New and Updated Finding Aids for July and August

We completed or updated six finding aids in July and August 2018.

  • Two of the guides are updates to reflect current descriptive practice and incorporate additions to the collections
  • Two of the guides are for collections that were only minimally described and are now fully processed
  • Two of the guides are for University Publications (PUBS)

Finding aids that have been updated to reflect current descriptive practice and incorporate additions:   

President’s Commission on the Status of Women Records, 1971-2010 (RG 159)

These materials were generated and assembled by the President’s Commission on the Status of Women (PCOSW), an independent commission established in 1972 at Oregon State University with responsibility for advising the President and other administrators on issues of concern to women on campus.  The records in the collection document the activities of the Commission in its research and advisory role. 

E.E. Wilson Photographic Collection, circa 1855-1953 (P 101)

This collection consists of images of Wilson, a Corvallis native and Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) alum, as well as his family and friends, the OAC campus, Corvallis, and other locations around the Pacific Northwest.  The collection also includes images of the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco and photos of Siletz tribe members.  Digitized images from the E.E. Wilson Photographic Collection can be viewed in Oregon Digital.

Collections that were only minimally described:

Te May Ching Papers, 1947-1988 (MSS Ching)

This collection consists of teaching and research records created and assembled by Te May Tsou Ching, professor of seed physiology at Oregon State University from 1956-1988.   The materials document Ching’s career via correspondence; research materials including project files, laboratory notebooks, specimen photographs, and bibliographic records; teaching materials; administrative and programmatic records from the Crop Science Department; and records from her involvement in various professional activities and organizations.

Home Economics Club Records, 1937-1974 (MSS HomeEcClub)

These records document the activities and operations of the Oregon State University Home Economics Club.  The record are comprised of constitutions, correspondence, financial records, meeting minutes, reports, newsletters, materials from state and national organizations, and scrapbooks.

University Publications:  

Oregon State College Preview and Promotional Booklets, 1938-1960 (PUB 010-24j)

These annual publications provide a preview for incoming students and the new academic year and promote Oregon State College to potential new students.  All of the publications are available online in Oregon Digital.

Staff Newsletter, 1961-2009 (PUB 008-22a)

The Staff Newsletter consists of the weekly publication for Oregon State University faculty and staff published from 1961 through 2009 as The Staff NewsletterOSU This WeekOSU This Summer, and LIFE@OSU.  The newsletter includes articles, announcements and news of campus-wide interest.  The Faculty Senate minutes were published as an appendix to the newsletter during the 1960s and 1970s.  Most of the issues ofOSU This Week and OSU This Summer for 1987-2008 are available online in Oregon Digital.

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“Plywood Jungle: 20th Century Transformations of Tropical Hardwoods”

This post is contributed by Maddie Connolly, a SCARC Student Archivist, and a senior majoring in archaeology, and minoring in French and history. Her Honors thesis focuses on redware ceramics in medieval England that were excavated from a witch’s house!


brock1Dr. Emily Brock recently completed a two-month stint as resident scholar in the OSU Libraries. Brock came to OSU to conduct research in support of an upcoming book on the 20th century roots of the plywood industry. Her interest in the history of plywood originated in 2013 when she worked as a Fulbright scholar in the Philippines, where she observed the country’s significant involvement in plywood production and exportation. Her research was especially exciting for the Special Collections and Archives Research Center as she made use of several natural resources collections that have not otherwise been heavily used.

Brock’s research on the development of the plywood industry focuses on the American presence in Southeast Asia in the first half of the 20th century, and on the subsequent rise of American-style multinational corporations in the region. One specific focus is on the role that the international plywood industry plays in stripping away the natural context of harvested trees, thus encouraging apathy on the part of consumers towards the origins of source materials. This apathy in turn has worked to diminish reverence for the incredible biodiversity of Southeast Asian tropical hardwoods forests, an unusual turn in light of modern ecological awareness movements.

Timber production in Southeast Asia increased significantly following the diminishment of the presence in the Philippines at the onset of World War II. The timber industry of the era was one of the most lucrative in Southeast Asia, where most countries at the time were struggling economically following years of occupation by neo-colonial powers and, later, destruction wrought during the war. The need to clear agricultural lands for food production, much needed for war-torn countries, accelerated deforestation in the region.

During the war, plywood was developed and marketed as a cheaper alternative to expensive and inefficient traditional wood sources and also to metal resources that were scarce during the war years. Initial uses for plywood as a metal substitute included medical and military contexts including, for example, leg splints and instrument panels in motorboats, ships, and aircraft.

Lauan wood, a genus of tropical hardwood which makes up a significant portion of Southeast Asia’s tropical forests, was one of the most common types of wood used to produce plywood in the early years of the product’s development. Contemporary “lauan” plywood, despite being marketed as such, is not actually made of lauan wood because, like many tropical hardwoods indigenous to Southeast Asia, lauan species have become endangered as a result of the success of the plywood industry. That said, tropical hardwoods are favored for plywood production because they are cheap, there are no knots in the wood, and they do not have growth rings.

Plywood is composed of thin layers of wood held together by glue. It is considerably cheaper and more efficient to produce than are traditional wood products and it enables the use of scrap material, since the actual kinds of wood used in plywood production are less important to its functionality than are the number of layers and the types of glue used to create the product. Put differently, the material characteristics of plywood are not dependent on the species of wood used but rather on the production process. The combination of the international production line and the relative insignificance of wood types leads consumers to conceptualize plywood as distinct from its source materials. Consumers tend to prioritize indications of how plywood will behave over information about what makes it up.

