Guide to the George Benson Kuykendall Papers 1881-1931
Cage 60

Summary Information

Repository
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Creator
Kuykendall, George Benson
Title
George Benson Kuykendall Papers
ID
Cage 60
Date [inclusive]
1881-1931
Extent
8000.0 items.
General Physical Description note
10 linear feet of shelf space.
Language
English
Abstract
geneologist. His major work, The History of the Kuykendall Family (1919), is represented by extensive correspondence, research notes, drafts and photographs. Other materials include pioneer reminiscences of crossing the plains in 1852, early life in Oregon, and the history of Pomeroy, Washington; as well as material on Indian legends and customs and articles on religious, civic, medical, and rural topics.

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Biographical/Historical note

George Benson Kuykendall was born in Indiana in 1843 and emigrated to Oregon with is parents in 1852. He graduated from the Willamette University Medical School in 1872 and began his first medical practice as Agency Physician on the Yakima Indian Reservation at Fort Simcoe, Washington. In 1883 he left the Indian Agency and established an independent practice at Pomeroy, Washington, where he remained until his retirement in 1920. He died at Portland, Oregon, in 1939.

While at Fort Simcoe, Kuykendall began collecting Indian legends and stories. In later years this project was to be expanded into an effort at collecting local history and reminiscences. Some of Kuykendall’s historical and ethnological writing can be found in The West Shore (1887) and the Oregon Historical Quarterly (1918). Although Kuykendall continued to collect some local and personal history until the mid-1920s, about 1905 the main object of his research became a genealogy and history of the Kuykendall Family in North American. The family history proved to be a large project and ultimately it involved 15 years of research and considerable travel. Eventually, Kuykendall was able to trace his ancestors to New York in 1650 and was able to establish the connections between the Kuykendalls, Coykendalls, Kirkendalls and other variant names. The results were published in 1919 in a 700 page volume printed by Kilham Stationery and Printing Company of Portland. Not satisfied with a simple genealogy, Kuykendall attempted to make the family history more completed by interspersing American social history in such a way as to provide the backdrop for the lives of the various generation of Kuykendalls. His effort, however, were not very successful and the result was an unconnected section of the book filled with several chapters of social history, some of it of rather legendary nature. Additionally the book contained long passages consisting of quotations of letters which Kuykendall received in response to inquiries for information. As he neither transferred the information from the letters to a narrative nor completed the attempted at social history, the book appears to have been published before it was complete, with large portions of it appearing more like notes than a completed text.

Disregarding the literary merit of the volume, it does contain considerable information about many plain Americans over a span of 250 years. Moreover, while it may not be the best of the lot, it is exemplary of the products coming out of the wave of genealogical activity in the United States in the early years of the 20th Century. The complete title is: History of the Kuykendall Family since its Settlement in Dutch New York in 1646, With Genealogy as Found in Early Dutch Church Records, State and Government Documents, Together With Sketches of Colonial Times, Old Log Cabin Days, Indian Wars, Pioneers Hardships, Social Customs, Dress and Mode of Living of the Early Forefathers (Portland, Ore.: Kilham Stationery and Printing Company, 1919).

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Scope and Contents note

The greater portion of the papers of George B. Kuykendall consist of notes, drafts, correspondence and photographs used in the preparation, publication, sale and distribution of the Kuykendall Family history. Additionally the collection contains Kuykendall’s personal correspondence for the years 1903-18. Also among his personal papers are several diaries which the chiefly concerned with travel, ca. 1900-1914.

The collection also contains drafts of approximately 200 essays, speeches or articles on religious, civic, moral and historical topics. Among the historical essays are several reminiscences of Kuykendall’s personal experiences in Oregon and Washington.

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Arrangement note

The papers are arranged in three series: personal papers; essays, speeches and compositions; and Kuykendall family history.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © ca. 1975

http://www.wsulibs.wsu.edu/masc
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610
509-335-6691
mascref@wsu.edu

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers of George Benson Kuykendall, physician of Pomeroy, Washington were donated to the Washington State University Library in 1949 by Dr. Kuykendall’s son, Judge Elgin V. Kuykendall.

