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Marcus Whitman was born on September 4, 1802 in Rushville, New York.
His father's early death necessitated his living with relatives from 1810 to
1820. During this time he was educated and received religious instruction. He
received his medical degree in 1824 and practiced medicine for several years in
Canada, was ordained for the ministry in 1834, and married in early 1836.
Narcissa Prentiss Whitman was born March 14, 1808 in Prattsburgh, New York. She
attended Franklin Academy and Collegiate Institute and later a female seminary
in Troy, New York that specialized in the training of teachers. Following the
completion of her studies she taught in several places. The Whitmans arrived in
the Oregon Territory in 1836 and settled near Fort Walla Walla, where Whitman
cultivated land and practiced medicine and Mrs. Whitman started an Indian
school. In 1842, he travelled to the east to argue against the closing of the
Oregon Missions. On his return, he led the first major emigrant wagon train to
Oregon, the forerunner of the American settlement. On November 29, 1847,
Whitman, his wife, and twelve others were killed by Indians.
The Marcus and Narcissa Whitman Papers range in date from 1823 to 1961 (the bulk of them being from 1835 to 1846--approximately the time of their missionary work in the Oregon Territory). The collection includes materials by and about the Whitmans. Most of the papers are transcribed or reproduced from the originals, although a few very early originals are included in the collection. The collection consists of correspondence, photographs, church records and deeds, newspaper clippings and other papers. Those papers of Jonathan Pratt relating to Marcus Whitman have been included here; additional Pratt papers may be found in Cage 4004.
Use of the Collection
Restrictions on Access :
This collection is open for research use.
Preferred Citation :
[Item Description]. Cage
142, Marcus and Narcissa
Whitman Papers . Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.
The collection is arranged in a single series, presumed to be Clifford Drury's original order.
Acquisition Information :
The Marcus and Narcissa Whitman papers were secured by Dr. Clifford M. Drury for his biographies of Pacific Northwest missionaries. He placed them in the Washington State University Libraries between 1940 and 1961 (MS 1983-42).
Processing Note :
This inventory, prepared by Paul Green in December 1983, replaces a 1972 register now lost.
Related Materials :
The Jonathan Pratt Papers (Cage
4004), received together with the Whitman Papers, were processed as a separate collection.
Detailed Description of the Collection
The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in
1 / 1
Marcus Whitman letter to Jonathan
1 / 1
Provenance statement by Clifford M.
1 / 2
Narcissa Whitman letter to Maria
1 / 3
Diary of Jonathan Pratt of
1 / 4
Letter of Mary J. Peabody to
Jonathan Pratt, 1827
1 / 5
Letter of Mary J. (Peabody) Whitman
to Jonathan Pratt, 1830
1 / 6
Attestation of Character and
Training for Jonathan Pratt, 1823
1 / 7
Ira Bryant Letter Recommending
Jonathan Pratt, 1826
1 / 8
Rules and Other Directions for the
Band Society of Rushville, 1825
1 / 9
Butterworth Poem and Letters by and
about Whitman, 1834-1909
1 / 10
Whitman's Early Life, Plus
1 / 11
Whitman's Mission Life, 1905
1 / 12
Whitman's Early Life
1 / 13
Church Deeds and
1 / 14
1 / 15
1 / 16
Clippings about Marcus Whitman
collected by Ellen Bates