Changes in the Archives

The University Archives, located in the Mark O. Hatfield Library, has had an eventful summer. First, we have a number of personnel updates to share. Mary McRobinson is leaving Willamette after 13 years as University Archivist to pursue an exciting new opportunity at Oregon’s State Archives. In a very real sense, Mary built the Archives program from scratch. Her contributions include maintaining Willamette’s history, building notable collections centered around political and artists’ papers, and ensuring that these collections have a significant impact on teaching and learning at Willamette. The library staff and Willamette will miss Mary terribly, but we have no doubt she will have great success in her new job. Mary is leaving at the end of the summer and we anticipate a national search for a new University Archivist in the fall.

We are pleased to announce some additions to the Archives team.

Stephanie Milne-Lane Image

Stephanie Milne-Lane

Stephanie Milne-Lane joined us this summer in our Processing Archivist and Records Manager position. Stephanie has deep educational and family ties to the Northwest and most recently worked as Archivist for the City of Boise. She is off to a great start and we look forward to her many great contributions to the program in the future. We also welcomed Rosie Yanosko to Willamette.

Rosie Yanosko Image

Rosie Yanosko

Rosie, who joins us most recently from the Oregon Health and Science University Library, is working on a grant-funded (joint LSTA grant with OSU) project to process the papers and slides of Native American artist and activist Chuck Williams.

Jenny Gehringer Image

Jenny Gehringer

Jenny Gehringer, who joined us during the 18-19 academic year, remains with us courtesy of an NHPRC grant; Jenny is processing the collections of the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive.

You can catch up on her progress by accessing the Archives blog.

Finally, while still dedicated to the memory of former Governor and Senator Mark O. Hatfield, the Hatfield Room has been repurposed as the Archives’ reading room. With new furnishings, space will allow the archives to accommodate researchers and hold sessions for Willamette classes in comfort while ensuring the security of our collections.

Hatfield Room Image

Updated Hatfield Room

This shift has allowed the University Archives to dedicate the former reading room space to a much more efficient area for processing our physical collections. These changes will ultimately lead to enhanced access for our users.

When you have a chance, stop by and meet our new archives staff and check out the new reading room!

 


Additions to the Stella Douglas Papers

Researchers can now access additional materials from the Stella Douglas papers. New materials related to Douglas’s career as an art therapist, her work as a social activist, correspondence with artist Helen Blumenstiel, and Douglas family records are processed and integrated with the Stella Douglas papers on Moral Re-Armament. The integrated collection documents Douglas’s personal life and career from 1927 to 1993.

Estella Jean Douglas was born in Salem, Oregon on January 21, 1927. At age eleven, Douglas was inspired by what she described as “a flood of creative energy” to begin her lifelong calling to be an artist. In 1944 Douglas planned to enter a five-year degree program offered by Reed College with the Portland Art Museum School, but instead joined the Moral Re-Armament (MRA) program. Douglas participated as a full time volunteer in MRA from 1945 to 1957, during which she lived at MRA’s two main headquarters in Los Angeles and Mackinac Island, Michigan. She also lived in London, England and Paris and Caux, France while in the program. Douglas described her experience with MRA as a “multi-cultural learning experience” in which her “global view of life in the world and the nature of humanness took form.” Both during and after her time with MRA, Douglas wrote many personal reflections and letters pertaining to her experience as a participant in MRA and her subsequent reflections on morality, religion, and human nature.

In the 1960s Douglas returned to the United States. She attended the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in 1969. At the same time, Douglas also earned a degree in Educational Psychology from San Francisco State College. Douglas then pursued a Master of Fine Arts in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute and graduated in 1971. During her time in school in San Francisco, Douglas participated in the anti-war movement, black rights activism, psychedelia, and the neo-feminist movement. After graduation, Douglas was offered a position in the art department of a midwest university, but returned to Salem, Oregon to care for her sick father, Vernon A. Douglas.

