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The Evans collection, 1884-1959

 

MSS 282

 

           The Evans collection consists primarily of documents written, transcribed, or collected by Pauline Evans (1888-1960) and her husband Joseph O. Evans, proprietors of the Sacajawea Museum in Spalding, Idaho, from the 1930s to the early 1960s.  After relocating to Lapwai from Juliaetta, Idaho, in the 1920s, Mrs. Evans developed an interest in the history of the Nez Perce Indians of the area.  In 1931, she and her husband bought what was purported to be Henry Harmon Spalding's pioneer cabin and opened what first was called the Spalding Log Cabin Museum, later the Sacajawea Museum, in the town of Spalding, where they displayed a growing collection of  Indian artifacts, most of them acquired from the local Nez Perce.  Among the artifacts was a buckskin dress alleged to have been worn by Sacajawea and a canoe used by the Lewis and Clark expedition.  While scholars have dismissed Mrs. Evans' claims regarding the origins of many of the museum's artifacts (as well as her identification of the museum itself as Spalding's cabin), the Federal Writers Project's Idaho state guide, Idaho: A Guide in Word and Picture, as early as 1937 conceded that Mrs. Evans had assembled a "fine collection of Indian exhibits, many of which were passed down from generation to generation by the Nez Perce Indians." Along with artifacts (items of clothing and the like), Mrs. Evans collected reminiscences and family histories of Nez Perce families, often transcribing them herself, and recorded the histories of many of the items she acquired for the museum, as told by those who sold or gave them to her.  Narrators and authors include Ralph E. Armstrong, Tom Beall, James Frank, John R. Lott, Samuel Lott, Peo-Peo-Tah-Likt (Peopeo Tholekt, Chief George), John Ramsay, Stephen Reuben, Susie White, and James H. Williams. Those documents form the core of the Evans collection, supplemented by approximately 50 photos she collected of the Nez Perce.  The collection also contains photos of the Grand Central Hotel in Juliaetta, which she helped her family run before her marriage to Joseph O. Evans.

 

            After Mrs. Evans' death in 1960, her family continued to operate the museum.  A flood in 1963 devastated the museum.  The Nez Perce tribe bought many of the artifacts for eventual incorporation into the Nez Perce National Park museum; other items were dispersed.   A pair of men's moccasins from the museum is part of the collections of the national Museum of the American Indian; a fringed hide dress identified as a Sacajawea Museum piece, probably from the Cayuse tribe, was sold in Sotheby's Spring 2006 auction of American Indian art.  The Evans collection at Boise State University does not contain any artifacts; only documents and photos. Some of the documents are water-damaged, presumably from the flood.  The collection was purchased from a seller of ephemera and photos in 2010.

 

                                                                        Collection number:  MSS 282
                                                                        Inclusive dates: 1884-1959
                                                                        Collection size:  ca. 2 ft. (in 4 boxes)
                                                                        Processed by: Christian Savage, 2011
                                                                        Collection introduction by: Alan Virta, 2011

 


 

Box and Folder List

 

 

Box 1: The Evans collection


Folder  1:        Anon. Grand-Old-Lady (He-Mah-Ke-Sekt-My).  typescript, 1940.
Folder  2:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “Chief Coyote” story, as told by him.  typescript.
Folder  3:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “Chief Coyote: King of All Life in North America.”  typescript.
Folder  4:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “Historical Sketches of the Nez Perce.”  typescript
Folder  5:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “The Original American/The Red Man/The Indian.”  typescript, 1928
Folder  6:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “Sacajawea” story as told by him by Polly Thompson.  manuscript & typescript
Folder  7:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “Our Healing Hand.”  poem, typescript
Folder  8:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  “Sacajawea.”  typescript
Folder  9:        Armstrong, Ralph A.  Sam Lott, and Peo-Peo-Tah-Likt, et al.  “Historical Sketches of the Nez Perce:  Personal incidents in the lives of famous chiefs of the Nez Perce.”  manuscript, 1934
Folder 10:       Beall, Tom.  “Indian Baths-Nez Perce Legend.”  typescript
Folder 11:       Beall, Tom.  “Indian Baths-Nez Perce Legend.”  typescript
Folder 12:       Chinook Jargon.  typescript
Folder 13:       Chinook Jargon.  typescript
Folder 14:       Evans, Joe and Pauline.  Personal inventory.  spiral notebook
Folder 15:       Evans, Joe and Pauline.  Correspondence and receipts, re Spaulding Log Cabin Museum.  1934, 1937
Folder 16:       Evans, Pauline.  “Tribute to Heum-Keum-My-Hime-Kish-Hat-Wai, Nez Perce Woman.”  manuscript. April 29, 1940
Folder 17:       Evans, Pauline.  “Tribute to Heum-Keum-My-Hime-Kish-Hat-Wai, Nez Perce Woman.:  typescript. April 29, 1940
Folder 18:       Evans, Pauline.  “History of Spalding Log Cabin, etc…”  manuscript, 1940
Folder 19:       Evans, Pauline.  “Spalding Log Cabin Mission.”  manuscript, April 29, 1940
Folder 20:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Old Spalding Log Cabin Mission, 1836-1936  typescript
Folder 21:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Old Spalding Log Cabin Mission, Spalding Idaho.”  typescript
Folder 22:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Old Spalding Log Cabin Museum… (together with) The Story and Life of Jane Timothy Silcott.”  typescript
Folder 23:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Old Spalding Log Cabin Mission…1836-1936.”  typescript
Folder 24:       Evans, Pauline.  Booklet, “The Old Spalding Log Cabin Mission and the Story of Princess Jane.”  two copies
Folder 25:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Old Spalding Log Cabin Mission.”  typescript
Folder 26:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Story and Life of Jane Timothy Silcott, A Nez Perce Indian Princess.”  typescript, 1936
Folder 27:       Evans, Pauline.  “The Story and Life of Jane Timothy Silcott, A Nez Perce Indian Princess.”  typescript, 1936

