The Kinzer Collection is one of the most important of the society’s collections. The William Kinzer journals, with daily entries from 1857 to 1912, comprise the largest collection of early-to-late 19th-century documentation owned by the society. The collection also includes many letters and record books. In the absence of local newspapers (only a few have been located), the Kinzer Collection serves significantly to inform of mid-19th century local history through the turn of the 20th century. William Kinzer was the oldest son of the family who arrived in the 1820s as among the first to settle in present Clay Township.
Records from the Women’s Literary Club, founded in 1896, are housed at the CCHS. The club began the first “library” by loaning books to the public from the local phone exchange office in 1904 and eventually was instrumental in the building of the Carnegie Library in 1913.
The Brown/Brunner Collection includes many records of local schools and instructional materials about “home economics” as once taught in local schools. The collection is named for long time schoolteacher Olive Brown Brunner.
The Rohrer Monon Railroad Collection includes an assortment of memorabilia of this once important all-Indiana trunk line from the Ohio River to Lake Michigan and Chicago. The railroad’s “Air Line” was constructed through Carmel in 1883 and served the community with passenger service (discontinued in the 1960s) and freight service (disbanded in the early 1970s).
The Carmel Clay Historical Society also maintains many public records and newspapers. In most cases before 1940, our copies of the local Carmel newspapers are the only extant copies. Selected city directories for Carmel from the mid-20th century are also available. Surname files are arranged alphabetically by family name. Abstracts of some wills, marriages, deeds, pensions and cemetery records are also among the holdings. The Society also owns many period maps of Carmel.