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Mayor Paul Cooley papers

Identifier: MSS-191

Scope and Contents

This collection includes subject files, calendars, newsletters, other publications, maps, photographs, an audio recording, and a video recording from Mayor Paul J. Cooley in Muncie, Indiana ranging from 1883 to 1995 regarding Cooley's mayoral administration, and Cooley's other political and professional activities.


  • Creation: 1883-1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1966 - 1976

Conditions Governing Access

Separated materials are restricted. Contact the repository for more information.

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

Paul Cooley was born on September 24, 1914. In 1933, he graduated from DeSoto High School and married Rebecca Faye Leyland on February 24, 1934.

Cooley worked at the Warner Gear Division of Borg Warner for twenty-three years. As an active member of U.A.W. Local 287, Cooley served as steward for two years, financial secretary for three years, and president for one year. He also served as a delegate to various union councils for terms ranging from three to ten years, and was a member of the contract negotiating committee for ten years.

In 1951, Cooley entered local politics when he ran for city councilman at large, winning a spot on the Democratic Party ticket but failing to win a seat on the council until 1955. He was a council member for seven years, and served as council president for two of those years. In addition, Cooley was the Center Township Assessor for nine years.

Paul Cooley was elected Mayor of Muncie in 1967. He was reelected in 1971, but was defeated in his bid for a third term in the 1975 Democratic Party primary. During his two terms as mayor, Cooley took an active role in the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns. He also was actively involved in the Indiana Chapter of the American Public Works Association, serving as the association's president for two years. Major accomplishments of Cooley's two administrations include a comprehensive overhaul of the city's streets, the construction of two city parks and upgrades to existing parks, and improvements within the police department including: the introduction of a drugs and safety program, the creation of a Narcotics and Intelligence unit, and updates to the department's communication equipment.


21 Cubic Feet (24 boxes, 2 oversize folders, 1 audio reel, and 1 film strip with record)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: Mayor Paul Cooley subject files, 1883-1981

...Subseries 1.1: Mayor Paul Cooley subject files (original accession), 1951-1981

...Subseries 1.2: Mayor Paul Cooley subject files (original accession, legal size), 1883-1975

...Subseries 1.3: Mayor Paul Cooley subject files (2006 addition), 1967-1977

Series 2: Mayor Paul Cooley calendars, 1960-1995

...Subseries 2.1: Mayor's desk calendars, 1968-1975

...Subseries 2.2: Cooley's personal calendars, 1960-1995

Series 3: Mayor Paul Cooley newsletters and other publications, 1967-1975

Series 4: Mayor Paul Cooley political memorabilia and other artifacts, 1969-1975

Series 5: Mayor Paul Cooley restricted materials, 1951-1975

Series 6: Mayor Paul Cooley maps, 1963-1974

Series 7: Mayor Paul Cooley oversized materials, 1966-1977

Series 8: Mayor Paul Cooley photographs, 1968-1971

Series 9: Paul Cooley audio recordings, circa 1967

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a gift from Paul J. Cooley on 1997/02/11.


No further additions are expected.

Processing Information

Finding aid revised 2006/08 by R. Miller. EAD finding aid created 2012/05/17 by Lisa Barney. EAD finding aid revised 2016/01/05 by Lindsey M. Vesperry.

Mayor Paul Cooley papers
Under Revision
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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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