James S. Ewing (1835- 1918) was born in what is today Woodford County. He came to Bloomington as a boy in 1840 and lived here nearly all the balance of his life. He graduated Center College in Kentucky and in 1859 was admitted to practice as an attorney in Illinois. In 1869, he became a law partner with A.E. Stevenson (later known as Adlai E. Stevenson I).

A pronounced Democrat, he never sought elected office though he was a confidant and advisor to Vice President A. E. Stevenson. President Grover Cleveland appointed him ambassador to Belgium (1893-97). Ewing wed Katherine Spencer and reared four children, including locals Spencer and Davis Ewing.

The collection includes three bound books with handwritten speeches and lectures of James Ewing, plus his extensive minutes of an “irregular” meeting of the “Club.”