Guide to the John W. Redington papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Redington, John W., 1851-1935
Title: John W. Redington papers
Dates: 1880-1935 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 3.0 linear feet (12 containers)
Collection Number: Ax 093
Summary: John Watermelon Redington was an Indian War scout, newspaper editor, writer, publisher and humorist. The collection consists of manuscripts, scrapbooks, 19c newspapers, broadsides, photographs, and approximately 800 pieces of correspondence.
Repository: Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon, 97403-1299
(541) 346-3068

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).

Content Description

The correspondence series (approx. 800 pieces) is organized alphabetically by last name and includes personal letters and correspondence with western writers. Pension materials are organized by date, 1909-1935. Financial files are organized by type. The manuscripts are organized alphabetically by title. Also included in the collection is genealogy material on the Redington family, disabled volunteer solider files, broadsides, newspapers from 1883-1935, photostats, scrapbooks, meeting records, publications and microfilm.

Historical Note

John Watermelon Redington (1851-1935) was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1851. He worked as a printer's devil with the Cambridge University Press. He enlisted in the United States Army in 1874 as a means of traveling to the West. He was discharged in 1874 and travelled to Oregon where he worked for the Salem Oregon Statesman, and founded a job printing establishment in Salem, Oregon. He left job printing to wander through Oregon, Idaho, and Utah as a tramp printer and in search of adventure. He served as a scout in the Nez Perce Indian War and the Bannock Indian War. His small stature and juvenile enthusiasm led General Oliver O. Howard to refer to him as the original boy scout.

Redington took over the Heppner, Oregon Gazette in 1883, and later published papers in Puyallup and Tacoma, Washington. He was a native humorist, inventing tall stories to fill his columns, and issued outrageous political broadsides in a style reminiscent of Bill Nye. He was married to Nellie Meacham, daughter of Alfred B. Meacham. His last years were spent as a wandering journalist, and in and out of the Veterans' Home at Sawtelle, California until his death in 1935.

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 and 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.

Preferred Citation :  

[Identification of item], John W. Redington papers, Ax 093, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries, Eugene, Oregon.

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open to the public.

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

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Collection is organized into the following series: Correspondence, Pension Papers, Financial Materials, Manuscripts and Publications.

Related Materials :  

The University of Washington Library also holds a John W. Redington collection, Manuscript collection 0125. Also available is a University of Oregon thesis based on the Redington papers by Brant E. Ducey, titled, "John Watermelon Redington, hell on hogthieves and hypocrites," 1963.

Processing Note :  

Collection processed by staff, 1994.

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

Additional Reference Guides :  

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

Detailed Description of the Collection

Photographs (PH221), circa 1851-1935
1.0 linear feet
Redington, John W., 1851-1935
Prints and Album

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  • Personal Names :
  • Bailey, Harry Lee, 1854-1934--Correspondence
  • Brininstool, E. A. (Earl Alonzo), 1870-1957--Correspondence
  • Gill, John Kaye--Correspondence
  • Redington family--Correspondence
  • Redington, John W., 1851-1935
  • Subject Terms :
  • Humorists, American--West (U.S.)
  • Journalists--West (U.S.)
  • Printers--West (U.S.)
  • Scouts (Reconnaissance)--West (U.S.)
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Correspondence
    • Manuscripts for publication

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