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Mary Lou Skinner Collection-Table of Contents

Scope and Content

Mary Lou Skinner served as a Health Education Consultant for the United States Public Health Service conducting a study of the Shoshone-Bannock tribes of the Fort Hall Reservation from February 1956 through June 1958. The purpose of this study was to facilitate acceptance of modern health care practices by these Native American peoples. Simultaneous studies were conducted on the Wind River Reservation among the Shoshone and Arapahoe and in Wyoming among the Shoshone of the Fort Duchesne Utes by other employees of the Public Health Service.

After completing the study July1, 1958, Mrs. Skinner compiled the information that she had gathered and submitted her final report, a copy of which is contained in this collection. After some discussion with Dr. Earl Swanson, a professor at the University, Mrs. Skinner donated this collection to Idaho State University - Special Collections in October of 1969. By her own admission, Mrs. Skinner had her secretary retype some of the documents and reports, but no mention was made of which documents were affected or if anything had been changed by her or her secretary.

At the time of donation, Mrs. Skinner made the stipulation that the information contained in the collection was to remain confidential, and that no names of the individuals discussed in her notes or reports would be used by anyone.

The Skinner Collection includes field notes, correspondence (1956-1958), reports, government publications relating to Native American health care, anthropological studies of the Shoshone-Bannock, Tribal Business Council minutes, newspaper and journal articles, and anecdotes that Mrs. Skinner either created or collected during her stay on the reservation. These documents range in age from 1909-1966, with the bulk of the collection dealing specifically with the 1956 to 1958 time period.

Correspondence between her fellow consultants in Wyoming and Utah, her superiors, employees of the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian Health Service, and Idaho State Health Service make up a majority of the correspondence contained in the collection. Other correspondence includes memoranda to members of the surrounding communities.

Field notes, formal reports, and quarterly reports make up another large portion of this collection. Skinner's daily encounters with government and tribal officials, along with individual contacts with tribal members are to subject of many of these reports.

Government publications, newspaper and journal articles, and anthropological reports combine to make up another segment of this collection. These served as historical or background information on the Shoshone-Bannock which Skinner used in her attempts to learn about these diverse people.

Mrs. Skinner retired from the Public Health Service on January 31, 1974 and remarried. A more complete biography of Mrs. Skinner is available in Special Collection records.

Last Modified: 02/08/2008 sc