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Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker Papers, 1830-1938

Overview of the Collection

Creator
Walker, Elkanah and Mary Richardson
Title
Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker Papers
Dates
1830-1938 (inclusive)
Quantity
14 boxes., (13 linear feet of shelf space.)
Collection Number
Cage 57
Summary
Correspondence, diaries, photographs and other papers, as well as artifacts, related to country life in New England, overland journey to Oregon in 1838, missionary work among the Spokane Indians at Tshimakain Mission, 1839-1848, and educational and religious activities in the Willamette Valley. Correspondence includes letters to and from family members, the ABCFM Mission Board, and other missionaries and settlers in Oregon.
Repository
Washington State University Libraries, Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections.
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman WA
99164-5610
Telephone: 509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu
Access Restrictions

This collection is open for research use.

Languages
English


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

When Elkanah Walker (1805-1877) was a senior at the Bangor (Maine) Theological Seminary in 1836, he was planning a mission career among the Maritime Zoolaks of South Africa. He was told that it would perhaps be better for him to be married before undertaking such a mission. At the same time Mary Richardson (1811-1897) of Baldwin, Maine, was told that she too must be married to become a missionary. The result was a whirlwind courtship and marriage which did not go to South Africa but the equally distant and primitive Oregon Mission. Eventually settling at Tshimakain on Walker's Prairie near Spokane they ministered to the Spokane Indians and their fellow missionaries: Marcus Whitman, Cushing Eells, Henry H. Spalding and William H. Gray and their wives. After the Whitman Mission killings in 1847, the Walkers moved to Fort Colville for nearly three months and then spent the remainder of their days in the Willamette Valley in Oregon. Here they helped establish the Congregational Association of Oregon City and Tualatin Academy (now Pacific University) at Forest Grove.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The papers of the Walkers can be divided into three groups: the manuscripts, correspondence, photographs, documents and other papers of the Walkers and their family; photocopies of Walker papers from the files of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) and from the Huntington Library, as well as from the papers at Washington State University; and typescript transcripts of the documents and photocopies.

The original papers of Elkanah and Mary Walker consist of their correspondence, diaries, autograph albums, essays and photographs. In addition there is some correspondence and reminiscences of their children. The extensive correspondence file, while mostly incoming, is very complete for the earlier school days, their courtship and marriage, and their missionary experiences. There is very little regarding their life in the Willamette Valley. Perhaps the largest body of material is family letters from relatives in New England.

In addition there is an extensive run of the diaries of Mary Richardson Walker from 1833-1878, except for the two volumes which are now in the Huntington Library. There is also a volume of Elkanah Walker's diary, 1854-1857, which is primarily a register of ministerial services.

Both of the Walkers maintained autograph albums which were also used in the manner of a guest book while at Tshimakain. Other papers include Elkanah's theological notes made as a student, Mary's essay on the Discouragements & Consolations of missionaries written in 1837, constitutions of Maternal Associations, Elkanah's translation of the Book of Matthew into the Flathead or Spokane language, and Mary's drawings and paintings of botanical subjects.

Sons Joseph and Samuel wrote accounts of their parents which are in the collection, as is a portion of son Levi's scrapbook of clippings. The photographs are mostly portraits of the Walkers and their family.

Rounding out the gaps in the collection are photocopies of the material from the Huntington Library, San Marino, California, and the archives of the American Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, now in the Houghton Library, Harvard University. These include additional diaries and correspondence. A large part of the photocopies are of original material in the Washington State University Library.

Artifacts are also included in the collection: John Mix Stanley's portrait in oil of Abigail B. Walker, C.A. Geyer's sketch of Tshimakain, a pencil sketch of Mary Walker, and a photograph portrait of Samuel T. Walker; clothing and other textile items; a portable writing desk and bread paddle.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

[Item Description]. Cage 57, Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker Papers . Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series 1: Manuscripts and papers, 1830-1966Return to Top

750 items.
Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 1.1: Correspondence
650 items.
1830-1934
Box/Folder
1 / 1
11 items.
undated
1 / 2
21 items.
1830-1831
1 / 3
22 items.
1832
1 / 4
27 items.
1833
1 / 5
33 items.
1834
1 / 6
47 items.
1835
1 / 7
47 items.
1836
1 / 8
42 items.
Jan-Jun, 1837
1 / 9
33 items.
Jul-Dec, 1837
1 / 10
36 items.
1838
2 / 11
25 items.
1839
2 / 12
37 items.
1840-1845
2 / 13
28 items.
1846-1848
2 / 14
37 items.
1849-1851
2 / 15
32 items.
1852-1854
2 / 16
27 items.
1855-1859
2 / 17
32 items.
1860-1869
2 / 18
37 items.
1870-1879
2 / 19
10 items.
1880-1934
Subseries 1.2: Diaries of Mary Walker:
14 items.
1833-1878
Box/Folder
3 / 20
1 volume.
January 1, 1833-May 6, 1837
3 / 21
December 20, 1848-September 9, 1849
3 / 22
May 16, 1851-February 23, 1852
3 / 23
March 2, 1852-April 9, 1854
3 / 24
April 10, 1854-October 24, 1855
3 / 25
February 15, 1859-August 1, 1861
3 / 26
4 volumes.
1871-1874
3 / 27
3 volumes.
1876-1878
3 / 28
Diary and accounts of Elkanah Walker
1 volume.
November, 1854-November, 1857
Subseries 1.3: Autograph albums
2 volumes.
1832-1892
Box/Folder
3 / 29
Autograph album of Elkanah Walker
1 volume.
1837-1853
3 / 30
Autograph album of Mary R. Walker
1 volume.
1832-1892
Subseries 1.4: Essays and notes
19 items.
1836-1846
Box/Folder
3 / 31
E. Walker. Theological studies and notes
26
1836-1838
3 / 32
M.R. Walker. The discouragements & consolations of missionaries; or the bitter and the sweet (an address)
October, 1837
3 / 33
Constitution of the Willamette Falls Maternal Association
undated
3 / 33
Constitution of the Lynn and Oregon City Maternal Association
undated
3 / 34
Bible. New Testament. Matthew. Flathead. Translated by E. Walker
1846
3 / 35
M Walker. Drawings and paintings
14 items.
Some dated 1832
Subseries 1.5: Miscellaneous items, reminiscences, letters, photographs, clippings, etc.
200 items.
1840-1966
Box/Folder
4 / 36
Joseph Elkanah Walker. A sketch of the lives of Rev. Elkanah Walker and Mary Richardson Walker
undated
4 / 37
Joseph Elkanah Walker. Pedigrees, Walker, Richardson, Thompson, Hay, Boutwell, Kendall with foreword and additional notes by Herbert J, Gilkey
1910; 1968
Photographs
Box/Folder
4 / 38.1
Elkanah Walker.
1855
4 / 38.2
Mary Richardson Walker (photo by Bowers, Lynn, Mass.)
Sept 27, 1871
4 / 38.3
Mary and Elkanah Walker.
1855
4 / 38.4
Marcus W. Walker and Samuel T. Walker by D.G. Hendee, Milwaukee, Oregon
1855
4 / 38.5
Joseph Richardson.
1840
4 / 38.6
Samuel, Levi, Joseph and Cyrus Walker, Forest Grove.
1907 September 7
4 / 38.7
James A. Karr.
1913 September 14
4 / 38.8
Abigail B. Karr.
1913 September 14
4 / 38.9
Jannetta M. Walker, Foochow, China.
October, 1873
4 / 38.1
Geyer drawing of Tshimakain Mission.
1843
4 / 38.11
Samuel T. Walker.
1939
4 / 38.12
Walker Family: Mary, Cyrus, Abigail, Marcus, Joseph, John, Levi, and Samuel on lawn in front of first frame house in Forest Grove.
1896
4 / 38.13
Four Generations: Mary, Abigail, Olive and Wilna.
1891
4 / 38.14
Mary Walker's trunk.
1936
4 / 38.15
Mary Walker's trunk and briefcase.
1936
Clippings, reminiscences, and miscellaneous items
Box/Folder
4 / 39
Clippings re: Tshimakain Centennial Celebration
5 items
1938 September 18
4 / 40
Levi C. Walker scrapbook: clippings and other papers re: missionary work in Oregon and China
20 items
1887-1908
4 / 41
Samuel T. Walker. (Reminiscences)
1935
4 / 42
First Congregational Church of Christ in Baldwin and the "Emerson Meeting-House."
1936
4 / 43
Donor File and container list
150 items
1935-1966

Series 2: PhotocopiesReturn to Top

225 items.
Container(s) Description Dates
Subseries 2.1: Huntington Library
8 items.
Box/Folder
4 / 44
Elkanah Walker. Journal to the Rocky Mountains (Huntington Library)
1838
4 / 45
Elkanah Walker. Diary (Huntington Library)
June 3-October 13, 1848
4 / 46
Mary Richardson Walker Diary (Huntington Library)
May 9, 1837-March 5, 1838
4 / 47
Mary Richardson Walker. Diary (Huntington Library)
September 30-November 11, 1848
4 / 48
Letters to Elkanah Walker, from P.C. Pambrun, A.B. Smith and David Greene (Huntington Library)
3 items, photocopy.
1840-1843
Subseries 2.2: American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions
17 items.
Box/Folder
5 / 49
American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions Correspondence received. Letters from E. Walker, M.R. Walker and others in favor of their going on the mission to Oregon; and the authorization by the Oregon Mission for Whitman to return to the U.S.
17 items, photocopy.
1836-1842
Subseries 2.3: Indian Office
1 item
Box/Folder
5 / 50
E. Walker and C. Eells Letter, Cimakain, to Elijah White, sub-agent, Indian Office re: Spokane Indians. Also White's explanatory note and statement: "This is a true copy. E. White"
January 9, 1843
Subseries 2.4: Washington State University Library
200 items.
Box/Folder
5 / 51-55
Photocopies of Walker Mission material in the Washington State University Library
200 items.

Series 3: Typescript transcriptsReturn to Top

120 items.
Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
6 / 56
Journal of Mary Richardson Walker
January 1, 1833-May 6, 1837
6 / 57
Journal of Mary Richardson Walker
March 5, 1838-October 1, 1848
6 / 58
Journal of Mary Richardson Walker
September 30, 1848-January 1, 1879
6 / 59
Letters concerning Elkanah and Mary Richardson Walker and American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, 1836-1859. State College of Washington
1941
7 / 60
Letters between Elkanah Walker and Mary Richardson Walker, 1837-1873. State College of Washington
1940
7 / 61
Walker family correspondence, obituaries and geneology
1917-1921.
7 / 62-63
Diary of Mary Richardson Walker, 1838-1848. Transcription by C.M. Drury
1960
Subseries 3.1: Letters, diaries, essays, notebooks and other papers connected with the Walker Mission
1821-1885
Box/Folder
7 / 64
1821-1838
64 items, typescript.
7 / 65
1839-1885
42 items, typescript.

Series 4: ArtifactsReturn to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box
8
Items removed from Walker family books (pressed flowers and leaves; two small paintings)
circa 1800s
9
Cape (Mary Richardson Walker)
10
Lengths of homespun fabric, with repairs (2); baby shirt
11
Collection documentation file (transferred with artifacts from WSU Historic Costume and Textile Collection)
12
Thimbles (4), pincushions (2)
13
Lace collar, ribbons, scarf, hot pad
14
Writing desk