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Stella Douglas papers

Identifier: WUA111

Scope and Contents

The Stella Douglas papers include materials that document Douglas’s personal life and careers as an art therapist and social activist from 1927-1993. Series I (Education and careers) contains class notes, Blue Book exams, papers, correspondence, and personal writings by Douglas from her time as a student at the San Francisco Art Institute and Marylhurst College. This series also includes patient notes, personal writings, and correspondence related to Douglas’s career as an art therapist. Series II (Correspondence) contains letters between Douglas and her family and friends. Series III (Moral Re-Armament) includes correspondence, personal writings, photographs, scrapbooks, Moral Re-Armament publications, address books, and newspaper clippings concerning Douglas’s involvement in this movement. Series IV (Community activism) contains newsletters, correspondence, and news articles written by Douglas concerning various community programs and volunteer organizations that she supported, including several LGBTQ organizations. Series V (Personal writings) contains personal reflections and a diary concerning politics, social activism, Moral Re-Armament, and other areas of interest to Douglas. Series VI (Family records) includes birth records for Douglas, a scrapbook of family photographs, and a copy of artist Helen Blumenstiel’s journal, who was a family friend.


  • 1912-2014
  • Majority of material found within 1927-1993


Language of Materials

Materials are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

This collection is open to researchers.

Conditions Governing Use

Library acts as “fair use” reproduction agent.

For further information, see the section on copyright in the Regulations and Procedures of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections.

Copyright Information: Before material from collections at Willamette University Archives and Special Collections may be quoted in print, or otherwise reproduced, in whole or in part, in any publication, permission must be obtained from (1) the owner of the physical property, and (2) the holder of the copyright. It is the particular responsibility of the researcher to obtain both sets of permission. Persons wishing to quote from materials in any collections held by University Archives and Special Collections should consult the University Archivist. Reproduction of any item must contain a complete citation to the original.

Biographical / Historical

Estella Jean Douglas was born in Salem, Oregon on January 21, 1927. At age eleven, Douglas was inspired by what she described as “a flood of creative energy” to begin her lifelong calling to be an artist. In 1944 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. She also lived London, England and Paris and Caux, France while in the program. 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.

During 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 Portland, 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 and was accepted to the Master’s in Art Therapy program at Marylhurst College. After graduation she applied for and got a job with Mental Health Services West in Portland, where she was working as an Art Therapist at the time of her death. Douglas died in 1993 and is buried in Clackamas County, Oregon.


4.75 Linear Feet (14 boxes)


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 well as Douglas family records from 1927 to 2014.


The Stella Douglas papers are arranged into seven series: I. Education and careers, II. Correspondence, III. Moral Re-Armament, IV. Community activism, V. Personal writings, VI. Family records, and VII. Library. Files are arranged in original order and in chronological order.

Physical Location

Mark O. Hatfield Library
Stella Douglas papers, 1927-1993
Finding aid processed by Jennifer L. Gehringer. The majority of the Stella Douglas papers on Moral Re-Armament processed by Clara Sims.
© 2019
Description rules
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.
Processed with funds provided by the National Historical Publications & Records Commission's (NHPRC) Access to Historical Records grant. Processing of the series Moral Re-Armament was sponsored by the Willamette University History Department.

Repository Details

Part of the Willamette University Archives and Special Collections Collection Descriptions

Mark O. Hatfield Library
900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 United States