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John S. Wright papers

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSA 27

Scope and Contents

The papers of John Wright are comprised of notebooks, financial records (one ledger and additional receipts), publications, and photographs which document John Wright's time as a student at Purdue University, and material from his career as a botanist and drug inspector for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana.


  • 1884 - 1923
  • Majority of material found within 1884 - 1892


Access Information

This collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Collection materials are in the public domain. Consult with Purdue University Archives and Special Collections prior to reproduction of materials.

Biographical Information

John Shepard Wright was born October 17, 1870 to John Ellis and Elma Shepard Wright. Wright graduated from Purdue University in 1892 and received an honorary LL.D. in 1940. In 1942 Purdue recognized him as one of seventeen “golden graduates”, member of the class of 1892.

John S. Wright went to work for Eli Lilly and Company in Indianapolis, Indiana, immediately after graduation, where he served as a botanist and drug inspector until 1904. He was then made advertising director. In 1910 Wright was allowed to purchase 50 shares of Eli Lilly stock, only the second non-family member allowed to do so. In 1927 John Wright became a member of the Board of Directors. He later became a consultant in advertising. John Wright published two volumes dealing with pharmacy. He was secretary of the Indiana Academy of Science for nine years and president for one year. At one time he lectured on medical botany at Indiana Medical College. He was affiliated with several social, literary, historical, and scientific societies. He became semi-retired from active service in 1943, but he remained on the board of directors of the Eli Lilly until April 1951. He was also on the board of directors of the Lilly Endowment.

The John S. Wright Forestry Center, located at 1007 North 725 West in West Lafayette, on the site of Martell Forest, approximately 7.5 miles west of the West Lafayette campus is named in honor of John Shepard Wright. In 1964 Wright provided the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources with a generous endowment for the promotion of forestry in Indiana. Mr. Wright was a botanist, an Eli Lilly executive, and a friend of many forestry leaders in Indiana, particularly Stanley Coulter, Purdue University Professor Daniel DenUyl, and Charles C. Deam, the first state forester of Indiana.

Source(s): Information found among his papers and a document by Barbara Cook, which is located in the collection file. Information was also retrieved December 2, 2009 from


0.552 Cubic Feet (One full-width legal-size manuscript box)

Language of Materials



Collection materials are arranged by type and in chronological order.

Acquisition Information

Collection materials were transferred from Butler University Archives via Sally Childs-Helton on May 5, 2008.

Processing Information

All material has been housed in acid-free folders and acid-free boxes.
John S. Wright papers
Under Review
Mary A. Sego, Adriana Harmeyer, and Amanda Rumba
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2009-02-12.

Revision Statements

  • 2017-09-28: Botany notebook added to collection, folders renumbered by Adriana Harmeyer.
  • 2020-04-29: Collection description updated by Amanda Rumba to align with data entry standards.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States