The Stephenson-Richardson collection contains correspondence and financial, legal, and real estate papers of two families living in Perry County, Ind., during the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The earliest papers relate to John Stephenson, a native Virginian, Indiana pioneer, and justice of the peace. The collection also contains papers related to his son, Richard Stephenson, an attorney, and to Richard Stephenson's daughter, Mary, whose 1841 marriage to Albert Garry Richardson joined the families. Items of note include two letters to Richard Stephenson from his brother-in-law, John C. Shoemaker (married to John Stephenson's daughter Mahala), a Democrat who served as Indiana State Auditor from 1871 to 1873.
The Richardson papers consist of correspondence and financial records, and relate to Mary Stephenson Richardson's son, Warren H. Richardson; his wife, Rena; and their daughters, Anita and Nancy ("Nannie"), who attended Valparaiso University at the turn of the twentieth century. Included is a letter from Warren H. Richardson to his mother, discussing the national political climate on Apr. 1, 1861. The incoming correspondence of Anita Richardson provides a picture of teenage life in the early twentieth century, characterized both by an obsession with boys and dances and by the generational conflicts that arose with between parents and children. Also of note is a letter from Anita's friend Walter Hill, Nov. 17, 1902, which luridly describes a murder in Perry County.
The collection also contains a folder of promissory notes that are unrelated to the Stephenson and Richardson families. Prominent figures on the notes include John P. Dunn, a Democrat who served as Indiana State Auditor from 1853 to 1855, and Joseph Springer, one of the earliest Methodist preachers and educators in Perry County.
The collection was donated to the Library by Claudia Schechter, Alice McCartor, and James Perkins in 2008.