From 1971 through 1984, Douglas dedicated her time to the care of sick family members, including her father, mother Ruth, and sister Barbara. During this time Douglas worked various jobs including as a freelance writer and photographer. Articles and photographs by Douglas were published in several magazines and newspapers including the Oregonian. Douglas was also actively engaged in areas of the arts, community volunteerism, and political, social, and environmental activism. Much of her freelance writing focused on topics related to her social activism including protecting the Oregon coastal environment, feminist and aging issues, the nuclear weapons freeze movement, and LGBTQ issues.

For more information about the Stella Douglas papers and access to this collection, please see the finding aid. This collection was processed thanks to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant Willamette University received to increase accessibility to the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive.


PNAA Digitization Project

Collections of artists’ papers from the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive (PNAA) are currently being processed thanks to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant Willamette University received to increase accessibility to this amazing and unique archive. Part of this processing grant includes an initiative to digitize a selection of materials from each collection that represents the artist’s papers and his or her works. This summer, the Willamette University Archives has a fantastic student assistant, Madolyn Kelm, who is digitizing materials selected by Jenny Gehringer, the PNAA processing archivist, and the PNAA Advisory Group, which consists of academic and community members.

Madolyn is currently digitizing material from the Nelson and Olive Sandgren papers. The Nelson and Olive Sandgren papers include financial and personal records, sketchbooks, journals, family ephemera, and documentation related to Nelson Sandgren’s careers as an artist and professor, from 1936 to 2016. His wife, Olive, is responsible for the creation of a large portion of the items in this collection including most of the documentation regarding sabbatical trips and vacations. The materials selected for digitization include 35mm slides from Sandgren’s sabbatical trips and one of Olive’s daily diaries which details the events of Sandgren’s 1959-1960 sabbatical. Digitization of these materials helps to preserve inherently unstable media, such as photographic slides, and to increase access to the PNAA collections by making them available online.

The Willamette University Archives is excited to share the PNAA digitization efforts with all library patrons and researchers. We will post more information about this project as additional materials from the PNAA collections are digitized and made available.


Food, Glorious Food

There is a month for every occasion and July is no exception.  Join us as we celebrate National Culinary Arts Month!  This month recognizes the cooks, chefs, bakers, and food lovers who bring joy to our palates every day.  Food is a significant part of every culture; it connects, sustains, delights, and inspires us.  Many of us have favorite recipes from a cherished friend or family member no longer on this earth and every time we prepare that dish or bake those cookies, we are immediately swept up in treasured memories of that important loved one.  National Culinary Arts Month is all about taking the time to think about the foods we put on our tables, considering the recipes that have been passed down through the generations, and celebrating the skill, dedication, and artistry required to be a great cook or chef.  Be sure and check out the WU Reads Reading Guide for an interesting selection of cooking-related books for your reading pleasure!


Ode to the Ocean

Did you know that over 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean waters?  And over half of the world’s population is estimated to live near coastal areas.  Ties between humans and the global ocean are numerous and vast; they include economic, environmental, health, and spiritual links, just to name a few.  The ocean is teeming with life and filled with extraordinary and mysterious creatures of all sorts that have fascinated humankind forever.  It has been an inspiration to early explorers, scientists, artists, musicians, authors, and more for centuries.  The ocean provokes an emotional response from most of us; the sight of the ocean stretching unendingly before us as we stand upon the shore boggles the mind, the feel of the waves on our bare feet tickles and delights us, and the sound of the ocean both comforts and energizes us.  In celebration of the magic of the ocean, June has been proclaimed “National Ocean Month.”  You can learn all about the ocean from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, including information about estuaries, marine sanctuaries, coral reefs, and much more.  And don’t forget to check out the assortment of ocean-related books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide!


Charles E Larson Chemawa Indian School Collection

Max Turetsky, the Sybil Westenhouse Intern for Spring 2019, was engaged this past semester with the work of digitizing and creating metadata for the Charles E. Larsen collection. See brief description below along with link to the digital collection and link to the finding aid.

