Gertrude Glutsch Jensen papers , 1951-1970

Overview of the Collection

Jensen, Gertrude Glutsch, 1903-1986
Gertrude Glutsch Jensen papers
1951-1970 (inclusive)
3 linear feet, (2 containers)
Collection Number
Ax 658
The collection contains the professional files of one of Oregon's leading conservationists in the mid-twentieth century, Gertrude Glutsch Jensen. The collection includes materials relating to the Columbia River Gorge Commission, the Oregon Roadside Council, the Civil War Centennial Commission, and the Portland Women's Forum. The material is in the form of reports, letters, notes, and minutes.
University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives
UO Libraries--SCUA
1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 5413463068
Access Restrictions

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time.

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

Historical NoteReturn to Top

Gertrude Glutsch Jensen was born on May 17, 1903 in Portland, Oregon. She attended Shatuck Grade School, and Lincoln High School before graduation from Franklin high School. Upon graduation in the 1920s, Gertrude attended Reed College, where she studied political science. Upon graduation from Reed, she became a free-lance journalist for The Oregonian for fourteen years. During this time, specifically the 1930s and 1940s, Gertrude worked to help people who were deaf, as her mother was deaf.

In 1938, she became a real estate broker and helped to create state legislation to regulate real estate brokerage conduct. This being the first such legislature in the nation. Gertrude really got her start in conservation activism when she took a trip with her son, Frederic, down the Columbia Gorge to Latourell Falls. There they saw loggers cutting down the trees. She was prompted to examine why loggers were allowed to log in the gorge.

With her new-found desire, Gertrude became the first chairwoman of the Oregon Columbia River Gorge Commission, which she was instrumental in forming. She retained this post from 1953 to 1969. During and after that time, she fought vigorously to keep industrial development out of the Gorge at one point launching a one woman campaign to oust members of the State Highway Commission who she felt were jeopardizing the gorge. She also fought a bitter battle to prevent the erection of a scrap steel mill at Cascade Locks. By the end of her tenure, she had been instrumental in designating 3,000 acres of Oregon land as scenic area.

Gertrude Jensen received numerous awards for her activism throughout her lifetime. These awards and distinctions include: The Award of Merit in New York from the American Society for Preservation of Scenic and Historic Areas (1953); the Matrix Table Award by the Portland Alumni Chapter of Theta Sigma Phi, a journalism honorary (1960); Department of Interior's Conservation Service Award (considered her greatest honor) (1961); Portland Women's Forum's Woman of the Year (1963); and she was the first recipient of Gov. Tom McCall's Distinguished Service Award (1964). She had also earned the name "Angel of the Gorge" by the mid-1960s.

Gertrude Glutsch Jensen was an amazing woman who was always trying to better the world. She was constantly trying to convince senators and politicians of the importance of her mission. Mrs. Jensen died in December of 1986 from a long battle with heart trouble. She was survived by her only son, two grandsons, and five great-grand children.

Source: "Death Takes Columbia Gorge Protector." The Oregonian. 28 December 1986. p. B1.)

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Gertrude Glutsch Jensen Papers contains activist materials for various conservation organizations and public matters in Oregon. The papers comprise minutes and other records of organizations in which Mrs. Jensen was interested, notably the Columbia River Gorge Commission, 1951-1970, the Oregon Roadside Council, 1960-1970; and the Civil War Centennial Commission, 1958-1960. The correspondence files include correspondence with Guy Cordon, Charles Ladd, Paul Patterson, Richard Neuberger, Maurine Neuberger and Wayne Morse. There are also 40 letters from Kathleen Eloisa Rockwell, "Klondike Kate," spanning from 1951 to 1957.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Conservation of natural resources--Oregon
  • Environmental law--Oregon
  • Environmental protection--Oregon
  • Environmentalists--Oregon
  • Land use--Oregon
  • Logging--Oregon.
  • Wilderness areas--Law and legislation--Columbia River Gorge (Or. and Wash.)
  • Women conservationists--Oregon

Personal Names

  • Cordon, Guy F., 1890-1969
  • Morse, Wayne L. (Wayne Lyman), 1900-1974
  • Neuberger, Maurine B. (Maurine Brown), 1907-2000
  • Neuberger, Richard L. (Richard Lewis), 1912-1960
  • Patterson, Paul L.
  • Rockwell, Kathleen Eloisa, 1876-1957

Corporate Names

  • Oregon Roadside Council
  • Oregon. Columbia River Gorge Commission
  • Portland Women's Forum (Portland, Or.)
  • United States. Civil War Centennial Commission

Geographical Names

  • Columbia River Gorge (Or. and Wash.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Correspondence