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Douglas, Stella (Estella Jean), 1927-1993


Estella Jean Douglas was born in Salem, Oregon on January 21, 1927. Stella Douglas became inspired at age eleven by what she describes as “a flood of creative energy” that began her lifelong calling to be an artist. At age seventeen Douglas planned to enter a five-year degree program offered by Reed College with the Portland Art Museum School, but instead took the opportunity to join the Moral Re-Armament program. Douglas participated as a full time volunteer in MRA from 1945 to 1957, during which time she lived at MRA’s two main headquarters in Los Angeles and Mackinac Island, Michigan. Douglas also lived abroad with the program, mostly in France and England, but she reports going to five continents total in her time with MRA. Douglas described her experience with MRA as a “multi-cultural learning experience” in which her “global view of life in the world and the nature of humanness took form.” Both during and after her time with MRA, Douglas wrote many personal reflections and letters pertaining to her experience as a participant in MRA and her subsequent reflections on morality, religion, and human nature.

In the 1960s Douglas returned to the United States. She attended San Francisco Art Institute and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts in 1969. At the same time, Douglas also attained a degree in Educational Psychology from San Francisco State College. Douglas then went on to pursue a Master’s of Fine Arts in printmaking from the San Francisco Art Institute, graduating in 1971. During her time in school in San Francisco, Douglas describes her participation in the anti-war movement, black rights activism, psychedelia, and the neo-feminist movement. Upon graduating with her Master’s of Fine Arts, Douglas was offered a position in the art department of a midwest university, but upon learning of her father’s illness, returned to Salem, Oregon to care for him until his death.

From 1971 through 1984, Douglas dedicated her time to the care of sick family members, caring for her father, mother, and sister until their deaths. During this time Douglas worked various jobs, including work as a freelance writer and photographer for which she was published in several magazines including the Oregonian. Douglas was actively engaged in areas of the arts, community volunteerism, political, and social and environmental work, on which her freelance writing was focused. Among the specific causes that Douglas was involved with during this time, was the protection of the Oregon coastal environment, feminist and aging issues, and the nuclear weapons freeze movement. Realizing her passion and talent for both art and therapy, in 1986 Douglas applied for a Master’s in Art Therapy program at Marylhurst College. Douglas did not gain admission into the program but continued to pursue her interest in art therapy through volunteer work and internships. Douglas died in 1993 and is buried in Clackamas County, Oregon.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

Stella Douglas Files on Helen Blumenstiel

Identifier: WUA071
Overview The Stella Douglas files on Helen Blumenstiel contain exhibition notes, newspaper clippings, and photographs for an exhibition that was put on by the Bush Barn Art Center in 1976.
Dates: 1960-1976

Stella Douglas papers

Identifier: WUA111
Overview The Stella Douglas papers document the personal life and career of artist Stella Douglas from 1927 to 1993. This collection includes substantial documentation of Douglas’s involvement in the Moral Re-Armament Movement as well as personal writings and materials related to her work in community activism including the anti-war movement, black rights activism, psychedelia, and the neo-feminist movement. This collection also includes correspondence between Douglas and artist Helen Blumenstiel as...
Dates: 1912-2014; Majority of material found within 1927-1993