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Clarence E. Benadum manuscripts

Identifier: MSS-187

Scope and Contents

The Clarence E. Benadum Papers contains original manuscripts of Benadum's published works as well as other unpublished novels, poetry, short stories, correspondence, theatre news, a 1931 address by Hon. V.E. Livingood, a colleague of Benadum's. The book manuscripts range from finished copies to works in progress to handwritten notes and drafts, both of published and unpublished works. Titles of the poems do not appear on the folder but a full list does appear below. Many of the short stories are fragments of unknown works and may be part of Benadum's larger works. Mary Benadum's commissions to the Indiana State Woman's Prison Board of Trustees can be found in the adjoining collection OVA 68.

Poems found in Benadum poems (Box 2, Folder 9):

Exodus Ch. 15 Song of Moses, "The Senator's Toe", "Asher and the Bear" (2 versions), "To Thomas Bracken", "Look Back", "Shall I Return", "Of Robert Burns" (2 versions), "Advice is Plentiful" (2 versions), "Write on a Slate", "Night", "Fate and Chance", "The Twist of Trial", "Rome", "Time Ran Out", "Job and David", "The Thief", "Deadwood", "To Jack and Frank", "At Pearl's House", "King David" (2 versions), "Oh, For a Song", "Shy Happiness", "To Hank", "The Storm" (2 versions), "The Sinner", "The Life and Works of Josephus", "A Rhyme", Dec. 31, 1962, "The Kennedy Clan", Christmas, 1962, "Paul and Stephen", "Robert Burns Today", "To Mary", "This Moment", "I'd Try", "A Red Rose", "A Night in Belle Forche", "Where Shall I Go", "The Jilted Widow", "Solomon", "Life", "A Tale", "At Old U.B.", "To Jack", "Virgin Timber", and "Christmas Eve at Armen".


  • Creation: 1931-1967

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

Clarence E. Benadum, born 7 June 1889 on a farm in Delaware County, lived a rich and interesting life. After leaving his boyhood farm, Benadum worked for a time in Canada driving a dog sled for a freight company, homesteaded in the Black Hills of South Dakota, and prospected for gold there and in Canada. He graduated from Valparaiso University, passed the bar in 1910, and started his career as a successful trial lawyer in 1916.

World War I infantry and artillery service interrupted his law practice but in 1922 he resumed his legal pursuits when he was elected to Delaware County prosecutor. In the courtroom he was known for his melodramatic theatrics. In one case in 1938 he reenacted a shooting scene in court while wearing the decedent's bloody shirt. In 1940, Benadum ventured into full-fledged politics by running for Indiana Governor on the Republican ticket. After losing the election, Benadum continued to practice law but also began to pour more energy into writing books, poems, and short stories. His wife, Mary A. Benadum (neƩ Brandt), however, was a trustee for the Indiana State Woman's Prison for many years in the 1940s and 1950s. She died in 1970.

Benadum published his first book entitled Blackshirt in 1935 (call number PS 3503. E48 B4) which portrayed behind-the-scenes political life in Indiana in the early 1900s. He continued to write and in 1951 published his second and best-known book: Bates House (call number PS 3503 .E48 B3). The book recounts a tale of life in Indiana during the Civil War and the effects it had on local peoples. In 1967, Benadum published a poem entitled The Trial of Bill Jones about a lawyer who acquits a man of a crime by reason of insanity (i.e. over-drinking) (call number PN 6099.3 T75). The present collection contains manuscripts and drafts of these works as well as others which Benadum never published. The copies of the two books are autographed copies.

Clarence E. Benadum died 13 November 1978 at the age of 89.


2 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Clarence E. Benadum book manuscripts, undated

Series 2: Clarence E. Benadum poetry manuscripts, undated

Series 3: Clarence E. Benadum short story manuscripts, undated

Series 4: Clarence E. Benadum personal papers, 1931-1967

Series 5: Mary Benadum oversize papers, 1947-1951

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Larry Campbell Jr. on 1999/07/12.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 1999/06/26 by K. Brooks. EAD finding aid created 2012/10/12 by Julie Hausknecht. EAD finding aid revised 2013/10/28 by Rebecca Marangelli.

Clarence E. Benadum manuscripts
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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