Formerly the Hendricks Library, the building commemorating Vice President Thomas Hendricks is now known at Hendricks Hall. Hendricks born in 1819 in Ohio, moved to Shelby County, Indiana as an infant, where his uncle was the newly elected governor. He attended Hanover College from 1837-1840 and proceeded to study law in Pennsylvania. In 1843, he passed the bar exam and in 1845 married Eliza Morgan.
He set up a law practice in Shelbyville and by 1848 was elected to the Indiana House of Representatives. That was followed by a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives in 1850. Defeated in his second term as a U.S. Representative, Hendricks served as the commissioner of the General Land Office from 1855-1859.
Thomas Hendricks ended up running three separate times for governor of Indiana. He was unsuccessful in 1860 and 1868 but he won in 1872. The time in-between these attempts was spent practicing law in Indianapolis. He also served a single term as a U.S. Senator.
In 1876, Hendricks ran as the vice-presidential candidate with Samuel J. Tilden. The pair lost to Rutherford B. Hayes. Hendricks had another opportunity for the Vice Presidency when he was approached to be Grover Cleveland’s running mate in 1884. The two were the first Democrats to win a presidential election since 1856.
Unfortunately, Hendricks only served eight months of his term. He returned to Indianapolis the fall of 1885 and died in his sleep November 25, 1885. His widow contributed the money to Hanover College to construct the Hendricks Library in 1903.