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Zoa L. Swayne collection

Identifier: MS 0756

Scope and Contents

This collection contains research materials collected by Zoa Swayne and used as sources for her writings. Materials include correspondence, interviews, clippings, manuscripts, and copies of published books and articles. Also included are slides, photographs, maps and drawings. The collection includes tapes of interviews with Nez Perce Tribal members and others relating local history.

Zoa Swayne did extensive research with Nez Perce Tribal members so she could incorporate their history into the book "Do Them No Harm: Lewis and Clark: Among the Nez Perce." This book is an account of the meeting of Lewis and Clark with the Nez Perce Indians. The narrative is adapted from stories told by the Nez Perce that are interwoven with the account of the explorers. She also illustrated this book. Several versions of the manuscript are included as she rewrote it over the course of several years until it was published in 1990.

The collection also contains materials documenting her involvement in various historical and art organizations. Also included are interviews and research related to local history such as stories and reminiscences by local personalities, including Walter Sewell and Nez Perce tribal members. There are accounts including photographs of excursions on the Lewis and Clark Trail.


  • Creation: 1897 - 1998

Biographical / Historical

Zoa Lourana Swayne (1905-2000) was an artist, author and historian. She was born in Torrington, Wyoming to Raphael Leonard Shaw and Bertha May (Toman) Shaw. The family eventually settled on the Camas Prairie near Fairfield, Idaho. Zoa graduated from Gooding High School and attended Albion Normal School. She was employed as a teacher at several Idaho schools before attending the University of Idaho from which she graduated in1929. She married Samuel Swayne in 1934. She wrote and illustrated two books "Great Grandfather in the Honey Tree" (with Samuel Swayne) and "Do Them No Harm: Lewis and Clark Among the Nez Perce" an account of Lewis and Clark's travels through the Clearwater based on Nez Perce oral history and the journals of Lewis and Clark. The research for this book took over 50 years during which time she interviewed many Nez Perce Tribal members, developing strong personal relationships with many. Zoa helped start the Clearwater Memorial Library , the Clearwater Historical Society and the Clearwater Art Association. She was a member of the AAUW, the DAR, the Eastern Star and the Orofino/Peck Methodist Church.

Samuel F. Swayne was born in Ohio in 1907 and spent part of his childhood in Canada. After returning to the United States, he attended the University of Idaho where he received a law degree. He practiced law for 50 years in Orofino, Idaho where he also served as Clearwater County Prosecutor. He was the author of "Tales of the Clearwater" and co-author of "Great Grandfather in the Honey Tree."


12 Cubic Feet (9 record boxes, 1 flat box, oversize items in drawer in Special Collections.)

Language of Materials


North American Indian languages


The collection is arranged in eight series. Four paintings were transferred to the Idaho Historical Museum.

Series 1 (Box 1, Box 2/folder 1- 20):
Manuscripts - drafts, research notes, illustrations, final manuscript, publishing information, correspondence. This series contains multiple rewrites of the manuscript that was published in book form. There are also stories from the various informants that were interwoven into the narrative. Zoa Swayne illustrated the book and mockups of the illustrations are included in this series. Correspondence with Carol Ann Bates, editor and Caxton printers is included as well as other publishing information including contracts.

Series 2 (Box 2/folder 21- Folder 36, Box 3/folder 1-12):
Individuals - correspondence, research notes, interviews, writings Series two contains two folders of general correspondence with scholars, friends and Nez Perce Tribal members covering such topics as Lewis and Clark and general history topics of the area. The majority of the folders in this series are arranged alphabetically by individual name and include correspondence, interviews and writings by individuals such as Harou Aoki, Grace Jordan, C. Evans, Doug Marsh, Beatrice Miles, Alec Pinkham, Josiah Redwolf and Louis Shadduck. There are many stories narrated by Walter Sewell related to local history as well as a photo album of Lewis and Clark historic sites with his notations. There are several folders related to Harry and Ida Wheeler that include correspondence and Nez Perce tribal legends.

Series 3 (Box 3/folder 13-46, Box 5 flat box):
Subjects, research This series is arranged by subject and includes correspondence, clippings, research articles and accounts of trips. A substantial portion of the material deals with Lewis and Clark. This includes records of organizations dedicated to preserving historical sites such as Canoe Camp. Of particular interest are accounts of trips taken on the Lewis and Clark trail in 1944 and 1945.

Series 4 (Box 6/Folder 1-6):
Swayne, Samuel This includes Swayne family guest book and address book. A copy of the book Great- Grandfather in the Honey Tree by Sam and Zoa Swayne with illustrations by Zoa Swayne. A variety of materials related to Samuel Swayne’s legal practice, politics and citizenship.

Series 5 (Box 6/folder 7-23, Box 7):
Art – Zoa Swayne Drawings, paintings, sketchbooks

Series 6 (Box 8):
Photographs The photographs have been numbered and an inventory was prepared. In some cases there is more identification on the backs of the prints. The collection includes original prints as well as copies obtained from libraries and other sources. Some images were copied from the Bridwell album; James F. Bridwell came to Kamiah in 1899 and built the drug store. There are also images credited to E. Jane Gay and Charles Cole.

Series 7 (Box 9/originals, copies (2006); Box 10/.wav files, 38 CDs):
Sound recordings The original recordings are on reel to reel tapes and cassette tapes. The recordings were transferred to compact discs in 2006. In 2009 the recordings were converted to .wav computer files. Abstracts of the tapes are attached to the inventory.
oversize - flat file drawers

Series 8:
Maps, drawings, certificates

Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Idaho State Archives Manuscript Collections Repository

2205 Old Penitentiary Road
Boise ID 83712
(208) 334-2620