Women’s Lives: Series 3: American Women Missionaries and Pioneers Collection

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From the holdings of the Knight Library at University of Oregon

The Women Missionaries Collection holds essential material for scholars researching women’s history, both of American missionaries and of the peoples with whom they resided abroad, and the history of the Pacific, religious studies, and China studies.

This collection is an excellent-albeit complicated-record of host country cultures at particular times periods. A highly literate group, the women missionaries wrote long letters home and kept journals of their observations of local people and customs, and several turned their impressions into manuscripts, either fictionalized or biographical.

The Women Pioneers Collection opens a window onto the history of the Pacific Northwest and of the hardships and activities of the women who made this region their home. Much of this collection comprises diaries and reminiscences of the overland journey between 1843 and 1900 to Oregon by pioneer families.

Scholars will find the diaries of pioneers who traveled cross-country to Oregon from the 1840s thru 1900s. Materials include fascinating descriptions of pioneer towns in Oregon and on the West coast. Descriptive accounts of the daily lives of women and of families in a variety of Oregon locales are contained in letters and diaries written in numerous Oregon sites. Many pioneers came west to do missionary work with Native American groups, and several prominent families went on to do missionary work in Asia and throughout the world.

For scholar’s of political history, they will discover the papers of Abigail Scott Duniway, 1834-1915, who was an author, suffragist and newspaper publisher and published a fictionalized account of her family’s overland journey in 1851, Captain Greg’s Company. University of Oregon library appears to be the only repository of Duniway’s papers.