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Ethnic Studies in Special Collections

This guide offers brief descriptions of relevant ethnic studies collections. Links are provided whenever online inventories exist.

Related Guides

Teaching with Primary Source Materials

Our collections exist to be used. When students work directly with primary source materials, historic photographs, and documents that are old or unique, they discover an excitement and passion not generated by textbooks.

Primary source documents can inspire, but they also teach about learning to verify sources, tracking down connections, finding evidence from content and from physical clues.

Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial News Clips (1968)

African American primary sources in SCUA Collections

Special Collections and University Archives collects in the topical area Multicultural Collections in all formats by and about Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and African Americans.

E. & H.T. Anthony (1859-1892) Stereo Photographs, 1860s
Call number: PH194_009
Size: 0.25 linear feet (1 container)
Edward Anthony began issuing stereos in 1859; his brother, Henry T. Anthony joined the firm in 1862. In addition to its massive stereo catalog, the company was the largest supplier of photographic materials in the U.S., providing cameras and studio props as well as papers and chemicals. The collection consists of seven images of New York City and New York State. One image shows the Brigade de "Shoe Black," a line of shoeshine men and boys in New York City, 1865.

N.L Berry New England vacation album, 1890s
Call number: PH203_001
Size:  .1 linear ft. (1 volume)

Vacation album compiled by N.L. Berry shows people, houses and waterfronts in Enfield, CT; Cape Ann, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, MA; "Negro Village of Cottage City," MA, 1890s.
Collection unprocessed and unavailable. 

Beyond Black and White Photographs, ca. 1980-2000
Call Number: PH334
Quantity: .5 linear feet (1 container) (34 photographs)

"Beyond Black & White" was an exhibit by Richard Frazier Crawford (dates unknown) that depicted African-American men in Oregon, 1980-2000. The collection consists of 34 color images. The men in the photographs are Markus Phillips; Wilson Laroi; Tony Morgan; Andrew Smith; Anthony Fuller; Ronnie Vails, Olympic cyclist in 1000 meters at the 1984 Olympics; Robert Branch Jr.; and Leonard Cooke, Eugene, Oregon Police Chief from July 1992 to March 1998.

Frazier A. Boutelle Photographs, c. 1865-1924
Collection number: PH119
Extent: 2 linear ft. (4 containers)

Frazier Augustus Boutelle (1840-1924) served in the US Army for 57 years, fighting in the Civil War, in Indian wars, and working as a recruiter in World War I. In 1889-1890 he was Superintendent of Yellowstone National Park. The collection is of interest for its military scenes of the Indian Wars from 1870s-1890s, images from the Philippines from 1898-1899, and the Yellowstone area 1889-1890. An entry on Boutelle is included in Africana: the encyclopedia of the African and African American experience, edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr (Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press, 2005).

Pedro Del Valle Papers, 1949-1978
Call number: Coll. 126
Size of collection: 9 linear feet (6 containers)

Pedro A. Del Valle (1893-1978) was a Lieutenant General in the United States Marine Corps and commanded the 1st Marine Division in the Pacific Theater of Operations during World War II. After the war he became Inspector General for the Marine Corps and Director of Personnel until his retirement. The collection includes incoming and outgoing correspondence, articles written by Del Valle, Speeches by Del Valle, Defenders of the American Constitution, Incorporated, miscellaneous materials and the book he wrote, Semper Fidelis. Included is correspondence with representatives of the Ku Klux Klan.

June D. Drake Photographs, ca. 1905-1915
Call number: PH 031
Size of collection: .25 linear feet (1 container) (28 photographic prints)

Collection comprises 28 mounted prints of photographs of the town and people of Silverton, Oregon. The images are mounted on board stock and most bear a variation of the Drake Bros. Studio imprint. The images are not labeled and are undated, but are believed to be ca. 1905-1915. One series shows construction of a railroad line in town, and two images include an African-American man working as part of the crew.

