Bill Wilson Collection, 1900-1998  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Wilson, Bill
Bill Wilson Collection
1900-1998 (inclusive)
1920-1985 (bulk)
1.2 cubic feet, (4 boxes)
Collection Number
OrSlTCC Wilson
The collection contains materials pertaining to the history of the Chemawa Indian Training School north of Salem and efforts to preserve campus buildings facing demolition.
Confederated Tribes of the Siletz, Tribal Cultural Collections
402 Park Way P.O. Box 549
Siletz, OR
Telephone: 541-444-2450
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Collection materials are in English.
Funding for preparing this finding aid was provided through a grant rewarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Forest Grove Indian Training School, which would later become the Chemawa Training School, was established in 1880 by Lieutenant Melville C. Wilkinson at Forest Grove, Oregon. The school operated at Forest Grove until 1885. Requests for additional land in 1881 brought land offers from Newberg, McMinnville, and Salem. With 171 acres and a train spur, Salem was selected as the new location for the training school. The school reopened in October 1885 and became a federal institution in 1907. The school expanded to 426 acres by 1922 with the support of student earnings from industrial courses and summer labor. In 1927, Chemawa became a fully-accredited four-year high school. The school was faced with the closure in the spring of 1933 due to cuts to the Indian Service budget, but was reopened later that fall. The Chemawa Indian School celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1980 and is currently the oldest off-reservation Indian boarding school in existence.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection focuses on the history of the Chemawa Indian Training School, and efforts to preserve historic campus buildings facing demolition. Photographs and negatives document the Chemawa campus prior to demolition. A portion of the collection materials focus on the preservation of the Chemawa cemetery and identification of student graves, including a blueprint of burial plots.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Bill Wilson Collection, Siletz Tribal Cultural Collections, Siletz, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series I:  Chemawa Campus Preservation, 1975-1998Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 1/1-16, 2/1-9

Series 1 focuses on efforts to preserve historic campus buildings and cemetery.

Container(s) Description Dates
Preservation of Chemawa Buildings
Subgroup 1 contains photographs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings regarding the protection of campus buildings from demolition.
1/5-12, 2/1-4
Preservation of Former Clinic
Subgroup 2 contains photographs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings regarding the protection of a former clinic, Building 22. Forms and exhibits are included documenting efforts to place the clinic on the National Register of Historic Places.
Preservation of Cemetery
Subgroup 3 contains photographs, correspondence, and newspaper clippings pertaining to the Chemawa cemetery.

Series II:  Chemawa History, 1900-1995Return to Top

Container(s): Box-folder 2/10-14, 3/1-8

Series 2 focuses on the history of the Chemawa Training School from its establishment at Forest Grove in 1880-1995.

Container(s) Description Dates
Subgroup 1 contains newspaper clippings, interviews, and articles documenting the establishment of Chemawa at Forest Grove and Willamette Valley settlers.
2/11-14, 3/1-3
Subgroup 2 contains copies of superintendent annual reports, school publications, and yearbook excerpts from 1900-1936.
Subgroup 3 contains brochures, newspaper clippings, and school publication excerpts documenting the introduction of the Navajo program at Chemawa and efforts to save the school from closure.
Subgroup 4 contains a videotape, newspaper clippings, and school publications documenting cultural programs and plans for a new campus.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Indians of North America--Education--Oregon
  • Corporate Names :
  • Bureau of Indian Affairs
  • Chemawa Indian School--History
  • Geographical Names :
  • Chemawa (Salem, Or.)
  • Forest Grove (Or.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Blueprints
  • Correspondence
  • Negatives
  • Newspaper clippings
  • Photocopies
  • Photographic prints
  • Videotapes