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!


WU Libraries: Past, Present, and Future

By Joni Roberts

Most of us know that Willamette University has been in existence for over 175 illustrious years but it is not exactly clear when a library officially appeared on the scene.  The student newspaper, The Willamette Collegian, which began publication in 1875, first mentions the library in 1876.  This article describes how the library was located on the first floor of Waller Hall along with the chapel and the “ladies’ and gentlemens’ reception rooms.” Mention of the library in the early years of the Collegian often consists of imploring students, faculty and friends of Willamette to donate much needed books to the library.

 

Library reading room in Waller Hall, early 1920s

Dr. Robert Gatke (d. 1968), Willamette historian and professor, mentions the library a few times in his book Chronicles of Willamette.  His description of the library around 1915 is far from flattering: “The library was the pathetic victim of malnutrition.  With no regular appropriation made for the purchase of books, it depended upon gifts, receiving mostly old books of no value for reference use and not placing within reach of the students the new thought stimulating books as they came from the presses.”

 

Library reading room in 1948 in what is now Smullin Hall

Describing the library in the early 1930’s, Gatke writes “…library housing was inadequate and the weight of the books on the second floor of Waller had become so great that it constituted a serious danger to safety.”  The construction of a new library building was approved in 1937 and the building was dedicated in May of 1938.  At the time of the dedication, the building housed no books but on May 20th, classes were cancelled and students and faculty carried the books from Waller to the new building, the current day Smullin Hall.

 

An addition was added to the building in 1965-66 but before too long, it was determined that the library was no longer adequate and that renovation was not a viable solution.  A building program statement issued by then University Librarian Patricia Stockton in 1980 describes poor lighting, ventilation, heating and a lack of a classroom for instruction sessions.  The report states: “The Library is not inviting to the user.  Most seating is at long study tables in the two main reading areas.  The remainder is in individual study carrels on bare cement floors under buzzing lights.  The bookstacks themselves are too crowded, too narrow, and their color is a bilious green.”

 

Mark O. Hatfield Library dedication, 1986

Happily, approval of a new library building was granted and the present-day library opened in 1986.  Students and faculty once again helped move materials from the old building to the new. The Mark O. Hatfield Library, a tribute to one of Willamette’s most distinguished graduates, was considered state of the art at the time of its dedication. Overlooking the Mill Race and adjacent to Jackson Plaza, today’s library is centrally located in the heart of the campus. The library is a vital public space and includes many attractive areas suitable for study and reflection.

 

The library building is now over 30 years old and while minor renovations have occurred over the years, the library is due for a more substantial remodel.  The library staff has many ideas for a major renovation including improving and increasing student space, updating technology infrastructure, incorporating the WITS Help Desk into the building, and more.  All we need is a generous donor or two!

Smullin Library, 1982: “…individual study carrels on bare cement floors under buzzing lights…”

A young Hatfield Library, 1986

 


Robert W. “Bob” Packwood papers

The Robert W. “Bob” Packwood papers comprise the records of the Dorchester Conference started by then-Oregon state representative Robert Packwood, legislative material generated and received by Packwood’s office during his five terms as a United States Senator from Oregon, material related to his campaigns, press and public relations material, personal/political files, and autobiographical writings.

Bob Packwood was born in Portland, Oregon in 1932. He attended Grant High School in Portland and graduated from Willamette University in 1954 with a degree in political science. As an undergraduate, he served as an officer in the Young Republicans Club and worked on Mark O. Hatfield’s successful bid for the Oregon legislature.Bob Packwood

After graduation, Packwood was awarded a prestigious Root-Tilden Scholarship to attend New York University Law School. As a law student, he won a first-round national moot court competition and was elected student body president. In 1957, Packwood worked as a law clerk for Oregon Supreme Court Chief Justice Harold Warner in Salem, and subsequently found work in 1958 with Portland law firm Koerner, Young, McColloch and Dezendorf. He became a Republican precinct committeeman in 1959 and was named Republican Party Chairman of Multnomah County the following year.

At the age of thirty-one, Packwood successfully ran for the Oregon legislature, becoming the state’s youngest legislator when he began his term as a state representative from Portland in January 1963. The following year, Representative Packwood gained political notoriety by working with business groups and party leaders to successfully recruit, train, and coordinate GOP candidates for the state legislature in the 1964 general election. His strategy allowed the Oregon House to become the only legislative chamber in the country to switch to GOP control that year, despite a landslide election for Democrats across the nation.