Fort Huachuca, Arizona photograph album, 1940s   
Call number: PH203_043
Size: 0.25 linear feet (1 container)

The collection consists of one album of 51 snapshots of African-American soldier and family at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, circa 1940s.

Cheryl D. James Defense Committee, Portland, Oregon. Notes on the Cheryl D. James Legal Case.
Call number: A 307
Size: .25 (3 folders)

Collection of correspondence and news clippings regarding the case of Cheryl Dawn James, an 18-year-old African-American woman from Portland, Oregon. In 1971, she was convicted of assaulting an FBI agent who came to the James residence to arrest her brother, Charles T. James, Jr., who was absent without leave from the Navy. The progress of her case and the activities of various religious groups on her behalf are chronicled here. The collection includes copies of clippings, brochures, and newsletters from the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom.

Elinor Langer Research Collection on White Supremacy in America
Call number: Coll. 306

Elinor Langer (1939- ) is a writer and scholar living in Portland, Oregon. Her book A Hundred Little Hitlers: The Death of a Black Man, the Trial of a White Racist, and the Rise of the Neo-Nazi Movement in America examines the murder of Mulugeta Seraw by skinheads in Portland, the subsequent trial of white supremacist Tom Metzger, and the neo-Nazi movement. This collection comprises Langer's research materials she amassed while researching and writing the book.

Ken Metzler Papers, 1934-1973
Call number: UA 007
Size of collection: 2 linear feet, (6 containers)

Ken Metzler was a Professor of Journalism at the University of Oregon and published a book about acting President Charles E. Johnson, titled Confrontation: The Destruction of a College President in 1973.  This collection contains Metzler’s research files for that book including correspondence by and about Charles E. Johnson, clippings, publications, notes, and manuscripts. Related topical files include: About Charles Johnson: E-F – Eaglin; About Charles Johnson: U-V-W Chapter V- “Despair”; By Charles Johnson: O-P – Office of Minority Relations; About UO Alphabetical files: Blacks, DeBerry, Malcolm X, Racism. See also newspaper clippings.

Historic Print Collection
Call number: PH200
Size: 9 linear feet (15 containers)

The Historic Print Collection is an artificial collection of images of the Northwest or by regional photographers. Identified commercial photographers and notable amateurs are separated into individual collections. Other images are arranged by subject and by size. One image shows Uncle Tom's Cabin company (young girl in elaborate dress sits in pony cart in front of theatre, backed by group of men. An African-American man in elaborate uniform stands among crowd, possibly usher, c. 1880s).

Oregon Military Album
Call number: PH203_050
Size: .1 linear foot (1 album)

The collection consists of an album of 95 photograph postcards of regional military images from the early 20th century: Oregon National Guard and Ambulance Co., Battery A of the Guard, Company C of the Third Oregon Infantry. Locations include Camp Summers at Columbia Beach, Vancouver Barracks, Astoria, American Lake near Fort Lewis. Some images show Astoria's Centennial of 1911 and soldiers on parade; one view of the African-American soldiers of 25th Infantry.

Pershin's Studio Photographs
Call number: PH200_236
Size: 0.01 linear feet (1 container)

Pershin’s Studio was located in Portland, and probably belonged to E.R. Pershin, who was active in 1910 in Park Rapids, Minnesota, and in 1911 in Klamath Falls, Oregon.  Pershin published several postcards of the Crater Lake camp from which photographer B.B. Bakowski, at the time also based in Klamath Falls, disappeared in a blizzard in 1991. One image shows “Committee and Entertainers for Transportation Club Excursion to Tillamook beaches. July 9, 1916.” (Men on railroad tracks, some in costume, one in blackface.  Three are named.)


