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Oregon Trail Diaries: Journeys to the Northwest

During this fall term, students in Professor Marsha Weisiger’s HIST 466 course, The American West, were assigned to read original diaries documenting journeys to the Pacific Northwest in the nineteenth century, housed in Special Collections and University Archives.

Special Collections and University Archives is the repository for over 100 overland trail journals and several sea journeys to the Pacific Northwest, many of which are original documents. Professor Weisiger’s students are to read three journals and compare their differences and similarities among the three experiences, with particular focus on issues such as class, race, gender, and ethnicity.

The diaries documenting journeys to the Pacific Northwest (the Oregon Trail is the predominate route represented among the diaries) are described in the Special Collections and University Archives’ subject guides here.

To the left is the first page of Abigail Scott Duniway’s diary written in 1852 to document her family’s migration over the Oregon Trail (Abigail Scott Duniway Papers, Coll. 232B). The finding aid to the Duniway Papers can be found here and the fully digitized diary can be found here.

Linda Long
Manuscripts Librarian

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