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Edward A. Schaper papers

Identifier: Coll 218

Scope and Contents note

The Edward A. Schaper collection includes autobiographical writings, journals, diaries, essays and stories, correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs, miscellany, reel-to-reel tapes, wire recordings, and phonograph recordings. The materials date from the early 1900s to 1964.

Box 1 contains both of Schaper's autobiographies. The first, written in 1942, is a relatively brief account of his life, and was revised and considerably expanded in the late 1950s. This second autobiography is comprised of nine books, each covering a specific period in Schaper's life. Neither of these autobiographies was ever published, although parts of the second were circulated by Schaper among his friends and relatives.

Box 2 contains the eighteen volumes of Schaper's journals, which date from 1948-l964. The journals are daily records of Schaper's activities, the weather, and current events, usually given in the form of a list of the day's newspaper headlines. Each entry fills exactly one page. There are several newspaper clippings and photographs pasted or taped into the journals.

In Box 3 are Schaper's diaries, dating from 1900 to 1964. Volumes I-15 (Schaper switched from Roman to Arabic numerals at volume 15) are handwritten in composition notebooks; volumes 16-17 are typed and stored in file folders. Unlike the journals, the diary entries were not made daily. Entries range from a few days to a year apart and are from one or two sentences to several pages in length. At the beginning of volume 16 Schaper writes, "I shall proceed in the volume as I have done in recent years: I shall record the principal events which occur in our lives, my philosophy of life, and the most important events which occur outside our own. My daily journal takes care of the minor things. The book is to be used when I require more space to express my thoughts than I have in my Year Book [journal]." Schaper also made typed transcripts of his diaries through volume VIII; these are found in Box 4.

Boxes 4 and 5 contain Schaper's unpublished articles, essays, and attempts at short fiction. The introduction and table of contents in folder 4/7 refer to a group of essays collected by Schaper, presumably with the intention of publishing them. These essays have not been kept together in the collection, but eleven are included in the collection and are filed alphabetically with Schaper's other writings.

Box 5, folders 49-51 contain Schaper's published works. These include The Clarion, a journal published by the San Francisco Department of Public Health for the San Francisco Hospital Tuberculosis Division. The Clarion was produced under the supervision of Schaper and each issue contains several articles by him. Also among Schaper's published works are "Local Broadcasting In the San" an article printed in Journal of the Outdoor Life, November 1930, describing Schaper's weekly radio programs for the patients and employees at the Kern County Tuberculosis Sanitorium, and two articles titled "Travel Observations," publication dates unknown, written by Schaper while touring Europe in the 1930s. Folders 52-61 contain writings by other people and are listed in the finding aid.

Box 5, folder 62 begins the correspondence series. Letters to and from Schaper are interfiled chronologically under the name of his correspondent. Undated letters are at the front of the file. The earliest letters date from the mid 1900s, and the latest from shortly before his death in April 1964. There are some letters in the collection to and/or from such celebrities as Pearl S. Buck, Dan Smoot, Edward P. Morgan, Cedric Foster, Fulton Lewis Jr., and William Winter; these are fan letters from Schaper or replies to his fan letters. His correspondence with the British Museum, the University of London, and several American universities pertains to Schaper's search for a library to house his collection of writings and recordings. Aside from some letters to banks, electronics companies and radio and T.V. stations, the bulk of the correspondence is between Schaper and his family and friends.

The correspondence runs from Box 5 through Box 12, folder 45. Folder 46 contains unidentified correspondence. Folders 47-49 contain unsorted correspondence, arranged as chronologically as possible; these letters are addressed to or from different people on either side of the paper so that to alphabetize them would be impossible. There is, however, an inventory at the front of folder 47 in which the names of the correspondents are listed alphabetically and the number of letters either from or to them in the unsorted correspondence files is given in parentheses after their names. Folders 50-53 contain miscellaneous greeting cards received by the Schapers on holidays and birthdays; these are also arranged chronologically, although there is a large group at the front of folder 50 which is undated. In many cases, the date has been taken from the postmark on the envelope and pencilled in on the back of the card. Folder 54 contains miscellaneous postcards.

Box 13, folder 1 contains photographs from the collection, most of which were removed from letters. Pencilled in on the back of each photograph is the name of the correspondent and the date of the letter with which the photograph was found. The photographs are otherwise unidentified and undated. The remainder of Box 13 and Boxes 14 and 15 contain newspaper clippings removed from letters. These too are arranged alphabetically according to the name of the sender and chronologically according to the date of the letter with which they were found. This information is marked in pencil on the back of each clipping. Box 15, folder 5 contains miscellaneous newspaper clippings that were found loose in the collection.

In Box 16 are miscellaneous items; included in the box is an inventory of the contents. Some of the miscellany in Box 16 includes guide books to the U.S. and Europe, most of which date from the 1930s; United Kingdom certificates of registration for Grace and Edward Schaper; sixty-three different international postage stamps; Schaper's logbook for his lamplighting job in Tacoma in 1913, a New Testament with an inscription dated 1782; Schaper's certificate to practice medicine in California; College of Puget Sound bulletins, 1935-l943; etc.