As chair of the House Local Government and Elections Committee, Packwood worked to create single-member districts in Oregon, a measure adopted after he left the state legislature in 1967. In 1965, Packwood founded the Dorchester Conference, a state-wide meeting of Republican politicians and activists on the coast in Lincoln City, Oregon, with the goal of mobilizing and energizing moderate Republicans within the Oregon Republican Party.

In 1968, Packwood won the Republican nomination in Oregon to run against four-time incumbent U.S. Senator Wayne Morse. In a close race, Packwood defeated Morse, becoming the youngest member of the U.S. Senate at age thirty-six.

Packwood’s early legislative efforts include introducing the Senate’s first national (pro)-abortion legislation, advocating to abolish the seniority system within the U.S. Senate and the championing of successful environmental conservation efforts in Oregon. His environmental achievements culminated in the passage of legislation to preserve Cascade Head (1973), Hells Canyon (1975), French Pete (1978) and the Columbia Gorge (1985) in Oregon. Packwood served as chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee, the campaign arm of the Senate (1977-1979; 1981-1983), where he skillfully worked to increase the fundraising capacity of the GOP, aiding the election victories of several GOP Senators during the late 1970’s and early 1980’s.

During the Presidency of Ronald Reagan, Packwood chaired both the Commerce Committee (1981-1985) and Finance Committee (1985-1987). As a member and chair of the Commerce Committee, he successfully passed legislation to deregulate several industries, including airline, trucking, railroad, and telecommunications. As chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Packwood was instrumental in proposing and guiding a bipartisan effort to pass the 1986 Tax Reform Act.

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


Search the Archives!

Thanks to a recently implemented system, it’s now possible to search the descriptions of collections held by Archives and Special Collections. Archival collections usually consist of various kinds of original documents, records, and other historical material. It’s possible to find diaries, photographs, letters, video and audio recordings, memorabilia, and any number of other interesting items in archival collections.

These materials either come in, or are organized into, collections. They are stored in protective boxes and folders then described to make it easier for anyone doing research to find something of interest. The Archives at Willamette usually provides a listing of folder titles and sometimes even descriptions of individual items like videos and photographs to help students with their research. Our new system allows anyone to search, browse, and filter these descriptions so they can more easily explore the Archives. If there is a digitized item (like a video, diary, or photograph) available online, a link is also provided through this system.

Anyone who would like to learn more about using this system or who would like to see what’s in the Archives can make an appointment by emailing archives@willamette.edu. Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9-12 and 1-4.


Make an Appointment with the Archives

Curious to know what treasures are stored in Willamette University’s Archives and Special Collections? Need a research topic for a class? Want to explore what student life at Willamette was like 150 years ago?
WU memorabilia
Archives and Special Collections, on the 2nd floor of the Hatfield Library, collects material related to the history and administration of Willamette University, political papers of alums and Oregon’s 5th congressional district, the papers of artists from the Pacific Northwest, and papers related to local individuals and organizations with ties to Willamette.

Appointments are available Monday through Friday from 9 am to noon and from 1 pm to 4 pm. Please e-mail archives@willamette.edu to make an appointment.


New Art in Archives

We recently added a few works of art that are on display in the Archives. Four artists represent this collection of art, and their works range from the year 1946 to 1996 circa.  These artworks are on loan from the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.  To view the art, please visit the Archives and Special Collections between the hours of 9 a.m. to Noon and 1 p.m. and 4 p.m.

 

Image of Art: The Dance, 1946 Artist: Carl A. Hall

Title: The Dance

Date: 1946

Medium: Oil on Canvas

Image of Art: Not by a dam site, 1959 Artists: Eunice Parsons

Title: Not a Dam Site

Date: 1959

Medium: Oil on canvas

Image of Art: Untitled horsemen, 1964 Artist: Eunice Parsons

Title: Untitled

Date: 1964

Medium: Collage on
canvas panel

Image of Art: Clover Small Vetch Seed Pods and Horsetails, 1996  

Artist: Stephan Soihl

Title: Clover, Small Vetch
Seed Pods, and Horsetails

Date:1996

Medium: Charcoal pencil
and watercolor

Image of art: ColburnJon Night Play, 2003  

 

Artist: Jon Colburn

Title: Night Play

Date: 2003

Medium: Acrylic on canvas

 

 

For comments and questions about this art, please contact Mary McRobinson (mmcrobin@willamette.edu), University Archivist at Willamette University, and Jonathan Bucci (jbucci@willamette.edu), Curator of Collections and Exhibitions at the Hallie Ford Museum of Art at Willamette University.