The Larsen collection, measuring 2 linear feet, is our most used manuscript collection. Larsen’s granddaughter, Mary Ann Youngblood, donated the collection and has been supportive of getting the collection digitized. We’re thrilled to be able to make these important materials available to the public and want to acknowledge Max’s wonderful work on this project. Thank you, Max!

Charles E Larsen Chemawa Indian School Digital Collection
Charles E Larsen Chemawa Indian School collection (finding aid)

Brief collection description:

The Charles E. Larsen Chemawa Indian School collection is a compilation of Chemawa Indian School and Northwest Native American history dating from the late nineteenth to early twentieth century. Materials in this collection give a look at student and employee life on the Chemawa campus. This collection includes newspaper clippings, correspondence, photographs, handbooks, graduation lists, and historical monographs written by Larsen.

There are two scrapbooks that will be digitized this fall and that will complete the collection. 

Please contact Sara Amato (samato@willamette.edu) or Mary McRobinson (mmcrobin@willamette.edu) if you have any questions. This is an amazing collection!


The Return of Jason Lee

Originally published on December 8, 2015.

Guest post written by Grace Pochis, History Department Archives Intern, Class ’17

The Return of Jason Lee

Jason Lee Image

Article from scrapbook compiled by Lee’s son-in-law, F.H. Grubbs, included in the Willamette University and Northwest Collection.

Jason Lee was a well-traveled man, especially considering the transportation of his era. Born in Canada in 1803, he was educated and ordained as a Methodist minister in Massachusetts before undertaking a trip to the Oregon Territory to found and lead the Oregon Mission from 1834 to 1842. Lee would later become a founder of Willamette University and member of its original Board of Directors. During his stint as director of the Oregon Mission, he journeyed overland to the East coast and back multiple times for fundraising, traveling around the Northeast and swinging down to Washington D.C. to ask Congress for financial support. He died in 1845 while on one of these fundraising expeditions back East, but, well, while it delayed his travels, it didn’t stop him. His ashes were buried in Eastern Canada near his birthplace, and remained there for more than fifty years. But around 1900, a campaign to return Jason Lee’s ashes to Salem began to appear in Oregon newspapers. Through a scrapbook of circa-1900 newspaper clippings created by Jason Lee’s son-in-law, held in the Willamette University Archives, we can follow along with this campaign.

Impassioned arguments in these editorials declared that Lee deserved to rest in Oregon and that Oregon ought to have its “foremost pioneer.” As the undated (ca. 1906) editorial “Memory of Lee: Services planned in honor of great Methodist Pioneer Missionary” puts it, “…it is very fitting that his body should be returned, with impressive ceremonies, to the bosom of the soil he loved and redeemed.” Benefactors succeeded in moving Lee’s remains to Portland, where they languished for a while for want of someone willing to move the remains down to Salem, leading to a renewed campaign. A 1905 headline reads, “Body Should Be Interred With State Honors: Protest Against the Remains of Jason Lee Lying Longer in a Vault.” We know that by spring 1906, Lee’s body was anticipated to be transferred to Salem, sparking pomp, circumstance, and memorial services. Willamette University ended its commencement exercises a day early in order to host a celebration, and all of Salem was encouraged to join the reflection on June 14, 1906. One newspaper directed church congregations to join Willamette at a morning memorial of Jason Lee as missionary and church man, then in the afternoon to host their own events, “for the purpose of commemorating Lee’s illustrious pioneer services.”

The occasion was, and if the newspaper rhetoric is any indication, an opportunity to reflect on and celebrate Oregon, the United States, and the (by now) assured permanence of the colonizers in Oregon. The ‘Memory of Lee’ editorial demonstrates this celebratory mood, saying, “This service, of course, will glorify Lee’s inestimable efforts in behalf of the state in giving to the union the great commonwealth of Oregon.” The editorials project the feeling that the physical return of Lee was considered of tantamount importance for returning his memory to a “rightful place” of honor. These editorialists do not desire to return to the past– in almost every description of the missionaries they highlight how difficult life was–but they do exhibit the desire to “rescue” Jason Lee and to interact with their past by writing “the final chapter in the history of an adventurous life of an an adventurous time” [Source: the undated editorial “In memory of Jason Lee”].