Box 17 contains Schaper's inventories to his recordings. The inventory to the reel-to-reel recordings is in five notebooks. The inventory to the reel-to-reel tapes from Edward Schaper to his brother, Harvey "Bone" Schaper, is in a small yellow box. There are two notebooks containing Schaper's wire tape inventory. One other notebook also contains a recording inventory, but it is unclear whether it is to the wire tapes or the phonograph records. Also in Box 17 is an instructional booklet called "Tape Editing And Splicing."

Boxes 18 through 29 contain reel-to-reel tape recordings made by Schaper. The tapes were numbered by Schaper and listed in the inventory in Box 17. The recordings include radio programs by commentators such as William Winter, Paul Harvey, Fulton Lewis, Jr., Virgil Pinkley, Edward R. Murrow, Dan Smoot, and Howard K. Smith; speeches by presidents and politicians taped from the radio; Paul Carson organ recitals taped from the radio; recordings of Schaper's conversations with friends, relatives, patients, and associates; letters to and from Schaper and his friends and relatives; recordings of telephone calls made to and from the Schaper household; and Schaper's own news commentaries and meditations on world affairs. Boxes 27 and 28 contain tapes from Edward Schaper to his brother, Harvey "Bone" Schaper; these have their own numbering system and are listed in the inventory in the yellow box in Box 17. In Box 29 are twenty-four tapes from Harvey "Bone" Schaper to Edward Schaper that are not numbered. Also in Box 29 are seventeen reel-to-reel tapes that are unidentified or are not numbered.

Boxes 30-43 contain phonograph records made by Schaper in the 1930s and 1940s. There may be an inventory to these in Box 17. At the end of the collection are six metal boxes, boxes 44-49, each containing approximately thirty-two wire tapes, the inventory for which is in Box 17. The wire tapes date from the 1940s and are mostly taped radio programs, speeches, and music, as well as personal commentary.


  • 1900-1964


Conditions Governing Access note

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time. Collection includes sound recordings, moving images, and digital files to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections and University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.

Conditions Governing Use note

Property rights reside with Special Collections and 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.

Biographical/Historical note

Edward A. Schaper was born in Tomales, California, on May 31, 1885. The Schaper family, which included his mother, father, two sisters, and a brother, moved from Tomales to Washington State in 1888, eventually settling in Wilkeson where Schaper's father worked as a coal miner. Edward attended grammar school in Wilkeson, spending his time with his younger brother, Harvey "Bone" Schaper, and his friends Mike Roy, Frank Kepka, and Charlie Bates. When Edward was thirteen his father, William Schaper, a German immigrant, became mentally ill and left Wilkeson for several years, winding up in 1900 in a Washington mental institution where he remained for the rest of his life.

Edward, as the eldest male child, left grammar school and went to work for the next two years as a kitchen flunkey in a mining camp. At fifteen Schaper returned to Wilkeson and spent the subsequent ten years there and in Tacoma, sporadically attending night school classes and working at a variety of jobs, including sorting coal, driving a delivery wagon, washing dishes, working at a planing mill, selling photographs and clothing, and finally working as a lamplighter for the city of Tacoma. During this period he also began taking music lessons, served as president of a local motorcycle club, and became a fervent Seventh Day Adventist.

In September 1911, at the age of twenty six, Schaper decided to become a medical doctor and began high school, working mornings and evenings as a lamplighter in order to pay his way. During his first year of high school, Schaper wrote an essay titled "Alcohol and Crime," for which he won $20.00. In 1914 he graduated from high school and went on to the College of Puget Sound, where he was a member, and at one time president, of the Philomathean Literary Society. He also served as student body president, taught introductory German classes, and served as a deacon in the Seventh Day Adventist church and superintendent of its Sabbath School.

After graduating from college in 1917, Schaper entered medical school at Stanford University. In 1918 Schaper left the Seventh Day Adventist church and became an agnostic. Later that year he volunteered for the army, undergoing military training on campus while also taking medical courses. The day that Schaper received his army uniform, the war ended and he was discharged a month later. He financed his own way through medical school, relying on his savings and wages from part-time and summer jobs, and received an M.D. on June 19, 1922. In 1920, while still in school, Schaper met and married Grace Madden, a graduate nurse working in the Tuberculosis Division of San Francisco Hospital.

On August 1, 1922, Schaper took over the position of director of Stony Brook Retreat, a tuberculosis sanatorium in Kern Country, California. Grace was hired as the nursing supervisor. Until his resignation in January 1937, Schaper's years at Stony Brook were prosperous and productive. He refined his expertise in the treatment of tuberculosis, expanded and improved the sanatorium, studied photography and radio broadcasting, learned to fly airplanes, and visited other sanatoriums in the U.S.

