Ada Woodruff Anderson Papers, 1899-1930  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Anderson, Ada Woodruff, 1860-1956
Ada Woodruff Anderson Papers
1899-1930 (bulk)
1828-1964 (inclusive)
4.72 cubic feet, (10 boxes)
Collection Number
Ada Woodruff Anderson was a well-known Pacific Northwest novelist who wrote the novels The Heart of Red Firs, Rim of the Desert, and Strain of White. This collection includes personal and family papers, as well as records from the photographic supply company she her husband, Oliver Phelps Anderson, ran together on Bainbridge Island.
Tacoma Public Library Northwest Room, Special Collections & Archives
1102 Tacoma Avenue South
Tacoma, WA
Telephone: 253-292-2001
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Ada Woodruff Anderson was a well-known Pacific Northwest novelist who wrote The Heart of Red Firs, Rim of the Desert, and Strain of White. She was born in July 1860 in San Francisco, California and lived in Hong Kong and Shanghai as a young child before moving to Tumwater, Thurston County in 1864. She attended high school in San Francisco and returned to Washington around 1875. At sixteen she began teaching at a pioneer school in Thurston County, near Yelm.

In 1881 she moved to Seattle, and in 1882 married Oliver Phelps Anderson, son of Alexander Jay Anderson who was at one time president of the University of Washington and later Whitman College. The couple moved to Bainbridge Island where they lived for many years. In 1898 Oliver Phelps Anderson started the Anderson Supply Company, a wholesale and retail dealer in cameras and photographic supplies. Oliver, Ada, and their son Maurice P. Anderson each held positions in the company. Maurice took over as president around 1913 and continued in this role until the company closed in the late 1950s.

Maurice Phelps Anderson was also a writer of short stories and novels. He was a lieutenant in the US Army’s Ordinance Department during World War I and kept a diary of his experiences.

Ada Woodruff Anderson died April 25, 1956 in Seattle.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Collection includes newspaper clippings and scrapbooks; correspondence with magazines, publishers, and others; copies of magazines in which Ada Woodruff Anderson’s work was published; family photos and photo albums; drawings, and other ephemera. Also included are correspondence and statistics related to the Anderson Supply Company (1918-1925), as well as Maurice P. Anderson’s papers including correspondence, novel and short story manuscripts, World War I diary (1917-1919), and ephemera. Some genealogical information is also included.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Ada Woodruff Anderson Papers; MS-003; box [ ]; Northwest Room Special Collections, Tacoma Public Library, Tacoma, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Authors--Washington (State)
  • Genealogy
  • War diaries
  • World War, 1914-1918--Diaries
  • Personal Names :
  • Anderson, Ada Woodruff, 1860-1956
  • Anderson, Maurice P.
  • Anderson, Oliver P. (Oliver Phelps)
  • Anderson, Oliver Phelps, Mrs., 1860-1956
  • Corporate Names :
  • Anderson Supply Company
  • Geographical Names :
  • Bainbridge Island (Wash.)
  • Seattle (Wash.)
  • Tumwater (Wash.)
  • Washington (State)--History
  • Washington (State)--Photographs