William Wellington Phillips papers, circa 1904-1912  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Phillips, W. W. (William Wellington)
William Wellington Phillips papers
circa 1904-1912
4 volumes
Collection Number
4844 (Accession No. 4844-001)
Notebooks regarding customs, legends and language of Indians of Southwestern United States
University of Washington Libraries, Special Collections
Special Collections
University of Washington Libraries
Box 352900
Seattle, WA
Telephone: 206-543-1929
Fax: 206-543-1931
Access Restrictions

Open to all users.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

William Wellington Phillips was born on March 4, 1880 in Little Falls, Minnesota, to parents Jesse W. and Sarah (Brown) Phillips. He had four siblings: Abbie G., Jesse Clayton, Winford, and Martha May. The Phillips family later moved to the Bremerton, Washington area where his cousin, Clara Phillips, met and married Edward Curtis. When he was sixteen, Phillips went to live with Edward and Clara Curtis in Seattle, and continued to live there as he attended the University of Washington and worked at Curtis’ studio.

Following his graduation from the University of Washington in 1904, Phillips worked with Curtis on his North American Indian project and was the project’s first principal ethnological assistant. During this time, he worked both in the field and in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he worked with the volumes as they went to press. Phillips ended his involvement with Curtis’ project around 1912, and began to farm at Greenacres, near Spokane. In 1916, he returned to Seattle where he worked in a number of different jobs, including as secretary-treasurer for the brokerage firm Fraser, Goodwin, and Colver.

Phillips married Harriet Caroline Sias in Brookline, Massachusetts, on December 14, 1912, and had two children, Wellington Sias and Elizabeth Caroline. He died in Seattle on March 26, 1936 and is buried in Ivy Green Cemetery in Bremerton, WA.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Four notebooks regarding the customs, legends, and languages of Indian tribes in the southwestern United States, which Phillips compiled while working with photographer Edward S. Curtis on the North American Indian project.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Creator's literary rights not transferred to the University of Washington Libraries.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top


Container(s) Description Dates
1 Notebook 1: Pima undated
1 Notebook 2: Hualapai, Mojave, Chemehuevi, and Cahuilla undated
1 Notebook 3: Navajo undated
1 Notebook 4: Unidentified undated

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Personal Names :
  • Curtis, Edward S., 1868-1952
  • Phillips, W. W. (William Wellington)--Archives

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Personal Papers/Corporate Records (University of Washington)