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Claxon mss., 1947-1993

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

Claxon, Neville, 1915-1998

Claxon mss., 1947-1993

Collection No.
LMC 1193

ca. 685 items

Materials are in English.

The Claxon mss., 1947-1993, consists primarily of letters from Baptist missionaries Emma and Neville Claxon, addressed largely to family members in Kentucky.

Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Emma (Osborne) Claxon, 1912-2008, and her husband (William) Neville Claxon, 1915-1998, were first posted to the Gold Coast (now Ghana) in 1948 and were later stationed in Nigeria, Burkina Faso, and Dahomey (now Benin). Upon their original departure from the United States, the Claxons were accompanied by their then three-year-old daughter, Carol Ann; son William Neville, Jr. was born while the family was stationed in Nigeria. In the 1970s the Claxons studied French in France before moving to French-speaking Benin. After retirement in 1981, Emma and Neville spent their first few months in their original home town of Russellville, Kentucky, did some mission work in Florida, and then moved to Lawrenceburg, Kentucky, where they lived for eleven years. In 1992 they sold their home in Kentucky and moved to Bloomington, Indiana, where daughter Carol was a faculty member in Indiana University’s School of Journalism.


The collection is arranged by the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Writings.

Scope and Content Note

The Claxon mss., 1947-1993, consist primarily of letters from Baptist missionaries Emma and Neville Claxon, addressed largely to family members in Kentucky. The correspondence begins in late 1947 while the Claxons awaited their ship to Africa, and the last letters were written from the United States following the Claxons’ retirement as missionaries in 1981. The majority of the letters describe daily activities and missionary work in West Africa over a period of more than thirty years. The letters also include descriptions of the Claxon children’s growth and activities, stories of the family’s interactions with the peoples of Ghana, Nigeria and Benin, and discussions about the health and wellness of extended family. Frequent correspondents include Neville Claxon’s mother, Frona, and sister, Eleanor, as well as children Carol Ann and William (Bill) Neville, Jr. following their return to the United States in pursuit of a college education.

Writings include those by Neville Claxon: brief travel narratives, summaries of experiences in Africa, and excerpts from a journal and daily calendar. There also is an account by an Assembly of God missionary, named McNutt, whose family lived near the Claxons when they first arrived in Kumasi, the Gold Coast, in June 1948.

Administrative Information

Acquisition Information
Acquired: 2003
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
Claxon mss., Lilly Library, Indiana University, Bloomington, Indiana.

Series: Box 1 I. Correspondence

Folder 1 1947-1948, Aug.

Folder 2 1948, Sept.-Dec.

Folder 3 1949

Folder 4 1950

Folder 5 1951-1953

Folder 6 1954

Folder 7 1955-1956

Folder 8 1957

Folder 9 1958

Folder 10 1959-1960

Folder 11 1962-1970

Folder 12 1971

Folder 13 1972

Folder 14 1973-1974

Folder 15 1975

Folder 16 1976

Folder 17 1977

Folder 18 1978

Folder 19 1979

Folder 20 1980

Folder 21 1981-1994, undated

Series: Box 1 II. Writings

Folder 22 Claxon, 1948-1976

Folder 23 McNutt, 1948