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Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church collection, 1940-2015

  • Coll 189
  • Collection
  • 1940 - 2015

The collection covers various aspects of the history of the church and of its leader, Rev. O.B. Williams, and his wife Willa Jackson Williams. It includes a variety of photographs, with a large percentage of the images relating to the various church groups, including choirs, youth groups, and ushers. A large collection of members’ memorial cards, the pastoral anniversaries of Rev. Williams, some bibles and hymnals (many annotated by Rev. Williams, including two dated 1867 and 1890), church financial records and meeting minutes, and a collection of materials from Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1961 visit are included. A small collection of the Williams’ personal photographs and ephemera can also be found in collection.

Vancouver Avenue First Baptist Church (Portland, Or.)

O.B. Williams anniversary party

The Vancouver Baptist Church congregation celebrated the 30th anniversary of O.B. Williams as pastor in 1975. Williams formed the congregation in 1945 in Burton Homes, Washington, and facilitated its permanent move to Albina in Portland. He served as an important community and civil rights leader throughout his tenure as pastor.

First Baptist Church of Burton Homes

The Vancouver Avenue Baptist Church began as the First Baptist Church of Burton Homes, a federal wartime housing project managed by the Vancouver Housing Authority (Washington state). Most of the people in this 1945 photo of an early service were employees of the Kaiser Shipyards. The church moved to the Bagley Downs housing project later that year, then to Vanport City in 1946, and finally to the Albina neighborhood in Portland after Vanport was flooded in 1948. The current building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its significance to the history of civil rights in Oregon.

Letter from Delazon Smith to Mary Shepherd Smith

Letter written by Delazon Smith to his wife, Mary Shepherd Smith on February 14, 1859. The letter announces the admission of Oregon as a state in the Union. It also includes an account of Smith drawing lots with Joseph Lane for the length of their senatorial terms.

Smith, Delazon

Lecture notes

Handwritten lecture notes describing birds and animals encountered while traveling around Oregon, including Crater Lake, Willamette Valley, and Rogue River.

Bohlman, Herman

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