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Payne, L., mss., 1871-1972

Summary Information

Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
Lilly Library
Indiana University
1200 E. Seventh St.
Bloomington, IN 47405-5500
Phone: 812-855-2452
Fax: 812-855-3143

Payne, Lesley, 1894?-1976

Payne, L., mss., 1871-1972

Collection No.
LMC 1974

951 items

Materials are in English.

The Payne, L. mss., 1871-1972, are the papers of Lesley Payne, 1894?-1976, musician, and niece of James Whitcomb Riley.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Her mother, Mary Elizabeth (Riley) Payne, 1864-1936, was a sister of the Hoosier Poet, who in 1876 presented to her a set of humorous sketches in ink with verses appended to the drawings. Her father, Frank Charles Payne, 1862-1947, a newspaperman, kept a diary while attending DePauw University between 1883-1886 in which he noted briefly that Riley had presented a lecture.

Schooled as a violinist, Miss Payne with her mother went to Europe in 1908 to study and remained until the outbreak of the European war. Some of her experience are recounted in an unpublished undated narrative entitled "Brittany Profile." Three of her European acquaintances, Vittorio Assale, Georges Dubois, and Augustin Wattebled, wrote to her in French and Italian of their activities as soldiers during the war, 1914-1918.

Interest in psychical research is brought out in Lesley Payne's letters from Hereward Carrington and Leonora (Simonds) Piper. A letter of Edmund Eitel to his Auntie Mame (Mary Elizabeth Riley Payne) on February 19, 1908, noted an attempt at thought transference.

Throughout the correspondence is a pervasive attention to the welfare of James Whitcomb Riley. Miss Payne while attending her uncle on a visit to Florida in March and April of 1915 sent chatty letters to her mother of her uncle's habits and the local social scene. Following Riley's death in 1916 she and her mothers were heirs with the Eitel cousins to the Riley estate. Both later wrote their reminiscences of the poet.


The collection is arranged in the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings; III. Biographical material; IV. Photographs; V. Printed; and, VI. Miscellaneous.

Scope and Content Note

The Payne, L. mss., 1871-1972, are the papers of Lesley Payne, 1894?-1976, musician, and niece of James Whitcomb Riley. Includes correspondence, writings, biographical material, photographs, printed material, miscellaneous materials, and a group of humorous sketches in ink with verses appended to the drawings by James Whitcomb Riley.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired 1977, 1984
Usage Restrictions
Prior arrangements are not necessary before coming to the Library, however, patrons from out of town are encouraged to communicate with the Library in advance of their visits to ascertain availability of materials.

Photocopying permitted only with permission of the Curator of Manuscripts, Lilly Library.

Preferred Citation
Payne, L. mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana

Series: Box 1 I. Correspondence

Arranged in chronological order.

Correspondents include:
  • View All (90)
  • Rowland C. Adams
  • George Ames Aldrich
  • Vittorio Assale
  • Sarah Joanna (Dennis) Balliett
  • Arthur Christopher Benson
  • Robert Hugh Benson
  • Albert Jeremiah Beveridge
  • William Keeney Bixby
  • Julian Bobbs
  • William Conrad Bobbs
  • Clara Louise Bottsford
  • George A. Buskirk
  • Hereward Carrington
  • Mary (Hartwell) Catherwood
  • David Laurance Chambers
  • Padraic Colum
  • James Lothian Daggett
  • John Marcus Dickey
  • Charles L. Dietz
  • Angela Diller
  • Leonidas Dodson
  • May (Winters) Donnan
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  • Georges Dubois
  • Max Ehrmann
  • Edmund Henry Eitel
  • Elva May (Riley) Eitel
  • Henry Eitel
  • John Huston Finley
  • Harvey Firari
  • Ian Forbes Robertson
  • Hamlin Garland
  • Leslie Garrison
  • Dorothy Gish
  • Lizzie Harris
  • Russell Allen Hartley
  • Paul G. Henderson
  • George Cooper Hitt
  • Magdalene (Nickum) Holstein
  • William A. Hough
  • Mabel Leigh Hunt
  • Louis James
  • John M. Judah
  • Jerome David Kern
  • Albert Kinross
  • W. C. Knox
  • Gaston Labat
  • Clara Elizabeth Laughlin
  • Louis Leon Ludlow
  • Elizabeth (Eitel) Miesse
  • Sherman Minton
  • Minnie Belle (Alexander) Mitchell
  • Meredith Nicholson
  • Guiomar Novaes
  • Fletcher A. Payne
  • Frank Charles Payne
  • Lesley Payne
  • Mary Elizabeth (Riley) Payne
  • Rachel (Mason) Peden
  • William Lyon Phelps
  • Eunice (Jameson) Peirce
  • Leonora Evelina (Simonds) Piper
  • Jean Fiora Preston
  • George W. Ray
  • Robert Franklin Reeves
  • Humboldt Alexander Riley
  • John Andrew Riley
  • Julia (Wilson) Riley
  • Reuben Alexander Riley
  • Norman Rockwell
  • Henry Frederick Schricker
  • Emma (Look) Scott
  • Frank Lebby Stanton
  • Rex Todhunder Stout
  • Roger G. Swearingen
  • Booth Tarkington
  • Susannah (Robinson) Tarkington
  • Jean Ten Have
  • James Thibaud
  • Alice (Marine) Thornberg
  • Hendrik Willem Van Loon
  • Arland Ussher
  • John William Vawter
  • Ola (Lackey) Vawter
  • Betty J. (Lawson) Walters
  • Augustin Wattebled
  • James M. Wells
  • Brand Whitlock
  • Blanche Young
  • Stanley Preston Young.


