Pages of History A selection of journals and diaries from the Mazama Library's manuscript collection

The Mazama Library and Historical Collections contains many journals and diaries. Presented here are several selections from our manuscript collection.

These journals and diaries document first ascents, expeditions, and members' wide-ranging travels. Through their writings, the reader gets to know the people behind their accomplishments. Many humorous and touching events fill the pages and are often more personal then their published accounts. We hope you enjoy these one-of-a-kind records from our vault.

Lt. O'Neil's Exploration of the Olympic Mountains.

Private Harry Fishers' journal of the 1890 Olympic Exploration Expedition.

In 1885, Lieutenant Joseph Patrick O'Neil, U.S. Army, led a small party of enlisted men and civilian scientists into Washington's Olympic Mountains. The expedition ended not long after when the Army redeployed O'Neil to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

In 1887 William G. Steel formed the Oregon Alpine Club, and O'Neil, recently back from Kansas, was elected club secretary. The OAC soon began advocating for a scientific expedition to the Olympics. The Army approved the trip, and O'Neil and Steel organized the Olympic Exploring Expedition. The Army provided the expedition with ten enlisted men and supplies, while the OAC provided four civilian scientists for the trip.

From July to October 1890, the expedition explored and mapped the region. In mid-September, the party split into thirds, with O'Neil heading southward to explore the valleys and rivers. Nelson Linsley and a party of six headed north to explore the mountains, while the remaining men headed south towards Grays Harbor. The three groups reunited in Hoquiam in early October to celebrate their accomplishment before disbanding.

The manuscript, "Lt. O'Neil's Exploration of the Olympic Mountains," was hand-written by Pvt. Harry Fisher (real name James B. Hanmore), a member of the 1890 expedition. The manuscript gives a detailed account of the journey from Pvt. Fisher's point of view. His writing style and descriptions are lively and often humorous.

The account was written with a dip pen and ink on tablet paper and included some simple pencil sketches. Will Steel later had the document hardbound in cloth-covered boards, with the following stamped in gold on the spine: Oregon Alpine Club Expedition into the Olympic Mountains, 1890, H. Fisher (Will G. Steel at the bottom of the spine).

Steel appears to have made some penciled corrections to the manuscript. Taped to the flyleaf is a leaflet titled "God," published by Will Steel in 1928.

An interesting side note to this collection, Harry Fisher was not a pseudonym used by James Henamore, but rather an assumed identity. In his book Men, Mules, and Mountains: Lieutenant O'Neil's Olympic Expeditions, Robert Wood details the events that led Henamore to adopt Harry Fisher's name.

Arthur H. Marshall Journals

The first man to ever stand on the highest point of the land in every state in the Union**

A.H. Marshall arrived in Portland in 1910 at the age of twenty-four. He found work with the railroad as a telegraph operator. On his days off, he began wandering around Portland's hills and went on his first official hike, according to him, with the Multnomah Club up Table Mountain. A month later, he joined a Mazama Local Walk up Beacon Rock.

In late July 1919, Marshall read about a Mazama climb of Mt Rainier in the Oregonian and decided to join, never dreaming that it would lead to so much. He summited Rainier on August 13, 1919, and decided then to reach the highest point in every state.

The four volumes of the Arthur H. Marshall Collection. Volume I covers 1886 thru June 5, 1931, Volume II covers June 7, 1931 thru 1938, Volume III covers 1939 thru 1945, and Volume IV covers 1946 thru 1950. Total number of original pages in all four volumes equals 2475.

Each volume contains three "preface" pages written by the donor Kenyon Rainier Stebbins and his brother.

A.H. Marshall, wearing his signature campaign hat, about to lead a Mazama Local Walk of Archer Mountain, May 27, 1928. Photo by Mike Hermann.

In all Marshall made, according to his own tally, 622 individual summits, 281 of which were solo climbs. According to John Scott, writing in We Climb High, Marshall

"never used a piton, a carabiner nor a rope rappel in his life. For this reason some of his ascents of hazardous rock peaks are truly remarkable."
Pages from Marshall's handwritten journal

Pete Parsons' 1924 Journal

Over 94 days, Pete Parsons, a Swedish immigrant who spoke and wrote English as a second language, trekked roughly 1,500 miles from the US Mexico border to Canada's boundary. In reality, the distance he traveled was considerably longer given he was setting his own trail. While it's true, he got a ride here and there, for the most part, he walked from Mexico to Canada, up the Continental Divide, without a formal trail and decades before anyone else. Was he the first? We may never know. Perhaps a band of Native Americans made the same trek during their seasonal migrations, or a fir trader came south following the ridgelines. Was he one of the earliest Westerns to make the trip, undoubtedly.

The unbound pages of Parsons' 1924 journal.
Pete Parsons at the US Canadian border, July 14, 1924.
Excerpts from Parsons' handwritten journal

Parsons' journal are all hand written, in pencil, on small sheets of paper roughly 3"x5". A studious note taker and amateur photographer, his journal is accompanied by over 100 images that document his trip.

While Parsons was never a Mazama, his collection of journals and photographs are unique to the history of outdoor recreation in the Pacific Northwest and beyond.

Marianna (Sinclair) Kearney's June 10, 1945 ascent of Mount Hood

Front cover of Marianne's 1945 Mt Hood climb diary.

For several decades, Marianne's watercolor paintings were a staple around the Mazamas. Her illustrations showed up in the Bulletin, the Annual, and on many a Trail Trips announcement. By far, her most famous work of art, among Mazama members, is her poster of the Mazama Lodge.

Marianne's painting the Mazama Log Lodge, 1947

However, her earliest work focused on the Mazamas is her 18-page, hand painted journal of her first climb of Mount Hood on June 10, 1945.

Excerpts from Marianne's 1945 Mt Hood climb

She captures all aspects of the climb, from the predawn start to the celebration of glissading back to camp after a successful climb.

Panels 11-15, showing climbers ascending Mount Hood, 1945.
Excerpt of Marianne's diary

The journal also contains a more traditional typed account, or as Marianne calls it, a "word picture" of the climb as well.

William Hackatt Diaries

Major William (Bill) D. Hackett, U.S. Army Retired, was born on October 12, 1918, in Bremerton, Washington, and was soon adopted by Fred and Lena Hackett. The family soon moved to Portland, where Bill attended Franklin High School. In 1933, at the age of 15, he climbed Mt Hood with his Boy Scout troop. Two years later, he made his own ice axe and graduated from the ranks of alpenstock climbers. He earned spending money during high school with a 25¢-per hour job at Gilbert Brothers, a wholesale electric supply store. At the end of each Saturday, he left at 5 p.m. to hitchhike or ride with a friend to Mt Hood. In winter, he slept at Mazama Lodge and skied. In summer, he climbed the mountain, amassing 50 ascents on 11 different routes by 1940. In 1936, he and Russ McJury made the first ascent of a variation of the Eliot Glacier Headwall.*

World War II swept Hackett into the US Army's 10th Mountain Division. He spent the summer of 1942 at Canada's Athabaska Glacier and another 18 months at Camp Hale, Colorado. He earned the rank of Second Lieutenant at Fort Benning, Georgia and promptly rejoined the 10th to engage in the Battle of Riva Ridge in Italy, one of the bloodiest sieges of the war.

The Army enabled Hackett to pursue his passion for mountaineering. As an army officer, he was assigned to Bradford Washburn's 1947 expedition to Mt McKinley (Denali), the fourth ascent of the peak. He had similar duty on Washburn's 1951 mapping expedition to Denali. In 1959, he climbed Cerro Anconcoqua, the highest point in South America. This distinguished him as the first person to reach the summits of the highest points of both North and South America, as well as the first North American to climb Aconcagua.

The twenty-three Hackett diaries span from 1939 through 1961 and document much of his military and climbing career.

All of Hackett's diaries are Pocket books of the "day'n'date" variety. All were commercially produced.

MS2006.002 William D. Hackett Collection

Hackett went on to climb the highest points in Africa, Australia, Europe, Japan, Korea, Canada, Mexico, and a hard-fought attempt on K2 in the Himalayas. He also reached both the North and South Poles and rode an ice-breaker through the Northwest Passage from the Pacific to Atlantic Oceans.

Excerpts from Hackett's diaries

Hackett's mountaineering accomplishments led him to join not only the Mazamas, but also the American Alpine Club, the Arctic Institute of North America, the American Polar Bear Society, the Scott Polar Research of Institute of Cambridge, England, and fellowships in both the American Geographical Society and the Explorers Club.

Phil Dean's McKinley Expedition Journal

In June and July of 1974, Phil Dean, along with Dwight West, Bob Wilson, and Mike Lancaster, climbed the South Buttress of Mt. McKinley (Denali) as part of a Mazama Expedition.

Phil Dean on the summit of McKinley (Denali) on July 17, 1974

Phil's diary of the expedition documents the days of bad weather they encountered, the ice cave they were forced to stay in when their tent failed, the books they read, and the endless games of poker they played.

Excerpt from Dean's diary; front cover image.

We hope you have enjoyed this presentation of a few of the journals and diaries held by the Mazama Library and Historical Collections. Interested in viewing these and other records in our collection? Contact Mathew Brock (library@mazamas.org) for more information.

*Excerpted and adapted from Hackett's Odyssey by Jack Grauer, 2013. **Contiguous 48 States. 

Created By
Mathew Brock


Mazama Library & Historical Collections; Mathew Brock