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Willetta Matsen papers

Guide to the Willetta Matsen papers
undated, 1957-1963

Collection number: HMC-1154.
Creator: Matsen, Willetta
Title: Willetta Matsen papers.
Dates: undated, 1957-1963.
Volume of collection: 0.25 cubic feet.
Language of materials: Materials are primarily in English.
Collection summary: Papers and photographs of a long-time Alaskan librarian.

Biographical note:
Willetta Matsen (née Brien) was born in Corbin, Montana in 1904. She graduated from the University of Montana Library School with honors in 1931 and married Robert Matsen in 1934. Matsen first worked as the children’s librarian at the Deschutes County Library in Bend, Oregon, until she and her husband moved to Anchorage, Alaska in 1944. From 1945 to 1946, Matsen was involved in the set up of the Anchorage Public Library, which was originally a private collection at the city hall. She was also the city of Anchorage’s first full-time librarian. Matsen then served as a librarian at the Arctic Health Research Center from 1951 to 1959. In 1959, she was hired to establish a library for the new Alaska Methodist University (now Alaska Pacific University). Matsen was the head librarian at Alaska Methodist University until 1963, when she went on to establish the Alaskan regional library for the Federal Aviation Administration. She retired to Forest Grove, Oregon in 1965. Matsen returned to work from 1968 to 1972 as a science librarian at Portland State University. She died in 1990.

Collection description:
This collection contains materials relating to the opening of Alaska Methodist University and its library. The collection includes photographs and slides, annual library reports, and programs for the inauguration and opening ceremonies of the university. Correspondence regarding Willetta Matsen’s employment as a librarian at Alaska Methodist University, and materials relating to her professional development are also in the collection.

Arrangement: The collection is arranged in the following series:
Series 1: Alaska Methodist University library records; 1959-1963
Series 2: Employment correspondence; 1959-1963
Series 3: Professional papers; undated, 1957-1958

Digitized copies: Digital copies of collection material are not available online. For information about obtaining digital copies, please contact Archives and Special Collections.

Rights note: The Archives owns copyright to materials to which Willetta Matsen owned copyright. Copyright restrictions may apply to collection materials not produced by Willetta Matsen.

Preferred citation: Willetta Matsen papers, Archives and Special Collections, Consortium Library, University of Alaska Anchorage.

Works used in preparation of inventory:
The Oregonian (Portland Oregon). Obituary of Willetta Brien Matsen, January 4, 1991.

Related materials: A library circulation record from the years 1960-1964 can be found in APU-0035, Alaska Methodist University. Library circulation record.

Acquisition note: The collection was donated to the Archives by Willetta Matsen’s daughter, Carolyn Matsen Buan, in 2013.

Processing information: This collection was described by Veronica Denison in 2013.  Newspapers and clippings were removed (consult the Archives for a bibliography) and the Alaska Methodist University newspapers were removed and added to the Alaska Pacific University records.

Container list:
Series 1: Alaska Methodist University library records; 1959-1963. 0.22 cubic feet.
This series contains 38 black and white photographs, 16 colored slides, programs for the inauguration and opening ceremonies of the university, an invitation to the first annual commencement, and library reports to the President. The photographs, one of which is printed on canvas, depict the temporary administration building while the Alaska Methodist University campus was being built, various librarians and other employees of the library, the library study rooms and student lounges, as well students registering for classes. The photogaphs also depict the opening commencement for Alaska Methodist University and its library. Many of the photographs were taken by Ward Wells. The slides contain images used in a library orientation course and include various library books, library checkout cards, and subject cards.

Folder Description Dates
1 Library photographs 1959-1960
2 Inaugaration photographs 1960
3 Programs and invitation 1960
4 Library reports to the president 1960-1963
5 Library orientation slides 1962

Series 2: Employment correspondence; 1959-1963. 0.01 cubic feet
This series contains correspondence relating to Willetta Matsen’s employment as librarian at Alaska Methodist University, as well as her resignation letter. The series also includes a letter Matsen wrote to the McGraw-Hill Book Company informing them she is assuming responsibility for McGraw-Hill book sales in Alaska.

Folder Description Dates
6 Correspondence 1959-1963

Series 3: Professional papers; undated, 1957-1958. 0.02 cubic feet.
This series contains items relating to Matsen’s professional career. Included in this series are the preliminary pages of a thesis written by Jeannette Stewart titled “Library Service in Alaska: A Historical Study,” which Matsen was going to use for professional reference, and correspondence between Matsen and Stewart relating to the thesis. The series also contains a page on basic bookbinding and a pamphlet on the ALA standards for college libraries.

Folder Description Dates
7 Jeannette Stewart thesis and correspondence 1957-1958
8 Basic bookbinding, ALA standards for college libraries undated

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