Richard Owen (1830-1890), the son of Robert Owen, served as an officer in the Mexican and Civil Wars, and taught geology as a professor of the natural sciences at Indiana University from 1864 to 1879. This microfilm mainly contains Owen's correspondence, including 29 letters from his brother Robert, four letters from his brother David, and 30 outgoing letters from Richard to members of his immediate family, including several letters written from Europe in 1869. In addition, there are letters from scientists James Dwight Dana, Joseph Henry, and Benjamin Silliman, as well as from other public figures. There are also a number of military documents from both wars in which Col. Owen served, including two orders issued by Gen. Ulysses S. Grant, as well as a number of memoranda and speeches by Richard Owen. Three small notebooks are also included, two of which contain diaries of Richard Owen covering the years 1868-69 and 1882-85.
Aline Owen Neal of New Harmony, Ind. loaned the originals to Professor Arthur E. Bestor, Jr., who microfilmed them for the Illinois Historical Survey in 1952.