Stella Maris House collection, 1940-1973; bulk : 1960-1972

8 Years of Interracial Progress: 1953 Annual Report of the Urban League of Portland “Innocent Fun or Social Shame?” Flyer for MLK Portland visit The Case Against the Administration of the Housing Authority of Portland

Identity elements

Reference code

Mss 1585

Name and location of repository

Level of description



Stella Maris House collection, 1940-1973; bulk : 1960-1972


  • Bulk 1960-1974 (Creation)
  • 1940 - 1973 (Creation)


10.98 cubic feet (31 document cases)

Name of creator


Administrative history

The Stella Maris House, a lay Roman Catholic social justice group based in Portland, Oregon, was founded in 1951. Funded by charitable donations, the group maintained a small staff that included director Mary C. Rowland, Irene Chavin, and Jim Guinan. The group sought to enact change through close community involvement; consequently, it established headquarters inside neighborhoods it wished to serve. The group's Portland headquarters were located at 208 NE Weidler until the mid-1960s, when they moved to 3106 NE 11th.

The storefront facility soon branched out from the work of the Catholic Interracial Apostolate to include many educational and social causes such as education and childcare, urban renewal, and housing and employment equality. In cooperation with the Valley Migrant League, the Stella Maris House became particularly involved with improving the living conditions of migrant workers during the 1960s. The group worked with numerous additional organizations, including the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), Albina Citizen's War on Poverty Committee (ACWOPC), the Metropolitan Interfaith Commission on Race (MICOR), the Albina Neighborhood Council, the U.S. Office for Economic Opportunity (OEO), the National Urban League, and dozens of small, locally-based groups.

The Stella Maris House closed in the early 1970s.

Content and structure elements

Scope and content

Ranging in date from 1940 to 1973, the Stella Maris House Collection consists of printed material, correspondence, and administrative, financial, and legal records created and collected by the Portland, Oregon-based social justice group during the course of their work. The collection demonstrates the local evolution of social issues key to the history of the United States during the 1960s. Over a third of the archive's content is dedicated to Oregon's migrant labor rights movement, and it also features records documenting the area's civil rights movement, urban renewal projects, interstate highway infrastructure, and social welfare programs initiated by the Economic Opportunity Act.

The bulk of the collection consists of printed material created by a number of local and national organizations between 1960 and 1972, then collected by the Stella Maris House. This portion of the archive includes programs, reports, studies, surveys, correspondence, brochures, and flyers generated by civil rights, migrant rights, and peace movement groups. Items of note include the Albina Neighborhood Improvement Project's plans for urban redevelopment (Series B), an African-American employment survey conducted by the Metropolitan Interfaith Commission on Race (Series E), and records documenting the Housing Authority of Portland (Series I). The collection also features printed material created by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (Series E), the Valley Migrant League (Series J), and the United Farm Workers (Series J). Newspaper clippings that document events important to social justice movements constitute a substantial part of the collection.

A small but significant portion of the collection was created by the staff members of the Stella Maris House; it includes notes by the staff documenting the meetings of local groups. These meeting notes often provide remarkably candid insights into the workings of area groups. Additionally, Stella Maris House staff members also contributed group and program histories to the collection.

System of arrangement

This collection is arranged alphabetically in the following series:
Series A: ADC Association, 1961-1970
Series B: Albina, 1948-1973
Series C: Church-Community Action Program (C-CAP), 1965-1970
Series D: Civic groups, 1958-1970
Series E: Civil rights groups, 1940-1970
Series F: Education, 1946-1969
Series G: Employment, 1949-1968
Series H: Freeway relocation, 1958-1966
Series I: Housing, 1947-1969
Series J: Migrants, 1951-1970
Series K: Poverty, 1964-1970
Series L: Publications, 1957-1971

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Languages of the material

  • English

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Acquisition and appraisal elements

Custodial history

Immediate source of acquisition

Gift of the Stella Maris House, 1971

Appraisal, destruction and scheduling information


Related materials elements

Existence and location of originals

Existence and location of copies

Related archival materials

The Oregon Historical Society Research Library also holds the following related collections:
Valley Migrant League photographs collection, Org. Lot 74, Oregon Historical Research Library -

Valley Migrant League records, Coll 30, Oregon Historical Research Library -

Related descriptions

Notes element

General note

Online collection contains a selection of items from the full collection. More information about the full collection can be found here:

Specialized notes

  • Citation: Stella Maris House collection, Mss 1585, Oregon Historical Society Research Library

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