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John Joseph Baughman papers

Identifier: MSD-1948-001

Collection Statement

This collection includes papers from John Joseph Baughman in Greencastle, Indiana ranging in date from 1896 to 2009 regarding John Joseph Baughman (1925-2020), his father, Cavins Baughman (1896-1974), and his mother, Blanche Coker Baughman (1893-1965).


  • 1893 - 2020


Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.

Usage Restrictions

Legal title, literary rights, including copyright reside with the creators of the documents or their legal heirs and assigns. All requests to publish or quote must be submitted to the DePauw University Archives and Special Collections. The publisher must also obtain permission from the copyright holder.

Biographical Note: John Joseph Baughman

John was born May 31, 1925, to Blanche (Coker) Baughman and Cavins Baughman, in Evansville, Indiana. He was raised in Detroit, Michigan.

John enrolled at DePauw University, in Greencastle, Indiana in 1942. A member of those referred to as "the Greatest Generation", he served in the United States Army as a member of the 44th Infantry Division from 1943-1945. He received the Order of Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. While he was a Fulbright Scholar at the University of Paris in 1951, John revisited the Alsace battlefield where he had fought. In the early months of 2020, John responded to France's request that he qualify to receive its highest honor, the French Legion of Honor. This award is anticipated to be imminently received. Being proud of his military service John attended many reunions of the 44th and was a charter member and supporter of the National World War II Museum. In October 2016 he was awarded a flight to Washington D.C. by the Honor Flight program. This two-day trip included special recognition for wartime service at an evening banquet, and visits to many sites including the WWII Memorial and Arlington National Cemetery.

John graduated Phi Beta Kappa from DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana in 1948 with a B.A. in History. He studied French History at Harvard, where he received his M.A. Degree. He received his Ph. D. in European History from the University of Michigan in 1953.

John returned to Greencastle in 1953 and taught European History at DePauw for 37 years, retiring in 1990. During his tenure, he Chaired the History Department, was appointed University Historian, awarded the John Clark Ridpath Professorship, served as University Marshall, and was Visiting Professor for two years with College Year in Athens, Greece. After his retirement and virtually until his death, many of his former students were frequent visitors in person, by phone, and through correspondence.

John was a member of Alpha Tau Omega fraternity at DePauw and was recently honored and featured in his fraternity's National Publication, "The Palm".

John was an active and contributing member of our local community. He was a Boy Scout volunteer serving as Troop 90 Committee Chair, Putnam County District Chair and Wabash Valley Executive Committee member. He received the District Award of Merit and attended many Camporees, Summer Camps, and troop activities. He was a member of the Greencastle Kiwanis club, having served on its Board of Directors. He supported the Putnam County Museum and served on many committees and executive boards including President of the Historic Preservation Society of Putnam County, Indiana from 1977-78 and President of the Indiana United Methodist Historical Society from 2005-2008. John stayed politically informed regarding local, State and National issues. He served for decades in various capacities as an Election Poll worker, during Greencastle City and Putnam County elections.

He was a genealogist, having completed a detailed account of the Baughman family tree. He was an avid reader with an extensive library. He is the author of many publications, including: "Our Past, Their Present: Historical Essays On Putnam County, Indiana", "The French Banquet Campaign of 1847 - 1848", "My Sixty Eight Days in Combat Against the Armies of the Third German Reich", and "DePauw University: A Pictorial History".

John married Elizabeth "Betty" Bowden in 1961 and they shared 45 years of marriage, before she preceded him in death, in 2006. Their only child, John Cavins Baughman, passed from this life, in 2008. John Joseph Baughman was without siblings. He is survived by several distant cousins, whom he adored, together with numerous friends.

Since 2015, John lived in a spacious apartment on the third floor of Asbury Towers Health Care Center, in Greencastle. During his stay, he received professional assistance and care from well-trained staff members who became vital and important to him, both as care givers and friends.

John passed away at age 95 on June 26, 2020.

Biographical Note: Blanche Coker Baughman

Blanche Coker Baughman was born in McLeansboro, Illinois on May 1, 1893 to Joseph T. Coker and Lutie Friend Coker. She lived the first half of her life in Evansville, Indiana and later moved to the Detroit, Michigan area and lastly to Dearborn, Michigan. She had one sister, Bernice (Pat) Coker Stevens of El Paso, Texas. Blanche married Cavins Baughman on August 7, 1923. They had both been active in music and youth work in the Methodist Church, so it was spoken of as a church romance. They had one son, Dr. John Joseph Baughman, who was a member of the history faculty at DePauw University in Greencastle, Indiana. Blanche passed away on February 19, 1965.

Biographical Note: Cavins Baughman

Cavins Baughman was born October 25, 1896 in Evansville, Indiana, the son of Dr. John N. (1853-1922) and Lelia Cavins Baughman (1865-1953). A graduate of the Evansville Public Schools and Wayne State University, Cavins Baughman married Blanche Coker of Evansville on August 7, 1923. She passed away on February 19, 1965. Cavins and Blache had one son, John Joseph Baughman. He taught in the public schools in Bloomfield and Evansville and in a private boy's school in Gross Points, Michigan. He also taught in the Apprentice School of Ford Motor Company and retired from Ford Moter Company in 1961. A resident of Greencastle, Indiana since 1970, Cavins was a past commander of Funkhauser Post #8 of the American Legion in Evansville; a past Commander of LaValette Commandery #15, Knights Templer of Evansville; and a recipient of the Silver Beaver Award of the Boy Scouts of America. He was also a member of Gobin Memorial United Methodist Church and the Greencastle Kiwanis Club and a Navy veteran of WWI. Cavins married Frances King Rector on February 24, 1973. She passed away January 14, 1983. Cavins passed away January 30, 1974 and was buried in Grandview Cemetery, Bloomfield, Greene County, Indiana.


7.08 Cubic Feet (13 document cases, 2 record storage boxes, 1 bound volume)

Language of Materials



This collection is arranged alphabetically.

Custodial History

This collection was received by the DePauw University Archives and Special Collections as a donation from John Joseph Baughman on 2015/06/16.


No further additions are expected.

See also:

The Roy O. West Library has these books by John J. Baughman:

1.Our Past Their Present: Historical Essays on Putnam County, Indiana is found in the Archives area with the call number DUARC F532.P9 B28 2008 and in the DePauw Authors section with the call number DePauw Authors F532.P9 B28 2008.

2. United Methodism in Indiana is found in the Archives area with the call number DUARC BX8248.I6 B384 1996.

3. DePauw: A Pictorial History is found in the Archives area with the call number DUARC LD1618 .P55, in the Reference section with the call number REF LD1618 .P55, and in the DePauw Authors section with the call number DePauw Authors LD1618 .P55.

Language of Materials

Materials in English.

Processing Information

Collection processing completed 2021/08/12 by Jenney Taylor. EAD finding aid created 2021/08/12 by Jenney Taylor.

Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script

Repository Details

Part of the Archives of DePauw University and Indiana United Methodism Repository

Roy O. West Library
405 S. Indiana St.
Greencastle Indiana 46135 United States