Guide to the Paul Thaddeus Bockmier Papers 1850-1977
Cage 94

Summary Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries
Bockmier, Paul Thaddeus
Paul Thaddeus Bockmier Papers
Cage 94
Date [inclusive]
11.0 containers.
General Physical Description note
5 linear feet of shelf space.
Correspondence, reminiscences, family papers, photographs, essays, maps, and other printed materials on the Bockmier, Perry, and Ross families and the development of Whitman County. In addition, there are records of the Whitman County Tuberculosis Association and the Washington Water Power Company.

Preferred Citation note

[Item Description] Paul Thaddeus Bockmier Papers, 1850-1977

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

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Biographical/Historical note

Paul T. Bockmier was born in a log cabin on the banks of the Palouse River on September 15, 1891, the oldest child of Sarah Farnam Bockmier and Paul Thaddeus Bockmier, Sr. The Bockmiers were a prosperous pioneer family of Whitman County, Washington. His surviving brothers and sisters were Ralph, Carl, Waneta, Lettie and Charles. During his youth he worked with his father on local business interests, including a mining company. He acquired a basic knowledge of business at the same time. He was also an inventor and developed a type of drinking fountain. In 1918, he became an employee of The Washington Water Power Company. Throughout his long life (he died in Garfield in 1977), he was an avid collector of regional historical documents and artifacts. Bockmier was an amateur historian, and gained access to numerous papers, memoirs and photographs relevant to historical development of the Palouse. Many of these were directly related to his own family history, particularly his mother's family, the Perry-Ross family.

Bockmier began his association with the Washington Water Power Company (WWP) as an employee in 1918. During his long career, he rose to District Manager in Garfield and retired from that position in 1956. His Washington Water Power material provides insight into the introduction of electricity to the Palouse and the role it played in the development of the area.

Bockmier and his wife, Lou Ella, were active in a number of social and service organizations. One of the most important of these was the Whitman County Tuberculosis Association. In his role as historian, Bockmier compiled histories both of this organization and the Washington Water Power Company. He employed many of the materials he had collected to do so.

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Scope and Contents note

This collection consists of correspondence, reminiscences, family papers, photographs, essays, maps, and various printed materials on the Bockmier, Perry, and Ross families and the development of Whitman County, Washington. In addition, there are records of the Whitman County Tuberculosis Association and the Washington Water Power Company.

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Arrangement note

The Paul T. Bockmier papers have been arranged in five groups or series: Bockmier Family papers; Perry-Ross Family Papers; materials on Whitman County history; papers of the Whitman County Tuberculosis Association; and records of the Washington Water Power Company. Photographs, family documents, family histories, regional historical pamphlets, business papers and correspondence, financial papers, maps, and brochures make up the bulk of the papers. The arrangement is an arbitrary topical arrangement, as the records were in no recognizable order when received.

The second accession of Bockmier's papers was added to this collection as a sixth series. These papers consist of correspondence, business records such as bank statements, and records of invention. The papers are arranged by type of material.

Series 1: Bockmier Papers, 1880-1965

Series 2: Perry-Ross Family Papers, 1870-1920

Series 3: Whitman County History 1879-1967

Series 4: Whitman County Tuberculosis Association Records 1917-1961

Series 5: Washington Water Power Company Papers 1919-1956

Series 6: Additional Papers

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Administrative Information

Publication Information

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries © 1978
Terrell Library
P.O. Box 645610
Pullman, WA, 99164-5610

Conditions Governing Access note

This collection is open for research use.

Immediate Source of Acquisition note

Paul T. Bockmier Papers donated his papers to the Washington State University Libraries between 1959 and 1977 (MS 1977-41).

Additional papers of Paul Bockmier were donated to the Washington State University Libraries in 1992 (accession MS 1992-61) by the Latah County Historical Society. The papers had been left with the Society by an anonymous donor.

Processing Information note

The first accession of this collection (MS 1977-41) was processed and arranged in February and March, 1978 by Catherine F. Feher. The second accession (MS 1992-61) was processed and added to this collection in February and March of 1993 by Sarah Barber-Braun.

