Guide to the Abigail Scott Duniway Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Duniway, Abigail Scott, 1834-1915
Title: Abigail Scott Duniway papers
Dates: 1852-1915 ( inclusive )
1880-1915 ( bulk )
Quantity: 1.35 cubic feet (3 document cases, 1 reel microfilm)
Collection Number: Mss 432
Summary: A small collection of papers of an Oregon pioneer, editor, and advocate of women's suffrage. Includes records of the Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association, records of the Duniway Publishing Company, and copy of a typescript transcription of Duniway's overland diary, 1852.
Repository: Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Contact Information: Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
Languages: Materials in the collection are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

Writer, pioneer, editor, and champion of women's suffrage, Abigail Scott Duniway was born in Groveland, Illinois, in 1834. One of her brothers, Harvey Scott, would become the editor of the Oregonian. The Scott family traveled overland to Oregon in 1852, a trip on which Abigail's mother and youngest brother died. The family came first to Oregon City, then settled in Lafayette. Abigail taught school at Eola, and in 1853 she married Benjamin C. Duniway, with whom she had four children. After her husband was incapacitated in an 1862 accident, Duniway supported her family through teaching and a millinery business in Albany, Oregon. After moving to Portland in 1871 she published and edited The new northwest and became Oregon's leading advocate of women's suffrage. She moved to Idaho in 1887 and helped to achieve women's voting rights there in 1896. After returning to Oregon she was instrumental in the passage of Oregon's own women's suffrage bill in 1912. Her writings include the autobiography Path Breaking (1914) and the novel Captain Gray's Company.

Content Description

The collection, which represents only a small portion of Duniway's papers, includes: the records of the Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association, including minute book, membership and account books, constitutions, a small amount of correspondence, and a copy of a letter from Susan B. Anthony regarding the woman's suffrage movement; and records of the Duniway Publishing Company, consisting of cash, mailing and advertising ledgers (1880-1886) of the publication The new northwest. Also included in the collection is a copy of a typed transcript of Duniway's journal kept during her family's overland trek from Illinois (1852 April 2) to Oregon City, Oregon (1852 September 28), on which her mother and younger brother died. The transcript contains an introduction by Leslie M. Scott. A subscription list from the Oregon State Secular Union from 1891 can also be found in the collection.

Use of the Collection

Alternative Forms Available :  

Overland diary available in microfilm and a print copy from the microfilm.

Restrictions on Access :  

The collection is open to the public.

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 :  

Abigail Scott Duniway papers, Mss 432, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The collection is arranged in the following series:

  • Series A: Duniway Publishing Company records, 1881-1886
  • Series B: Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association Records, 1872-1915
  • Series C: General materials and overland journal, 1852-1914

Acquisition Information :  

Probably the gift of Clyde Duniway, Library Accession 409.

Bibliography :  
  • Corning, Howard McKinley, Dictionary of Oregon history (Portland : Binfords and Mort, [c. 1956]), p. 77.
Related Materials :  

Additional papers of Abigail Scott Duniway are housed at the University of Oregon Library, Special Collections, Coll. 232B, Eugene, Oregon.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series A:  Duniway Publishing Company records, 1881-1886
1/1 Advertising book and ledger 1880-1881
1/2 Advertising book and ledger 1882-1884
1/3 Advertising book and ledger 1884-1886
1/4 Advertising book and ledger 1886-1887
1/5 Cash book 1882-1883
1/6 Cash book (cover only) 1882-1883
1/7 Cash book 1884-1885
2/1 Cash book 1886-1887
2/2 Mailing book 1880-1883
2/3 Mailing book 1881-1884
2/4 Mailing book (covers only) 1880-1883
2/5 Mailing book circa 1883-1886
2/6 Mailing book undated
2/7 Subscription book 1877-1881
3/1 Subscription book--donated subscriptions for campaign 1884

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Series B:  Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association Records, 1872-1915
3/2 Record book 1872-1912
3/3 Membership ledger 1908-1910
3/4 Membership book 1913-1915
3/5 Correspondence and general records 1903-1912

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Series C:  General materials and overland journal, 1852-1914
3/6 Woman's Club--Record book 1902-1913
3/7 Personal accounts and diary 1882; 1887; undated
3/8-9 Overland journal (photocopy from microfilm)
Two additional copies available on microfilm.
3/10 General publications and brochure 1883-1914
3/11 Clippings regarding poems David and Anna Matson 1876
3/12 Oregon State Secular Union subscribers 1891

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The collection is indexed under the following headings in the online catalog. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons, or places should search the catalog using these headings:

  • Personal Names :
  • Anthony, Susan B. (Susan Brownell), 1820-1906--Correspondence.
  • Duniway, Abigail Scott, 1834-1915.  ( creator)
  • Duniway, Abigail Scott, 1834-1915--Diaries.
  • Scott, Leslie M., 1878-1968.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Duniway Publishing Company--Archives.
  • Oregon State Equal Suffrage Association--Archives.
  • Oregon State Secular Union.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Oregon National Historic Trail.
  • Oregon--Politics and government--1859-1950.
  • West (U.S.)--Description and travel.
  • West (U.S.)--History--1848-1860.
  • Subject Terms :
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific.
  • Pioneers--Oregon--Diaries.
  • Publishers and publishing--Oregon--Portland--History.
  • Suffragists--Oregon.
  • Women pioneers--Oregon--Diaries.
  • Women--Suffrage--Oregon.
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Accounts.
    • Financial records.
    • Journals.
    • Ledgers.
    • Minutes.
    • Titles within the Collection :
    • New northwest.

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