Joseph Lane papers, 1848-1887  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Lane, Joseph, 1801-1881
Joseph Lane papers
1848-1887 (inclusive)
2.0 linear feet, (5 containters)
Collection Number
Ax 183
Joseph Lane (1801-1881) was an active Oregonian politician serving as Governor and Oregon's first Senator. The Joseph Lane papers include diaries, correspondence, legal documents, newspaper clippings, a draft of Nina Lane Faubion’s biography of Lane, and photographs.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Joseph Lane was born in North Carolina on December 14, 1801, and he and his family moved to Kentucky when he was three years old. Lane moved away from his family to Indiana at age fourteen to work as a clerk in a store. After acquiring a farm and his own business at the age of twenty-one, Lane married Mary Hart Polly. The couple had eight children.

In his early twenties, Lane served on the Indiana state legislature from 1822 to 1846. After serving in the war against Mexico, where he became a major-general in 1847, he accepted the position as governor of Oregon. He moved with his oldest son, leaving the rest of his family behind. Lane was sworn in as governor on March 3, 1849. Purchasing land along the Willamette River, near Oregon City, Lane built a home. In the 1850s, Lane operated an unsuccessful lumber mill and worked in the mines in Northern California.

Lane became a delegate to Congress in 1851 as a Democrat, after beating opponent William H. Wilson. He became Oregon’s first Senator, serving from 1859 to 1861. There were two initial pieces of legislation that Lane proposed while he was in Congress. He wanted to move Oregon’s capital from Oregon City to Salem, which failed. Lane also proposed roads leading from Walla Walla, Washington to the Rogue Valley in Southern Oregon. The proposal was passed and the roads were built over a series of years.

While Lane served in Congress, a majority of his efforts were spent on the issue of slavery. Lane believed that the states, not federal government legislation, should dictate slavery decisions in each state. The slave debate grew in Oregon during the 1850s as it grew as a national issue. Although Lane did not fight as a solider in the Civil War, he used his efforts to support slave states by proposing a variety of legislation in Congress.

Lane was reelected to Congress in 1857 and continued to focus on state’s rights. Lane also focused on the Native American issues that Oregon faced. In 1857, Lane and other leaders in Oregon pushed Native America tribes in the Umpqua Valley back onto reservations. Lane unsuccessfully tried to enact Congressional legislation that would use federal funds to enforce containing Native Americans to reservations. While this piece of legislation did not pass, Lane continued to push for measures that would benefit the people represented by Oregon’s pioneer government.

Lane’s role in Congress ended in March, 1861, as his pro-slavery beliefs did not resonate with the public. While he did not contribute to Oregon politics after 1861, he did run for and lose his bid for a state senate seat in 1880, at the age of 79. In 1870, Lane’s wife died and Lane continued to live with much of his extended family just outside of Roseburg, Oregon. He died on April 19, 1881. Lane County, Oregon is named for Joseph Lane.

Joseph Lane had one son, Lafayette Lane, who served in Congress from 1875 to 1877 and a grandson, Dr. Harry Lane, that served in Congress from 1913 to 1917.

Sources: Henderickson, James E. Joe Lane of Oregon: Machine Politics and the Sectional Crisis, 1849-1861. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1967.

Oregon. Office of the Secretary of State. Oregon Blue Book. Salem, Oregon. 2001-2002.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Joseph Lane papers include diaries, correspondence, legal documents, newspaper clippings, and a draft of Nina Lane Faubion’s biography of Lane.

The diaries are from 1872 to 1881. The correspondence includes material from 1852 to 1887. Work by Nina Lane Faubion includes the draft and notes of the Lane biography, as well as the manuscript, Señorita Gringa.

The photographs series includes two daguerreotypes, two cabinet photographs, an ambrotype, a tintype and two silver gelatin copy prints. Highlights are portraits of Lane and family members, some unidentified, and one military scene of the anti-slavery conflict in Kansas in 1856.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Preferred Citation

[Identification of item], Joseph Lane papers, Ax 183, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

InventoryReturn to Top

Container(s): Box 1, Folder 1

Series I:  DiariesReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Joseph Lane
October 21, 1872–November 15, 1874
November 16, 1874–December 31, 1877
October 25, 1880–March 14, 1881
Unidentified [Nathaniel Lane?, Harry Lane?]
September 5, 1879–December 15, 1879
January 1, 1880–February 23, 1881

Series II:  Letters and legal documentsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box Folder
1 2
1 3
1 4
1 5
1 6
1 7
1880–1881 1887 undated
2 1
Typed copies of letters
2 2
Newspaper clippings

Series III:  Lane biography by Nina Lane FaubionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
2 3
Chapters 1-3
2 4
Chapters 4-6
2 5
Parts 1-2
2 6
Parts 4-6
2 7
Incomplete chapters and notes
3 1-2
Notes and correspondence

Series IV:  Manuscript: Señorita Gringa, by Nina Lane FaubionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Señorita Gringa, by Nina Lane Faubion

Series V:  Photographs (PH205)Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
PH205_01: Daguerreotype portrait of Joseph Lane. Frame and portion of case survive. Photographer unknown
circa 1845-1850
PH205_02: Cased daguerreotype of two unidentified boys. Photographer unknown
PH205_03: Duplicate copy prints of vintage portrait of Lane as a young man. Original probably in collection of Douglas County Museum
PH205_04: Duplicate copy prints of vintage portrait of Lane as a young man. Original probably in collection of Douglas County Museum
PH205_05: Ambrotype of watercolor of Battle of Hickory Point in the Kansas Free State War by Samuel James Reader, 1903
The Battle of Hickory Point occurred in the Kansas Territory on Sept. 13, 1856 between a small group of pro-slavery and free-state forces. Gen. James H. Lane (no known relation to Joseph Lane) is shown. However, the annotations on the back show that this was given to Joseph Lane's grandson, Harry Lane, then mayor of Portland, in 1907 by Salmon Brown. Salmon was the son of John Brown, active in the Kansas free-state movement and leader of the 1859 raid on Harper's Ferry. The Brown family fled to Oregon following John Brown's execution. Stamped imprint on back: "Sam'l J. Reader, North Topeka, Kansas. Amateur photographer." Inked annotation on back: "The Missourians are in the two log houses, called Hickory Point, north of Kansas River. Lane was repulsed. Next day, Sept. 14, Capt. Harvey fought them but failed also. I was with Lane. S.J. Reader." Sam Reader (1836-1914) was a lieutenant in the 2nd regiment of the Kansas State Militia and fought to repulse the Confederate advance in Missouri and Kansas in 1864. He kept a diary illustrated with watercolors of the events of the conflicts that are considered significant eyewitness documents. The Kansas Museum of History holds a version of this painting. The Kansas State Historical Society holds Reader's diaries. Penciled annotation on back: "Portland 1907. Friend Mayor Lane. This was sent to me by a friend. I thought you would like to keep it. Respectfully, Salmon Brown."
PH205_06: Cabinet portrait of the daughters of Mrs. Winifred Lane Mosher and granddaughters of Gen. Joseph Lane, posed by portraits of their forebears, by Abell and Son of Portland
circa 1884-1887
PH205_07: Cabinet portrait of four young women identified as Alice Mosher Urllis, Emma Mosher Cowan (both standing), Anna Mosher, and Winifred Mosher (both seated), posed with tea set. Photographer unknown
PH205_08: Tintype on later card mount of unidentified man. Photographer unknown

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Governors--Oregon
  • Indians of North America--Relocation--Oregon
  • Slavery--Justification
  • Personal Names :
  • Faubion, Nina Lane
  • Lane, Joseph, 1801-1881--Archives
  • Corporate Names :
  • United States. Congress. Senate
  • Geographical Names :
  • Oregon--Politics and government--To 1859
  • United States--Politics and government--19th century
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographs