Yakima Valley Museum

Inside the Lucullus V. McWhorter Collection at WSU

Bring your lunch and join us at the museum for a midweek break that will educate and entertain. Soft drinks and water will be provided. All programs are free and open to the public. Doors open at 11:30 A.M. for conversation and lunch; the program begins at noon.


Lucullus V. McWorter

  This illustrated talk will describe the publications and collection of noted Yakima rancher and author, Lucullus V. McWhorter. In 1905, McWhorter assisted the Yakama in their struggle against legislation that would have diverted water from the Yakama Reservation. To win public support for his position, McWhorter collected Yakama sources for a series of pamphlets that he would publish on behalf of Yakama rights. For his efforts, McWhorter was adopted by the Yakama and invited to tribal deliberations. McWhorter's collaborations with other Plateau Indians further enriched his collection. In 1907, McWhorter met and befriended Yellow Wolf, a Nez Perce warrior who fought in the 1877 Nez Perce War. Over the next three decades, McWhorter and Yellow Wolf collaborated on a book -- Yellow Wolf: His Own Story--that would tell, for the first time, the Nez Perce version of the conflict. In 1914, McWhorter began a long-term collaboration with Mourning Dove whose book, Cogewea (1927), is the first published novel by a Native American female.

By 1944, McWhorter could not complete his life's work: a monumental volume of Nez Perce ethnography from an Indian perspective, he called it his "Field History." McWhorter's son, Virgil, would see that his father's collection was transferred to the State College of Washington (WSC) where President Holland assured him the College would complete the book. The McWhorter Collection would, in the end, be President Holland's most important acquisition for the WSC Library. McWhorter's interviews, his meticulous note taking and fetish for antiquarian details resulted in a rich collection of books, manuscripts, photographs, art, and objects. Dr. Clifford Trafzer notes that "McWhorter wrote the new Western history in the 1930s and 1940s, long before recent converts found their way to believing that Native Americans should have a voice in historical accounts."

Bio: Trevor James Bond is head of Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections at the Washington State University (WSU) Libraries and a Ph.D. student in the WSU Department of History. He earned his B.A. in Classics (Latin and Greek) from San Diego State University and his M.A. in ancient history and M.L.I.S with a concentration in archives from U.C.L.A. He is working on a dissertation on collectors of Indian culture on the Columbia Plateau.


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