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.


Norma Paulus Memorial

There will be a memorial for Norma Paulus Saturday (4/27) here at Willamette University in Smith Auditorium at 2:00 p.m. with reception to follow in the Cat Cavern.  The event is open to the public. 
 
Here are two nice articles on Norma Paulus and her connection to Willamette: 
 
The Hatfield Archives does have Norma Paulus’ papers.  They are available to be viewed by appointment Monday-Friday 9 am – 12 pm and 1 pm – 4 pm.  There is a digital finding aid and some of the scrapbooks can be viewed online (or from the finding aid) as well.
 
Questions can be directed to archives@willamette.edu.

Mark Sponenburgh papers

The Mark Sponenburgh papers have been processed and are open for researchers. This collection contains materials related to Sponenburgh’s careers as an artist, educator, and scholar. Examples of these materials include photographs, drawings, slides of sculpture by Sponenburgh and other artists, correspondence, exhibition fliers and pamphlets, academic journals, newspaper articles, newsletters and honors regarding the Monuments Men, documents concerning the creation of the Hogue-Sponenburgh collection at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, syllabi and notes for courses taught by Sponenburgh, documents concerning the National College of Arts in Lahore, Pakistan, and designs and proposals for public sculptures created by Sponenburgh.

Mark Ritter Sponenburgh was born on June 15, 1918, in Cadillac, Michigan. He studied sculpture at the Cranbrook Academy of Art in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan from 1939 to 1940 and Wayne University in Detroit, Michigan from 1940 to 1941. In 1942 Sponenburgh enlisted in the United States’ Army. His unit participated in the D-Day landings at Normandy, and advanced through France, Holland, Belgium, and the Rhineland during World War II. In June 1945 Sponenburgh requested to transfer to the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archive (MFAA) division. As a member of the Monuments Men, Sponenburgh assisted in operations to transfer the items to the Munich Central Collecting Point for sorting, cataloguing, and eventual restitution.

After the end of his military service, Sponenburgh continued his graduate studies at the Ecôle des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. In 1946 he moved to Eugene, Oregon for a faculty position in Architecture and Allied Arts at the University of Oregon. In 1951 Sponenburgh traveled to Egypt as a Fulbright Scholar at the American Research Center in Cairo, where he continued his studies and research in sculpture, carving, and ancient Egyptian sculpture and art. He returned to Eugene in 1953.

In 1957 he was commissioned by the government of Pakistan to establish the National College of Arts in Lahore, where he served as principal (Dean) of the college and a professor. While working in Pakistan, he organized the first national exhibition of regional Swat folk art. In 1961 Sponenburgh returned to Oregon by invitation from fellow MFAA veteran Gordon Gilkey to establish the Art History program at Oregon State University in Corvallis. Sponenburgh taught at Oregon State until 1983, when he retired as Professor Emeritus.

Sponenburgh was a member of many influential and prestigious organizations including the International Association of Egyptologists, the Royal Society of Arts, the Royal Society of Antiquaries, the International Association of Art Historians, the American Research Center in Egypt, and the Oxford Society. In 1990 Sponenburgh and his wife, Janeth Hogue-Sponenburgh, donated their extensive art collection to Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. This collection helped secure the creation of the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in 1998. The Mark and Janeth Sponenburgh Gallery includes over 250 Ancient, European, Middle Eastern, and Asian art works and historical artifacts.

As a lifelong sculptor, Sponenburgh created over 170 pieces of art in stone, wood, and mixed media, which explored human and animal forms and ocean wave patterns. His work can be found in private and public exhibits throughout the United States and abroad including the Detroit Institute of Arts (Madonna), the Portland Art Museum (Torso and Birds in Flight), the Hallie Ford Museum of Art (The Collector), Willamette University (Town and Gown), Oregon State University (bronze bust of Linus Pauling), the University of Oregon, and the United States’ Embassy in Cairo, Egypt.

For more information about the Mark Sponenburgh 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.


What’s in a Claim?

Originally published on November 17, 2015.

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

What’s in a Claim? Evolution of “The First University in the West”

From its inception Willamette has, as with all colleges, been concerned with distinguishing itself from its neighbors. In its early days this was vital, while the university struggled financially. Willamette had been founded with the explicit charge to find itself an evangelical Christian patron, but the Methodist Church could not adequately defray the University’s expenses, and sections IV through IX of the University’s bylaws, written 1842, deal with how benefactors could pay subscriptions, or endowments, of fifty through five hundred dollars (Hines, 147-150). A donation of fifty dollars would earn the donor “a certificate of patronage” which entitled the recipient to “a voice in all the business of the society relating to the institution during his natural life” (Hines, 147) A donation of five hundred dollars, which was the maximum the founders conceived of, entitled the donor to a perpetual scholarship at Willamette–that is, that they or their heirs could attend Willamette without tuition (Hines, 148). At the time, five hundred dollars would have paid tuition for a year (Gatke, 311). These donations, the constitution specified, were to be paid at least one third in cash orders, and the remainder in “tame neat cattle, lumber, labor, wheat, or cash.” (Hines, 150). The perpetual scholarships were a losing venture; the initial $500 investment, quickly spent, robbed Willamette of much-needed tuition money for years to come (Gatke, 311). In fact, the last perpetual scholarship was cashed in the late 1960s, after which Willamette reclaimed it.

