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Dorothy Hamilton papers and photographs

Identifier: MSS-072

Scope and Contents

The Dorothy Hamilton Collection consists primarily of manuscripts of her books and writings, as well as newspaper clippings about Mrs. Hamilton’s work and about her activities. The collection also includes copies of Dorothy Hamilton’s magazine serials, announcement of the awards she received, the honorary degree she obtained from Ball State University, information from Hamilton’s publisher, as well as unfinished writings.

The collection contains transcripts of Mrs. Hamilton’s talks, two books on cassette, mock-ups of her books, hand-written event calendar and notebooks, notes from her writing courses, correspondence, contracts, royalty statements, and some of her artwork.


  • 1962-1993

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

Dorothy Drumm was born in 1906 in Monroe Township. She lived in Delaware County, Indiana, all of her life, where she attended Cowan School, Muncie Central High School, and Ball State University. She worked in a factory to put herself through school. At the age of nineteen, Dorothy married Harry D. Hamilton and left college to become a farm wife and to raise a family.

Mrs. Hamilton grew up in the Methodist Church, and she devoted much of her life to rearing seven children. In the 1960’s she turned to tutoring “slow learners” who, under her guidance and gentle encouragement, were turned into excellent students. After the last of her seven children were out of the home, Dorothy Hamilton emerged as an author of children’s books, dealing with such themes as divorced parents, drug use at school, jealousy, moving to a new neighborhood, poverty, racial relations, foster homes, migrant labor, adequate housing, and alcoholic parents. She used these themes to teach children how to cope with similar problems in their own lives.

Her first children’s book, Anita’s Choice, was published in 1971. In addition to children’s books, she also wrote numerous serials and articles published in magazines. As a result of her prolific writings, Dorothy Hamilton gained widespread recognition among children who looked upon her as “Grandma Moses.”

Early in 1979 the Indiana State Council of the International Reading Association presented her with its “Outstanding Contribution in the Field of Reading Award.” In May 1979 Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana, conferred an honorary Doctor of Letters degree on Mrs. Hamilton for her significant contribution to children’s literature.

Mrs. Hamilton was also the catalyst for the foundation of the Midwest Writers Workshop. Sprung from the Dorothy Hamilton Writers’ Club, the Workshop was created in 1975 and, until her death, Hamilton instructed many of the sessions. She also was heavily involved with the annual Young Authors Conference.

Dorothy Hamilton died in September 1983, and a memorial service for her was held on September 16, 1983, at the Friends Memorial Church. The obituary from the Muncie Star described Dorothy Hamilton’s life as “Caring...Sharing...Love...Enthusiasm.” She is also remembered for her role as mother, homemaker, teacher, speaker, and author.


5.5 Cubic Feet (6 boxes, 4 audio cassettes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Dorothy Hamilton books, 1971-1985

Series 2: Dorothy Hamilton correspondence and other materials, 1962-1984

Series 3: Dorothy Hamilton talks, undated

Series 4: Dorothy Hamilton unfinished writings and other materials, 1962-1987

Series 5: Dorothy Hamilton newspaper clippings and autobiographical material, 1971-1993

Series 6: Dorothy Hamilton artifacts, 1979-1981

Series 7: Dorothy Hamilton oversize materials, undated

Series 8: Dorothy Hamilton oversize photographs, 1980 Oct.

Series 9: Dorothy Hamilton oversize poster, undated

Series 10: Dorothy Hamilton photographs, 1980/11/11

Series 11: Dorothy Hamilton sound recordings, undated

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation. An addition was donated by Fran Parkison 2006/05/03. An addition was donated by Mr. and Mrs. John Parkison 2008/04/30. An addition was donated by Ms. Jeannie Smith 2011/08/30.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing revised 2006/05/15 by R. Miller. EAD finding aid created 2012/10/04 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid modified 2013/10/28 by Rebecca Marangelli.
Dorothy Hamilton papers and photographs
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
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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