Lilly is the founder of Eli Lilly and Company, an international pharmaceutical corporation headquartered in Indianapolis. He moved to Indiana in 1852 and attended Indiana Asbury College (now DePauw University). After opening his own drugstore in 1860, Lilly enlisted in the Union Army during the Civil War. In 1864, he was captured by the Confederate Army and was released the following year during a prisoner exchange. Upon returning to duty, he was promoted to colonel.
After returning to Indianapolis, Lilly opened “Eli Lilly, Chemist” in 1876, the business that would one day become Eli Lilly and Company. The business grew to become one of the world’s most-respected pharmaceutical companies, and with its success, Lilly became an active civil leader and philanthropist. He was an advocate of federal regulation of the pharmaceutical industry, and many of his suggested reforms were enacted into law in 1906, resulting in the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Lilly died in 1898.
The portrait, on loan from Eli Lilly and Company, was painted by T.C. Steele, whose portrait is also on display in the gallery. The Lilly portrait replaces that of Levi Coffin.
A photo of the portrait can be found at this address: http://www.in.gov/gov/images/Lilly.jpg
In January 2006, Governor Daniels designated the south wall of the Governor’s Office as a place for portraits of historically important Hoosiers—a change in the longstanding tradition of hanging portraits solely of former governors. The portraits, which are loaned to the state, are part of a rotating exhibit that is updated periodically. In addition to Lilly and Steele, portraits of Mother Theodore Guerin and Virgil I. “Gus” Grissom are currently on display in the Governor’s Office.
Information about portraits previously featured in the Hoosier Heritage Gallery can be found at this address: http://www.in.gov/gov/2560.htm
An official biography of Lilly, provided by the Lilly Archives, can be found at this address: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/lillyb