Some 42 boxes of notes, photos and memorabilia from prolific Pacific Northwest writer Ellis Lucia ’44 are now part of the Pacific University Archives.
A graduate of Jefferson High School in Portland, where he edited the student newspaper, Lucia was a member of Alpha Zeta Fraternity at Pacific University and served as editor of The Pacific Index, which earned national honors under his leadership.
After graduating, he became in intern in 1945 at the Washington County News-Times (now the Forest Grove News-Times), rising to editor by 1953. He later moved to Portland to become a freelance writer and photographer. His work was published in The New York Times, The Nation, The Washington Post, Life magazine and The Oregonian.
He also produced some 17 books and booklets related to Northwest history, including Tillamook Burn Country: A Pictorial History, The Big Woods: Logging and Lumbering and Klondike Kate, 1873-1957: The Life and Legend of Kitty Rockwell, The Queen of the Yukon.
Lucia was a meticulous writer, keeping copies of everything from notes to query letters to rejection letters, said Eva Guggemos, Pacific University archivist. He died Nov. 20, 2002, at age 80, and his wife, Elsie, recently donated his works to Pacific University.
His collection is a treasure trove for understanding how writing was done in the days before computers and online editing. It also provides a rich source of material on Pacific Northwest environmental history, including the Tillamook Burn and the conservation movement.
The Lucia Collection is open for research and classes. Anyone interested in seeing the material may contact the Pacific University Archives. ■
This story first appeared in the Spring 2014 issue of Pacific magazine. For more stories, visit pacificu.edu/magazine.