(Aug. 8, 1883-Dec. 26, 1977). Nicholas Hartman Noyes Sr. was born in Dansville, New York, to Frederick W. Noyes and Emma Hartman Noyes. Both parents were college graduates (Frederick, Cornell University, 1876, and Emma, Vassar College, 1880). Frederick practiced law and Emma taught music at Vassar. A friend of Clara Barton, she was one of the charter members of the first local chapter of the American Red Cross in Dansville in 1881.

Nicholas graduated from Cornell University in 1906 and assumed he would become a lawyer like his father and grandfather. Instead, he entered the publishing business and moved to New York City. He met Marguerite Lilly during a visit to Indianapolis, they married in 1908. They had three children, Nicholas Hartman Noyes Jr. (1911-1939), Evan Lilly Noyes (1915-1958), and Janet Noyes Ayres (1916-1989).

Marguerite’s cousin, J. K. Lilly Sr., recruited Noyes to join Eli Lilly And Company to succeed her father, Evan Frost Lilly, as secretary-treasurer. The couple moved to Indianapolis and Noyes joined the family business in 1910. He implemented several financial controls during the 1910s, such as depreciation reserves, monthly inventory reporting, and expense budget monitoring. Noyes became a vice president and director in 1913 and worked in positions in finance of increasing responsibility, retiring in 1948. Noyes also became president of the Paper Package Company (1919-1947), a Lilly subsidiary, and director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago (1933-1951).

In 1951, he and Marguerite established the Nicholas H. Noyes Jr. Memorial Foundation, in honor of their eldest son who died in 1939 at age 27 in a fire while asleep in the boathouse of the family summer home in Les Cheneaux, Michigan. The foundation assists nonprofit organizations with a focus on culture, education, health and human services, civic and community service, and religion. Most gifts are awarded to Indiana and Indianapolis institutions.

In 1958, Noyes provided funding to build the last residence hall at Vassar, Emma Hartman Noyes House, in memory of his mother. Noyes contributed to his hometown of Dansville. His family donated the family residence to the Dansville Red Cross (the original Red Cross location) for its headquarters. Today the residence houses Clara Barton Museum of the American Red Cross. In 1970, he donated $100,000 to build Noyes Memorial Hospital, the largest charitable contribution in Dansville history.

Noyes was an active Cornell alumnus, where he served on the Board of Trustees and led committees and fundraising drives. He endowed five professorships in the Graduate School of Business and Public Administration and one in the Medical College.

Noyes and his family lived in Indianapolis most of their lives and he supported many charities in the city. Among his contributions, he led the Indianapolis Community Fund and the Indianapolis Museum Of Art, to which he also donated his art collection. Noyes was a founding director of the lilly endowment, inc. and served in that capacity until 1976. Nicholas and Marguerite were active members of Second Presbyterian Church for 60 years.

Revised March 2021

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