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Frank A. Bracken Civil War collection

Identifier: SPEC-094

Scope and Contents

The contents of the Frank A. Bracken Civil War collection reflects Frank Bracken's lifetime passion for history as well as a personal and professional commitment to preserving the past. The collection consists of Civil War research papers and organizational records, photographs, maps, plaques, and realia including Civil War weapons and uniforms. Frank Bracken's great-grandfather, William Holsworth Bracken, was 1st Lieutenant of the Indiana Calvary, Union Company B, 4th Regiment and many of the original items in the collection belonged to William H. Bracken including the pistol, pommel holsters, sword, and sabre. The collection also includes Frank Bracken's reenactment uniforms as well as certificates and badges that certify his Civil War heritage. Frank Bracken's enthusiasm for preserving Civil War battlefields is reflected in the manuscript materials in this collection which include maps, brochures, correspondence, preservation plans, and publications. This collection also includes 378 Civil War related books, some of which are rare editions.


  • Creation: 1860-2006

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

Frank A. Bracken was born in 1934 to his parents, Alexander M. and Rosemary Bracken. He graduated from Burris High School in Muncie, Indiana in 1952, where he was a member of the basketball team. Frank traveled to Europe at least twice with his family between the ages of 1 and 18. Bracken received a Bachelor of Science in Government and International Relations in 1956 from Carleton College and a Juris Doctor degree in 1960 from University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. In 1959, Frank Bracken married Judy Purdy and together they had four children: Ann, Tom C., Peggy, and Jane.

From 1969 to 1972, Frank Bracken served as legal counsel for the United States Department of the Interior in Washington, D.C. Bracken also served as the Ball State University Board of Trustees president for seven years prior to his stepping down in 1989 in order to accept an appointment by then-President George H.W. Bush to be Undersecretary of the United States Department of the Interior. Bracken served in this position 1993. One of his accomplishments during his term was the formation of the Civil War Preservation Trust (now the Civil War Trust).

After leaving Washington, D.C., Bracken returned to Ball State University where he served as the Board of Trustees vice president for 18 years. For most of that period, he also served as a member of the George and Frances Ball Foundation Board and helped to oversee the donation of nearly $40 million to Ball State University.

Source: "Longest-serving board member honored with Administration Building naming," Ball State University News, February 22, 2010.


3 Cubic Feet (7 boxes)

Language of Materials



Arranged in the following series:

Series 1: Civil War research papers and organizational records, 1860-2006

Series 2: Civil War portraits and maps, 1986, 1993

Series 3: Civil War realia, c. 1850s-1860s, 1977

Custodial History

This collection was received by Archives and Special Collections as a donation from Frank A. Bracken on 2014/04/28.


No further additions are expected.

Existence and Location of Copies

Some 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:

MSS.344: Bracken family papers

Separated Materials

The books in this collection were individually cataloged and separated from the remainder of the collection.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2014/06/02 by Kasey Mock. EAD finding aid created 2014/05/20 by Rebecca Marangelli. EAD finding aid updated 2014/9/25 by Brandon Pieczko, 2014/10/06 by Rebecca Marangelli, and 2014/11/17 by Brandon Pieczko.

Frank A. Bracken Civil War collection
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Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections Repository

Alexander M. Bracken Library
2000 W. University Avenue
Muncie Indiana 47306 USA