Pacific University Archives Exhibits

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Portraits

In 1882, one of the instructors at the Indian School recorded that Sarah Dickinson, a Tlingit student from Fort Wrangell, gave him a photograph of herself (Samuel A. T. Walker, "Diaries." July 20, 1882 entry). Another student, Addie Hill of Shasta Costa, later sent his wife a photograph of herself inscribed, "From your sewing room girl, Addie Hill." There are 23 other personal portraits of students from the school in the Pacific University Archives, taken in studios in Forest Grove, Portland, Salem and further afield. They show the students in Western dress, frequently looking as if they have proudly posed in their best clothes, sometimes with symbols of their education -- a piano, a diploma, a military uniform.

The Pacific University Archives has not found a record of why or how the photographs came to be deposited here. A plausible explanation is that the students gave them to one or more of their old teachers, who later donated them to Pacific. The most likely former owners were Samuel and Minnie Walker, and/or Levi and Belle Walker, whose descendants donated portions of their papers to the Archives.