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Knox College Library
Special Collections & Archives

2 E. South St.
Galesburg, IL 61401

Watson P. Bartlett
Manuscript Collection

Biographical Notes: Watson P. Bartlett (1896-1989) was born in Mendota, Illinois, and died there at the age of 92. Although he only attended Knox College from 1916-1917, he was a life-long student participating in radio and correspondence courses throughout his life studying Spanish, botany, history, economics and religion. Bartlett farmed in Lee County, near Mendota. He was a naturalist and an early environmentalist and was active in the Audubon Society and the Lee County Conservation District. He received an honorary degree from Illinois Valley Community College in 1989.

Scope Notes: The collection includes personal papers and photos of family, as well as personal financial records and business correspondence. Also included is Watson Bartlett’s personal correspondence from friends, family, research contacts, and material from local organizations in which he was active. Further there are the diaries of Watson Bartlett's wife, Rose Johnson, his father, Silas, and Bartlett himself. These diaries contain accounts of personal events, life at Knox College, farming activities, community happenings and many notations regarding weather and wildlife sightings. The Curator's Notes attached to this inventory give a more detailed assessment of the content. A substantial number of landscape photos and many slides of wildlife in Canada and the Midwest are part of the collection.

Collection range: 1882, 1904-1989
Collection size: 15 inches, plus 5 small boxes; oversized; boxed realia
Donor: Watson Bartlett estate