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Noble Chase Butler

Noble Chase Butler correspondence and papers
L 26
1820-1933, bulk 1871-1933
2 mss. boxes
Manuscript Section, Indiana Division
Indiana State Library

Processed by: Christiana Baich, October 2005


Biographical Note:

Noble Chase Butler was born in Salem, Indiana on February 21, 1844. His parents were John H. and Mary Chase Butler. He attended Hanover College for three years. While in his junior year in 1863, Butler enlisted in Company H of the 93rd Indiana Volunteer Infantry and fought in the Civil War.

When discharged in 1865, Butler began studying law at his father’s Salem law office. He also attended the University of Louisville law school. Butler continued his studies in New Albany at the law firm of his father and Walter Q. Gresham. He became a partner in the firm when he was admitted to the bar and remained there until 1867. He was then named registrar of bankruptcy in New Albany on the nomination and recommendation of Salmon P. Chase, Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court. On May 27, 1868, he married Anne Browning of Lexington. They had six children including Alice, Anne, Florence, John and Noble, Jr.

Butler practiced law in New Albany until 1879 when he was called to Indianapolis to serve as clerk of the U.S. District Circuit Courts. When the Circuit Court was abolished in 1912, he continued as clerk of the District Court.

From 1902 to 1928, Butler lectured at the Indiana law school and was widely known for his skill as an orator and writer of essays. He contributed regularly to newspapers, legal publications, and magazines.

Butler was one of the incorporators of the National Red Cross Society. The Indiana branch of the society, the American Red Cross, was organized in the library of his home.

After five years of poor health, Noble Chase Butler died on October 7, 1933.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection consists primarily of letters to Butler from the period 1870-1933. There are a number of letters from Walter Q. Gresham, his law partner, on political and legal affairs. A large portion of the remaining correspondence is family letters, including letters from his son, Noble Butler, Jr. while a student at Rose Polytechnic Institute, Terre Haute (1898) and from his daughters in Oberlin, Ohio; Ithaca, New York; and Summit, New Jersey. There are also letters regarding the mental illness of his son John (1907). Also included are a small number of Butler family legal documents and letters (1820-1869) and receipts for Butler family purchases, principally in Indianapolis (1880-1900).

The collection is organized chronologically.

Box and Folder Listing:

Box 1.  Correspondence and Papers
1. Correspondence and Papers, 1820-1869
2. Correspondence and Papers, 1871-1872
3. Correspondence and Papers, 1874-1876
4. Correspondence and Papers, 1877
5. Correspondence and Papers, 1878
6. Correspondence and Papers, 1879
7. Correspondence and Papers, 1880-1884
8. Correspondence and Papers, 1885-1889
Box 2.  Correspondence and Papers, Clippings
1. Correspondence and Papers, 1890-1896
2. Correspondence and Papers, 1898-1899
3. Correspondence and Papers, 1900-1906
4. Correspondence and Papers, Jan.-May 1907
5. Correspondence and Papers, June-Aug. 1907
6. Correspondence and Papers, Sept.-Oct. 1907
7. Correspondence and Papers, 1910-1924
8. Correspondence and Papers, 1925-1926
9. Correspondence and Papers, 1927-1933, n.d.
10. Clipping, 1878

Collection Information:

Size of Collection:
2 manuscript boxes
Collection Dates:
1820-1933, bulk 1871-1933
Florence Butler
Access: 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.
Language Materials are entirely in English
Alternate Formats:
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