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Oscar McCulloch Papers

Identifier: MSS043

Scope and Contents

This is a small collection of articles and pamphlets about Oscar McCulloch and his charities, church, and activities related to the Tribe of Ishmael. The main portion of the collection centers around newspaper articles published after his death in 1891. These articles are short biographical sketches. For more information about the charities of Oscar McCulloch, the records of the Family Service Association of Indianapolis at the Indiana Historical Society should be consulted.


  • 1888 - 1976


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to the public without restriction.

Conditions Governing Use

The copyright law of the United States (Title 17, United States Code) govern the making of photocopies or other reproductions of copyrighted material.

Biographical / Historical

Oscar McCulloch was born in Fremont, Ohio, on July 2, 1843. From seminary, he went to Sheboygan, Wisconsin, and served as minister there until his move to Indianapolis in 1877 to pastor at Plymouth Church. McCulloch’s major focus was the poor in the city of Indianapolis. To help in his fight against poverty, he enlisted the help of several different religious groups including Protestant, Catholic, Hebrew, and free-thinker calling it his “Church of the Divine Fragments.” In 1879 the Charity Organization Society was organized to help achieve his mission of community betterment. Activities supported by this organization included free kindergartens, improved administration of the county asylum, a training school for nurses of the Flower Mission, a county work-house, free baths, Friendly Inn, a Board of Children’s Guardians, Indianapolis Benevolent Society, and the Summer Mission for Sick Children. One of the results of his work with the poor was the Tribe of Ishmael Study. This study investigated the tendency of poverty and “degeneration” to pass from generation to generation and the effects it has on future descendants. McCulloch died in 1891.


.2 Cubic Feet (1 half-sized document case)


Oscar McCulloch was a minister, leader, and an advocate of community betterment through charity and social betterment. Born in Ohio in 1843, McCulloch attended seminary and later settled in Indianapolis as minister at the Plymouth Church on Monument Circle. McCulloch’s work with the Charity Organization Society and on the Tribe of Ishmael continued until his death in 1891.

The collection contains articles written by and about McCulloch, information about Plymouth Church when McCulloch served as minister, and obituaries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Presented in 1996. A96-23

Related Materials

M0102 Family Service Association Records, Indiana Historical Society, Indianapolis, IN. (

Year Book of Charities, Indianapolis Benevolent Society, 1888-1889, 1890-1893. (


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Oscar McCulloch Papers, 1888-1976
Debra Brookhart
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Repository Details

Part of the Philanthropic Studies Archives Repository

IUPUI University Library
755 W. Michigan St.
Room 0133
Indianapolis IN 46202 USA