12×16 Gallery Records

In 2005 seven artists came together to open an art gallery in Portland, Oregon named 12×16 after its first location on 1216 SE Division Street. Its inaugural show consisted of a smattering of collage, photography, mixed media, and paintings from its seven artists: Cary Doucette, Eunice Parsons, Luke Dolkas, Maureen Herndon, Israel Hughes, Lee Ann Slawson, and Edward Story. 12×16 Gallery would go on for twelve more years, hosting a number of shows each month and eventually expanding to a larger space in the historic southeast Portland district of Sellwood. It featured the works of its gallery members as well as artwork from guest artists from across the Pacific Northwest area. Known for its modest and reasonable prices, the collective gallery would become a launching pad for young collectors and space for local artists to help one another. After these successful contributions, the 12×16 Gallery’s last show was in December 2017, closing that same year.

The 12×16 Gallery records cover the years 1997 through 2018 and feature promotional postcards and brochures, Myron Filene’s documentary photographs of the gallery, and an archived version of the website. The collection contains the 12×16 Gallery’s administrative files such as insurance and lease information, business registration forms, meeting notes, price lists, and artist statements from exhibitions. Also included are folders on specific artists, such as Cary Doucette, Serena Barton, Israel Hughes, Ray Keller, Beate Scheller, and others. The rest of the collection consists of a scrapbook with newspaper clippings and 12×16 Gallery promotional postcards and brochures, employee log books from December 2005 to December 2017, and the gallery visitors’ books from December 2005 to December 2017.

The 12×16 Gallery records were processed by Ivy Major-McDowall ’18. A special thank you to Sybil Westenhouse for investing in experiential learning through the Sybil Westenhouse Archives Excellence Fund.

For more information on the 12×16 Gallery and its records, please see the finding aid.


Jack Eyerly papers

Jack Eyerly was a resident of Portland for almost all of his life, and was continuously involved in the art of the Northwest from an early age. Starting in the 1950s and continuing until his death, Eyerly was the foremost artists advocate, facilitator, and friend of the arts in the Northwest. He maintained consistent correspondence with hundreds of artists from the Northwest but also with others from across the country. Though he was an artist himself, Eyerly was a prolific connector of artists, often offering extensive lists of artists, galleries, museums, and non-profit programs to his various correspondents. Among his many achievements, Eyerly was a board member of the Northwest Film Study Center during its early years at the Portland Art Museum. He was a consultant for the Portland Art Museum, a long time supporter of Wacky Willy’s, and collaborated with many individuals and groups in both an artistic and consultation role.

Eyerly’s support of the arts went far beyond being a facilitator of more traditional styles of creating art. Beginning in the early 1970s he was a member of many different video art groups, giving his time to support the development of films and photographs as a respected modern art mode. However, this is not to say that he neglected painters, printers, sculptors, poets, and musicians. His work to connect the artists of the Northwest led to many interactions between different mediums, bringing together the more traditional modes with experimental modes, such as puppet theatre or dancing for the disabled.

This collection encompasses seven decades of notes, correspondence, artists papers, gallery showcards, posters, artworks, and other assorted pieces of historical material exchanged between Eyerly and artists from across the Northwest and beyond. With more than 200 artists represented in the collection, there is a clear sense that Eyerly crafted this archive over his lifetime with the goal of establishing a definitive catalogue of Northwest artists.

The Jack Eyerly papers were processed by McKelvey Mandigo-Stoba ’17. Processing of this collection was funded in part by generous donations from Jack Eyerly’s friends and supporters. A special thank you to Sybil Westenhouse for investing in experiential learning through the Sybil Westenhouse Archives Excellence Fund.

Part of the Jack Eyerly papers remains to be processed and more will be added to the finding aid as processing is completed. For more information on the collection please see the finding aid.

Jack Eyerly standing with a painting.


World War II Propaganda

With the outbreak of World War II in September 1939, Great Britain was desperate to convince Americans to join the fight against Nazi Germany. However, many Americans were fiercely resistant to entering the war, forcing Britain to concentrate its resources into propaganda efforts, such as the British Information Services, located in Rockefeller Center, New York City. The purpose of the British Information Services was to strengthen relations with the US, working to aggressively influence Americans through active promotion and distribution of British views and documents on the war.

The Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection includes many British Information Services pamphlets, flyers, and magazines from 1940 to 1944, as well as a few publications from other publishing agencies. The purpose of most of the propaganda material is to prove Britain’s competency and strength. Some propaganda magazines highlight the accomplishments and capabilities of the Royal Air Force, Army and Navy, while others marvel at Britain’s increased war production. Some of the propaganda depicts the ordinary accomplishments of the British people as a way to promulgate the stability and vitality of the country, but most promote camaraderie against a common enemy. A few pamphlets emphasize the differences between Britain and Germany (and even Japan) to associate Britain with the ideals of democracy and freedom, fighting against the menace of Nazism and fascism. Some touch on the unified strength of the British Commonwealth (or Common Pool) as a way to prove that even colonized, or previously colonized, nations have allied with Britain and have provided resources and men to fight in the war effort. All of these messages were an attempt to convince Americans that the United States had a clear stake in Britain’s war effort and that total support was essential to defeat Germany.

The Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection was processed by Ivy Major-McDowall ’18. A special thank you to Sybil Westenhouse for investing in experiential learning through the Sybil Westenhouse Archives Excellence Fund.

To learn more about the Cummins World War II Allied Forces Propaganda collection, please see the finding aid.

    


Forsythe Family Papers

The Forsythe family papers contain correspondence, documents, literature, photographs, and ephemera and represent the collected efforts of Irene Hanson (née Forsythe), Emmett and Bessie Forsythe, and Margaret Grace Forsythe to document their family history. Margaret Forsythe graduated with the Willamette class of 1945 and went on to earn a Master of Arts degree from the University of Washington and work for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).

The materials in the collection are from as early as the mid-1800s, spanning all the way to the last years of Margaret Forsythe’s life in the 2000s. Margaret Forsythe’s papers feature her collected correspondence, photographs, Cold War era literature, writings, academic work, and ephemera. Within her correspondence Forsythe converses with her family and friends, sharing not only the aspects of her daily life, but her interests, opinions, and beliefs. Her collection of Cold War era literature focuses on subjects like Cuba, Soviet Russia, and Vietnam. Forsythe’s writing touches on a variety of subjects like Asian art and culture, science fiction, and international politics. The papers of Margaret Forsythe’s parents Bessie and Emmett Forsythe and of her aunt and uncle, Irene and Perry Hanson, contain collected correspondence from friends, family, and business acquaintances; documents and writings; photographs; and ephemera.

To learn more about the Forsythe family, please see the finding aid.

  


Dr. Helen Pearce Papers

Helen Pearce attended Willamette University as part of the class of 1915. Pearce went on to earn a master’s degree in 1926 from Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachusetts and a doctorate in English literature in 1930 at the University of California, Berkeley. Pearce taught English at Willamette from 1920 to 1955 while also earning her advanced degrees. She became the first woman graduate of Willamette to earn a doctorate. She served as the head of the Willamette English Department for fifteen years before her retirement in 1955 when she received Professor Emeritus status.

The Helen Pearce papers consist primarily of photographs of Willamette University’s campus dating from approximately the 1950s; photographs of herself from around the same time; and photographs of May Weekend from the early 20th century, possibly from her time as a student. Other material includes her diplomas and certificates granted by Willamette University; her transcripts; a letter from her father, George J. Pearce, to Willamette President John Coleman in 1906 regarding a spade contributed by his company to break ground on the Kimball School of Theology; an unbound copy of Helen Pearce’s dissertation; and various Willamette programs.

 

Dr. Helen Pearce         Eaton Hall 

Baxter Hall and Willamette University sign


Archives and Social Justice

Please join us Tuesday, February 6, 4:00 – 5:30 p.m. in the Hatfield Room to hear Natalia Fernández present on the topic of “Archives and Social Justice: The Archivist as Activist.” Drawing from her professional experiences curating the Oregon State University Oregon Multicultural Archives, as well as co-founding the OSU Queer Archives, Fernández’s lecture is an exploration and reflection of what it means to be an “activist archivist” both in theory and in practice.

This event is free and open to the public. Refreshments will be provided.
Please encourage your students to attend!

Sponsored by the History Department and Willamette University’s Archives and Special Collections with funding provided by Willamette’s Mellon-funded Learning By Creating initiative. Natalia Fernández Photo

In addition to the public lecture, Fernández will meet with students enrolled in HIST 221 (American History Workshop) to conduct an interactive workshop designed to introduce students to the methodologies of building an archive. She will speak about collaborating with local and regional communities to build partnerships utilizing non-traditional methods to ensure that historical records are preserved and remain accessible over the long term.