Attracting paying scholars by distinguishing itself from neighboring colleges has therefore been a priority for Willamette since its inception. By the turn of the 20th century, Willamette wanted to advertise its longevity, but oscillated on how to accurately compare its age to that of other colleges. Yearly bulletins printed by Willamette between 1865 and 2009 acted as both commemorations of the past year and advertisements to potential applicants, and so are a good medium to track the changes in Willamette’s self-presentation over time. The 1920-21 bulletin says, “Willamette University is not only the oldest college on the Pacific slope of the United States, but its connection with the early history of this region is perhaps more vital than that of any other institutions that has sprung up on the far western soil” (my emphasis). Ten years later Willamette had opted for the affirmative version of that claim, saying, ‘Willamette University, with one possible exception, is the oldest institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. The 1931-32 bulletin avoided that “possible exception” by switching its range, saying, “Willamette University is the oldest institution of higher learning west of the Missouri River.” In 1935-6 the bulletin names the affiliation of this school, perhaps in an effort to discredit it: “Willamette University, with the exception of a Catholic school in Missouri, is the oldest institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River.” By 1947-48, Willamette had done away with such a detailed statement and adopted the slogan,“Oldest Institution of Higher Learning West of the Rockies”. By 1957, according to a photo in the corresponding bulletin, a sign on Willamette property declared, “Willamette University, Founded by Jason Lee and the Early Christian Pioneers, 1842, The Oldest University in the West.” Through the 1960’s, 70s, and 80s, Willamette set aside its claims of longevity to focus on other forms of advertising, color printing and much denser use of photos. In 1994, however, the claim resurfaces with a reformulation of who Willamette is, saying, “Willamette University, the oldest college in the west” (my emphasis). And in 2003 we see the current Willamette compass logo for the first time with a reversion to use of “university,” but now with a different conception of primacy: “The First University in the West” underneath. This remains our current claim to fame, but with the past as our guide, we can expect continued revisions to how Willamette advertises its age vis a vis other universities.

Information Sign Image

Information sign, northwest corner of campus, ca. 1950. Image from the Campus Photograph Collection, Willamette University Archives and Special Collections (WP 1323)

Written by Grace Pochis, History Department Archives Intern, Class ’17

Sources:

Gatke, Robert Moulton. “Chronicles of Willamette: The Pioneer University of the West.” Portland: Binfords & Mort, 1943.

Hines, Gustavus. “Oregon and Its Institutions; Comprising a Full History of the Willamette University, The First Established on the Pacific Coast.” New York: Carlton & Porter, 1868.


Henk Pander papers expanded and ready for researchers

The Henk Pander papers are now expanded to include an extensive collection of sketchbooks and journals which document Pander’s life and career during the years 1947 to 2014. Drawings within the sketchbooks focus on important events throughout Pander’s life including: living in Amsterdam and Haarlem, Holland; ride-alongs with emergency first responders; World War II studies; the Galileo Project with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA); the demolition of the New Carissa tanker; and set designs and posters for various theaters. Many of the sketchbook drawings are portraits and landscapes, which provide insight into Pander’s daily life with his family, friends, and colleagues. The Henk Pander papers also contains correspondence, business papers, notes, artwork, and materials concerning Pander’s commissioned works.

Hendrik Pieter (Henk) Pander was born in Haarlem, Netherlands in 1937. He began painting at the age of 9 and learned early skills and techniques from his father, Jacob (Jaap), who was a painter and illustrator. He studied art at Amsterdam’s Rijksacademie van Beeldende Kunsten between 1956 and 1961. While in Amsterdam, Pander was commissioned to create works for the Dutch Government, the Dutch National Railways, and the City of Amsterdam.

In 1965, Pander immigrated to Portland, Oregon, where he currently resides. While in Portland, Pander was commissioned to paint portraits of Governor Tom McCall and Governor John Kitzhaber, documentary paintings for Project Galileo for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and murals for the Port of Portland, the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, the Oregon State University Memorial Union, and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

In addition to his successful art career, Pander was co-founder of the Storefront Theatre in Portland, Oregon in 1970, founded the City of Portland’s Visual Chronicle, and served on the Portland Metropolitan Arts Commission and Public Art Advisory Committee. He also designed sets for the Portland Center for the Performing Arts, the Portland Dance Theater, the Oregon Ballet Theater, and the Storefront Theatre.

Pander received many prestigious awards for his amazing work including the Silver Medallion of the Prix de Rome in 1961, the Therese van Duyl-Schwarze Portrait Award in 1964, the first Oregon Arts Commission Master Fellowship in Painting in 1991, the State of Oregon Governor’s Award for the Arts in 2005, and the Regional Arts and Cultural Council Visual Artist Fellowship. His works have been exhibited in museums and galleries throughout the United States and the Netherlands including the Portland Art Museum, the Seattle Art Museum, the New England School of Art and Design, the Vakbondsmuseum, and the Museum Henriette Polk.

For more information about the Henk Pander 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.


Nicholsloy Studio collection available for researchers

The Nicholsloy Studio collection is processed and open to researchers! This amazing collection documents the careers of local Salem artists Sandra and Dave Nichols, who together comprise Nicholsloy Studio. It includes correspondence with artists and writers; original prints and layouts of rebeat, a zine created by Nicholsloy Studio; an extensive collection of zines by other artists; a collection of materials related to the Beat Generation; original art, prints, and mail art by Nicholsloy Studio and other artists; and notebooks.

Sandra and Dave met at Chemeketa Community College in the late 1970s when Sandra was a faculty member who taught English and Creative Writing and Dave was a student. Their relationship permeates through their creative process as they often work together to make their art. They create work individually as “nic” and “sloy” and collaboratively as Nicholsloy Studio.

Nicholsloy Studio’s work combines found objects, including intricately designed cardboard pieces, and written words or phrases to create imaginative and visually stunning pieces. Sandra is a poetry and poetic-fiction writer who arranges her written work in drawings, paintings, and canvas sculpture. Dave creates recycled cardboard sculptures, games, jewelry, musical instruments, and puzzles as well as oil paintings and colored pencil drawings. As artists, videographers, and collectors of art and zines, they are key figures in Salem, Oregon’s underground art scene.

Sandra and Dave have been featured in individual and group exhibitions in Oregon and Washington, including the Bush Barn Art Center, Chemeketa Community College Art Gallery, the Mary Lou Zeek Gallery, and the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Their works can be found in public and private collections throughout the United States, including the Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry in Miami, Florida.

For more information about the Nicholsloy Studio collection 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.


Schools of Theology

Schools of Theology: From Kimball to Claremont

By Ilan Palacios Avineri ’18, Sybil Westenhouse Intern (Fall 2018)

Just a century ago, Willamette University was home to the Kimball School of Theology, a humble seminary located on the north-side of the contemporary campus. Established in 1906 under Dean Henry Kimball, the school’s mission was simple: to provide the necessary education for those seemingly called by God to the Christian ministry.
In its own words, the Kimball School was a divine place, in which young adults “may establish their faith and equip themselves for service.”1 This mission statement proved palatable despite the school’s financial difficulties and Kimball managed to maintain a steady stream of enrolled students. As a result, the College’s monthly bulletins frequently boasted of its budding membership and spoke optimistically of Kimball’s role in the forthcoming “spiritual conquest of the world.”2 Despite this optimism, the school’s marketing materials expressed a deep insecurity in the role of its Christianity in an increasingly scientific world.

In one public brochure, the author describes the physical door of Kimball as a spiritual magnet which draws those of great intelligence towards further training in Christian education. Completing the metaphor, they then suggest that this positive pole of consecrated life is opposed by “the negative forces of scientific research.”3 Not only did the seminary feel the need to market itself in opposition to another force, something that a confident institution would likely refrain from doing, but the binary drawn evokes biblical notions of good and evil. Scientific research is not simply presented as a worthy yet ultimately worse option for young people than Kimball, but as a wicked alternative. In a similar vein, a bulletin from October 1922 proclaimed that Kimball is “modern without being destructive,” as well as “old fashioned without being old fogy.”4 Once more, the school attempted to market itself as the moral alternative to the modernity of science which the bulletin characterizes as “destructive.” Moreover, by describing the school as “old-fashioned” and affixing the caveat not “old fogy,” Kimball expressed a palpable anxiety that prospective students may view the school as out of touch with the modern advancements of scientific research.

Attempting to preempt this view among potential students, Kimball’s marketing materials stressed the value of the school’s Christian bent in utilitarian terms. In a brochure from July 1927, the authors write that the Kimball school stands as an “outpost of a new day of Christian usefulness.”5 By marketing the school’s teachings as “useful,” Kimball seemed to identify a societal desire for higher education to be applicable to the needs of the individual. While this admission is important, by addressing the need for spiritual education to be “useful” in a productive capacity, the school undercut its own mission statement: to provide teaching to young people so that they “may establish their faith and equip themselves for service in the ministry.” Finally, by forecasting the dawn of a new day in Christian “usefulness,” the brochure effectively conceded that the power of Christianity had waned considerably in the 19th century and was in desperate need of a rebirth.

