MS 52 - L. T. Eugene Ness Collection
|Title||MS 52 - L. T. Eugene Ness Collection|
The papers of L. T. Eugene Ness, an attorney from Paulding, Ohio, span from 1870-1940. The collection focuses on the years Ness represented Indians of California. Letters, printed material, and Indian publications illustrate the political situation under which the Indians lived and reflects their struggle to improve living, political, and social conditions. Government publications of hearings and proposed Federal legislation add insight into efforts to resolve their plight.
The Ness papers were donated to the Center for Archival Collections in November 1975 as part of the O. B. Workman collection. O. B. Workman was director of the Black Swamp Museum in Paulding, Ohio. The collection was donated by Paul Workman of Paulding, in his father's name. Property and literary rights have been dedicated to the public and duplication is permitted for the purpose of preservation and research. The register was prepared by David Friend, a graduate student, in partial fulfillment of course requirements for History 556 in May 1986, and revised by Marilyn Levinson, Curator of Manuscripts in March 1992.
L. T. Eugene Ness was born in Morganville, Kentucky in 1897. He attended Wittenberg University in Springfield, Ohio and received his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School in Ann Arbor. In 1929, he married Helen Straw of Paulding, Ohio in New York City. After their marriage, they settled in Springfield, where he was an attorney with the law firm of Malone and Ness.
In February 1934 Ness was selected by the Mission Indians of Southern California as their attorney at their regular meeting held in San Diego, California. He had been actively involved in Indian matters since the summer of 1933. From 1934 until 1937, Ness represented the Indians of Southern California in their Court of Claims case against the United States government and in other legal matters.
In 1937 Ness and his family moved to Paulding, Ohio, where he practiced law until moving to Florida in the 1950's. He and his wife had three children, Thomas, Charles, and Carol.
|Scope and Content|
The L. T. Eugene Ness papers primarily document relations between the Mission Indians of California and the United States government during the years 1934-1937. There is also information in the collection on the history of this relationship from the 1850's on, particularly centering on land issues and claims unresolved from the "Eighteen Lost Treaties". The major part of the collection consists of over 130 letters, which reveal the political conditions under which the Indians lived, and the efforts that were made to improve that situation. The Ness correspondence includes incoming and outgoing letters to and from Federal and California government officials, including the Commissioner of Indian Affairs, John Collier, and members of Congress, and letters to and by other lawyers representing the Indians, as well as Indian individuals and groups. The correspondence pertains to the El Capitan Grande Indian Reservation near San Diego, and the Agua Caliente Indian Reservation near Palm Springs, California.
The printed material was created by Indian groups as well as the Federal government. There are circulars from the American Indian Federation and Indians of California, Incorporated to their members dealing with issues related to the Wheeler-Howard Act, the campaign to remove John Collier as Commissioner for Indian Affairs, and statements of Indian rights under Citizenship. The Indian magazines also provide general information, but there are only eleven scattered issues of seven different titles, including California Indian News, The American Indian, Indian Truth, Bureaucracy a LaMode, American Indian Life, and The Indian Demands Defense. The United States government printed material includes hearings before Congressional Committees, such as the California Indians Jurisdictional Act, 1935 (S.1793); the California Indians Jurisdictional Act, 1937 (S.1651, S.1779); and the Palm Springs Band of Mission Indians, 1937 (S.1424, S.2589); bills and reports for S.1793, S.1424, as well as related House bills and reports. The clippings deal mostly with Commissioner of Indian Affairs John Collier, whom the Mission Indians opposed in regards to his perceived actions maintaining the Indians as "political wards."
Also included in the collection are maps of Palm Springs, San Diego County and City, and the Agua Caliente and Los Coyotes Indian Reservations of Southern California, as well as research notes. Included in these notes is a handwritten copy of an 1893 agreement between the United States government and the Yuma Indians of California which gave the Secretary of the Interior control over Yuma land and the abandoned Fort Yuma Military Reservation in order to set up the Yuma Indian Reservation.
MISCELLANEOUS PRINTED - INDIAN
MISCELLANEOUS PRINTED - GOVERNMENT
MAPS, CHARTS, DIAGRAMS, GRAPHS, LISTS, ETC.