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.
Just in time for students’ return in the fall, Willamette history will be at our fingertips! The digitization of the Collegian newspaper, dating from 1875, and the Wallulah yearbook, dating from 1903, will be complete late this summer. Digitization of the Collegian was outsourced to iArchives and scanning began in November 2013. Archives Administrative Assistant, Christopher McFetridge, unbound each page, checked for missing material, and with assistance from Archives Intern, Nina Kulander, monitored the quality of scans produced by iArchives. In monitoring these scans, wonderful images, such as this ‘flat screen’ of 1974, have been discovered.
Both the Collegian and the Wallulah will be available this fall via the Archives’ website, will be keyword searchable, and will provide a level of access to Willamette and university history never before possible.
Jack Eyerly was born in Portland, raised in Salem and, except for one year of studies at the Fine Arts Center School in Colorado Springs, lived for most of his adult years in Portland, where he was an important force in the art world. For nearly 40 years Jack Eyerly wanted to meet every artist in the NW and nearly did. A creative and inventive artist, Jack put his energy into helping artists meet other artists and to find opportunities to exhibit and present their artwork. He also helped museums, colleges, and universities identify and locate artists for exhibits, lectures and special projects in the traditional arts, then in film and video and, finally, in computers. From low-fired ceramics to high tech artistic fireworks, Jack found ways to help artists exhibit and sell their work and they were extremely grateful for his efforts.
In his early days Jack drove his VW Van to Eastern Oregon to visit Betty Feves, to Southern Oregon Coast to see Tom Hardy and Eugene to visit David Stannard. He would pack up some of Stannard’s pottery and try to sell it along the roadside. He was an artist’s friend of immense proportions.
Margaret Ringnalda, English and drama teacher at Willamette University, recalled Jack’s efforts in the 1960s to promote and build sets and props for the new Pentacle Theatre in Salem. “He continually solved complex mechanical problems for us. He also helped make the Bush Barn a showplace for the work of regional artists. I recall that he was promoting (Tom) Hardy’s metal sculpture at the time too.”
Jack came from a family of innovators and inventors. In the 1920s, his grandfather, Lee Eyerly, started a flying school in Salem, for which he designed an early flight simulator. During the Depression, he converted the device into a carnival ride, then followed it with the Roll-O-Plane, the Loop-O-Plane and the Octopus, eventually becoming one of the largest carnival ride manufacturers in the world. Jack’s uncle Harry Eyerly built and drove racing cars and had the first Volkswagen Auto dealership in the Willamette Valley and sold the first VW to David Foster, art teacher at Springfield high school; Jack’s father, Jack V. Eyerly, ran Eyerly Aircraft after the death of their father. Another relative was Ray Eyerly, famous for his extreme detailed drawings and paintings of ranches and barns of Central Oregon.
Jack knew most of the art gallery directors in the NW and helped them find artists for shows. He worked closely with the New Gallery of Contemporary Art, the Fountain Gallery in Portland, The Evergreen State College Gallery, and developed a successful art gallery at Mt. Angel College. Jack’s late wife, Polly Illo Eyerly, collaborated with him on dozens of art exhibits and projects throughout the 20 years of their marriage. In her position as Education Curator for the Portland Art Museum and through their friendship with isolated artists like Clifford Gleason and Rick Bartow, they offered kindness and support to a wide roster of Pacific Northwest artists.
An obsessive correspondent, Jack wrote to hundreds of people on a regular basis for years. He was the internet of networking before the internet. His massive collection of letters, art show announcements, and flyers are now in the Pacific Northwest Artists Archives at Willamette University in Salem.
Jack was a founding member of Experiments in Art and Technology (EAT), an organization launched in 1967 by engineers Billy Klüver and Fred Waldhauer and artists Robert Rauschenberg and Robert Whitman. Jack guided the Portland regional chapter, one of 28 across the U.S., in its mission to promote collaborations between artists and engineers and expand the artist’s role in social developments related to new technologies.
After 1988, Jack worked for Albertina Kerr, where he started a program to help developmentally disabled people make useful things out of discarded materials. As Ringnalda said, “He had a generous creativity that was an essential part of his genius.”
Jack is survived by his wife Dee Eyerly of Woodland, WA; sister Jan Stebner of Salem; brothers Jon and Steve Eyerly of Salem; sister Sharon Eyerly Hill of Palm Springs; and Dana Illo, daughter of Polly Eyerly.
(Obituary courtesy of Martha Gies, Norma Heyser, Kenneth O’Connell, and Jim Shull.)
The 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!
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 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.
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.
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.