Guide to the Lemuel P. Putnam Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Putnam, Lemuel P., 1884-1968
Title: Lemuel P. Putnam papers
Dates: 1911-1963 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 0.5 linear feet (1 container)
Collection Number: Ax 586
Summary: Lemuel Pratt Putnam (1884-1968) had a long career of service with the YMCA and the Presbyterian Church, as a social worker and pastor. The collection (1911-1963) contains correspondence, religious writings, subject files on religious organizations, and biographical information.
Repository: University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives.
Contact Information: UO Libraries--SPC, 1299
University of Oregon
Eugene OR
Telephone: 541-346-3068
Fax: 541-346-3485
Languages: Collection materials are in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Historical Note

Lemuel Pratt Putnam (1884-1968) was born in Iowa and grew up in South Dakota. He was educated at South Dakota State Normal School at Spearfish, the State Teachers College in North Dakota, and at Chicago Theological Seminary in Illinoiswas educated at South Dakota State Normal School at Spearfish, at Colorado College, and at Chicago Theological Seminary in Illinois.

Putnam began his career working with the YMCA in Chicago in 1912 until 1921. He served in WWI briefly from 1917-1918, with the YMCA in Texas, then with the 42 division in France, in the "Y Hut."

In September of 1921, Putnam moved to Eugene, Oregon where he became the General Secretary of the University of Oregon campus YMCA, and served until 1923.

From 1923 until 1935, he worked as Director of Administration, Youth Work, Religious Education, and Camp and Conference Work at the First Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. From 1935 until 1938, Putnam returned to the YMCA, this time in Portland, and served as Secretary of Counseling and Guidance, and with the Metropolitan Program.

Putnam was then ordained in 1938 by the Portland Presbytery in order to become assistant pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Portland, Oregon. In 1942 he resigned in order to "take up war emergency work, accepting the call of the Portland Council of Churches to organize and direct The United Church Ministry to Defense Communities of the Portland Federal Housing areas."

In 1944, Putnam became the Associate Executive Secretary of the Portland Council of Churches. In 1945 he worked on the Restoration Fund for the Synods of Oregon and Idaho. After the war years, Putnam took part in a special survey project for Board of National Missions of the Presbyterian Church, and was a special consultant on the Restoration Fund.

From 1949 until 1952 he served with the Oregon Tuberculosis and Heath Association, and afterwards he returned to the First Presbyterian Church, and retired in 1953.

[Source: Biographical Information Folder, Lemuel P. Putnam papers, Ax 586, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.]

Content Description

Correspondence consists of incoming letters arranged alphabetically by name or title. Correspondents include politicians, church leaders, and religious and political associations. There are over 300 letters from 1911 to 1963.

There is also religious writings including prayers, prayer fragments, and sermons.

Files on religious organizations and activities include: the National Council of Churches, Board of National Missions of Presbyterian Church, Oregon Council of Churches, Oregon Council of Christian Education, Portland Council of Churches, Portland Council of Religious Education, West Side Board of Religious Education, Commission on Christian Education, and field reports of the United Church Overseas Relief.

The collection also includes a file of biographical information.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Use :  

Property rights reside with Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections & University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Archival material may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal and/or state right to privacy laws and other regulations.

Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g. a cause of action for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of Oregon assumes no responsibility.

If a researcher finds sensitive personal information in a collection, please bring it to the attention of the reading room staff.

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

Collection must be used in Special Collections & University Archives Reading Room.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], Lemuel P. Putnam papers, Ax 586, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Material within this collection is minimally arranged. Any arrangement is either derived from the records' creators or custodians or from staff at the time of initial processing. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff, 1970s.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Additional Reference Guides :  

Paper finding aid with additional information is available in Special Collections & University Archives.


  • Personal Names :
  • Putnam, Lemuel P., 1884-1968
  • Putnam, Lemuel P., 1884-1968--Correspondence
  • Corporate Names :
  • First Presbyterian Church (Portland, Or.).
  • National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America.
  • Oregon Council of Christian Education.
  • Oregon Council of Churches.
  • Portland Council of Churches (Portland, Or.).
  • Portland Council of Religious Education (Portland, Or.).
  • Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. Board of National Missions.
  • YMCA of the USA.
  • Young Men's Christian Association (University of Oregon).
  • Geographical Names :
  • Portland (Or.)--Church history
  • United States--Church history--20th century
  • United States--Religion--20th century
  • Subject Terms :
  • Church and education--United States--History--20th century
  • Church and social problems--Presbyterian Church
  • Clergy--United States--Correspondence
  • Politicians--United States--Correspondence
  • Presbyterian Church--Oregon--Clergy
  • Presbyterian Church--Oregon--Portland
  • Religious leaders--United States--Correspondence
  • Social workers--Oregon
  • Social workers--United States
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Correspondence
    • Prayers
    • Sermons

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