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Related Materials

Separated Materials note

One printed map, "Diminished Colville Indian Reservation" (south half) published by Clair Hunt, circa 1914, was transferred to the Historic Map Collection (SC 1).

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Controlled Access Headings

Corporate Name(s)

  • Washington Water Power Company -- History
  • Whitman County Tuberculosis Association

Family Name(s)

  • Bockmier family
  • Perry family
  • Ross family

Geographic Name(s)

  • Garfield (Wash.) -- History
  • Whitman County (Wash.) -- History

Personal Name(s)

  • Bockmier, Paul T., 1891-1977. --Archives


  • Irrigation
  • Maps
  • Medicine and Health
  • Pacific Northwest History
  • Public Utilities
  • Tuberculosis -- Washington (State) -- Whitman County
  • Washington (State)

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Collection Inventory

Series 1: Bockmier Papers, 1880-1965 


Correspondence: Business and personal correspondence of P. T. and Lou Ella Bockmier, 1923-1949   40.0 items.

1 / 1.1-1.2

Financial: Business receipts and ledgers, 1910-1941   20.0 items.

1 / 2

Palouse Choral Society Records, 

1 / 2

Investment records: Business papers, drillhole records, leases, stock certificates, stock holding reports, stock agreements of the Palouse River Coal and Development Company and related companies, 1913-1929   20.0 items.

1 / 3

Investment records: Prospectus reports, board members, stock reports, plats of Gold Creek Mining district and other records of investments of P. T. Bockmier, Sr., 1910-1933   15.0 items.

1 / 4

Membership Cards, 1919-1977   15.0 items.

1 / 5

Woodmen of the World: Pamphlets, financial statements, correspondence, 1942-1948   5.0 items.

1 / 6

Religious Affiliations and Fraternal Organizations: Church pamphlets, Masonic Information, Scottish Rite pamphlets, 1940-1950   20.0 items.

1 / 7

Photographs of P. T. Bockmier and J. D. Lewis, 1938-1965   7.0 items.

1 / 8

P. T. Bockmier's Patented Sanitary Drinking Fountain, 1918   2.0 items.

1 / 9

"South Half or Diminished Colville Indian Reservation" (pamphlet) by Clair Hunt, circa 1914   2.0 items.

1 / 9.1

Bockmier family History: news clippings, compiled history, 1885-1959   23.0 items.

1 / 10.1

Bockmier family photographs, 1894-1963   20 items.

1 / 10.2

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Series 2: Perry-Ross Family Papers, 1865-1965 


Perry-Ross Family pictures and papers, genealogies, traditions, photographs, compiled histories, newspaper clippings, 1865-1965   50.0 items.

1/1 / 11.1-11.3

Perry-Ross Family Scrapbook, compiled 1926   1.0 item.

2 / 12

Poetry and Personal History of Mrs. David (Fannie) Ross, compiled 1924   1.0 item.

2 / 13

Whitman County Pioneer Association Papers: Newspaper Clippings, compiled histories of association and past presidents, 1901-1965   1.0 item.

2 / 14

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Series 3: Whitman County History 


Miscellaneous History of Garfield and Environs: History of first public school in Garfield, and other papers (program, notes) donated by Emmett F. Dix and Mrs. Joy Matlock, 1879-1903   3.0 items.

2 / 15

Miscellaneous History of Garfield and Environs: Descriptions of early buildings, such as Flour Mill (1891), American Legion and record of its bylaws (1891), information about Garfield Christian Church (1907), history of Garfield Christian Church. 1890-1962   10.0 items.

2 / 16

Miscellaneous history of Garfield and Environs: Newspaper clippings, community promotional information and pamphlets, handbills, regional women's club handouts, 1920-1967   20.0 items.

2 / 17

Early Palouse: Palouse promotional papers, description of Palouse in 1889, 1889-1890   3.0 items.

2 / 18

Concerts and Cultural Activities: Concert programs, sheet music, Chautauqua announcements and information, 1910   15.0 items.

2 / 19

Handbills and Announcements: Market Day Dance (Odessa), Garfield Clean-up Week, Political announcements. 1940-1949   4.0 items.

