Cage 4961

Homer E. Jenne

Papers, 1880-1884

Acquisition And Processing Information

This collection was purchased in 1974 from David L. Stidolph Associates, and it was processed in the same year as a vertical file (VF 2704) by Terry Abraham. In 2009 it was converted to a manuscript collection and reprocessed by Cheryl Gunselman, Manuscripts Librarian. In 2011, WSU student intern Hannah Robinson added detailed descriptions for the individual items in the collection.

Extent/Quantity Information

Number of containers: 2 folders

Linear feet of shelf space: .1


Very little biographical information is available about Homer Jenne. He was the son of Mr. and Mrs. M. C. Jenne, and was probably born in the late 1850s in Vermont. In the late 1870s the family migrated to Soquel, CA. Jenne traveled to San Francisco in 1880 to look for a teaching position, and also to investigate the patent and market potential for an invention. Instead of securing a teaching position, he was hired by A. L. Bancroft and Co. to represent the company as a book salesman in The Dalles, OR.

Collection Description

The collection consists of 36 letters from Homer Jenne to his family, mostly from The Dalles, OR, during the summer and fall of 1880, and one newspaper clipping. Unless otherwise specified, the letters are addressed to his family as a group, rather than to individuals.

Collection Arrangement

The items are arranged in a single chronological sequence.


Jenne, Homer E. -- Archives
Oregon -- Emigration and immigration -- Personal narratives
Booksellers and bookselling -- Oregon
Dalles (Or.) -- History -- Sources
Agriculture -- Oregon


This collection is open and available for research use.

Preferred Citation

The suggested citation for the collection is:

[Item Description]
Homer E. Jenne papers, 1880-1884
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Washington State University Libraries
Pullman, WA


Materials are in English.

Container List:

