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Colonel Eli 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. He was captured by the Confederate Army until released in 1865 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.
An official biography of Lilly, provided by the Lilly Archives, can be found at this address: http://www.in.gov/gov/files/Press/lillybio.pdf