The Leslie J. Sparks Willamette Students World War II Correspondence gives a glimpse into Willamette students’ experiences during World War II. This collection includes correspondence between Willamette professor and coach Leslie Sparks and students serving in the U.S. Armed Forces during World War II. Sparks sent updates about Willamette events and issues of the Collegian. Students replied with letters of appreciation and telling of their efforts to play sports while in service. Some letters include depictions of military life.
Leslie J. Sparks dedicated 64 years of his life to Willamette University. He enrolled as a student in 1915 and graduated with a degree in Chemistry in 1919. In 1923, he began teaching Physical Education at Willamette, eventually becoming Head of the Physical Education Department. He served as head coach of the football, basketball, track and tennis teams. Sparks retired from teaching in 1962, and continued to coach tennis until 1974.
View the Leslie J. Sparks Willamette Students’ World War II Correspondence finding aid here.
In December 1938, Zach traveled to New York to paint murals in the Czechoslovakian pavilion at the 1939 Worlds Fair. Due to the Nazi occupation of Czechoslovakia, Zach traveled to Brazil where he remained for eleven years. While in Brazil, Zach met Judith Ella Monk, a Canadian working for the United Nations. They married in 1947. In 1951, he and Judith moved to Victoria B.C. where he opened a school of painting and sculpture. In 1958, Zach joined the faculty at the University of Oregon where he taught until his retirement in 1979.
Some of Zach’s best known sculptures include, Drapery of Memory at the Oregon state capitol, Prometheus at the University of Oregon Museum of Art, Flower of Freedom #1 near New Orleans, Louisiana, and Galaxy at the Lower Columbia College in Longview, Washington.
In addition to his sculpture, Zach designed stage sets and costumes for the Original Ballet Russe in Sao Paulo, Brazil and wrote articles for the art magazine, Leonardo. Awards he received include a Fulbright Travel Grant, the Eugene Arts and Letters Award, a National Endowment for the Arts grant for a Sculpture Symposium, and a 1964 award from the Oregon Chapter of the American Institute of Architects. He was also an avid participant in the the National Sculpture Conference and establishment of the National Sculpture Information Center, as well as a long time member of Rotary International.
Zach continued to sculpt until his death in 1986. His final, uncompleted work, Lady, was completed in 1996 by former student, Jerry Harpster.
49 scrapbooks within the Willamette University scrapbook collection are now available for viewing. These scrapbooks were compiled by Willamette University students, faculty and staff. Student scrapbooks feature photographs of life on campus, letters home to family, cards from friends, and souvenirs collected from memorable events. Largely covering the 1910s to 1930s, the student scrapbooks highlight student experience in a unique and personal way. A scrapbook from 1893 documents a group of Willamette Students as they climbed and camped at Mount Hood.
Find out about all of the available scrapbooks via the Willamette University Scrapbook finding aid.
Digitization is complete! Willamette University’s long running newspaper, the Collegian, is now available digitally and fully keyword searchable. With unprecedented access to history at your fingertips, what will you search for?
Beginning in November 2013, over 100 years of Collegian issues were carefully processed in-house, including unbinding bound volumes of the Collegian, taking an average of 40 minutes to carefully remove the binding. We hired an experienced firm to digitize the Collegians. Over a century of Collegian data was then uploaded to the Academic Commons so the public can search across all of the digitized materials on the web. The Collegian is now searchable, and browsable, all the way back to its first issue in 1875.
Thanks to the work of summer intern, Bronte Dodd, who scanned and uploaded the correspondence, and attached metadata including transcriptions, James Harvey Wilbur’s papers are now available online.
James Harvey Wilbur (1811-1887) came to the Oregon Territory in 1846 as part of the Oregon Methodist Mission. In 1848, he became principal of the Oregon Institute, where he and his wife, Lucretia Anne, taught. After the Oregon Institute became Willamette University in 1853, Wilbur served as a member of the board of trustees and was as temporary president on two occasions. Wilbur served as an agent at the Yakama Indian Agency near Walla Walla in the Washington Territory for nearly 20 years. Wilbur collected businesses records and correspondence throughout his life, as well as writing a journal about his travels around Cape Horn from New York to Oregon.
Well over 400 pages of Wilbur’s correspondence and ledgers can now be viewed online, along with their transcriptions. The bulk of the material is from the 1880s and pertains to Wilbur’s career as Indian Agent for the Yakama Reservation at Fort Simcoe in the Washington Territory.
Wilbur’s letters and business documents can be viewed online here.
Photographs and newspapers help us imagine students’ reactions to their social regulation. While we do not know the true story behind these women dancing, perhaps their dance with dummies is in protest to the ban on social dancing.
You can view this photo, and many like it, in the Paulus Glass Plate Negatives collection. You can find reactions to the ban on dancing in the Collegian, which is currently available in the Archives and soon to be available from anywhere on the Archives website.
Ashley 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!
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.
Everyone is invited to the 2nd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl on Saturday, October 15th in Portland, Oregon. Start at any of the four host locations (Portland Archives and Records Center, the Portland State University Millar Library, Multnomah County Central Library or the Oregon Historical Society) and get ready to dive head first into history. Information about times, events and activities are found at the Oregon Archives Crawl blog. We look forward to meeting you there!