Box Folder Description
1 1 Newspaper clipping, circa 1879, about going to the mines in eastern Oregon.
  2 Letter, Thursday eve [undated], San Francisco, CA. This letter describes Homer Jenne's stay in San Francisco. He seeks out a patent agent and also meets with A. L. Bancroft who offers Jenne a job as a book salesman.
  3 Letter, Friday evening [undated], San Francisco. In this letter Jenne writes about meeting with a patent agent who encourages Jenne to patent his invention, an interest indicator. Jenne meets with Bancroft again accepting a job as a book seller in The Dalles, OR. Jenne mentions his travel plans as well as prices of various trade goods.
  4 Letter, Tuesday [no date], at Disappointment Cape. Jenne writes from a ship anchored off Disappointment Cape, near Astoria, OR. He describes the sea journey from San Francisco. Jenne also describes the bay near Disappointment Cape and the city of Portland, OR.
  5 Letter, Thursday [1880 July 15], The Dalles, OR. Jenne tells his family of his arrival in The Dalles.
  6 Letter, 1880 July 18, The Dalles. In this letter Jenne discusses the cost of board and his attempts at book selling. He also writes about land for sale near The Dalles.
  7 Letter, 1880 July 19, The Dalles. Jenne writes of book selling and the profit he is gaining, and describes the influx of new settlers and increased building in The Dalles.
  8 Letter, 1880 July 22, The Dalles. Jenne describes very high Columbia River waters and Mt. Hood. He also discusses apple, pear, and wheat farming. Jenne writes about his book selling and his profits.
  9 Letter, 1880 July 24, The Dalles. In this letter Jenne writes about land for sale in Walla Walla, Washington Territory that is good for peach farming. He considers buying a horse and also meets an engineer who informs him about farmland in British Columbia.
  10 Letter, 1880 July 26, The Dalles. Jenne describes Indians with painted faces and long black hair, riding on horseback. He also writes of horse prices.
  11 Letter, 1880 July 31, The Dalles. Jenne writes about meeting new people. There are now five other book sellers in town. He also receives word from San Francisco that his invention is patentable.
  12 Letter, [1880] August 3, The Dalles. Jenne meets with a retired Baptist minister and they discuss sheep herding costs and potential profits.
  13 Letter, 1880 August 8, The Dalles. This letter was addressed specifically to Jenne's brother Ned, rather than to the entire family. He describes The Dalles in great detail, mentioning the 45 saloons, the wharf, and the railroads to Celilo, OR and Walla Walla, Washington Territory (W.T.). He also describes Indians bringing their ponies across the river in ferry boats and writes about the equipment the Indians use to ride horses. He also discusses horse prices, cattle ranching, and sheep ranching, comparing relative costs and potential profit.
  14 Letter, [1880 August 8], The Dalles. Jenne inquires after his family's health in a very brief letter.
  15 Letter, 1880 August 12, The Dalles. Jenne writes about book selling in detail. He also discusses wheat farming and fruit farming.
  16 Letter, 1880 August 15, The Dalles. Jenne describes the outskirts of town and the potential of the land for wheat and corn farming. He presents his plan to travel across the Columbia River to Goldendale, W.T.
  17 Letter, [1880] August 16, Goldendale, W.T. Jenne writes of crossing the Columbia River and arriving in Washington Territory where the land is very rocky and rough. He describes grass fields and land for sheep herding. He sees the Klickitat River and Mt. Adams. He also writes about prices of farmland around Goldendale.
  18 Letter, 1880 August 19, Goldendale, W.T. In this letter Jenne writes that the people of Goldendale are very pleasant, are grain farmers, and that the town had grown to a large size in just three years. Jenne also visits more farmland around Goldendale.
  19 Letter, 1880 August 26, Lone Rock, OR. Jenne describes hurricane force winds on the Columbia River. He travels around Lone Rock describing the land and his bookselling work.
  20 Letter, 1880 September 9, The Dalles. Jenne writes his family about contracting the measles. He plans to travel to Walla Walla soon and also mentions traveling through Celilo, OR.
  21 Letter, 1880 September 12, The Dalles. Jenne stops at the Deschutes Bridge in Oregon which he names the most beautiful place in the world. He describes the landscape around Deschutes in great detail. In Celilo, Jenne describes freight and passengers traveling north on the railroad, and writes of his illness and also of his purchase of some Mark Twain books.
  22 Letter, 1880 September 14, The Dalles. Jenne inquires after his family in a brief note.
  23 Letter, 1880 September 16, The Dalles. Jenne meets a Presbyterian minister. He visits and describes land near The Dalles.
  24 Letter, 1880 September 30, The Dalles. Jenne writes about book selling and reassures his family of his improving health.
  25 Letter, 1880 October 3, The Dalles. Jenne writes about book selling.
  26 Letter, [1880] October 6, The Dalles. In this letter Jenne reassures his family he is in good health, but unfortunately has run out of money.
  27 Letter, 1880 October 10, The Dalles. Jenne writes of his plan to go to Celilo, OR, and then on to Walla Walla in Washington Territory.
  28 Letter, [1880] October 17, between Wallula and Umatilla. Jenne describes his journey by rail through the Columbia River Valley. He describes the landscape and geography detail.
  29 Letter, [1880] October 18, between Umatilla and Celilo. In this letter Jenne writes from aboard a steamboat, describing the town of Umatilla, OR, the Umatilla River, and the Umatilla Indian Reservation. He also writes about riding with a "crowd of Chinamen."
  30 Letter, 1880 October 20, Celilo. Jenne writes about the train ride from Celilo, OR, to The Dalles.
  31 Letter, 1880 October 22, The Dalles. Jenne discusses buying land near The Dalles.
  32 Letter, 1880 October 23, The Dalles. In this letter Jenne describes a farm for sale near The Dalles. He also writes of his plan to return to California and his family in a few days.
  33 Letter, 1881 March 16, Salinas, CA. In this letter Jenne writes about his life as a school teacher in Salinas, CA.
  34 Letter, 1881 March 19, Salinas, CA. Jenne describes his daily life as a school teacher.
  35 Letter, 1881 March 28, School House, [Salinas, CA]. Jenne writes about his daily life and shares local gossip of Salinas.
  36 Letter, 1884 May 14, Boston, MA. Jenne discusses manufacturing and distribution plans for his invention, the interest indicator.
  37 Letter, 1884 May 23, Boston, MA. Jenne writes about his business plans.
  38 Envelopes (7 items).
2   Supporting documentation for the collection including item list and acquisition information