Robert Newell papers, 1829-1868  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Newell, Robert, 1807-1869
Robert Newell papers
1829-1868 (inclusive)
.6 cubic feet (1 document case, 1 oversize folder, 1 partial reel of microfilm)
Collection Number
Mss 1197
Papers of an Oregon pioneer, trapper, and Indian agent. Includes typescript copy of Newell's diary of an 1868 voyage from Portland, Oregon, to Washington, D.C. with a group of Nez Perce Indians; hand written copies of letters regarding William Gray's History of Oregon; and Newell's account of the 1843 meeting at Champoeg, which formed the provisional government of the Oregon Territory. Only a small number of the items are original documents.
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

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

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Robert Newell, pioneer and trapper, was born March 30, 1807 near Zanesville, Ohio. He traveled west to the Oregon Country in 1840. He served as a member of the legislative committee of Oregon's provisional government (1843-1848) and was appointed peace commissioner following the Whitman Massacre (1847). He also worked as the director of the Oregon Printing Association, which published the Oregon Spectator newspaper. After moving to Idaho in 1861, Newell was chosen special commissioner and Indian agent at Lapwai (1862-1868). He died at Lewiston, Idaho in 1869.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers include: typescript copy of Robert Newell's diary (1868) recording his voyage with four Nez Perce Indian chiefs from Portland, Oregon to Washington, D.C. to procure amendments to Indian treaties, and return to Lawpai, Idaho; hand written copies of letters (1866-1867) written by Newell and William Gray to the editor of the Oregon Herald commenting on Gray's History of Oregon; Newell's account of the 1843 meeting at Champoeg to form Oregon's provisional government; correspondence with Norris and Company; certificate of appointment as sub-Indian agent; documents concerning the care of children; and typescript copy of memorandum describing Newell's travels in Missouri (1829-1840). The microfilm includes materials in the collection plus selected documents on Newell from the U.S. National Archives, and extracts from Newell's personal copy of Oregon Laws with his marginal notes.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Alternative Forms Available

The collection is also available on Mss1197 Microfilm at the Oregon Historical Society Research Library.

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any publication use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Robert Newell papers, Mss1197, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
1 Letters (originals and copies), and family bible record
Includes copy of Newell's account of the Champoeg meeting of 1843, written in 1866.
2-3 Newell-Gray letters (hand written copies)
Includes manuscript copy of excerpts from Early history of Oregon.
4 Diary of Robert Newell (typescript copy) 1868
5 "Memorandum of Robert Newell's travels in the territory of Missouri, 1829-1840" (typescript copy) undated
Microfilm Copies of above materials and other documents
Includes selected documents on Newell from the U.S. National Archives; and extracts from Newell's personal copy of Oregon Laws, with marginal notes. On reel with copies from other manuscript collections.
Oversize folder Appointment as sub-Indian agent, Oregon 1848 August 17

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Frontier and pioneer life--Oregon.
  • Indian agents--Idaho --Diaries.
  • Indians of North America--Idaho --Treaties.
  • Nez Perc√© Indians --Treaties.
  • Pioneers--Oregon --Correspondence.
  • Personal Names :
  • Gray, William Henry, 1810-1889 --Correspondence.
  • Newell, Robert, 1807-1869 --Correspondence.
  • Newell, Robert, 1807-1869--Diaries.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Champoeg (Or.)--History.
  • Missouri--Description and travel.
  • Oregon--History--To 1859.
  • Oregon--Politics and government--To 1859.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Diaries.
  • Letters.
  • Reminiscences.