 

 

Box 2: The Evans collection


Folder  1:        Frank, James.  History, as told to Pauline Evans.  manuscript. February 20, 1936
Folder  2:        Kuykendall, Judge E. V. poem, “Indian Timothy.”  typescript, 1930
Folder  3:        Lott, Sam.  Letter to President F.D. Roosevelt.  typescript, two copies. December 10, 1935
Folder  4:        Lott, John.  “How the Nez Perce became to be called the Pierced Noses.”  typescript
Folder  5:        Lott, John.  Personal history.  manuscript, 1937
Folder  6:        Lott, John. Personal history.  typescript, 1937
Folder  7:        Lott, John.  Personal history. typescript, 1937.   two copies
Folder  8:        Lott, Samuel (Chief Many Wounds).  Story.   typescript, 1935.   three copies
Folder  9:        Lott, Samuel.  Story.   typescript, 1935. two copies 
Folder 10:       Lott, Samuel.  Story.  typescript, 1935. three copies
Folder 11:       Lott, Samuel.  Account of sale of items and Lewis and Clark stories.  manuscript. May 25, 1935
Folder 12:       Lott, Samuel.  Miscellaneous material, re him and Nez Perce history.  typescript, 1935
Folder 13:       Mckee, Ruth Karr.  Story of Jon Mix Stanley painting of Abrigail Walker Karr (1847).  manuscript and photo. July 6, 1941
Folder 14:       Mckenney, Mrs. J.L.  “O-R-E-G-O-N.” c. 1890’s.  typescript, three copies
Folder 15:       Miscellaneous manuscripts and typescript pages, re Nez Perce tribal history, c. 1930’s-1940’s
Folder 16:       Moses, Ellen.  Obituary.  typescript. April 11, 1937
Folder 17:       Nez Perce historical accounts.  Personal narratives and documents.  typescript, pgs. 13-116 (some random pages missing)
Folder 18:       Nez Perce “Grand- Old –Lady.”  typescript, c. 1938
Folder 19:       “Nez Perce mode of computing numbers.”  typescript
Folder 20:       Nez Perce-Other Tribes’ name for…  typescript, two copies
Folder 21:       Nez Perce Wives of Lewis and Clark.  typescript
Folder 22:       Peo-Peo-Tah-Likt.  Story of 1837 dugout canoe and family history.  manuscript.  February 25, 1935
Folder 23:       Peo-Peo- Tah-Likt, Chief George.  Family history; Nez Perce history.  manuscript
Folder 24:       Peo-Peo-Tah-Likt, Chief George. Family history; Nez Perce stories.  typescript
Folder 25:       Peo-Peo-Tah-Likt.  Story of 1837 dugout canoe and family history.  typescript, two copies  February 25, 1935

 

 

Box 3: The Evans collection


Folder  1:        Ramsey, John, and family.  Family history.  typescript. March 19, 1940
Folder  2:        Reuben, James.  Account book, 1884-1895; plus manuscript by Wm. V. Coffin, M.D. entitled, “Our Indians”; plus copy of early Nez Perce documents, petitions, letters, and church building pledges.
Folder  3:        Reuben, Stephen.  Correspondence to C. Morrow (Weyatakish Kuyama).  manuscript, 1937
Folder  4:        Reuben, Stephen.  Correspondence to C. Morrow (Weyatakish Kuyama).  typescript, 1937. three copies           
Folder  5:        Spalding Museum.  Notebook of register of visitors and miscellaneous newspaper clippings, c. 1950’s.
Folder  6:        “Timothy.”  Biographies of this Nez Perce Man.  typescript & manuscript
Folder  7:        White, Sue.  Indian hat sold to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Evans.  manuscript. January 1, 1937
Folder  8:        Williams, James.  Nez Perce history.  manuscript. November 1, 1936
Folder  9:        Williams, James. Nez Perce history.  manuscript. November 1, 1936
Folder 10:       Williams, James.  Buckskin dress sold to Joe Evans.  manuscript.  December 30, 1936
Folder 11:       Williams, James.  Sitting Bull’s pipe sold to Joe Evans.  manuscript. December 31, 1936
Folder 12:       Williams, James.  Nez Perce history.  manuscript. February 14, 1937
Folder 13:       Williams, James.  Story of Ellen Moses and family.  manuscript. April 11, 1937
Folder 14:       Williams, James.  History of eight old Indian saddles sold to Mr. and Mrs. Joe Evans.  manuscript. April 30, 1937
Folder 15:       Williams, James.  Big Thunder war bonnet.  manuscript. May 9, 1937
Folder 16:       Williams, James.  Nez Perce history.  manuscript. September 12, 1937
Folder 17:       Williams, James.  Nez Perce history.  manuscript. September 14, 1937
Folder 18:       Williams, James. Nez Perce history.  manuscript. August 14, 1938
Folder 19:       Williams, James. Miscellaneous.  manuscript
Folder 20:       Booklet.  “Legends of the Nez Perces,” as told by Tom Beall and R.D. Leeper.  paper wraps; nd
Folder 21:       Booklet.  Crawford, Mary M.  “The Nez Perces since Spalding.  paper wraps; illustrated       1936
Folder 22:       List of seven linguistic families (OHQ Vol 28).  typescript, three copies
Folder 23:       Booklet.  “Rugged Idaho.”  illustrated
Folder 24:       Evans, Joe and Pauline.  Household papers and receipts.
Folder 25:       Evans, Joe and Pauline.  Household papers and receipts

 

 

Box 4: Photos in the Evans collection


The photos in the Evans collection have not yet been individually described.


 

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