PNAA Processed Collections

By Jenny Gehringer
PNAA Processing Archivist

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.


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.