From the way the authors talk about their history and the way they talk about time, one gets the sense that the writers did not completely understand where they fit in the Manifest Destiny, “Mayflower of the West” narrative of the colonization of Oregon. They deeply felt a religious and historical significance in the colonization of Oregon, but they seem to feel disconnected from their past. In these editorials, they repeatedly try to imagine a life that was only 60 years ago, yet, thanks to the influx of white colonizers, the decimation and removal of Native people, and the incorporation of Oregon as a U.S. state, vastly different than their own. They grapple with the timeline of how they got from then to ‘now’, often emphasizing the distance of their present from the past. One author calls Jason Lee’s era “those far-away years,” and another says that the missionaries began “at the beginning. The country was as new as that other Garden of Eden when Adam capitulated to Eve.” Another author proposes a way to conceptualize the period of first Methodist colonization, claiming, “The year 1844 is an early date–I hope no one will say that it was only sixty years ago. An event cannot occur before the beginning of things, and 1844 is so near the beginning of things in Oregon…” Faced with the mythical intangibility of “the beginning of things,” Lee’s remains perhaps brought these early 20th century colonists a welcome tangible connection to the figures who had shaped their present.

As planned, in 1906 Jason Lee was interred at the Lee Mission Cemetery next to his first and second wives and infant son. A marble slab over 6 feet tall marks his grave, inscribed with Bible verses and a description of his life. As Jason Lee’s travels came to an end, the lively newspaper conversation on Oregon’s colonial past continued. My next blog post will examine other parts of colonial Oregon’s conversation on “the beginning of things” at the turn of the 20th century.

Jason Lee’s grave marker. Photo taken April 26, 1940. Image credit: Salem Online History.

More on this topic can be found in the Willamette University and Northwest Collection, and, specifically, the Francis H. Grubbs collection on Jason Lee series within the Willamette University and Northwest Collection, or by visiting Willamette University’s Archives and Special Collections.


Harry Widman papers

Researchers can now access the Harry Widman papers, a recently processed collection from the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive. The Harry Widman papers consist of materials that document Widman’s careers as an artist, professor, administrator, and arts advocate from 1937-2015 including gallery exhibition fliers, correspondence, resumes, artist statements, original art and sketches, interview audio (on cassette tapes) and transcriptions, and meeting minutes and correspondence from boards and committees. The collection also contains Widman’s childhood sketchbooks and books of drawings from throughout his life, book lists, poetry by Widman, correspondence, slides of Widman’s art, photographs of Widman and his art from exhibitions, and photographs from his time in the military.

Harry Frederick Widman, Jr. was a prolific painter, writer, teacher, administrator, and arts advocate who created much of his work in Portland, Oregon. He was born on May 18, 1929 in Englewood, New Jersey and died on October 24, 2014 in Portland, Oregon from complications from Alzheimer’s.

Widman received his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Syracuse University in 1951. After graduation he was drafted into the United States Army and stationed in Germany. During his time in the military, Widman visited museums and art exhibitions that included art and artifacts based in historical contexts which peaked his interests in paleontology, archaeology, classical mythology, and non-Western cultures. These interests became prominent sources of inspiration and recurrent themes in his work.

In 1954 Widman enrolled in the Master of Fine Arts (MFA) program at the University of Oregon and studied under influential artists Jack Wilkinson and David McCosh. Widman earned his MFA degree in 1956. He then moved to central Oregon and taught Extension Division courses in Coos Bay, Port Orford, Roseburg, and Grants Pass. In 1960 Widman was offered a temporary position at the Museum Art School (currently known as the Pacific Northwest College of Art) in Portland, Oregon. In 1961 he moved to Portland when his teaching position became permanent.