About the Speaker: Natalia Fernández is an associate professor and the Curator and Archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives (OMA) and the OSU Queer Archives (OSQA) at the Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Fernández’s mission for directing the OMA and the OSQA is to work in collaboration with Oregon’s African American, Asian American, Latino/a, Native American, and OSU’s LGBTQ+ communities to support them in preserving their histories and sharing their stories. Her scholarship relates to her work as an archivist, specifically best practices for working with communities of color. Fernández has published in the Oregon Historical Quarterly, Journal of Western Archives, The American Archivist, Multicultural Perspectives, and Archival Practice. Fernández holds an M.A. in Information Resources and Library Science from the University of Arizona (U of A). She graduated from the U of A Knowledge River Program, a program that focuses on community-based librarianship and partnerships with traditionally underserved communities.


The Moral Re-Armament Movement: Religion or Cult?

By Clara Sims, Archives and History Department Intern, Fall 2017

What distinguishes a religion from a cult? The line between the two is both contested and blurry, and to answer this question more often than not is to identify who is doing the labeling and what interests of political legitimacy does such labeling serve.

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 1

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 2A little known religious movement of the World War II era, Moral Re-Armament, is one such movement that walked the line between being perceived as religiously legitimate or controversial and cult-like. It was an international and non-denominational spiritual movement that gained considerable popularity in the United States, as people hoped to prevent horrors of international conflict like those experienced in the first half of the century. Moral Re-Armament strove to inspire a civilization-wide moral revolution with the belief that the seeds of war lie first and foremost in the hearts of men. For over a decade MRA embarked on an energetic journey, made up primarily of young volunteers, to spread its message of absolute morality through original musical plays that travelled across the United States and Western Europe. These plays highlighted how to build relationships of understanding and unity between historically conflicting groups, ranging from the infighting of the family unit to bridging divides between labor and management.

After the unprecedented atrocities of World War II, it is not hard to imagine why the participants of MRA would come to the conclusion that society was in desperate need of a moral re-awakening. Its plays were filled with urgent calls to patriotism and for Americans everywhere to “Wake up!” and come together “or hate and greed will pull the country apart!” Yet the controversial practices of MRA often highlighted in its coverage, such as public confessions, meant that MRA was often cast in a light of religious extremism. But is it fair or useful to remember MRA or its followers in this way?

You Can Defend America cast

You Can Defend America cast photo

In the firsthand accounts of Stella Douglas, a young woman who spent eleven years as a full-time volunteer with MRA, it becomes clear that generalizations about MRA – what it was and its effectiveness – are inadequate in the face of her lived experience. Stella proves in her reflections about MRA to be far from an adherent of “blind faith” or religious extremism.

Rather, in various moments throughout her reflections on MRA, she was not afraid to critique and renounce aspects of MRA even as she defended the movement as a whole. The complexity of engagement in Stella’s reflections on MRA suggest the nature of religious identity is full of conflicts, contradictions, and convictions that go far beyond the reductionist label of  “extremist” or “cult”.

In her writings Stella never abandoned the conviction that a moral revolution was necessary. It is clear that she, along with many of her generation, felt deep unease about the declining morality of western civilization – which she described as selfishness and “dangerous disengagement from the pain of other men.” However, Stella questioned the usefulness of a religious-based morality to accomplish the task of inspiring the empathy and selflessness among men that would lead society towards unity, peace, and tolerance. The daily practice of listening to the voice of God was one of the central practices of MRA, but Stella believed that God was not necessary to alert men to the moral truths of human dignity and respect. Though Stella certainly never went so far as to associate MRA with a cult, she feared that such religious emphasis had the potential to slip too easily toward dogma and away from the diversity and tolerance championed at the heart of MRA’s original vision.

Stella Douglas

Stella Douglas and a friend

Her questions about religion and God ultimately led Stella away from MRA and toward civil rights activism later in life. Nevertheless, she found immense value in the fact that MRA was grappling with solutions to these timeless questions of nature and morality, even as she herself outgrew its tenets and practices. For Stella, MRA had the potential to be a powerful and positive force for change if it had only been able to hold fast to its principles and not succumb to the safeness of conformity. Instead of naming names and “rocking the ship of the state,” MRA soon became focused on its own prestige and popularity, only providing people easy, inoffensive but false answers to the moral crisis of civilization. In this way MRA became exclusive and ineffective to Stella but never crossed the line into religious extremism or cult-like behavior.

MRA, which disbanded in the mid 1960s, may not have ultimately succeeded in changing the world, but its impact remained in the beliefs that informed the lives of its followers.  Stella carried forward into the rest of her life, as she became an artist, activist, and caretaker, the questions that MRA inspired. Stella continued to defend the MRA community, advocating that no one should be pigeon holed as “typecast models of unquestioning faith.” Rather she believed MRA’s community, as in all religious movements, were full of highly diverse and complex individuals whose commitment to a moral ideology “did not preserve them from inner conflict.” Stella’s open-minded and constant search to understand and give credit to the complexity of MRA, and the positive goals it maintained, provides an example of how our identities, whether they be religious or political, cannot and should not be simplified. In our own time of extreme divisiveness, we would do well to look behind labels used to stereotype groups such as “cult” and “extremist,” as they are all too often misapplied.

Citation: Sack, Daniel. Moral re-armament: the reinventions of an American religious movement. Springer, 2009, 123.


Stella Douglas Papers on Moral Re-Armament

Moral Re-Armament was an international and non-denominational spiritual movement founded by American minister Frank Buchman in 1938. Moral Re-Armament called for a moral reawakening of nations based on the conviction by Buchman and his followers that the root cause of international conflict was essentially a moral problem.

The Stella Douglas papers on Moral Re-Armament consist of correspondence, personal writings, photographs, scrapbooks, Moral Re-Armament publications, address books, and newspaper clippings, covering the years 1944-1978. Items of note include letters and writings that specifically address Douglas’ participation in and ideas about the Moral Re-Armament program. These letters and writings include reflections on MRA leaders Frank Buchman and Peter Howard, but the majority include Douglas’ ideas about MRA’s ideology and practices.

For more information about Moral Re-Armament and this collection, please see the finding aid.

Additional insight into Stella Douglas’ views on the Moral Re-Armament movement can be found in this blog post by Clara Sims, WU Archives and History Department Intern for Fall 2017.

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 1

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet page 2

Moral Re-Armament pamphlet

You Can Defend America cast

You Can Defend America cast photo

Stella Douglas and a friend


Zena Farm and the Sustainability Institute Records

As one of its key roles, the Sustainability Institute at Willamette University oversees management of Zena Forest, part of the largest remaining contiguous block of forestland in the Eola Hills west of Salem. Management guidelines for Zena Forest are the protection, restoration, management, and enhancement of natural resources and ecosystem services of Zena, following an adaptive ecosystem management model.

One acre of the Zena Forest property is occupied by Zena Farm, an historic homestead. It contains an approximately 100-year-old farmhouse, a half acre of organic vegetable production, and an orchard. Zena Farm hosted the annual Summer Institute in Sustainable Agriculture Program, a residential program that combined farming experience and interdisciplinary academic coursework. These records primarily contain documentation and photographs pertaining to the summer institute and the students who participated.

For more information on this collection, please see the finding aid. The records were transferred, organized, and described by Grace Pochis (’16).


Jacobson’s Photographs of the WU Football Team at Pearl Harbor

Kenneth W. Jacobson was born in Vancouver, Washington on September 19, 1921. Jacobson attended Willamette University and was a member of the Willamette University football team that played against the University of Hawaii in Oahu on December 6, 1941 as part of the Shrine Bowl. The team was stranded in Hawaii after the Pearl Harbor bombing on December 7, 1941. Willamette head coach, Spec Keene, volunteered the Willamette contingent to guard the perimeter of the Punahou School in Honolulu for ten days. Unable to fly home, the team remained in Hawaii until December 19, at which time they returned to the mainland aboard the ocean liner SS President Coolidge. While on board, the team bunked in steerage and, in exchange for passage, were assigned as hospital aides attending wounded men until the ship reached San Francisco on Christmas day. Jacobson enlisted in the U.S. Army on May 9, 1942, serving until March 5, 1946. After leaving the army, he continued his studies and graduated from Willamette University in 1947. He was hired by the Dallas, Oregon school district where he served as a teacher, coach, athletic director, and school administrator until he retired in 1983. He died in Dallas, Oregon in 2015.

Further information on the football team’s experiences in Pearl Harbor can be found in the Pearl Harbor Game collection.

Photographs from the Ken Jacobson collection can be viewed online. For further information about this collection, please see the finding aid.

Willamette team member on ship.

Pandas on the way home.

Bud Reynolds and Ken Jacobson

Bud Reynolds and Ken Jacobson