While Kimball’s history is a fascinating case-study of the battle between Christianity and science in the 20th century, the tension between the two has persisted well into the 21st century. In recent years for example, Willamette has considered reestablishing a school of theology on campus by partnering with the Claremont School of Theology (CST). Such a move would enable the university to provide more resources to students captivated by religion and theology. Although this move might signal a “new day in christian usefulness” to some, Willamette is making clear in its public announcements that the CST would bring a “progressive approach to theological education” to the Pacific Northwest.6  By including the word “progressive” Willamette is sending a message to secular students that the advent of the Claremont school would not be the first step in a slow religious conquest of the curriculum. The very fact that the term “progressive” is included, presumably in an attempt to preempt the reservations of secular students and donors, is a testament to the waning authority of religion in American universities. Ultimately, it appears as though Kimball’s fears were wholly justified. Now, it is up to us to decide whether or not its materialism and empiricism, is alone a sufficient guide with which to navigate both our studies and our lives.

 


 

1. Bulletin, Kimball School of Theology, October 1922, Vol. 2, No. 2.

2. Bulletin, Kimball School of Theology, February 1930, Vol. 9, No. 1.

3. Brochure, Kimball School of Theology, July 1928, Vol. 7, No. 3.

4. Bulletin, Kimball School of Theology, October 1922, Vol. 2, No2.

5. Brochure, Kimball School of Theology, July 1927.

6. “Willamette University, Claremont School of Theology to explore partnership.” Willamette University. http:// willamette.edu/cst/ (November 6th, 2018).


PNAA Processed Collections

Two (soon-to-be three!) Pacific Northwest Artists Archive (PNAA) collections are processed and open to the public. Over the next 16 months, 13 more collections will be processed thanks to the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) grant Willamette University recently received to increase accessibility to this interesting and important Archive.

The inaugural PNAA collection was the Robert Bibler papers. Robert Bibler is a professional artist and retired college instructor who currently resides in Salem, Oregon, with his wife, artist Carol Hausser. He taught studio art and film studies at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon from 1973 to 2003. Bibler’s love of classic film inspired him to coordinate two film series: The Amherst Film Cooperative (1972) at the University of Amherst in Amherst, Massachusetts, which he developed with John Morrison and The Wednesday Evening Film Series at Chemeketa Community College (1974-2003) and the Historic Elsinore Theatre (2004-2015), which he edited and planned with Leonard Held.

Bibler has exhibited artwork professionally since 1974. His works can be found in private and public collections throughout the Pacific Northwest, including the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, as well as in cities in the eastern United States. One of Bibler’s paintings, the official portrait of former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt, was on display at the Oregon State Capitol from 1993 until 2011.

The Robert Bibler papers include newspaper articles, photographs, a scrapbook, sketches and drawings, digital files, promotional fliers, brochures, and correspondence concerning Bibler’s commission to paint the official portrait of former Oregon Governor Neil Goldschmidt and his coordination of The Amherst Film Cooperative and The Wednesday Evening Film Series. The collection also includes greeting cards and mail art from Sandra and Dave Nichols, who comprise Nicholsloy Studio.

For more information about the Robert Bibler papers and access to this collection, please see the finding aid.

The second processed collection is the Claudia Cave papers. Claudia Cave is a professional artist who currently resides with her spouse, Kent Sumner, in Corvallis, Oregon, where she also maintains her studio. Cave participated in the mail art movement between 1974 and 2003. The mail art movement (also known as postal art or correspondence art) began in the late 1950s to early 1960s as artists corresponded with each other by sending artwork through the postal service. Cave’s mail art network included regional, national, and international artists.

Cave’s earlier works, including her mail art, are in black and white graphite while her paintings are in gouache and watercolor on paper. Cave’s work is described as vivid and dream-like. She often uses animal imagery, especially dogs, in her works to emphasize the animal-like nature of humans and the human-like nature of animals. Cave’s art has been shown in many exhibits and is included in public and private collections throughout the Pacific Northwest and the United States.

The Claudia Cave papers include materials related to her art career during the years 1974 to 2016. The collection includes: mail art, sketchbooks, slides of drawings and paintings, photographs, promotional fliers, newspapers, books, digital files, t-shirts, a cardboard cutout of Cave, and correspondence. 

For more information about the Claudia Cave papers and access to this collection, please see the finding aid.

The third collection, the Nicholsloy Studio collection, is nearly processed and will be open soon. This collection includes materials documenting the careers of Sandra and Dave Nichols, correspondence with artists and writers, a collection of zines, and a collection of material related to the Beat Generation. 

Please check in regularly to the Archives’ blog for updates on the Pacific Northwest Artists Archive!