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Joseph Albert Wright

Joseph A. Wright Correspondence and Papers
L 183, OB 3
1843-1931, bulk 1843-1867
2 mss. boxes, 1 ov. folder
Manuscript Section, Indiana Division
Indiana State Library

Processed by: Christian Baich, December 2005


Biographical Note:

Joseph Albert Wright was born on April 17, 1810, in Washington, Pennsylvania. His family moved to Bloomington, Indiana, when he was still a young boy. After his father’s death, Wright worked his way through Indiana University. He was admitted to the Indiana bar in 1829 and began practicing law in Rockville. Wright held a number of public offices including member of the Indiana House of Representatives (1833-34, 1836-37); prosecuting attorney of the 1st circuit (1838-1839); member of the Indiana Senate (1839-1840); and member of the U.S. House of Representatives (1843-1845).

Wright was elected Governor of Indiana in 1848 and served from 1849 to 1857. Accomplishments during his two terms as Governor include the adoption of a new state constitution and the formation of State Boards of Education and Agriculture. Wright was then appointed the U.S. Minister to Prussia (1857-61, 1865-67). During his break from the Minister position, he served in the U.S. Senate. He died on May 11, 1867, in Berlin, Germany, while fulfilling his duties as U.S. Minister to Prussia.


Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. United States Congress. Dec. 2005. 

Indiana Governor Joseph Albert Wright. Indiana Historical Bureau. Dec. 2005   

Shepherd, Rebecca A., Charles W. Calhoun, Elizabeth Shanahan-Shoemaker, and Alan F. January, comp. A Biographical Directory of the Indiana General Assembly, Volume 1, 1816-1899. Indianapolis: The Select Committee on the Centennial History of the Indiana General Assembly, 1980.

Scope and Content Note:

The collection includes letters to Wright in Washington from his family in Rockville (1843-1844); letters from his district regarding local and national politics (1844); letters to Wright as Governor of Indiana regarding appointments, railroad development, the Indiana State Bank, criminal cases, agricultural societies, and politics (1849-1857); letters to him as U.S. Minister to Prussia (1857-1861), including letters from Americans traveling in Europe and letters from American diplomats; letters to him as U.S. Senator (1862-1863) regarding appointments and local politics; programs, invitations, and other social and diplomatic materials from his time in Prussia; and a partial biography of Joseph A. Wright.

The collection also includes correspondence received by the family upon Wright’s death as well as family correspondence in the years following his death (1867-1931).

Box and Folder Listing:

Box 1.
1. 1843-May 1844
2. May 1844-1851
3. 1852
4. 1853
5. Jan.-Apr. 1854
6. May-Aug. 1854
7. Sept.-Dec. 1854
8. Jan.-June 1855
9. July-Dec. 1855
10. Jan.-May 1856
11. June-July 1856
12. Aug.-Dec. 1856
Box 2.
1. 1857, n.d. [1849-1857]
2. 1858-1859
3. 1860
4. Undated, while Minister to Prussia (1857-1861)
5. 1862
6. 1863-1867
7. 1870-1897
8. 1900-1929
9. 1930-1931, n.d.
10. Photographs, 1928, n.d.
11. Partial biography manuscript
12. Partial biography typescript
OB 3
Folder 1.
1860 Aug. 2 Certificate in German

Collection Information:

Size of Collection:
2 manuscript boxes, 1 oversized folder
Collection Dates:
1843-1931, bulk 1843-1867
Mrs. Caril Patterson, 11 Aug. 1942
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 in English, German, and French
Alternate Formats:
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