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Abby Williams Hill Collection

Teaching and Learning

The Abby Williams Hill Collection documents the life and times of a female landscape artist and activist during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. The collection has the potential to support research across many different disciplines including history, English, art and art history, environmental studies, biology, African American studies, sociology and anthropology, and gender and queer studies.  Hill’s detailed diaries and correspondence provide a female perspective into significant issues that were effecting the nation as a whole, including the westward movement, African American and Native American rights, early childhood education, and the preservation of federal lands.  Her detailed observations of daily events coupled with her unique life experiences create a rich and varied resource for scholars and students.

We work with faculty to design and teach class sessions using the primary sources available in the Abby Williams Hill Collection. We also give presentations and participate in other outreach efforts on campus and in the community to promote knowledge of this valuable resource. Here are some examples of recent classes that used materials from the Hill Collection:

  • Studio art students looked at Hill’s sketchbooks and writings about her painting process, as well as several of her landscape paintings, seeking inspiration for their own artistic processes.
  • SSI-1 students viewed materials related to the National Park Service, including printed brochures, souvenir photographs, and Hill's own writings. They studied the documents in relation to how they construct the natural environment and encourage visitors to experience the parks in a specific way. The students learned about the differences between primary, secondary, and tertiary sources, and created an annotated bibliography based on topics they identified in the primary source materials.
  • SSI-2 students viewed and transcribed excerpts from Hill’s diaries, then created annotations for various topics in each diary entry using tertiary source material. Learning objectives included expanding the students’ awareness and understanding of the imaginative constructions of the American West and encouraging responsible representation and analysis of a primary text.

In June 2020, the Archives & Special Collections at the University of Puget Sound received a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) CARES grant to create a suite of digital teaching collections. Two of the collections use materials from the Abby Williams Hill papers and Abby Williams Hill Memorial Collection.

If you are interested in using materials from this collection in your class, please contact us. Materials from the archival collection, which include documents, photographs, and artifacts, must be viewed in the Archives & Special Collections in the Collins Memorial Library. Artwork from the Hill Memorial Collection, which includes paintings and drawings, must be viewed in the viewing room in Kittredge Hall.