During his 36 year tenure at the Pacific Northwest College of Art (PNCA), Widman was an influential teacher and administrator. He was an active leader in the Faculty Council and helped create the Alumni and Friends Association. He also served as acting dean of the school from 1978 to 1981. While performing multiple administrative duties at the school, Widman played active roles during the transition from the Museum Art School to the Pacific Northwest College of Art and the separation of PNCA from the Portland Museum of Art. Widman retired from teaching in 1996.

Throughout his career, Widman served on multiple boards and committees to advocate for the arts community in Oregon. He helped establish the Oregon Arts Commission from 1965-1968. He was a member of the original Portland Art Commission from 1968 through 1971 and a chair of the commission from 1970 to 1971. He served on the selection committee for “% for Art” for the Justice Services Building in Portland, Oregon, and the Portland Metropolitan Art Commission. He participated as a guest artist and lecturer for several universities and organizations including Portland State University, the Oregon Historical Society, the Cincinnati Academy of Art, and Colgate University. Widman also wrote art exhibition reviews for The Oregonian newspaper.

In addition to his successful careers as a teacher and administrator, Widman maintained a robust art career with nearly 100 exhibitions between 1950 and 2014. Widman often used collage as a way to layer and blend images, shapes, and ideas in order to develop large scale paintings. He collected images from magazines and other printed material that depicted human bodies, indigenous and cultural art and fashion, and various color schemes to use as inspiration for his work. Widman also created the idea of The Magician, The Navigator, and The Oracle: abstract images that represent identities and express purpose and emotions. These abstract images appear in many pieces of his art. His works have been featured in individual and group exhibitions throughout the Pacific Northwest including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon; Blackfish Gallery in Portland, Oregon; Butters Gallery in Portland, Oregon; Wentz Gallery at the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon; the Fountain Gallery in Portland, Oregon; and the Littman Gallery at Portland State University. Widman also co-exhibited with his wife, artist Mardy Widman, at the Golden Gallery in Beaverton, Oregon, in 2013.

For more information about the Harry Widman papers and access to this collection, please see the finding aid. This collection was processed thanks to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant Willamette University received to increase accessibility to the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive.


Extended Study Hours

During finals week, the Hatfield Library is open extra hours to help students studying for finals exams. A reference librarian is available for research help until 5 p.m. and we will begin putting out cookies and coffee during Finals around 10 p.m. They’ll be available until they run out if you need a brain food break! Don’t forget the printer in the 24-hour Fish Bowl.
cookies and coffee image

  • Thurs, May 9: 7:45 a.m. – 3 a.m.
  • Fri, May 10: 7:45 a.m. – 3 a.m.
  • Sat, May 11: 9 a.m. – 3 a.m.
  • Sun, May 12: 9 a.m. – 3 a.m.
  • Mon, May 13: 7:45 a.m. – 3 a.m.
  • Tues, May 14: 7:45 a.m. – 3 a.m.
  • Wed, May 15: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Thur, May 16: 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Fri, May 17:  8 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Sat, May 18:  Noon – 4 p.m.
  • Sun, May 19:  10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

Celebrating Short Stories

How many of us remember our discomfort and increasing anxiety when reading Edgar Allan Poe’s story “The Tell Tale Heart” or “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson?  What about those monkeys in “Interpreter of Maladies” by Jhumpa Lahiri?  Short stories have the power to thrill, horrify, tantalize, and enchant us.  They show us beauty, make us examine uncomfortable subjects, and stick with us long after the last word of the story has been read.

 

Encouraged by the success of April’s National Poetry Month, May has been declared International Short Story Month.  Everyone is encouraged to read and share short stories throughout the month.  You can even participate in the “A Story a Day” challenge in which writers write and finish a short story every day in May.

 

Join us in celebrating Short Story Month by reading a short story today!  Looking for short story suggestions?  Check out the books listed on our WU Reads Reading Guide.


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