(34 folders)

Box 2 1933-1972 

(10 folders)

Series: Box 2 II. Writings

Arranged in chronological order.

1876 Riley, James Whitcomb. Humorous sketches

1883-1886. Payne, Frank. Diary

1906, Oct. 3-1907, Oct. Payne, Lesley. Musical journal

1931, Nov. Scott, M.W. Observance of James Whitcomb Riley's birthday

1931 Payne, Lesley. Diary

1942-1943. Payne, Lesley. Riley and a Newly Discovered Poem

1971 Purcell, Royal. Indiana's Poet Riley and Painter Steele

n.d. Kendall, Lyle H. Rubaiyat of Doc Sifers.

n.d. Payne, Lesley. Brittany Profile

n.d. Payne, Lesley. James Whitcomb Riley: Random Recollections of a Niece

(see also: Oversize 2)

n.d. Payne, Lesley. There is one abuse of rights...[first line]

n.d. Payne, Mary (Riley). [James Whitcomb Riley]

n.d. unknown. As An Outgrowth of Riley Day,...[first line]

n.d. unknown. Indiana, How We Love Her...[first line]

n.d. unknown. "J.W.R. Film notes"

n.d. unknown. Play about James Whitcomb Riley

n.d. unknown. Poems by James Whitcomb Riley

n.d. unknown. miscellaneous notes

Series: Box 2 III. Biographical material

Includes contracts, wills, clippings, etc. (1 folder)

Series: Box 2 IV. Photographs

Arranged alphabetically by subject (8 folders)

Carrington, Hereward

(1 photograph)

Catherwood, Mary (Hartwell)

(1 photograph)

Desk of James Whitcomb Riley

(4 photographs)

Group photos, including Henry F. Schricker, etc.

(2 photographs)

Oversize 1 Panoramic view of Turin. Enclosure to letter from Vittorio Assale to Lesley Payne, June 3, 1913

Box 2 Payne, Frank C.

(9 photographs)

Payne, Lesley

(1 photograph)

Riley, James Whitcomb. Riley sitting for sculptress Myra (Reynolds) Richards, copyrighted by Shideler in 1916;undated snapshot of Riley with his chauffeur George W. Ray

(2 photographs)


(67 photographs, including four tintypes)

Series: Box 2 V. Printed material

Includes theater programs, clippings, etc. (1 folder)

Series: Box 2 VI. Miscellaneous

Legal case

Appendices H-K

Lists of letters to Riley and of his assets as well as letters to Mary Elizabeth (Riley) Payne and Lesley Payne

List of musical settings for Riley poems

Note regarding Clara Louise Bottsford and Riley

Royalty record of Riley estate for 1922-1924

(6 folders)

Oversize 3 Honorary degree from Yale awarded to James Whitcomb Riley, June 25, 1902

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