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Library > Collections > Rare Books & Manuscripts > Finding Aid Index > William R. Overlease Collection on Indiana State Parks William R. Overlease Collection on Indiana State Parks

William R. Overlease Collection on Indiana State Parks
L243, OBD33, V227
2 mss. boxes, 2 vol., 1 os. folder
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Processed by: Elizabeth M. Wilkinson, February 2007

Biographical and Historical Note:

William Roy Overlease worked as a naturalist for the Indiana State Park system for five years in the 1950s. In 1963, Overlease became a professor of Biology at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.  Prof. Overlease is currently retired from teaching and living in Bloomington, Indiana.
The Indiana State Parks traces its history back to 1916.  Colonel Richard Lieber, an Indianapolis businessman and German immigrant, recommended that a state park system be created as part of Indiana’s celebration of its centennial.  Lieber became a national leader in the state parks movement and assisted other states in forming their own systems as well.  He became the first Director of the Indiana Department of Conservation, serving for more than a decade.


 Department of natural Resources. “History and Culture.”  “Robert B. Gordon Natural Area for Environmental Studies.”

Scope and Content Note:

This collection consists of materials compiled by naturalist, William R. Overlease, regarding Spring Mill State Park, Brown County State Park, McCormick’s Creek State Park, and Turkey Run State Park. The collection includes correspondence, pamphlets, reports, notes, postcards, and some photographs.

Materials are grouped by park.

Box and Folder Listing:

Box 1.
1. Spring Mill State Park correspondence and papers, 1951-1955
2. Spring Mill State Park correspondence and papers, 1956-1959, undated
3. Report on Spring Mill Museum and Village, winter 1954
4. Spring Mill State Park: Naturalist activity reports, June 1955-Oct. 1956
5. Spring Mill, naturalists manual. 1954-1955
6. Spring Mill State Park: Indiana Pioneer Life, Major Research Project no. 2, 1956 Box1, Folder 7. Spring Mill State Park: Correspondence regarding George Donaldson   1868 Jan. From George Donaldson to Scotland, describing life in Mitchell. Indiana and possibility of moving from Scotland to Mitchell.
1878 Mar. 19 From George Donaldson in Spring Hill. Alabama. describing Spring - Summer season in Alabama.
1878 July 9 George Donaldson to Mr. Turley re a two dollar payment to William Lyon.
1881 Mar. From George Donaldson re life in Springhill, Alabama
1881 Apr. 8 From George Donaldson in Springhill, Alabama containing more of life in Alabama and news of Mr. Ramie and his mother
1882 Sept. 19 From George Donaldson re care of his house and land in his absence and action taken regarding destruction of property.
1883 Sept. A printed description. Originally in the form of a handbill, in which George Donaldson advertises property in Southern Indiana
for sale.
A description of the property is given,
1883 Sept. 3 Letter from George Donaldson. Alabama to K.B. Turley. Indiana, personal note re information regarding the destruction of
Donaldson property in Indiana.
1883 Nov. 1 Letter from George Donaldson in Louisville to "Bruce” re recovered articles and other information concerning destruction
of Indiana property.
1884 Apr. From George Donaldson in Cincinnati (to B.K.?) - request for information reburning and robbing of Indiana property
1885 Feb. 28 From George Donaldson in Springhill. Alabama re use and repair of property in Indiana
1888 Sept. 25 From George Donaldson to Jonathon Turley re property in Indiana and its possible purchase price
1891 Aug. 1 From George Donaldson. Discusses land in Indiana. location of water and the death of a Mrs. Mahan
1-12-1893 From George Donaldson to J. Turley re the death of Mrs. Turley. growth of Bedford and Mitchell and considerations on the
sale of the Indiana property
1897 July From George Donaldson to Miss Eliza re deaths of Father and Mrs. Sarah Lynn, inquires of Mrs. James Lynn, Doctor
McIntyre and Mill at Hamer's.
1901 May 5 Excerpts term letters written by Emma E. Currie re George Donaldson, his property in Indiana. and people associated
with the property.
1902 Jan. 7 From Emma Currie to Eliza Turley re Donaldson's Indiana property being awarde to the state of Indiana to be preserved
1906 June 28 Article by Emma Currie to the editor of the Mitchell Tribune re corrections to his "Shawnee Cottage Ruins" article re George
1908 May 3 Emma E. Currie to friends at Shawnee re the condition of Shawnee and the mistales in the Mitchell Tribune article
1911 Feb. 21 From Emma E. Currie re inheritance of property at Shawnee and inquiries of news form there.
1929 June 27 Information from a newspaper article in Indianapolis Star by Bessie Lynn Hufford; letter from Emma Currie published in
Mitchell Tribune; excerpt from Pugeot Diary; and an article from Louisville. Ky. paper - all re George Donaldson
1929 June 27 Excerpts from deed records re George Donaldson
1929 July 30 Excerpts from articles in the Indianapolis Star regarding George Donaldson
1930 Apr. 2 Excerpts from articles in the Indianapolis Star regarding George Donaldson
1930 June 16 Excerpts from articles in the Indianapolis Star regarding George Donaldson
1931                 Excerpts re George Donaldson and some history of his land taken from Spring Mill State Park - A History and Description,
Dept. of Conservation.
undated                 From George Donaldson re the recovery of certain stolen articles and reference to the burning and robbing of his Indiana
undated                 From George Donaldson in Cincinnati re the destruction of his Indiana property and requesting information there of.
undated                 From George Donaldson in gratitude for receiving Grape vines
undated                 From George Donaldson offering croquet set of friends
undated                 Two incomplete letters form George Donaldson describing land and possibility of it becoming a resort, and regarding
"Mrs. Mary"
undated                 Quotes from History of Indiana University by Burton Dorr Myers re turning Donaldson Farm into a state park
undated                 Notes from Donaldson vs. State Supreme Court of Indiana, June 26, 1903
undated                 Biographical information re Donaldson taken form various sources
8. Spring Mill State Park photographs (4 items)
9.  Brown County State Park: Papers, notes, and correspondence, 1952-1955, undated
10. McCormick’s Creek State Park: Correspondence, notes, and clippings, 1914, 1938, 1951-1976
11. McCormick’s Creek State Park: Reports and notes, undated
12. Notes on McCormick’s Creek State Park, 1950s
Box 2.
1. McCormick’s Creek State Park photographs and postcards, 1940s and 1950s (12 items)
2. Turkey Run State Park: Papers and notes, 1928-1973, undated
3. Turkey Run State Park postcards and photographs, 1940s and 1950s (14 items)
4. Miscellaneous material, 1950s.
OBD33, 1 Folder.
 1932 May Spring Mill Village State Park planting plan 1
1950 reprint Bloomington, Indiana topography map
V227-1 Spring Mill: Hidden Valley Village by Norman C. Evans, 1953
V227-2  A Study of Pioneer Village Spring Mill, Indiana by William Overlease, 1977

Collection Information:

Size of Collection:

2 manuscript boxes, 1 oversize folder, 2 volumes

Collection Dates:

1868-1977, undated


William R. Overlease, 4 January 1978


This collection is open for research.



Reproduction Rights:

Permission to reproduce, exhibit, or publish material in this collection must be obtained from the Manuscript Section, Indiana State Library.  Possession of a reproduction from an Indiana State Library collection does not constitute permission for use.

Materials are entirely in English

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Related Holdings:


Photocopying Policy:

Manuscript materials CANNOT be photocopied or digitized in their entirety. Photocopies and/or digital images cannot exceed 25% of a collection or a folder within a collection. In some cases, photocopying may not be permitted due to the condition of the item. Check with a Manuscript Librarian for other options.