Guide to the Robert N. Cheetham Papers 1942-1968
Cage 114

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Cheetham, Robert N.
Robert N. Cheetham Papers
Cage 114
Date [inclusive]
2.0 containers.
General Physical Description note
1 linear foot of shelf space.
Correspondence, clippings, research notes, drafts, photographs, pamphlets, certificates and awards and other papers re: Sandpoint, Idaho, Northern Idaho, David Thompson, and Northwest history. Included is a recorded interview with Ethel Page Westwood, correspondence with James Michener, and Sandborn Family papers, 1864-1934.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description]. Cage 114, Robert N. Cheetham Papers . Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

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Biographical/Historical note

Robert N. Cheetham was born in 1896. He enlisted in the Navy in 1915 and served until 1946 when he retired with the rank of Lieutenant Commander. Following his naval career he was Chief of Medical Procurement for the United Nations Relief and Rehabilitation Administration until the termination of that organization in 1947. Subsequently, Cheetham joined the Rhode Island Department of Employment Security and married Lois Leigh Sanborn (1912-1967) of Newport, Rhode Island. Having developed a recreational interest in gems, Cheetham moved in 1952 to Sandpoint, Idaho, to pursue gem-stones in the field. Until his retirement in 1961 Cheetham was employed by the Idaho Employment Security Agency working with the handicapped. During this period and probably under the influence of his wife, a high-school English teacher, Cheetham began to develop his writing skills. He wrote news releases and reports for the ESA and began freelance work for the Sandpoint and Spokane newspapers, primarily local news stories. After his retirement from ESA he devoted more and more time to this. His friendship and correspondence with James Michener, another formal naval officer turned author, was also influential. In the late fifties he became active in the Bonner County Museum, helped organize the David Thompson Sesquicentennial Symposium and edited the proceedings of that symposium. This led him into historical research in Pacific Northwest history which he continued until his death in Moscow, Idaho, in 1968.

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Scope and Contents note

The papers consist of Cheetham's correspondence, clippings of his articles, research notes, drafts, photographs, pamphlets, certificates and awards and other papers which, although dating from Cheetham's Second World War experiences, are primarily concerned with his writing and research in Northern Idaho history and current events. Included also are correspondence, legal and financial papers of Mrs. Cheetham and the Sanborn Family of Rhode Island, 1864-1934.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1973
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use. Copyright restrictions apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

The papers of Robert N. Cheetham, journalist, were acquired by the Washington State University Library during the.years 1962-1967 from Mr. Cheetham.

Processing Information note

The Cheetham papers were initially processed in 1967 and reprocessed by Terry Abraham in 1973.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials note

Newspapers, pamphlets and other material collected by Cheetham have been removed from this collection for individual cataloging.

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Controlled Access Headings

Family Name(s)

  • Sanborn family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Idaho--History--Sources
  • Northwest, Pacific--History--Sources
  • Sandpoint (Idaho)--History--Sources

Personal Name(s)

  • Cheetham, Robert N. --Archives
  • Michener, James A. (James Albert), 1907-
  • Thompson, David, 1770-1857
  • Westwood, Ethel Page, 1875-1964


  • Expeditions and Adventure
  • Idaho
  • Pacific Northwest History

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Collection Inventory


Correspondence, certificates, awards, photographs, clippings and other papers 1941-1961 

1 / 1

Correspondence 1947-1962 

1 / 2

Correspondence 1963-1966 

1 / 3

David Thompson Sesquicentennial Symposium. Edited by Robert N. Cheetham. Sandpoint, Idaho. Bonner County Museum 1960   56 p. illus.

1 / 4

David Thompson Sesquicentennial Symposium. Correspondence, drafts, clippings and other papers 1958-1960 

1 / 5

Donor file 1961-1968 

1 / 6

Clippings 1950-1962 

1 / 7

Clippings 1953-1962 

2 / 8

Correspondence, research notes, drafts, photographs and clippings for articles on citenzenship ceremony, Sandpoint High School, Boyd A. Martin, and Mrs. O.B. Porter. 1961-1962 

2 / 9

Correspondence, research notes, drafts, photographs, and clippings on Harry Tracy, the Flathead Valley, FBI National Academy, Chief Joseph, James Strang, and Bison. 1957-1963 

2 / 10

Correspondence, research notes, drafts, photographs and clippings for article on L.V. McWhorter and Chief Joseph. 1963-1964 

2 / 11

Correspondence, drafts, and photographs for articles on Edward J. Elliott, early steamboats on Lake Pend Oreille. 1956 

2 / 12

Correspondence, notes, drafts, clippings and photographs on Northern Idaho. 1958-1968 

2 / 13

Christmas in Moscow. Correspondence, notes, drafts, clippings and photographs 1964 

2 / 14

Correspondence, notes, drafts, and photographs for article on Idaho National Guard. 1964-1965 

2 / 15

Interview of Dr. Ethel Page Westwood, pioneer Sandpoint Physician, by Robert N. Cheetham, Sandpoint, Idaho Phono tape: approx. 30 min. 7 1/2 rps. 1/2 track monaural. Also clippings. 28-Oct-58 

2 / 16

Sanborn Family Papers. Correspondence, certificates, photographs, legal and financial papers, geneology, and other printed material of Mrs. Cheetham's personal and family papers, Newport, Rhode Island 1864-1934 

2 / 17