Guide to the Butler Family Papers 1841-1958
Cage 189

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Butler Family Papers
Cage 189
Date [inclusive]
1.0 box
General Physical Description note
.5 feet of linear shelf space
Collection includes clippings, photographs, correspondence, and other papers relating primarily to the Butler family, as well as some materials on the Meeds family. Consists of a scrapbook of photographs and mementos documenting Zella Elvira Bisbee Butler's college experiences at Washington State College, 1901-1904, and her Golden Graduate weekend (fifty year reunion) in 1954.

Preferred Citation note

Butler Family Papers, circa 1841-1958

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections Washington State University Libraries Pullman, WA

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Biographical/Historical note

John Newton Butler (1841-1923) was born near Cincinnati, Ohio to Isaac Newton Butler (circa 1805-1882) and Nancy Gibson Butler (circa 1815-1850). During the American Civil War Butler enlisted for a three year period and was assigned to Company G 39th, Ohio Infantry. While serving in the US Army, Butler was under the command of General Grant with the western army, and was wounded on July 4, 1864 during General Sherman's famous march to the sea.

Butler then returned home and married Jennie Dickey (1844 -1911) on December 24, 1867. They had four children who lived to adulthood: Cora A. Butler Gage (1869-1958), Frank G. Butler ( -1944), John Butler (1872 -1896), and Alfred Dickey Butler (1878-1941). John Butler taught classes in Eugene, Oregon for a short period of time before relocating his family to a farm in Spokane, Washington in 1877. Between 1900 and1906, he served as a County Commissioner of Spokane County, Washington. Following his wife's death in 1911, Butler remarried in 1914 to Rebecca J. Brown.

Cora A. Butler Gage (1869-1958) graduated from Cheney State Normal School and began a teaching career. She taught in Honolulu, Hawaii for five years before moving to the State of Washington. She married Andrew J. Gage (1861-1951) and served as principal of the Garden Springs Elementary School in Spokane, Washington.

Alfred Dickey Butler (1878-1941) graduated from Spokane High School and attended Washington State College, where he earned his degree in civil engineering. He worked for the Great Northern Railway engineering department before becoming the Spokane City Engineer, a position he held for 24 years. He was married to Zella Elvira Bisbee Butler (1881-1941) who also attended Washington State College, 1901-1904.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of correspondence, clippings, photographs, certificates, and other papers of the Butler Family, including Civil War reminiscences of John Newton Butler, pioneer reminiscences of Cora A. Butler Gage, genealogy of the Meeds family, historical materials on the Methodist Church in Spokane, Washington compiled by Zella Elvira Bisbee Butler, and a scrapbook, created by Zella Butler, of photographs and mementos from her student days at Washington State University, 1901-1904.

The scrapbook assembled by Zella Butler contains photographs of WSU's campus, clubs, teams, etc. There are two student handbooks, dating 1902-1904. Also includes memorabilia from Zella Butler's Golden Grad weekend in 1954.

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Arrangement note

This collection is arranged in a single series with the scrapbook located at the end of the series.

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries 2013
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open and available for research use.

Conditions Governing Use note

Copyright restrictions apply.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

This collection was donated to the Washington State University Libraries circa 1966 by Alfred and Ava Butler. Alfred Butler was John Newton Butler's grandson.

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Related Materials

Related Archival Materials note

Cora A. Butler Papers, 1905-1927 (Cage 3063).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Washington State University -- Miscellanea

Family Name(s)

  • Butler family
  • Mead family

Geographic Name(s)

  • United States -- History -- Civil War, 1861-1865 -- Personal narratives


  • Colleges and Universities
  • Methodists -- Washington (State) -- Spokane -- History -- Sources
  • Military
  • Photographs
  • Religion
  • Scrapbooks
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Box Folder

Butler family papers: obituaries, clippings, composition book, marriage license, deeds, army certificate, Daughters of the American Revolution certificate, etc. circa 1861-1958 

1 1

Meeds family genealogy undated 

1 2

Church papers: bulletins, history, clippings, photograph, etc. circa 1898-1943 

1 3

Photographs circa 1841-1946 

1 4