Josiah K. Lilly, Sr. (1861-1948) left an estate worth approximately $6,500,000. Most of the money in his estate went to the Lilly Endowment, Inc., which he and his sons had founded in 1937.
Eli Lilly II (1885-1977) served as Vice President of Eli Lilly & Company from 1920 to 1932, as President from 1932 to 1948, and Chairman of the Board of Directors from 1948 to 1961 and from 1966 to 1969. He served as Secretary and Treasurer of the Lilly Endowment, Inc. from 1938 to 1966, as President from 1966 to 1972, and as Honorary Chairman from 1975 to 1977.
Like his father, Eli Lilly attended the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy, from which he graduated in 1907. He earned a Ph.M. there in 1935.
He donated money to his alma mater, but also to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, of which he was a trustee. Through the Lilly Endowment, he directed additional funds to other tertiary schools and the United Negro College Fund.
An interest in the collection of antiques led to him giving financial backing to archeological field work in Indiana. Lilly served as President of the Indiana Historical Society (I.H.S.) from 1933 to 1947.
His financial support empowered the I.H.S. to build additions in 1976. Further, the I.H.S. received a bequest from him from which the I.H.S. continues to benefit.
The I.H.S. moved to its new headquarters, the Eugene and Marilyn Glick Indiana History Center, on Ohio Street in 1999. Eli Lilly Hall in that building was named in his honor.
Eli Lilly counted amongst his friends Howard Peckham, the historian who served as second Director of the William L. Clements Library at the University of Michigan. Professor Peckham’s books included Pontiac and the Indian Uprising, published in 1948; The Toll of Independence, published in 1974; and The Making of the University of Michigan, 1817-1967, published in 1967.
Lilly provided money for Yale University and other tertiary schools to have archeological fellowships. In particular, he was interested in Angel Mounds, which seems to have been part of the same pre-Columbian civilization as Cahokia in Illinois, which scholars then called the Temple Mounds culture and archeologists now call the Mississippian Culture. He donated the lion’s share of the money so the I.H.S. could purchase 480 acres from the Angel family in 1938.
The site had been part of the Angel family’s farm since 1852. The site was occupied between approximately 1000 A.D. and 1450 A.D. Due to the fact this civilization left no written records, everything we know about them is the result of archeologists reconstructing events.
Eli Lilly’s friend Glenn Albert Black (1900-1964) was the archeologist who supervised the fieldwork there from 1939 onwards. Mr. Black was the first professional archeologist in the state.
Between 1939 and 1942, Black led a crew of 277 Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) workers who excavated the site. They recovered over 2,500,000 artifacts.
In 1946, the I.H.S. donated the site to the State of Indiana and it became the Angel Mounds Historic Site. In 1965, the I.H.S. transferred excavation rights and responsibility for housing artifacts to Indiana University.
The Lilly Endowment provided funds to build an interpretative center and to reconstruct several buildings. It also provided funds for the I.H.S. to publish Angel Site: An Archaeological, History, and Ethnological Study, which was based on Black’s research. The Indiana State Museum and Historic Sites Corporation now manages Angel Mounds.
Lilly donated his collection of artifacts and books on archeology to the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archeology at Indiana University at Bloomington. The Lilly Endowment provided money for the construction of the Black Laboratory, which was dedicated in 1971.
With Black, Lilly wrote Prehistoric Antiquities of Indiana, published in 1937, and Walam Olum, published in 1954. An interest in Greek archaeology led Lilly to write Schliemann in Indianapolis, published in 1961. A lifelong love of Lake Wawasee, where he had a vacation home, led Lilly to write Early Wawasee Days, published in 1960.
A devout Episcopalian, Eli Lilly donated money several times for the maintenance of Christ Church Cathedral, the cathedral church of The Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis. This was his family parish church, which is located on Monument Avenue in Indianapolis. He also wrote a book about Christ Church, published in 1957, History of the Little Church on the Circle.
Between 1947 and 1961, Eli Lilly purchased about 200 Chinese artworks (bronzes, ceramics, jades, and paintings) for the John Herron Art Institute on 16th Street in Indianapolis, which evolved into the Indianapolis Museum of Art (I.M.A.). He later donated $1,700,000 in Eli Lilly & Company stock to build the I.M.A.
The Art Association of Indianapolis built the I.M.A. at Oldfields, the estate of his late brother, Josiah Kirby Lilly, Jr. (1893-1966). His niece and nephew, Ruth Lilly and Josiah K. Lilly III, donated Oldfields to the A.A.I. in October of 1966.
The I.M.A. was also one of the beneficiaries of Eli Lilly’s will. Other institutions that benefited from his philanthropy, either directly, or through his management of the Lilly Endowment, included the Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana, the Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, Butler University, and Earlham College.
Eli Lilly was married twice. His first wife was high school sweetheart, Evelyn Fortune.
They wed shortly after he graduated from the Philadelphia School of Pharmacy and joined Eli Lilly & Company. Eli and Evelyn Lilly had three children: two sons and a daughter, but the sons died in infancy.
In 1926, Eli Lilly II and Evelyn (Fortune) Lilly divorced. Their daughter, Evelyn (“Evie”) Lilly (1918-1970), lived with Evelyn (Fortune) Lilly.
They moved to Massachusetts, but Eli Lilly made an effort to remain involved in his daughter’s life. Unfortunately, Evie Lilly was unlucky in love and died without issue.
Eli Lilly wed his secretary, Ruth Helen Allison, in 1927. This marriage lasted until her death in 1973, but they had no children. Consequently, his direct line is extinct and the only members of the Lilly family now living are descended from his nephew, J.K. Lilly III.
 Heinrich Schliemann (1822-1890), the German businessman who made multiple fortunes trading in Russia and California, briefly lived in Indianapolis so he could obtain a divorce from his Russian wife, Ekaterina (Lyschin) Schliemann, before he moved to Greece and Turkish Anatolia determined to discover the ruins of Troy. With the English diplomat Frank Calvert (1828–1908), a fellow amateur archeologist, he undertook an archeological dig at the mound the Turks called Hisarlik, and discovered the ruins of ancient Troy, which historians at the time assumed was wholly mythological.