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Asahel Bush papers

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: Ax 184

Scope and Contents

The collection contains photostat copies of correspondence.

Incoming and outgoing correspondence is mixed together, and letters are arranged by date, 1850-1914.


  • 1850-1913


Conditions Governing Access

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.

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

"Born in 1824 in Massachusetts, Asahel Bush (1824-1913) apprenticed as a printer in Saratoga Springs, New York, at age 17. From there he moved back to Massachusetts and studied law. In 1850 Bush came to Oregon by boat after crossing the Isthmus of Panama by train and donkey. After arriving in Portland, Bush decided to move to Oregon City, then the largest city in the territory.

Bush established the Oregon Statesman newspaper in Oregon City, in 1851, after his printing press arrived from the East. He moved the paper to Salem when it became the territorial capital in 1853.

As editor of the Statesman, he gave voice to the Democratic Party. Bush was visibly racist and defended slavery, but he also condemned Southern secession and supported the Union during the Civil War. Bush was active in politics as a member of an influential group of Salem Democrats which favored the location of the territorial capital in Salem and favored the prohibition of slavery in Oregon. He was the official territorial printer, a member (and one time chair) of the Democratic state central committee, and delegate to the 1892 Democratic National Convention. Bush was also a regent of the University of Oregon and a trustee of Willamette University.

During the 1850s[...] Asahel Bush’s vitriolic editorials earned him the derisive nickname “Bushy Bush” and the enmity of rival editor Thomas Jefferson Dryer of Portland’s Oregonian.

After selling the Statesman in 1861, Bush co-founded the Ladd and Bush Bank with William S. Ladd in 1867. In 1877 he bought his partner’s share and became sole owner of the bank.

He married Eugenia Zieber in 1854. The two had four children before Eugenia died of tuberculosis in 1863. Asahel died in 1913.

The "Bush House" in Salem, Oregon is now a museum."

[Source: Oregon Historical Society]


1 linear feet (2 containers) : 2 manuscript boxes

Language of Materials



Asahel Bush (1824-1913) was a prominent early Oregon citizen who worked as a printer, was the founder and editor of the Oregon Statesman newspaper, and was a banker. The collection (1850-1914) contains photostat copies of correspondence.


Material within this collection may have little to no intellectual or physical arrangement. Any arrangement may have derived from the records' creators or custodians. It may be necessary to look in multiple places for the same types of materials.

Processing Information

Collection processed by staff.

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

This collection received a basic level of processing including minimal to no organization and rehousing.

Description information is drawn in part from information supplied with the collection and initial surveys of the contents.

Guide to the Asahel Bush Papers
Complete Description
Tanya Parlet.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Funding for production of this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC).

Repository Details

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

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA