Robert Dale Owen, son of Robert Owen, was a participant in the New Harmony Community who served as a member of Congress and as minister to Naples. The collection includes ten letters written by Robert Dale Owen, the earliest in 1871, and about 40 letters to him, from James Freeman Clarke, Charles W. Eliot, Henry James, and others. There are also numerous documents, including Owen's 1831 naturalization certificate, certificates of election, and a handwritten memorandum to President Lincoln on "The Pardoning Power as an Element of Reconstruction," dated Sept. 30, 1863. A considerable part of the correspondence dates from the early 1870s and relates to spiritualism.
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.