Owner Biography

Josiah K Lilly, Jr.

According to Wikipedia, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. (September 25, 1893 - May 5, 1966) was a pharmaceutical industrialist and president of Eli Lilly and Company from 1948 to 1953. Lilly attended the Holderness School in Plymouth, New Hampshire and the Hill School in Pottstown, Pennsylvania. Lilly, a 1914 graduate of the school of pharmacy at the University of Michigan, was the last family member to run the company. He was the son of Josiah K. Lilly, Sr.

He was a founder of the Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. along with his father and his brother Eli Lilly, which has become one of the largest private foundations in the United States. He was also a prolific collector of rare books and manuscripts, gold, antique weaponry, stamps, and military miniatures.

As a book collector, he acquired a First Folio of the works of William Shakespeare, a Gutenberg Bible, the double elephant folio of John James Audubon's Birds of America, the first printing of the American Declaration of Independence (the Dunlap Broadside), and a first edition of Edgar Allan Poe's Tamerlane.

Lilly donated 20,000 books and 17,000 manuscripts to Indiana University, where it is housed in the Lilly Library, which was dedicated October 3, 1960.

Rumor has it that Lilly was looking for an activity to entertain his grandson and bought a small stamp kit at the local department store. He became so enthralled with the kit that he launched into forming his own collection. Lilly's stamp collection was sold over a series of ten auctions by Siegel Auction Galleries in 1967 and 1968. It is widely regarded as one of the finest collections ever formed.

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