2 / 20

Publications: Daughters of the American Revolution, Whitman County chapter, pamphlets on local industry, Almira High School Annual. 1919-1945   13.0 items.

2 / 21

Homestead Certificate, 1888   1.0 item.

2 / 22

Photographs of Early Whitman County, 1888-1920   17.0 items.

2 / 23

Photographs of Early Whitman County, 1888-1920   30.0 items.

2 / 24

Whitman County Agricultural Association: Miscellaneous papers and publications. 1943   2.0 items.

2 / 25

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Series 4: Whitman County Tuberculosis Association, 1917-1961 


History of the Whitman County Tuberculosis Association, 1917-1961. Compiled by P. T. and Lou Ella Bockmier, 1961   20.0 items.

3 / 26

Educational pamphlets and T.B. information, 1920-1961   20.0 items.

3 / 27

Educational pamphlets and T.B. information, advertisements for chest X-ray, 1920-1961.   20.0 items.

3 / 28.1

Washington Tuberculosis Association educational pamphlets and annual reports 

3 / 28.2

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Series 5: Washington Water Power, 1889-1956 


General History of Washington Water Power: Early history, history of WWP in Spokane and Inland Empire, The Illuminator (1949). 1889-1956   3.0 items.

4 / 29

WWP & Spokane United Railways: Political information, employee information, handouts and lessons. 1930-1945   14.0 items.

4 / 30

History of Electricity in the Palouse Region, 1893-1974 

4 / 31

History of WWP in the Garfield District: Brief history, substation papers, some business correspondence, plats of Garfield and Farmington, 1913, District Manager meeting notes, WWP sales program for 1946. 1889-1946   10.0 items.

4 / 32

WWP Time Books (Garfield, Odessa), 1939   2.0 items.

4 / 33

WWP Publications, Pamphlets and Information, 1925-1945   10.0 items.

4.1 / 34

WWP Photographs, 1900-1956   15.0 items.

4.1 / 35

(missing- 10-01) 

4.1 / 36

Publications of WWP Whitman County Meter Books, topographic maps of WWP districts, WWP Service Certificate, WWP Employee Convention  Photographs, 1923   20.0 items.

5 / 37

Preliminary inventories, 1968.   2.0 items.

5 / 38

[relocated to oversize] 

5 / 39

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Series 6: Additional Papers 


Correspondence: Bockmier, Carl W. USN 1904-1919 1917-1919 1911-1918 1916-1918 

6 / 40-44

Correspondence: Cousins 1906-1917. 

6.1 / 45

Book: Wilcox, Cornelius DeWitt:  War French, 1918. 

6.1 / 46

Letters from Kildow, Oscar  1908-1919. 

7 / 47

Letters from Friends 1908-1915. 

7 / 48

Letters from Friends 1916-1918. 

7 / 48.1

Letters from Friends 1918-1919. 

7 / 49

Greeting Cards. 

7 / 50

Announcements & Invitations. 

7 / 51-52

National Bank of Palouse checking account: cancelled checks, duplicate check stubs, 1913-1917 

7 / 53-56

Business Correspondence: Palouse Business College, Northwest Business College, State College of Washington, State Normal School, Standard Shorthand School, American School of Correspondence, Blair Business College, Eugene Business College, International Correspondence Schools, Spokane Expert School of Business. 1908-1918 

8 / 57

Business Correspondence: 1910-1917. 

8 / 58

Business Correspondence: 1918-1919. 

8 / 59

Business Correspondence: "The Sanitary Drinking Fountain," Paul T. Bockmier's invention, 1915-1919. 

8 / 60

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Series 7: Oversize Materials 


WWP grid blueprints, 1913. 


Photograph, Palouse City Roller Mills, 1960. 


Photographs of pioneer life, first transport for school children in Whitman County (1911), Garfield Choral Society (1909), Palouse Basketball Team (1910).   20 items.


WWP photographs; 1923, 1936, undated. 


Newspaper clipping about the Sanitary Drinking Fountain, Spokane Review, 11 March 1917. 


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