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Helen Lynch biography research papers

Identifier: MSS-052

Scope and Contents

The collection contains "The Story of Helen Gertrude Lynch," as written by her sister Alice. There are nineteen chapters in Alice's story, each with a chapter heading. Articles from various newspapers recounting the activities of Helen as well as correspondence and miscellaneous documents between the friends and family are also included.


  • Creation: 1919-1992

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Legal title, copyright, and literary rights reside with Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie, IN. All requests to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted to Archives and Special Collections.

Biographical Note

Helen Gertrude Lynch was born on August 22, 1900 in Mishawaka, Indiana. Her father was a boot maker and lunch wagon owner, but later became an insurance salesman while her mother was a homemaker. Due to his new job and ability to sell insurance, the family moved around the country living in Connecticut, Kentucky, and then finally to Muncie, Indiana. Helen attended St. Mary's Boarding School in South Bend and then high school in Muncie. In the fall of 1919 she enrolled at the University of Michigan, and in 1923 graduated.

After graduating from Michigan, Helen moved to New York City to fulfill her dream of becoming a writer. In 1924, she wrote a novel and had it ready to be published but at the last minute had it destroyed. From 1923 to 1929 she lived in New York City jumping from jobs and apartments while she was writing. In 1929, Helen had her initiation into the unemployment movement when she was caught in a crowd of protesters and then struck on the head by a police officer when the protest turned violent. This began her unemployment movement activity that stretched from 1929 to 1938.

While in the movement she participated in protests, job marches, and hunger marches to win the demands of New York City's unemployed. She went to court several times on charges raging from inciting a riot to contempt in court and was jailed, according to her count, thirty times during her activities. In latter part of February of 1938, Helen was taken to the hospital for pneumonia and later died on February 28, 1938.


0.6 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Helen Lynch biography chapters with notes, 1919-1937

Series 2: Helen Lynch biography research, 1935-1937

Series 3: Helen Lynch biography correspondence, 1943-1991

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1998/06/11 by J. Whitworth. Collection processing completed 2004/04/22 by J. Mullins. EAD finding aid created 2012/08/01 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid revised 2012/09/17 by Bethany Fiechter.

Helen Lynch biography research papers
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Repository Details

Part of the Stoeckel Archives of Local History Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA