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Dr. W. Philip Ball papers

Identifier: MSS-213

Scope and Contents

This collection includes publications, correspondence, newspaper clippings, personal papers, family papers, Muncie and Ball State University related book, medical career files, materials on Calvin Coolidge, computer files, audio recordings, video recordings, photographic materials, and inventions and other artifacts from Dr. W. Philip Ball in Muncie, Indiana ranging from 1923 to 2015 regarding Dr. Ball's medical and writing careers, the Ball family, and Dr. Ball's other interests and activities.


  • Creation: 1923 - 2016

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

Dr. W. Philip Ball was born in Muncie, Indiana in 1919 to Dr. Clay A. Ball and Mrs. Helen Mauck Ball. Dr. Ball was a member of the "original" Muncie Ball family that came to the area in the 1830s. He graduated from Muncie Central High School in 1936, studied at Ball State Teachers College, and earned his B.A. and M.D. from Indiana University in 1940 and 1942, respectively. He then interned at Cook County Hospital in Chicago in 1943. From 1948 to 1951, Dr. Ball received specialty training in internal medicine at the Mayo Clinic, where he earned a Master of Science in Medicine from the University of Minnesota. He practiced medicine for forty-three years in Muncie, Indiana, and later taught medical students at Ball Memorial Hospital. In 1992, the Indiana Chapter of the American College of Physicians named Dr. Ball Internist Laureate. Dr. Ball also served in the Navy as a medical officer during World War II.

In 1970, Dr. Ball delivered testimony during a U.S. Senate hearing on health problems related to the birth control pill. The testimony was covered by news media around the world, and the Senate hearings led to new FDA regulations regarding the pill.

In addition to his medical career, Dr. Ball was a published writer for more than fifty years. Hundreds of his letters, articles, and columns were printed in local and national newspapers, and in medical publications. Dr. Ball also published six books. Much of his literary work was published under the pseudonym Charles F. Coldwater, M.D., who is the self-proclaimed "mayor-for-life" of the west Muncie community known as Normal City. In 1992, Ball was designated the Poet Laureate for the Indiana House of Representatives, and in 1996 he was given a Special Citation Award by Ball State University's Department of Journalism in recognition of his numerous contributions to local newspapers.

Dr. Ball was a member of Muncie Rotary, the Delaware-Blackford Medical Society, the honorary staff of the Ball Memorial Hospital, and the American College of Physicians. He has also served as a long-time board member of the local Keep Cool with Coolidge Club, the National Mothers' March on Hernia, and the American Grackelgoober Disease Society.

Dr. Ball was married to Esther Ebrite Ball. Together they raised three children, Greg, Susan, and Thomas, and had three grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Mrs. Ball was a retired schoolteacher, and worked with the cryptographic division of the FBI and with military intelligence during World War II. Esther Ball died on January 14, 2015. Phil Ball on February 4, 2016. Prior to his death, he wrote his own obituary.


15 Cubic Feet (33 boxes, 2 audio cassettes, digital files (5.05 GB))

Language of Materials


Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Dr. W. Philip Ball on 2001/09/25, with additions on 2005/05/16; 2008; 2009/03/09; 2010; 2011/07/08; 2012/08/01; 2013/06/06; 2013/07/30; 2013/10/10; 2014/05/13; 2014/05/29; 2015/09/17; 2016/07/05; and 2018/05/14.


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:

MSS.051: Clay Adra Ball papers

SC.021: Reflecting on Practicing Medicine, Ball, Philip

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2001/11 by A. Benefiel. Finding aid revised 2001/11 by A. Benefiel; 2003, 2004, 2007, 2008, and 2009 by unknown; 2009/05/18 by Rachel N. Miller; 2009/05/19 by Maren L. Read; and 2010/08/13 by B. Fiechter. EAD finding aid created 2012/05/23 by Lisa Barney. EAD finding aid revised 2013/11/21 by Leslie Nellis. EAD finding aid revised 2014/06/03 by Kasey Mock. Addition completed on 2015/09/21; finding aid revised by Lindsey M. Vesperry. Addition completed on 2016/08/02; finding aid revised by Lindsey M. Vesperry. Addition completed 2021/11/29 by Brian Faust; finding aid revised by Lindsey Vesperry.

Dr. W. Philip Ball papers
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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