather Bureau were moved to the James H. Smart papers as addition 01; a collection of Purdue University Engineering reports was separated and established as a new collection; three items were moved to the New Harmony collection; and three audio reels were moved to the Collection of Purdue University Related audio recordings. One publication, "Concerning Agriculture in Purdue University" by James H. Smart, was separated from the collection and is now part of the Archives and Special Collections Purdue History Book Collection (S790.3 .S637).

Processing Information

Collection material was rehoused in archival boxes and folders; paperclips and rusty staples were removed. Documents in binders were removed and placed in folders.
William M. Hepburn papers
In Progress
Sarah Kenny
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States