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • United States. Bureau of Indian Affairs. Yakima Agency

Family Name(s)

  • Kuykendall family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Pomeroy (Wash.)--History

Occupation(s)

  • Physicians--Washington (State)--Pomeroy--Correspondence

Personal Name(s)

  • Kuykendall, Elgin Victor. waps
  • Kuykendall, George Benson, 1843-1931 --Archives

Subject(s)

  • Frontier and pioneer life--Washington (State)--Garfield County
  • Home and Family
  • Native Americans
  • Overland Journeys to the Northwestern United States
  • Overland journeys to the Pacific
  • Pacific Northwest History
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Box

Certificates, diplomas, medical licenses 1872-1905   8.0 items.

1

Mortgages, notes, account books 1890-1925   100 items.

1

Clipping scrapbooks re: G. B. Kuykendall, family members and close associates. Many are obituaries. 1885-1927   5.0 items.

1

Diaries and journals of eastern trips for medical training or family history research 1903-1914   10 items.

1

Personal correspondence 1903-1922   500 items.

2

Personal correspondence 1923-1931   500 items.

3

History of the Methodist Episcopal Church of Pomeray.   1

4

M. E. Church history notes and correspondence 1910   250 items.

4

Photographs used for M. E. Church history.   30 items.

4

Religious essays and speeches.   60 items.

4

Civic, scientific and moral essays and speeches.   100 items.

5

History essays 1900-1925 

5

The Pioneers’ Retrospect (poetry) 

5

Death of the Wisham Chief’s daughter 

5

Notes on Enoch’s Secrets of the Pacific 

5

Soft Breezes of Oregon (poetry) 

5

Some recollections of Southern Oregon experiences 

5

Addresses to the Garfield County Pioneer Association 1911-1920 

5

Pioneer reminiscences of other days in Garfield County 

5

Fort Simcoe recollections 

5

Incidents Occurring in Medical Practice at Fort Simcoe 

5

Reminiscences of Pioneer Medical Practice 

5

Epidemic of Eubro-Spinal Meningitis in 1888 

5

Pioneer Medical Experiences 

5

Bedbug Experiences 

5

Reminiscences of Home Life 

5

Trip From Fort Simcoe to San Francisco 

5

Reminiscences of Early Days at the Old Umpqua Academy 

5

Teaching the Indian Children by Means of Charts and Pictures 

5

Indian Customs and Legends (3 vols.) 

5

Indian Cemetery at Cascades 

5

Indian Subjects to write upon 

5

Copy of Letter Written to Rev. T. F. Royal, together with other reminiscences. Feb. 13, 1905 

5

Family history research, letters received 1907-1918 

Box

Alabama-Illinois   500.0 items.

6

Indiana-North Carolina   500.0 items.

7

New-York-Tennessee   500.0 items.

8

Texas-Wyoming   500.0 items.

9

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Family history research and sale, letters sent: 

Box

 1913-1916   500.0 items.

10

 1916-1919   500.0 items.

11

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Typescript transcripts of letters received re: family history, including some original letters and notes 1907-1918 

Box

Alabama-Pennsylvania   500.0 items.

12

Tennessee-Wyoming   400.0 items.

13

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Box

Clippings re: family history   250 items.

13

Notes and drafts for family history 1910-1918   1000 items.

14-15

Engravings from family history illustrations, with notes on captions.   100 items.

15

Photoprints and negatives collected for family history (plus contact prints, 12-80) 1850-1914 

Box

Scenes, mostly New York and West Virginia.   100.0 items.

16

Eastern members of Kuykendall Family   150.0 items.

16

Midwestern (including West Virginia) members of Kuykendall Family   100.0 items.

17

Southern members of Kuykendall Family   100.0 items.

17

Western members of Kuykendall Family   100.0 items.

17

Unidentified members of Kuykendall Family   75.0 items.

17

Photographs of George B. Kuykendall   25.0 items.

17

Photographs of Umpqua Academy 1856   8.0 items.

17

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Box

Correspondence re: Kuykendalls in WWI.   200 items.

18

Mailing lists.   7.0 items.

18

Testimonial letters re: family history 1919-1920   100 items.

19

Letters received re: sale and distribution of family history 1919-1925   350 items.

19

Genealogical charts. (oversize)   50 items.

20