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Robert Cunningham papers

Identifier: MSS-271

Scope and Contents

The Robert Cunningham papers consists of records documenting the personal and professional life of Robert G. Cunningham, Sr. of Muncie, Indiana ranging from circa 1890-2005. Materials in this collection include records from the City of Muncie Office of the Mayor created during Cunningham's tenure as mayor, political campaign materials, local newspaper clippings, scrapbooks from Cunningham's political and personal life, original and printed cartoons drawn by Cunningham, and local history publications and photographs that were collected by Cunningham. Some of the materials in the collection were collected by Cunningham's family after his death.


  • Creation: circa 1890-2005

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

Robert G. Cunningham, Sr. was born in Muncie in 1928 to Shad and Grace Jones Cunningham. He graduated from Muncie Central High School and Washington School of Art and later enlisted in the Army and served in Germany. Cunningham was a long-time business owner and public figure in Muncie, Indiana. He was a member of Burlington Drive Free Will Baptist Church, AmVets Post #12, American Legion Post #19, Eagles Lodge #231, and the Foresters. As an active member of the Democratic Party, Cunningham served on the Muncie City Council from 1956 to 1959, 1964 to 1971, and 1974 to 1975; was Mayor of Muncie from 1976 to 1980; and served as Center Township Assessor from 1983 to 1993. In addition to his lengthy political career, Cunningham owned the Red Front Grocery from 1948 to 1969 and Cunningham’s Market from 1969 to 1976. He was also a cartoonist who published several books of cartoons and made regular contributions to the Muncie Evening Press. Cunningham died at Ball Memorial Hospital in Muncie on May 31, 2005.


8.5 Cubic Feet (19 boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series and subseries:

Series 1: City of Muncie, Office of the Mayor records, circa 1890-1991, 2002-2003

Subseries 1.1: Correspondence, 1963-1979

Subseries 1.2: Daily planning calendars, 1976-1979

Subseries 1.3: Committee, Board, and Commission records, 1952-1991

Subseries 1.4: Reports, 1960-1989; undated

Subseries 1.5: Financial records, circa 1882-1990

Subseries 1.6: City, state, and federal program planning records, 1963-1990

Subseries 1.7: City ordinances, 1964-1978

Subseries 1.8: Building plans, 1975

Subseries 1.9: Organization records, 1927-1990

Subseries 1.10: Event documents, 1970-1979, 2002-2003

Series 2: Personal correspondence, 1956-2005

Series 3: Campaign materials, 1970-1987

Series 4: Newspaper clippings, 1898-2005

Series 5: Scrapbooks, 1940-2003

Series 6: Cartoons, 1947-1949, 1983-1992

Series 7: Local history publications, research, and artifacts, 1891-2002

Series 8: Photographs, 1892-2000

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Robert Cunningham, Jr. on 2008/11/12. Additions to the collection were received from Robert Cunningham, Jr. on 2014/02/14, 2014/02/28, 2014/03/14, 2014/06/05, 2015/01/20, 2016/01/22, 2016/04/25, 2017/03/21 and 2017/09/29.


Further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Select materials from this collection have been digitized and are available online in the Ball State University Libraries Digital Media Repository:

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:

SC.667: Robert Cunningham cartoon

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2011/09/21 by Elizabeth Rasberry. Processing of publications and photographs completed 2009/09/10 by Jennifer Morrill. Processing of addition to collection completed 2014/06/02 by Ryan Frick and 2016/02/29 by Breanna Childers. EAD finding aid created 2011/09/21 by Elizabeth Rasberry. EAD finding aid revised 2011/09/26 by Bethany Fiechter, 2009/09/21 by Maren L. Read, 2014/06/02 by Ryan Frick, and 2016/02/29 by Lindsey M. Vesperry. Addition processing and EAD finding aid revised 2016/04/25 by Lindsey M. Vesperry. Addition processing and EAD finding aid revised 2017/04/27 by Lindsey M. Vesperry. Addition processing completed 2017/10/31 by Kelsey Gordon. EAD finding aid revised 2017/11/01 by Lindsey M. Vesperry.

Robert Cunningham 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