The Bill Rhoades Northwest Art Archive is open for research

RhoadesThe Bill Rhoades Northwest Art Archive is a compilation of interviews, correspondence, and printed materials from Northwest Artists. Bill Rhoades has been an advocate for Northwest Art since before 1997, when he began donating collected artworks to the Hallie Ford Museum of Art. In addition to collecting and donating artwork, Rhoades has collected printed materials, interviews, artifacts, and correspondence that highlight Northwest artists and their work.

In the collection, researchers will find printed materials about exhibitions and gallery shows featuring Northwest Artists such as Henk Pander, Carl Hall, and Eunice Parsons. Photographs of Rhoades with many of the Northwest artists, as well as artifacts such as Manuel Izquierdo’s sunglasses, Louis Bunce’s paintbrushes, and napkin drawings from multiple artists are also included in this collection. Come examine the collection!


Myra Albert Wiggins

Diaries will soon be digitized!

The Myra Albert Wiggins papers are an avenue into the life of a female artist in the early twentieth century. Myra Albert Wiggins (1869-1956) was a successful photographer, painter, and poet who grew up in Salem, Oregon and attended Willamette University. She showed natural artistic talent at an early age, spending hours drawing and painting in her home and in fields around Salem. She won the first of many awards for painting at the Oregon State Fair when she was 17. Between 1886 and 1907 she won a total of 94 more state fair awards for her art.

Between 1891 and 1894, Wiggins studied at the Art Students League in New York. In the early 1900s, Wiggins also engaged in pictorial photography, which involved using the camera to creating images intended to evoke emotional expression. Using artwork as an artistic medium was a new phenomenon at the time. Wiggins’ took pictorial photographs as she traveled throughout Europe, Egypt and Turkey.Wiggins Scrapbook

Wiggins was one of the first women to become a member of The Camera Club of New York. In 1903, Alfred Stieglitz, one of the most important photographers of the time, admitted her as a member of Photo-Secession, a movement of photographers united to promote photography as art. Wiggins continued as a painter, photographer and poet in Salem, Oregon, and Seattle and Toppenish, Washington. She co-founded the Women Painters of Washington in 1930, and was featured in exhibitions throughout the United States including the National Gallery in Washington, D.C and the National Academy in New York. She also taught and wrote on topics of photography and painting.

The Willamette University Archives and Special Collections is home to the Myra Albert Wiggins papers, a collection of correspondence, photographs, and artwork. Her papers contain correspondence with family and friends as well as business correspondence about her artwork. The Wiggins papers also contain memorabilia and Wiggins’ diaries written between 1936 and 1944. Thanks to a recently awarded Hewlett Grant, these diaries will soon be digitized and transcribed.

For more information on Wiggins, researchers can see the Bonnie and Roger Hull collection on Myra Albert Wiggins. This collection is a compilation of photographs, correspondence and research materials assembled by Bonnie and Roger Hull for their exhibition and article honoring Wiggins.

Find more about the Myra Albert Wiggins collection

WU Archives and Special Collections Welcomes Ashley Toutain!


Ashley photoAshley Toutain joins the Archives’ team full-time as the Processing Archivist and Records Manager. Since September 2012, Ashley has been employed part-time as Willamette’s Assistant Records Manager.  In that role, Ashley has contributed significantly by helping to process a backlog of university records that have been accumulating for decades.  In addition to processing university records, Ashley curated an exhibit on Willamette’s behalf for the annual Heritage Invitational Exhibition at the Willamette Heritage Center. The exhibit highlighted the many components that comprise a successful archives program. A native of Eastern Oregon, Ashley graduated from Willamette University in 2008 with a B.A. in history. She then attended the University of Kansas where she received her M.A. in Museum Studies.

Ashley brings to the position a collaborative and innovative working-style as well as a keen appreciation for the history of Willamette University and the surrounding region. Please join us in welcoming Ashley!

Kathleen Gemberling Adkison Papers

KGA_print_079Kathleen Gemberling Adkison (1917-2010) was an abstract painter whose work was, and is, featured in Museums and Galleries throughout the Northwest. She studied art with Leon Derbyshire at the Cornish Institute in Seattle, Washington between 1938 and 1942. She then began studying with Mark Tobey, an influential Northwest painter and one of the founders of the Northwest School. Adkison’s first solo exhibition was in 1957 at the Henriette E. Woessner Alumni Gallery, Seattle. Throughout her career she had numerous solo exhibitions, the majority of which were at Gordon Woodside/John Braseth Gallery in Seattle. Adkison participated in group exhibitions throughout Washington as well as throughout the nation.

The Kathleen Gemberling Adkison papers include photographs, newspaper articles, and correspondence about Adkison’s work. Correspondence includes letters of congratulations and appreciation, logistics of setting up gallery shows, individuals purchasing her artwork, as well as critiques of her work. Also included in the collection are awards she received for her painting, and programs for the gallery shows and museum exhibits in which her paintings were featured.

View the slide collection online  | Find out more about the collection

Anatomy of an exhibit

The news here at the WU Archives is that a new exhibit is being prepared for viewing beginning Monday, 12 August. We thought it would be interesting to show you some behind-the-scenes views of what it looks like to put an exhibit together. Our Exhibit Creator is Shanel Parette who is the Circulation and Stacks Supervisor at the Mark O. Hatfield Library.

Notice the blue tape marking where other items will be placed.
Notice the blue tape marking where other items will be placed.
Shanel, caught in the midst of putting up the exhibit.
Shanel, caught in the midst of putting up the exhibit.

Travis Cross papers now open to researchers

The Willamette University Archives is excited to announce that the Travis Cross papers are now open for used by researchers. These papers contain a variety of materials related to the work Cross did for Mark Hatfield as well as personal materials that cover the years 1950-2004. Because Cross filled a variety of roles in his work with Secretary of State and Governor Hatfield, the materials in the collection are wide ranging in scope. Correspondence and memos covering the years 1950-1968 detail campaign strategy, office procedures for the governor’s staff, detailed analysis of contributor approaches and personal reflections.

Additionally there are copies of speeches given by Hatfield, campaign materials for the different campaigns Cross worked on for Hatfield, transcripts of talk programs and audio and visual recordings of interviews and speeches given by Travis Cross.

Materials covering the years 1968-1975 include correspondence with clients Cross worked for as a public relations consultant, his work as a volunteer on the 1972 campaign for President Richard Nixon and for various Republican fund raising campaigns. Correspondence from this time contains letters from Governor George Romney, Nelson Rockefeller, John Lindsay and Gerry Frank.

Archives ready to serve you during Spring Semester

Our hours are 9-12 and 1-4 Monday through Friday. We are located on the 2nd floor of the Hatfield Library, directly to your right after coming in the glass doors. Drop by, see our renovated space and learn more about our research materials. We look forward to meeting you.


Archives Schedule Note

The Archives will be closed, Tuesday Dec. 18th from 12:00-2:30 p.m.

Archives Open

Great news! Renovations are complete. The remodeled and expanded University Archives will open its doors to the public on Monday, September 17th. Consult the library calendar for regular business hours.

Archives update, Part 2

The renovation continues at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections. The University Archivist Mary McRobinson and Archivist and Records Manager Rose Marie Walter have returned to their offices on the second floor. However, the archives is still closed to researchers until the renovations are complete. Please direct questions to Mary McRobinson at or 503-370-6764. Information will be provided when the archives is open again.