Walter Pierce Papers, 1888-1969
Call number: Coll. 068
89.25 linear feet (88 containers)

Walter Pierce was a U.S. Congressman from the 2nd District in Oregon, 1933-1943, a Democrat. He had also been governor of Oregon from 1923 to 1927. The collection consists of correspondence, speeches, reports, photographs and material covering U.S. and Northwest history and politics. A major portion details Pierce's involvement with New Deal programs. The papers deal with agriculture, irrigation and land reclamation, public ownership, forest management, and the development of hydroelectric power. There are substantial files on such Depression-era federal programs as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Public Works Administration and Works Progress Administration (emphasizing the Northwest); information on the situations and problems of minority groups, including Black Americans, Indians (Native Americans), Catholics, Jews and Japanese. Included in the collection are files relating to the Ku Klux Klan in Oregon, as well as materials reflecting Pierce’s anti-Japanese sentiment.

Janet Stevenson Papers, 1929-1996
Call number: Ax 265
Size of collection: 17.75 linear feet (15 containers)

Author Janet Marshall Stevenson (1913-2009) was a writer of fiction and non-fiction covering the topics of civil rights, the women's movement and the arts. This collection contains manuscripts, holographs and photographs of her many short stories, articles and books; within this collection are research items and family papers associated with her biography of Robert W. Kenny, an influential liberal that championed the rights of several of the "Hollywood 10" before the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC). Included is the manuscript, research materials, and correspondence relating to her juvenile biography, Marian Anderson. Also included is the manuscript for her book The Montgomery Bus Boycott: December 1955: American Blacks Demand an End to Segregation.


Doris Ulmann Photographs
Call number PH038
Size of collection: 54 linear ft. (146 containers)

Doris Ulmann (1882-1934), was a native of New York City and educated in public school-at the School of Ethical Culture, a socially liberal organization that championed individual worth regardless of ethnic background or economic condition, and Columbia University. Her interest in photography was at first a hobby, but after 1918 she devoted herself to the art professionally. Trained as a pictorialist by Clarence White, Ulmann's early work includes a series of portraits of prominent intellectuals, artists and writers: William Butler Yeats, John Dewey, Max Eastman, Sinclair Lewis, Lewis Mumford, Joseph Wood Krutch, Martha Graham, Anna Pavlova, Paul Robeson, and Lillian Gish. In 1932 Ulmann began her most important series, assembling documentation of Appalachian folk arts and crafts for Allen Eaton’s 1937 book, Handicrafts of the Southern Highlands. From 1927, Ulmann was assisted on her rural travels by John Jacob Niles, a musician and folklorist who collected ballads while Ulmann photographed. Doris Ulmann documented the rural people of the South, particularly the mountain peoples of Appalachia and the Gullahs of the Sea Islands, with a profound respect for her sitters and an ethnographer's eye for culture.

University Archives Biographical Subject Files
Call number: UA REF 2
Size: 10 linear feet (10 containers)
These files are organized by personal name.

University Archives Publications Collection
Call number: UA REF 4
Size: 98 linear feet (98 containers)

  • File on Affirmative Action, Office of:  1998 Pamphlets on Sexual Harassment and Racism; Poster; Pamphlet on racism; Booklet: Discrimination Grievance Procedures, 1998.
  • File on Black Student Union, 1972-1978: Celebration of Humanity VI and VII; 1973, 1974 Seminars; 1973 Black Cultural Month; Festac 77; 1978, 1979 Calendar of Events; 1974 Black Arts Festival; Blackness Is, 1972.
  • File on Foreign Student Organization: 1969-1986 Newsletter, 2/69, Fall 1986; 1975 African Day Celebration; 1961 Foreign Student Friendship Foundation; 1969 International Festival
  • File on Protest, Minorities, 1970-1986: "La Nueva Onda", 4/70; "Fact Action"; Black Panthers; "Doing It Black"; "The Black Manifesto"; Rally Notices; "Perspectives on Racism" Conference; "Liberation News", 1/71; "Which Side are You On?", 7/69; "The Emerald", 5/86.

