Graduation Year


Date of Thesis Acceptance

Spring 5-10-2017

Major Department or Program



Nina E. Lerman


The history of Marcus and Narcissa Whitman as known by modern historians is not the same history known and deeply held as true by the community built around their place of work. While modern historians usually see the work of the missionaries and their ultimate death as a rather small event on the grander historical plane—two failed missionaries who were killed by the people they were trying to save—the local community of Walla Walla has kept the story deeply ingrained in the hearts and public histories of the area. This project seeks to tell the history of how the Whitmans have been commemorated, and how their story has been told by historians, retold by public officials, and memorialized by the Walla Walla community since the 1847 Tragedy. The way this narrative has been shaped and changed has had a significant impact on the Walla Walla community, and as such the narrative itself needs to have its history told.

Page Count


Subject Headings

Marcus Whitman (1802-1847), Narcissa Prentiss Whitman (1808-1847), Walla Walla (Wash.), Oregon National Historic Trail, West (U.S.), Waiilatpu Mission (Wash.), Native Americans, Cayuse Indians Missionaries, Confederated Tribes of the Umitilla Reservation, Oregon, Whitman Massacre (1847), Whitman College 2017 -- Dissertation collection -- History Department

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Public Accessible Thesis

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This is the second, corrected upload of this thesis.

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