Category: Finding Aids

New Finding Aid | Edward Philip McKean-Smith collection of presidential autographs

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a newly published finding aid for the Edward Philip McKean-Smith collection of presidential autographs (CA M193). The finding aid is available on  Archives West

Letter from Theodore Roosevelt to Dr. Henry Waldo Coe, Edward Philip McKean- Smith collection of presidential autographs, CA M193, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

 

This collection was originally donated by Edward Philip McKean-Smith in 1956. A business man from Coos Bay, Oregon, McKean-Smith had personally purchased the majority of the collection. He chose to donate the letters to Special Collections and made further contributions as he acquired more signatures. Documents from the Wayne L. Morse papers (Coll 001) and William T. Faricy papers (Coll 030) were also combined into the collection (a process that Special Collections and University Archives no longer practices).

Letter from Harry S. Truman to Wayne Morse, Edward Philip McKean- Smith collection of presidential autographs, CA M193, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Since their acquisition, the papers have never been available to researchers. Any person who wanted to work with the papers were instead given photocopies. The originals were often displayed in the Reading Room in time with presidential elections, appearing for the first time in 1976.

The collection is comprised of mostly personal correspondence, but also includes affidavits, certificates, and autographs. The dates for each document can range from all points in a president’s careers, from before their presidency, during, and after.

Items of note:

  • A letter from George Washington inquiries into discrepancies between two land deeds, dated during his time in office.
  • A signed affidavit from Abraham Lincoln from his time as a lawyer.
  • A letter from Theodore Roosevelt laments that, “Wilson has been the very worse President we have had since Buchanan; and I say this though I think that Taft was a very poor mad indeed.”
  • A personal letter from Warren G. Harding to his Aunt Pricilla about the poor health of their Aunt Clara.
  • A letter from Harry S. Truman to Wayne Morse, telling him to not worry about a drunk friend who had caused a commotion at a party they both attended. “We all have friends like that!”
  • A letter from Ronald Reagan congratulating UO President Paul Olum on his recent promotion to the position.
George Washington to John Brown, Edward Philip McKean- Smith collection of presidential autographs, CA M193, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Because the collection had never been opened to the public before, there had been little work done to make it presentable and available to researchers. This required a full-scale processing plan.
Furthermore, the nature of the collection called for additional levels of processing. Because each document is uniquely important, it was essential to create an itemized description of each record. Given that not every president was not known for their penmanship, this could at times prove to be challenging. A considerable amount of time was spent deciphering script and researching the content of the letters.

-Paige Kosa, Special Collections Intern

NHPRC Grant | Kurt Werth papers

This is the second of a series of blog posts highlighting our NHPRC-sponsored project: Twentieth Century Children’s Literature: Exploring the Past, Understanding the Present. Previous posts can be found here.

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce the publication of a newly revised finding aid for the Kurt Werth papers (Coll 100). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

A boy in a tiger costume walks down a suburban street at night.
Sketch for A Tiger Called Thomas, circa 1963, Box 13, Kurt Werth papers, Coll 100, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

The Kurt Werth papers represent a major portion of Werth’s body of work produced as an illustrator and author of American children’s literature. The collection is comprised of original children’s book illustrations and manuscripts, other artwork and manuscripts, personal papers, artifacts, personal and professional correspondence, and papers of his wife, Margaret Werth.

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New Finding Aid | Yussef El Guindi papers

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a newly published finding aid for the Yussef El Guindi papers (Coll 593). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

The Talented Ones, Yussef El Guindi papers. Coll 593, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Yussef El Guindi is a contemporary American playwright based out of Seattle, Washington. Guindi was born in Egypt and raised in England. He immigrated to the United States as an adult and became an American citizen. Guindi is an acclaimed playwright who has won numerous awards for his works. Most recently, Guindi worked with A Contemporary Theatre in Seattle Washington. Additionally, Guindi was featured as the first Table|Room|Stage playwright for Artists Repertory Theatre in Portland, Oregon.

The collection consists of scripts and drafts of seven of Guindi’s plays. Materials include revisions and notes from workshops and productions of the works. The collection includes additional material related to productions such as playbills, cast lists, and workshop information. Of note in this collection are materials related to the 2015 production of “Threesome,” work-shopped at JAW: A Playwright Festival produced by Portland Center Stage in 2013.  The collection also includes materials on a production of “The Talented Ones” at Artists Repertory Theater in Portland, Oregon as part of their Table|Room|Stage program. The subjects and themes explored in Guindi’s works include the immigrant experience, cultural and political climates, and identity.

New Finding Aids | Children’s Literature

New finding aids are now available on Archives West for the following children’s literature collections:

Bettina Ehrlich papers, circa 1959 (A 230)

Bettina Ehrlich (1903-1985) was an Austrian artist and author of children’s books. The collection includes Ehrlich’s manuscripts, sketches, and illustrated dummy for For the Leg of a Chicken.

Joseph Edward Van Wormer papers, 1961-1974 (Ax 770)

Joseph Edward Van Wormer (1913-1998) was an Oregonian wildlife photographer and author. The collection includes Van Wormer’s literary manuscripts for eight books about animals of the Northwest, mostly for children, and related correspondence.

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New Finding Aid | Paula Gunn Allen papers

Special Collections and University Archives is pleased to announce a newly published finding aid for the Paula Gunn Allen papers (Coll 519). The finding aid is available on Archives West.

Publicity photo of Gunn and publishing contract
Publicity photo of Gunn and publishing contract, Paula Gunn Allen papers, Coll 519, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Paula Gunn Allen (1939-2008) was a Native American author, literary critic, activist, and scholar known for her contributions to American Indian studies and the nascent field of Indigenous feminism. She was also a founding leader in the contemporary women’s spirituality movement.

The collection documents Allen’s career as a poet, novelist, essayist, literary critic, and educator. The papers include manuscripts and supplementary material for the following published books: Grandmothers of the LightThe Woman Who Owned the ShadowsOff the ReservationSpider Woman’s GranddaughtersSong of the TurtleThe Sacred HoopAs Long as the Rivers Flow, and Skins and Bones. Other manuscripts include a collection of “haggles,” or short essays, screenplays, prefatory material, and unpublished works.

The collection also includes instructional material created by Allen including lecture transcripts, notes, diagrams, and handouts for workshops and seminars led by Paula Gunn Allen in Seattle and the Bay Area between 1984 and 1987. The subjects of these workshops include comparative spirituality, shamanic writing, and Rainbow Warriors. The collection also includes audio recordings of “haggles” and workshops, which require advance notice for use and the production of listening copies.