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Donald Sevetson Collection on George H. Atkinson

Identifier: MS-132

Content Description

This collection contains Donald Sevetson's research notes and copies of original documents related to George Henry Atkinson. Sevetson collected this material across the United States in archives, libraries and historical societies, as he prepared two books on Atkinson. The collection includes hundreds of photocopies of letters sent and received by George Atkinson, photocopies of newspaper articles related to the beginnings Portland public school system, photocopies of documents related to the American Home Missionary Society, information on the origins of several Pacific Northwest churches and many more documents related to George Atkinson's life. The original documents dated to circa 1850-1885; Sevetson made the copies in the 1990s-2010s. There are no original documents present; all are copies.

The collection is arranged in the same order in which Donald Sevetson arranged it. The "Binders" section contains material that was originally organized into binders, but which has been reorganized into boxes and folders. The "Subject Files" section contains material that was originally in file folders. The labels provided in this guide are the same as those used by Sevetson.

The collection was donated to Pacific University by the family of Don Sevetson.


  • 1860-2019


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.

Biographical Note

Donald Sevetson was a minister for the United Church of Christ. He pastored churches in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois before settling in Oregon in 1980. Following his move west, Sevetson served as the United Church of Christ’s Conference Minister for Oregon and Southwest Idaho. After he retired from the ministry, Sevetson began research for his book on George Atkinson. Atkinson is best known as a 19th century leader of the Congregational Church (later renamed the United Church of Christ) in the Pacific Northwest. Thus, Don Sevetson was in some sense his modern counterpart. Among Atkinson's many accomplishments, he helped to found Pacific University, was a leader in the early public education system in Oregon, oversaw missionary activities in the Pacific Northwest, and was a lobbyist for prison reform and reform of the treatment of Native Americans. He was also involved in railroads and other transportation systems in Oregon and Washington. Sevetson released his book, "Atkinson: Pioneer Oregon Educator" in 2011, followed by another book, "A Public Spirit: George H. Atkinson’s Written Legacy" in 2015. Sevetson died in 2019.


2 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)

Language of Materials



This collection contains Donald Sevetson's research materials collected all over the United States from archives, libraries and historical societies for his book on the life of George H. Atkinson. Atkinson was a Pacific University co-founder and a leader in Oregon's public education system.
Guide to the Donald Sevetson Collection on George H. Atkinson
Sevetson (Donald) Collection on George H. Atkinson
In Progress
Emily Johns
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Repository Details

Part of the Pacific University Archives Repository

2043 College Way
Forest Grove OR 97116 United States