Upon leaving Stony Brook, the Schapers drove throughout the U.S., Mexico, and Canada, then sailed to Europe in June 1937. While touring Western Europe, Schaper wrote eighteen travel articles which were published in the Bakersfield Californian. From September 1937 to August 1938, the Schapers lived in England where Edward first attended British Post Graduate Medical School at Hammersmith Hospital, then worked at Brompton Chest Hospital, and finally at the National Heart Hospital. He also visited several British tuberculosis sanatoriums in order to observe their methods. The Schapers returned to San Leandro, California in September 1938.

That December Schaper began work as a clinical instructor at Stanford medical school, and worked part-time on Stanford's tuberculosis ward. Beginning in January 1939 he acted as a consultant to the Tuberculosis Division at San Francisco Hospital. That spring the Schapers opened an office for private practice at 450 Sutter Street in San Francisco, and moved to an apartment at 845 California Street. In April 1939 Schaper also became the medical director of Carepn Sanitorium, but resigned after only a few months. On February 1, 1940, he became the Resident Physician of the Tuberculosis Division at San Francisco Hospital, and shortly thereafter also took over the same position at Hassler Health Home, a tuberculosis sanatorium, as a temporary replacement for the regular resident physician, who was away on military duty. For two years Schaper divided his time between his own private practice, Hassler Health Home, and San Francisco Hospital.

After resigning from the two county jobs in July 1943, Schaper returned to his private practice full time. Seven years later, in May 1950, Schaper retired and he and Grace moved to a large home at 2545 Rivera Street, where he continued to treat a small number of patients out of his house. He also travelled to Washington and Southern California to visit relatives and friends, continued his hobbies of photography and reading, took a correspondence course in writing, and began work on several writing projects including articles, books, and his autobiography (none of which were ever published). He also became avidly interested in tape recording, taping several radio programs a day and making letter-tapes to send to his friends and relatives. It was also during this period that Schaper started the Maximum Life Club, in which he corresponded weekly with several young girls, sharing with them his strategy for living an orderly, productive life; two of the longer-standing members of the club were Midge Albert and Janet Bosnich, whose correspondence is included in the collection.

In August 1960 the Schapers returned to the apartment building at 845 California Street, having decided that the house on Rivera Street was too large to maintain. At about this time Grace began tiring easily and becoming forgetful; by 1963 she had completely lost her short-term memory and was frequently confused and lost. Early in 1961, Schaper joined the Bible Breakfast Club of San Francisco, a group of men who met every Thursday morning to read and discuss biblical passages and discuss ways to preserve existing power structures. The group was comprised of civic and business leaders, rather than religious ones, and became an important part of Schaper's life. Another pursuit to which Schaper dedicated much energy was finding a suitable library to house his collection of writings and tape recordings. It was eventually settled that the collection would go to his alma mater, the University of Puget Sound (which, in fact, it did; no one is sure how or why it came to the University of Oregon). Edward Schaper died in his home on April 6, 1964, shortly after returning from a trip to Washington. He is buried in Puyallup, Washington.

Although Schaper never formally belonged to any political organizations and rarely, if ever, engaged in any sort of political activism, his guiding philosophies (which are discussed at length in many of his writings) were essentially conservative and pragmatic. Much of Schaper's ideology, which consisted of a blending of Seventh Day Adventism, Germanic stoicism, and American west individualism, was formed during his childhood. His views, as expressed throughout the collection, reflect his conservative values.


48.5 linear feet (49 containers)

Language of Materials



Collection comprises the papers of Edward A. Schaper, an American physician who specialized in the treatment of tuberculosis and directed tuberculosis sanatoriums. Papers include autobiographical writings; journals and diaries; travel articles, stories and essays on tuberculosis and sanitariums; correspondence; clippings and photographs; and sound recordings, all circa 1900 to 1964. Schaper was a radio and sound recording enthusiast and he recorded radio commentaries, music recitals, and speeches by presidents and politicians, as well as his own commentaries, telephone calls and letters, from the 1930s to the 1940s.

Arrangement note

Collection is organized into the following series: Series: AutobiographySeries: Second autobiographySeries: JournalsSeries: DiariesSeries: Diaries, typed transcriptsSeries: Writings by Edward A. Schaper, unpublishedSeries: Writings by Edward A. Schaper, publishedSeries: Writings by OthersSeries: CorrespondenceSeries: PhotographsSeries: Newspaper clippings removed from lettersSeries: Miscellaneous newspaper clippingsSeries: MiscellaneousSeries: Recording inventoriesSeries: Reel-to-Reel tapesSeries: Phonograph recordsSeries: Wire recordings

Processing Information note

Collection processed by Stephanie Rowe, Manuscripts Processor.

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

Guide to the Edward A. Schaper Papers
Complete Description
Finding aid prepared by Stephanie Rowe
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English
Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA