I have just completed my first processing project with the Plambeck Papers collection for the Oregon Multicultural Archives. This collection deals with former Oregon State University sociology professor, Hans Plambeck, and his research on ethnic groups in Oregon conducted in the mid-twentieth century. As I organized the material, created new folders, and constructed a box list, this collection became very intriguing. Plambeck’s research focuses on ethnic groups including African Americans, Germans, Hungarians, Indians, Japanese-Americans, Jewish, Koreans and Scandinavians—to name a few. Not only did he collect newspaper clippings, church pamphlets, interview notes, and personal correspondence, but he also archived student papers that recount personal stories of immigration and being children of immigrants.
Overall, this collection touches on topics such as cultural celebrations, religion, discrimination, and interracial connections. One issue that particularly stood out to me was the research material for Japanese Americans. Magazine and newspaper articles from 1943, soon after the attack on Pearl Harbor, show particularly racist comments and radical “solutions” to the question of Japanese Americans and internment camps. This highlights that much of the Plambeck’s materials holds particular weight for researchers of minorities and their treatment. Because of this and the range of topics and ethnicities covered, this proved to be a very interesting collection to begin my processing experience.
~Avery Sorensen, OMA student worker