Theophilus Magruder v. Jacob Vanderpool, U. S. District Court, Or., 1851.
Call number: B 122
Size: 1 folder (9 leaves)

Jacob Vanderpool was an African American owner of a saloon, restaurant, and boarding house living in Oregon City, Clackamas County, Oregon at a time when the Oregon Territorial government enforced an exclusion law (that had been passed by the Oregon Territorial government in 1844), preventing blacks from living in Oregon. In 1851, Vanderpool's neighbor brought suit against him, and Judge Thomas Nelson expelled him from the state. This small collection consists of photostat copies of case documents.

Vanport City, Oregon photographs, 1942-1944
Call number: PH203_025.
Size: .1 linear feet (1 album)

Album produced in 1944 by Oregon Shipbuilding Corp. documenting construction and operation of Vanport City, a shipyard workers' development, in response to a query from an English government official. 34 images, text. The town was destroyed by a catastrophic flood in 1948. Although Vanport had a substantial African-American population, only white people appear in the photographs. Photos from the flood are also available, please inquire.

John Zerzan Papers, 1946-2000
Call number: Coll. 273
Size of collection: 10.25 linear feet (22 containers)

John Zerzan (1943- ) is a writer and an anarchist in Oregon. The collection includes letters, essay and book drafts, and anarchist ephemera and publications that reflect his activities. Included is his article "The Other Ku Klux Klan".

Black History in SCUA Collections

Special Collections and University Archives collects in the topical area Multicultural Collections in all formats by and about Native Americans, Latinos, Asian Americans, and African Americans.

#BlackHistoryMonth: This portrait of Ella Welster, a prominent African American singer, is part of our collection of...

Posted by University of Oregon Libraries on Monday, February 22, 2016

#BlackHistoryMonth: In the fall of 1926, the same year that Oregon finally repealed its exclusion law that forbade...

Posted by University of Oregon Libraries on Monday, February 8, 2016

#BlackHistoryMonth in our collection: Eva Elsie Rutland (1917-1912 ) was a writer of books and short stories primarily...

Posted by University of Oregon Libraries on Monday, February 1, 2016

#tbt to 1980, when B.B. King played a winter concert at Mac Court.Find this photo and many others in our digital...

Posted by University of Oregon Libraries on Thursday, January 21, 2016

In honor of Black Heritage Month, we are highlighting the work of historian Herman L. Brame and his research examining...

Posted by University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

In honor of Black Heritage Month, the UO Special Collections and University Archives is highlighting the work of...

Posted by University of Oregon Special Collections and University Archives on Thursday, February 11, 2016

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Preferred Citation Format for SCUA Materials

[Identification of item], Date (if known), Collection Title, Collection Number, Box and Folder number [or photo ID number], Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Mission | Special Collections & University Archives

Special Collections and University Archives is the primary repository for the University of Oregon’s archives, rare books, historic photographs, and one of the largest historical manuscripts collections in the Pacific Northwest. Our mission is to acquire, preserve, and make available a clearly defined set of primary sources and rare books, reflecting the written, visual, and audio history and culture of Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, and selected aspects of American and world history. Our diverse collections support all types of research, from K–12 education to international scholarship. We strive to play an active and creative role in the teaching, research, and service missions of the University.

Historical Collection Strengths

  • Oregon history, politics, culture
  • Authors and illustrators of children’s books
  • The conservative and libertarian movement in the last half of the twentieth century
  • Popular literature, with an emphasis on Western fiction
  • Missionaries to foreign countries, especially in the Far East
  • Labor History
  • Journalism and Communications
  • Photographs of the Northwest, including the Major Lee Moorhouse and Angelus Studio collections
  • Environmental history
  • Northwest literature, including fiction by Ken Kesey, Damon Knight, Kate Wilhelm, Ursula K. Le Guin, Molly Gloss, and William Stafford
  • Doris Ulmann photograph archives of Appalachia
  • Utopian and intentional communities
  • Northwest architecture
  • Northwest economic history

Curator of Manuscripts

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Linda Long
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299
(541) 346-1906