This collection comprises diaries, manuscripts, private papers, and other records of the Jesuit missions and missionaries in Oregon, Washington, Idaho, and western Montana from 1853 to 1960. These records document the establishment of churches and mission schools and provide a wealth of insight on the Northwest tribes - the Nez Percé, Flathead, Cayuse, Northern Cheyenne, Coeur d'Alene, Blackfoot, Gros Ventre, Assisiboine, Crow, and others. The Jesuits' mastery of the Indian languages made possible the first and sometimes only written histories of these tribes. Their efforts to understand the society and culture of the people they sought to convert make this collection a rich source of early ethnological information. The presence of baptism, marriage, and other sacramental records, as well as census data, give the collection special value for Native American genealogical studies.
The Missions Collection is organized in two sections. The first contains the records of the Northwest missions, arranged by station. These include "house diaries" (journals of mission activities), correspondence, financial records, census records, and miscellaneous manuscripts, newsletters, and newspaper clippings. The second section is devoted to records of the missionaries themselves, such as personal diaries, letters, manuscripts, and publications.
Number of rolls: 34
"These [papers] include annual reports, extensive correspondence, financial accounts, census records, newspaper clippings, and other historically important materials which for years were scattered across the northwest in separate missions, school attics, footlockers, and so forth, all eventually to be brought together by a succession of dedicated archivists...Northwest Tribes Missions Collection is very cleanly filmed with nicely printed title pages and legible frame numbers at the foot of each page...Recommended for research libraries with Native American or Western History collections."
-- Microform Review