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Mildred Colbert papers

Identifier: Coll 243

Scope and Contents

The Mildred Colbert papers contain materials documenting the history of the Colbert and Petit family, as well as Mildred’s time spent growing up in one of the first pioneer families of Washington. Included in this material is correspondence dated between 1929 and 1978, as well as many early newspaper clippings about Oregon, the Colbert family, and the Native American tribes of the region. Also included are manuscripts, manuscript drafts, and related material for a number of Colbert’s works, including Folk Tales from the Chinook, Kutkos, Chinook Tyee and an unpublished book, Portland on the Willamette.


  • Creation: 1929-1995
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1929 - 1965


Language of Materials

Collection materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public.

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

Conditions Governing Use

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

Mildred Colbert was one of eight children of Frederick (1840-1924) and Catherine (1853 -1940) Colbert, born on October 13, 1889, in the town of Ilwaca, Washington. The family was prominent in the early fishing industry, and known for their home on the corner of Quaker and Lake Street. The house is still a prominent landmark, and is currently on The National Register for Historic Places.

As a child, Mildred attended Bellingham Normal School, eventually graduating with a focus on education. She went on to teach fourth grade in a logging camp in Pacific County, and then in Naselle, alongside her sister Ruby. After retiring from teaching, Mildred pursued writing, documenting the history of the Chinook people in her book, Kutkos, Chinook Tyee, and writing for the Oregon Historical Quarterly. Mildred's primary residence was in Portland, Oregon, where she lived with her mother, Catherine, and her two sisters, Ruby and Hilma, but she kept the family's home in Ilwaco for summer use.

[Source: “The Colbert House: The House That Time Forgot." Chinook 17 Jan. 2017.]


16.5 linear feet (11 containers)


The papers of Mildred Colbert, author and daughter of a prominent Washington pioneer family, are comprised of biographical material, diaries, correspondence, financial materials, manuscripts, school materials, newspaper clippings, and miscellaneous.


Collection is organized into the following series:

Series I: Biographical and Geneaological Material

Series II: Diaries and Address books

Series III: Correspondence

Series IV: Financial Materials

Series V: Manuscripts

Series VI: School Materials

Series VII: Newspaper clippings

Series VIII: Miscellaneous

Physical Description

11 containers

Processing Information

Collection processed by Anna Fleming.

Guide to the Mildred Colbert papers
Complete Description
Anna Fleming and Rachel Lilley
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

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

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA