Additions to the Betty LaDuke Papers

LaDuke painting women and birds Additional materials for the Betty LaDuke papers have been processed and are open to researchers. This collection documents Betty LaDuke’s prolific career as a painter from 1950 to 2018. It includes her photography and sketchbooks from various international and domestic travels as well as materials that document her advocacy and representation of cultural traditions and women artists around the world. This collection also contains personal documents concerning her family and friends.

LaDuke has completed several large-scale projects, including multi-panel exhibitions and murals. Her creative process involves developing a series of sketchbooks and taking numerous photographs during her travels which then form the basis for her larger works and exhibitions. Other thematic elements in her work include animals, rituals, and celebrations, which she uses to illustrate similarities among geographically and traditionally disparate cultures.

LaDuke has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and is represented in many public collections, including Willamette University’s Hallie Ford Museum of Art (HFMA). You can discover LaDuke’s work on campus through rotating exhibits at the HFMA and a permanent display at the third-floor of the Putnam University Center.LaDuke painting Pear Harvest

For more information about this amazing collection, please see the finding aid. You may also access additional information and resources concerning LaDuke and her art through the libguide Betty LaDuke: Social Justice Revisited. The Betty LaDuke papers were processed thanks to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant Willamette University received to increase accessibility to the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive.


A “New” Chant for Christmastide

By Doreen Simonsen
Humanities and Fine Arts Librarian

Image Comparing 15th Century Chant Manuscripts

Somewhere in Europe in the 15th century, a choir sang an Alleluia followed by an Offertory on the Feast of the Holy Innocents on December 28th. A page from a book that contained parts of these songs was discovered last summer in the Vault of the Mark O. Hatfield Library. We do not know who donated this manuscript page to the library, but through the help of faculty members in the Music and Classical Studies Departments at Willamette University and elsewhere, we have been able to reveal its secrets and show how it relates to the holiday season.

Image of Medieval & Renaissance Manuscripts

Psalter
France, Paris, between 1495 and 1498
MS M.934 fol. 141r
Morgan Library and Museum

This large sheet of vellum (parchment prepared from animal skin) is 20 ⅞ inches high by 15 ⅔ inches wide and has neumatic (plainsong) notation on a four-line staff with texts in Latin. Chants are written in neumes, which are notes sung on a single syllable.

There is a large Illuminated initial in the lower left-hand corner of second page. (To see how this page and illumination was created, please watch this excellent video, Making Manuscripts, from the Getty Museum.) The reason for the large size of this page was that it was meant to be read by several members of a choir at one time. The expense of creating manuscript books meant that it would be more economical to create one large book for several people to use rather than several smaller books for each person in the choir to hold.

Here is an illustration from a Psalter (A book of Psalms) showing a group of clerics singing from a large book with musical notation, similar in size and format to our manuscript.

Image of manuscript fragmentIdentifying the Texts:
Professors Robert Chenault and Ortwin Knorr of Willamette University’s Department of Classical Studies identified the texts found on these two pages.

This first page (or recto page) contains the following words and word fragments:
…tis eius; laudate eum in firmamen-

And the second page (or verso page) contains the rest of the phrase:
to virtutis eius.

These phrases combine to form the end of this Bible Verse:
Alleluia. Laudate Dominum in sanctis eius; laudate eum in firmamento virtutis eius.

 

 

Image of manuscript fragmentPsalm 150, Verse 1 (King James Version) Praise ye the Lord. Praise God in his sanctuary: praise him in the firmament of his power.

At the bottom of the second (verso) page, they identified the words: Anima no- which Dr. Richard Robbins (University of Minnesota-Duluth) identified as belonging to this verse:

Anima nostra sicut passer erepta est de laqueo venantium; laqueus contritus est, et nos liberati
sumus.

Psalm 123, Verse 7 (King James Version) Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped.

The two texts are separated by a red abbreviation of the word Offertory.

Identifying the Music
Professor Hector Aguëro of the Music Department at Willamette University shared images of our manuscript with his colleague Professor Richard Robbins, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota-Duluth and a scholar of choral music, especially Italian sacred music of the early Baroque.

Dr. Robbins identified our manuscript as possibly being part of a Gradual, which is a book containing chants used in the Catholic Mass throughout the year. Robbins identified the first text and melody as the end of an alleluia verse, specifically Laudate Deum (mode IV). The second melody is an offertory on the text Anima Nostra (mode II).

Both of these chants can be found in the Liber Usualis, a book of commonly used Gregorian chants in the Catholic tradition.

Image of Alleluia Chant

The notation on the library’s manuscript starts at the red line in the Alleluia above, and it ends at the red line in the Offertory Anima No|stra below.

Image of Anima Nostra Chant

You can hear a performance and follow the texts of both chants here:

Alleluia, Laudate Deum
Offertory: Anima Nostra

The text of our missal differs from that of the Liber Usualis because of its early date. It was likely written in the 15th century, and, as Dr. Robbin explains, that means it was written before the Council of Trent (1545–63) codified the Catholic Mass and the order of the chants. There was a great deal of variety in Missals before the Council of Trent, so one cannot be sure when these melodies were used during the liturgical year. However, according to Dr. Robbins, these tunes match the tunes that appear in the Holy Innocents / Epiphanytide sections in post-Trent missals.

Ornate illuminated letter D shows Jesus riding Donkey colt

Dr. Robbins also pointed out that the illuminated letter A is ornate, which would have also been more appropriate for a Christmas use. The fancy illuminated letter A is probably also the reason we only have just one sheet from this gradual. These pages could contain ornate decorations and for this reason, they were frequently removed from graduals and treated as single artworks. Here you can see similar gradual pages from the Metropolitan Museum of Art. And this page shows the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday, all within the large initial D.

Teaching with a 15th Century Manuscript
The best thing about discovering this “new” manuscript in the vault was being able to share it with the students and faculty of Willamette University. In September 2019, as part of his Music History I course, Professor Aguëro had his Music History students transcribe the music written on the library’s Chant manuscript. Here you can see them displaying their work. It was such a delight to have students work with a manuscript from the library’s Rare Books Collection.

Image of Professor Professor Aguëro and his Music History I class

From left to right: Ethan Frank, Matt Elcombe, Professor Aguëro, Sam Strawbridge, Kate Grobey, and Sophie Gourlay

Acknowledgments

Many thanks to Professors Robert Chenault and Ortwin Knorr of the Department of Classical Studies and Professor Hector Aguëro of the Department of Music at Willamette University, and especially to Professor Richard Robbins, Director of Choral Activities at the University of Minnesota-Duluth. Their combined scholarship helped us explicate the text and illuminate the value and beauty of this seasonal manuscript.

 

Bibliography

Abbey of Solesmes. The Liber Usualis 1961. Internet Archive, http://archive.org/details/TheLiberUsualis1961. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Anima Nostra Sicut Passer Erepta Est. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UrXb2QUSsI. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

“Bartolomeo Di Domenico Di Guido | Manuscript Leaf with Entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday in an Initial D, from a Gradual | Italian | The Met.” The Metropolitan Museum of Art, https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/469046. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Chant Manuscript, ca. 15th Century. https://libmedia.willamette.edu/commons/item/id/163. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Council of Trent. Sacrosancti et œcumenici Concillii Tridentini Pavlo III, Ivlio III, et Pio IV, PP. MM. celebrati canones et decreta. Apud Cornab Egmond et Socios, 1644.

“Council of Trent | Definition, Summary, Significance, Results, & Facts.” Encyclopedia Britannicahttps://www.britannica.com/event/Council-of-Trent. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Gregorian Chant Notation. http://www.lphrc.org/Chant. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Laudate Deum – Gregorian Chant, Catholic Hymns. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kaVnBFhiwqU. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Making Manuscripts. YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nuNfdHNTv9o&feature=youtu.be. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019.

Psalter, MS M.934 Fol. 141r – Images from Medieval and Renaissance Manuscripts – The Morgan
Library & Museum. http://ica.themorgan.org/manuscript/page/120/77003. Accessed 27 Nov. 2019

Robbins, Richard. “Re: Newly discovered 15th c. Chant manuscript.” Received by Hector Aguero, 22 Aug. 2019.


It’s a Winter Wonderland at the WU Archives

‘Tis the Season to share some wintery materials from the Willamette Archives and Special Collections! Our collections include many unique and fun materials that reflect a variety of winter and holiday traditions. The Archives crew have prepared three images to warm your hearts during these chilly days and long nights!

Blue Christmas invitation Holiday parties are a fantastic way to celebrate this chilly season – and an invitation to a Tom Cramer Christmas party is a coveted item! Tom Cramer, a nationally known Oregon artist, is famous not only for his beautiful paintings and wood carvings but also for his epic parties. The Tom Cramer papers include several of his Christmas party invitations, each designed and drawn by Cramer. This collection is part of the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive and is open for research.

