The Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum 132 Essex Street Salem, MA 01970 Phone: 978-745-9500 Fax: 978-531-1516
Salem Women's Indian Association (Salem, Mass.)
Salem Women's Indian Association
0.5 linear feet (1 box)
The Salem Women's Indian
Association records document this Salem, Massachusetts, organization.
Scope and Content Note
The Salem Women's Indian Association records document this Salem, Massachusetts,
organization. The collection contains the constitution, annual meeting reports,
financial reports and receipts, membership lists, correspondence, and material from
the National Women's Indian Association. Of particular interest is the mention of
speeches given to the society by Booker T. Washington and Native American poetess
Pauline Johnson. The collection also includes a photograph of a Nebraskan Native
American family, as well as a reprinted letter on Indian affairs written by George
The Salem Women's Indian Association was established on
June 7, 1885 as an auxiliary of the Women's National Indian Association. The goals
of both of these societies were to arouse popular sentiment to pressure the United
States government into allowing Native Americans the protection of the law and
freedom from oppression, and to contribute to both educational and missionary
efforts among the Indians. Officers included representatives from each of Salem's
churches. Annual membership cost one dollar, or ten dollars for life membership. Men
were allowed to become members, but not to hold office. The association's first
president was Mrs. Amos H. "Bessie" Johnson.
Among their efforts to sway public and political opinion, the association
published and distributed pamphlets, lobbied Congress, and placed articles in the
press to "promote the growth of right sentiment concerning our national duty to
Indians." They also raised funds to support the state organization's efforts to send
missionary teachers to the reservations and for legal aid by hosting large public
lectures, especially on the annual Fast Day in April, to educate the public about
the issues involved. Individual members hosted afternoon teas or "Reading Meetings"
to raise funds. They also sent packages of clothing, fabric, medicine, and
"Christmas cheer" to the reservation schools.
The associations had predicted that the "Indian problem" would be resolved by
1890. Declining membership and lack of resolution led to the dissolving of the Salem
Women's Indian Association in November 1908.
This collection is indexed under the following headings in Philcat. Researchers desiring materials about related topics, persons,
or places should search the catalog using these headings.
Washington, Booker T.,1856-1915
National Indian Association
Indians of North America
Women--Societies and clubs
Salem (Mass.)--Societies, etc.
Restrictions on Access
This collection is open for research use.
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in
writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex
Salem Women's Indian Association Records, MSS 203, Phillips Library, Peabody Essex
Museum, Salem, Mass.
This material was donated by Mrs. Francis Lee in June 1916.
Collection processed by Hope Foster, March 1986. Updated by Tamara Gaydos, December
The Salem Women's Indian Association records document this Salem, Massachusetts, organization.
National Indian Association; Salem (Mass.); Salem (Mass.)--Societies, etc.; Johnson, Pauline,1861-1913; Washington, Booker T.,1856-1915; Indians of North America; Missionaries; Societies; Women--Societies and clubs
Requests for permission to publish material from the collection must be submitted in writing to the Manuscript Librarian in the Phillips Library at the Peabody Essex Museum.