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James Patrick Carey papers

Identifier: MSS-132

Scope and Contents

This collection includes news articles, correspondence, and other materials from Muncie newspapers and citizens ranging from 1957 to 1992 regarding the law enforcement and political career of James Patrick Carey.


  • Creation: 1957-2006

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

James Patrick Carey was born in Muncie, Indiana on December 16, 1926 to Mark and Carrie (Lafferty) Carey. His grandfather, John Carey, was former Muncie Chief of Police. He attended Jefferson Elementary School, McKinley Junior High and Central High School. He married twice and had three children, Linda, Corrin, and Michael. His first wife, Joanne, committed suicide in 1962. He later married Marilyn (Thornburg) Carey. Following high school graduation, James Carey entered the U.S. Navy. He served in World War II and the Korean War. In 1949 he returned to Muncie and joined the Muncie Police Department. In 1956 he was named to the newly created post of assistant police chief by Chief Jack Young. By the age of 29, Carey became the youngest captain in the department’s history. In August of 1957 Carey attended the FBI’s National Police Academy. He graduated with honors and was the first police officer at the time to have earned an academy diploma. When Young retired to run for sheriff in 1958, Carey was appointed Chief of Police. In 1959 Carey and two detectives were indicted by a Delaware County grand jury for “allowing unlawful pinball machines, unlawful slot machines, unlawful gift enterprises and unlawful lotteries which were then and there operated and displayed in various cigar stores and other locations.” They argued that Carey’s vice squad officers encouraged the unlawful activity. Carey resigned his position, but the indictment was dismissed and Mayor Arthur Tuhey reappointed him as police chief. He also served as police chief under Mayor Paul Cooley.

James Carey’s political career began in 1970 when he was elected as Delaware County sheriff. Two years into his term, Carey was arrested on bribery charges in connection with gambling activities. He was found not guilty on all charges. Eleven years and one unsuccessful campaign for mayor later, Carey was elected mayor of Muncie in 1984. He was reelected in 1987, but lost a bid for a third them in 1991. He ran unsuccessfully for mayor again in 1995.

During his eight-year administration, Carey actively supported the reconstruction of the downtown area of Muncie. He helped reopen Walnut Plaza and the abandoned Hotel Roberts as the Radisson Hotel. The old post office became a convention center, and he helped construct a new city hall.

After his time as mayor, Carey held several other political positions. He served as executive director of Muncie’s Urban Enterprise Association Board from 1992-1996. In 1999 he was elected to the Muncie City Council. He retired from politics when his term expired in 2003. James Carey died on October 16, 2006 at the age of 79.


5 Cubic Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: James Patrick Carey papers, 1957-1992

Series 2: James Patrick Carey oversize materials, 1986-1991

Series 3: James Patrick Carey photographs, 1957-2006

Series 4: James Patrick Carey oversize photograph, 1983/01/01

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from James P. Carey on 1992/07/13 and an addition was received in 2007.


No further additions are expected.

Related Archival Materials

Materials relating to this collection may be found in the following collections in Archives and Special Collections, Ball State University Libraries, Muncie IN:

V.068: James Patrick Carey St. Patrick's Day in Muncie video, 1988

V.069: James Patrick Carey Public Affairs Roundtable: Discussion on financial and political issues facing Indiana cities video, circa 1980s

V.070: James Patrick Carey Muncie on the Move video, 1988

V.071: James Patrick Carey 1982 Debate between Carey and Wilson video, 1982

V.074: A Community Tribute to James Patrick Carey video, circa 1980s

V.267: Former Mayors Jim Carey and John Hampton interviewed by Bill Spurgeon video, 1995/04/25

Processing Information

Finding aid revised 2007 Apr. by M. Read and J. Gray. EAD finding aid created 2012/04/30 by Lisa Barney. EAD finding aid revised 2012/05/24 by Bethany Fiechter. EAD finding aid revised 2013/10/28 by Leslie Nellis. EAD finding aid revised 2016/05/20 by Lindsey M. Vesperry.

James Patrick Carey 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