Polar bear water Does the arrival of December have you yearning for snow? Or perhaps you’re looking for some winter fashion inspiration? The Chuck Williams Collection, which will be open for research in early 2020, has you covered on both fronts. Williams’ extensive research materials on national parks and environmental issues offer a wealth of images and information to get you through the winter months.

Star trees with lights While the beloved Star Trees on Willamette’s campus brings joy to students, staff, faculty, and Salem citizens all year long, during the holiday season they seem to shine even brighter — both literally and figuratively. Planted in 1942 to commemorate Willamette’s centennial year, the Star Trees (five Sequoiadendron giganteums) twinkle during the month of December when they are strung with lights. This photograph from December 7, 1997, captures the Start Tree Lighting Ceremony festivities. This year the Star Tree Lighting & Holiday Celebration ceremony takes place on Wednesday, December 4th. Be sure to join the fun!


Digital materials available in PNAA finding aids

Claudia Cave sketchbook black ink drawing. 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. Digitization helps preserve inherently unstable media, such as photographic slides, and increases access to the PNAA collections by making portions of these materials available online.

Over the summer, Madolyn Kelm, our fantastic student assistant, digitized a variety of materials from eight PNAA collections including sketchbooks, correspondence, slides, a diary, publications, and photographs. Sara Amato, our Digital Asset Management Librarian, organized and curated the metadata collected by Madolyn into digital exhibitions that are now accessible in the following finding aids: Claudia Cave papers, Nicholsloy Studio collection, Tom Cramer papers, Nelson and Olive Sandgren papers, Judith and Jan Zach papers, Henk Pander papers, Stella Douglas papers, and Tom Hardy papers.

The Willamette University Archives and Special Collections is excited to share the PNAA digitization efforts with all library patrons and researchers. Throughout the fall and spring semesters, students will continue to digitize selected materials from the eight remaining PNAA collections. Don’t forget to check the Archives Blog for updates on our PNAA digitization project!


It’s American Archives Month!

October is American Archives Month! The Willamette University (WU) Archives and Special Collections is celebrating by sharing what our archivists are currently working on through our blog and the Mark O. Hatfield Library Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages. We invite you to learn more about our collections and how we provide equitable access to historical documents and materials!

stuffed bearcat sitting at desk The WU Archives and Special Collections collects, preserves, and makes available WU records of enduring value and primary source materials focusing on the Pacific Northwest. We have four main collections categories: University Archives and Records, Political Papers, Personal Papers, and the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive (PNAA). We currently have three archivists on staff who are processing collections and providing reference services for our campus and public communities.

Stephanie Milne-Lane is the Processing Archivist and Records Manager for our Archives. She provides reference services for all collections in our repository, assists University departments concerning records management, provides educational opportunities to students, and processes University, political, and personal records. In addition to her varied responsibilities, she is currently processing the Rex Amos papers, which is part of the PNAA.

Jenny Gehringer is the Processing Archivist for the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive (PNAA). The PNAA is a collaborative project of the WU Archives and Special Collections and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art and includes materials related to the careers of artists who are or were active in Oregon and Washington for most of their careers. Jenny is tasked with processing 16 PNAA collections during her 18-month tenure and is currently assessing and processing the Rick Bartow papers. Her most recently completed collection is the Betty LaDuke papers.

desk with papers on it Rosie Yanosko is the Processing Archivist for the Chuck Williams Collections. Williams was an environmental activist and professional photographer who was of Cascade Chinook descent and a member of the Grand Ronde Tribe. His activist papers are housed here in the WU Archives, while his photographs are housed at the Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center. During her 12-month tenure, which is funded through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) Competitive Grant Willamette University received, Rosie is appraising, processing, and developing finding aids for these collections. She is also planning a panel discussion which will highlight Williams’ legacy as an environmental activist.

Please check out our blog and the Mark O. Hatfield Library’s Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook pages throughout October for more information, photographs, and fun facts!


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 chose to return to her family home in Portland, Oregon.

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. In 1986 and 1987 Douglas applied to the Master’s in Art Therapy program at Marylhurst College and was admitted in 1987. After graduating she worked for Mental Health Services West in Portland, Oregon. Douglas died in a car accident in 1993 and is buried in Clackamas County, Oregon.

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.


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.