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John Purdue artifact collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: MSR 1
The John Purdue Artifacts Collection [1814-1988; 5.2 cubic feet, 1 oversized box, 2 oversized items] consists of personal items, gifts purchased by, and items associated with John Purdue. Items of note include the death mask created by local dentist Anderson M. Moore upon the death of Purdue; a partial set of wedding china purchased by Purdue for his business partner Lazarus M. Brown; a flag used by the Purdue Rifles, a Civil War militia that Purdue founded; and personal items owned by John Purdue, such as a pocket watch, washstand, and library. The Collection is organized into three series:


  • 1814-1988
  • Other: Date acquired: 11/30/1922


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research. The collection is stored offsite; 24 hours notice is required to access the collection.


5.20 Cubic Feet

6 mss. boxes; 1 oversized box; 2 oversized items other_unmapped

7.00 mss._boxes

1.00 items

1.00 items

Custodial History

Gold pocket watch was originally purchased at an auction on December 30, 1876 by Fred H. Proper; it was later purchased in an Indiana pawn shop by Harry C. Guthrie and donated to the University by Lillian Dalman in 1995. Letter holders (two leather, one cardboard) possibly belonged to John Purdue or his associates. The 16-volume Humboldt library was originally purchased at an auction on December 30, 1876 by Thomas M. Parks, grandnephew of John Purdue and donated to the university by E.L. Kirk in 1948. The single volume entitled The Philosophy of a Future State was presented to Mrs. Amoranda Harvey by John Purdue in 1838. Havilland china set (originally 250 pieces) was purchased by John Purdue in New York in 1856 for Lazarus M. Brown as a wedding gift; china remained in Brown family until donated by Blanche Brown Johnson in 1923. Soup tureen presented to the parents of Mrs. Arturo Curtis by John Purdue was donated to the university by Mrs. Curtis circa 1926 and added to the existing china collection. Flag was presented to the Purdue Rifles militia group in May 1863 by the citizens of Lafayette and Earl & Hatcher, local grocers. The death mask was created by Anderson M. Moore, local dentist, upon the death of John Purdue in 1876.

Source of Acquisition

Blanche Brown Johnson
Method of Acquisition Pocket watch donated by Lillian Dalman in 1995; resin mask donated by Donald B. Ingle in 1988; Havilland china set and washstand donated by Blanche Brown Johnson in 1923; Havilland soup tureen donated by Mrs. Arturo Curtis in 1926; 16-volume Humboldt library donated in 1948 by E.L. Kirk; The Philosophy of a Future State donated by A.C. Harvey in 1911?

Existence and Location of Originals

multi-part note content

Related Materials

The John Purdue Papers; The John Purdue Newspaper Collection; The John McCammon Family Papers; The John Purdue vertical file

Other Descriptive Information

The John Purdue China Collection was donated to Purdue University in 1925 by Blanche Brown Johnson. The set was purchased as a wedding gift for her parents by John Purdue in 1856. The bone white china features a open pomegranate design on several of the serving pieces and is believed to be from the famous french manufacturer Haviland of Limoges, France.
John Purdue artifact collection
Amanda Grossman
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 W. State Street
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States