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The Alvin M. and Betty Josephy Library of Western History and Culture


The Josephy Library is based on over 2000 books, journals, manuscripts, and artifacts from Josephy home libraries in Greenwich, Connecticut and Joseph, Oregon. It honors Alvin’s work as a historian of and advocate for American Indians, and Alvin and Betty’s commitment to literature, history, the arts, the West, and to the people of all colors and backgrounds who have lived in and loved the West.

The collection aims to be comprehensive with Josephy’s own writings and with material relating to Nez Perce and Columbia Plateau Indian and Northeast Oregon history, geography, and culture, and to relate that work to a broad understanding of the West. The main collection is not circulating, multiple copies of several books and periodicals—especially ones with Josephy’s work or of particular local interest—make up a small but growing lending library. It is cataloged through the SAGE Library system of Eastern Oregon libraries administered by Eastern Oregon University in La Grande— and go to Josephy Library under Wallowa County libraries to see currently cataloged materials.

Alvin Josephy was born in 1915 in New York. He went to school at Horace Mann and Harvard, worked as a screenwriter in Hollywood, print and radio journalist in New York, a WW II Marine Corps correspondent in the Pacific, editor at Time Magazine and American Heritage, and wrote a dozen books and hundreds of articles about Indian and Western history, including Patriot Chiefs, The Nez Perce Indians and the Opening of the Northwest, and 500 Nations. Josephy’s advocacy for Indians included work with Secretary of Interior Stewart Udall in the Kennedy Administration and serving as founding board chair of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian.

See a list of the library’s current collection of Josephy’s magazine articles: Alvin Josephy’s Magazine Articles

See a list of the library’s collection of western culture manuscripts: Manuscript Collection

See a list of the library’s collection of books available for check-out: Library Lending Shelf

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