Memory Bank: Visiting with the Hoosier Poet



James Whitcomb Riley—known as the Hoosier Poet—was born Oct. 7, 1849, in Greenfield. He left school at 16 years old and worked various jobs, including on the staffs of two newspapers, the Anderson Democrat and the Indianapolis Journal. He became famous for writing poetry, often about his home state using a local dialect. In 1893, Riley moved into a home at 528 Lockerbie St. He didn’t own it, but lived and wrote there as a tenant of Charles Holstein and his wife until his death on July 22, 1916. In this photo, in the last year of his life, Riley is sitting in the yard with his dog, Lockerbie, surrounded by children. The home is now the James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home.

Sources: Indiana Historical Society, Library of Congress, James Whitcomb Riley Museum Home

Credit: This photo is courtesy of the Indiana Historical Society and is part of the Indianapolis-Marion County Public Library Riley Collection. More images are available at

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