Wildermuth, Ora L.

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Indiana University alumnus and trustee; lawyer and judge; library trustee in both Indiana and Florida; one of the first residents of Gary, Ind.

From the description of Ora L. Wildermuth papers, 1901-1963 1925-1960. (Indiana University). WorldCat record id: 44617799

Ora Leonard Wildermuth was born on his father’s farm near Star City, Indiana, on October 15, 1882 and entered Indiana University in 1902, thus beginning a close relationship with the University that would continue until his death on November 16, 1964.

Upon receiving his LL.B in 1906 he moved to the new town of Gary, Ind., becoming one of its first citizens. He then proceeded to serve as Gary’s first school teacher, Sunday school teacher, municipal judge (1910-1914), librarian, and first president of the Gary Bar Association (1908). He also opened Gary’s first library in his law office, Lucas, Clifford and Wildermuth.

In 1907, he married Cordelia W. Wilds, and in 1909 they welcomed the birth of a daughter, Maxine Elizabeth. Cordelia passed away in 1941, and in 1942 Judge Wildermuth remarried, wedding Mae R. London.

He served on the Indiana University Board of Trustees for 27 years from 1925-1952 and further distinguished himself as vice president of the Board from 1936-1938 and president from 1938-1949. Among Wildermuth's triumphs while he was on the Board were the building of the fieldhouse and the advancement of the library.

Wildermuth did not limit his activities to Indiana University. He was a lifelong supporter of public and academic libraries, serving as president of the Gary Public Library Board of Trustees and on the Board of Trustees for the Florida Library Association, and holding various offices with the Indiana Library Trustees Association and the American Library Association. He also served on the editorial committee for A Handbook for Library Trustees (1955) and authored a handbook for Florida Library Trustees. In 1939 he was elected president of the Association of Governing Boards of State Universities and Allied Institutions and was vice president and director of the Barnes Ice & Coal Co. of Gary (1910-1914).

His second wife Mae passed away in 1952, and in 1955 he married for a third time to Mildred Z. Polak.

In 1954, the Gary Public Library honored the Judge with the dedication of the Ora L. Wildermuth Branch Library, and in 1971 Indiana University followed suit with the renaming of the fieldhouse as the Ora L. Wildermuth Intramural Center.

From the guide to the Ora L. Wildermuth papers, 1901-1963, bulk 1925-1960, (Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Management http://www.libraries.iub.edu/archives)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Ora L. Wildermuth papers, 1901-1963, bulk 1925-1960 Indiana University Office of University Archives and Records Managementhttp://www.libraries.iub.edu/archives
referencedIn History of Indiana University, 1968-1981 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
referencedIn Indiana University Oral History Archive, 1991-1998 Indiana University, Bloomington. Center for the Study of History and Memory
creatorOf Wildermuth, Ora L. Ora L. Wildermuth papers, 1901-1963 1925-1960. Indiana University
referencedIn McNutt mss., 1899-1955 Lilly Library (Indiana University, Bloomington)
creatorOf Carmichael, Hoagy, 1899-1981. Papers, 1921-1955. Indiana University
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Carmichael, Hoagy, 1899-1981. person
associatedWith Gary Public Library corporateBody
associatedWith Indiana University corporateBody
associatedWith Indiana University Center for the Study of History and Memory corporateBody
associatedWith Indiana University. Trustees corporateBody
associatedWith McNutt, Paul V. (Paul Vories), 1891-1955 person
associatedWith Wildermuth Family Association corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
College trustees--Correspondence
College trustees--Archives
Library trustees--Diaries
College trustees--Diaries
Library trustees--Correspondence
Wildermuth family--Archives
Library trustees--Archives
Wildermuth family--Correspondence


Active 1901

Active 1963


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