The price and quality of plywood dropped as the industry expanded out of Japan and the Philippines into other regions of Southeast Asia, including Korea, Taiwan, and eventually Indonesia. Manufacturers began sneaking durian wood into the inner layers of their plywood, which became an issue because durian wood smells just as bad as it infamous fruit and, when used in building materials, the smell lingers and permeates the structure. This issue came to a head rather quickly as product came to be used in the construction of residential homes. Brock points out that problems of this sort are made possible as a result of the extreme disinterest of consumers toward the source materials used in plywood production. Indeed, the major draw of plywood is that one does not have to know exactly what it is made of to know how it will perform.


residentscholar_logoThe Resident Scholar Program supports researchers from around the world in their use of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center’s holdings. Applications to the program are accepted from January to April; more information can be found on the program website.

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World War Two and Transformations of Wood and Forests

This post is contributed by Maddie Connolly, a SCARC Student Archivist, and a senior majoring in archaeology, and minoring in French and history. Her Honors thesis focuses on redware ceramics in medieval England that were excavated from a witch’s house!


macicaKatie Macica recently became the 29th researcher to complete a tenure of work sponsored by the OSU Libraries Resident Scholar Program. Macica is a PhD candidate from Loyola University, Chicago.

Macica’s research focuses on the impact of World War II on regional industrialization. Specifically, she looks at how war-time industries coincided with and influenced local economies throughout the war as well as how policies and practices in place before the war affected the circumstances within which war-time industries were established and managed. She is particularly interested in the role and development of local Pacific Northwest industries throughout the war effort. To this end, she came to OSU to utilize maps and documents from SCARC’s collections that pertain to economic and industrial development during the first half of the twentieth century.

At the outbreak of World War II, the Pacific Northwest region of the United States was relatively isolated geographically from the war effort and from contemporary military and industrial centers of production. The region was home to a significant forestry and forest products economy, which Macica noted underwent a period of internal change at the start of the war, as characterized by a move toward sustainability practices and away from complete extraction. The start of the war came on the heels of the New Deal-era environmental movement which increased awareness about the impact of extractive industries like forestry, agriculture, and mining — the region’s major local economies at the time.

Initially, the forest products industry weakened as its workers were pulled by the draft or moved on to jobs in other industries that were considered more necessary for the war effort. By the end of the war, however, forest products from the Pacific Northwest were in use throughout the war zone. Macica’s research focuses on the shift of the Pacific Northwest forest products industry from relative insignificance to an indispensable source of production and resources for the war effort.

As the war dragged on and metal resources for aircraft, ships, and storage and housing facilities dwindled, the demand for forestry products increased. Wood was used in place of metal wherever possible, particularly in certain components of military aircraft and ships, and as molds, scaffolds, trusses and other construction materials. Its strong forestry economy enabled the Pacific Northwest to ultimately become a hub of shipbuilding and aircraft construction during the war, as easy access to plentiful forest products and to ample hydroelectric power from the Willamette and Columbia rivers facilitated military industry and sped the construction process. Wood products were also commonly used in place of metal in the construction of military storage facilities and housing for military workers.

In her resident scholar presentation, Macica emphasized, despite the enormous demand for Pacific Northwest forest products, the extraction of forest resources did not reach its peak during the war years. All-out exploitation was, for one, prohibited by the National Park Service, which refused to allow the destruction of national parks in order to harvest materials for the war industry. Environmental conservation efforts inherited from the New-Deal era also helped to limit the exploitation of national forests to supply the war effort.

Shipyards in Portland, Seattle, Tacoma and Vancouver, and aircraft production centers in Seattle made up the bulk of the wartime industrialization of the region. These industries were drawn to the region primarily because of its abundance of forest products, but also because local waterways were being harnessed to provide hydroelectric power and house shipyards.

Macica’s research indicates that wartime industries in the region literally laid the groundwork for continuing industrialization in the Pacific Northwest after the end of the war. The shipbuilding and aircraft construction industries relied on pre-existing local economies and natural resources, which enabled regional development to continue without interruption in the post-war years, since industrialization was not dependent on outside financial support or resources.


residentscholar_logoThe Resident Scholar Program provides research support for visiting scholars from around the world. New applications are accepted every year between January and April.  More information can be found here.

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Activism and Social Justice through the Archive

This post is contributed by Natalia Fernández, Curator and Archivist of the Oregon Multicultural Archives and OSU Queer Archives.  She was recently asked to speak at Emporia State University’s School of Library & Information Management (SLIM) graduation, which took place Sunday August 12, 2018 at the Oregon Health & Sciences University auditorium.


What was it like to be asked to be commencement speaker at Emporia’s School of Library & Information Management (SLIM) graduation ceremony?

It was such an honor to be asked to be a commencement speaker! I accepted the invitation almost immediately.

What inspired your message in the speech you gave?

My work and professional experiences inspired the message I gave in my speech. In preparation for writing the speech, I did my research of course. I listened to a number of commencement speeches and read articles regarding “what makes a good commencement speech.” The main themes that emerged were to be emotional/passionate, use humor if possible, and that personal stories make the best speeches. I also noticed that many speeches included some local references, and of course, a commencement speech typically has life advice and lessons learned. To include some local references, I asked the program director for some examples of the graduates’ accomplishments to share as part of the speech. In addition, I decided to focus the first part of my speech on the Emporia State professional values of service, leadership, integrity, and mentorship. I knew I wanted my ultimate message to be about activism and social justice within the profession, so to transition, I stated that the commonality between all of those professional values is action. I then shared my journey of activism and social justice throughout my career thus far, and reflected on words of wisdom expressed in a 2010 lecture by the archivist Randall Jimerson entitled “Archivists and the Call of Justice.” I wanted my speech to be a call to action to the new graduates; I concluded by stating, “I am archivist activist. When I look at you, I see fellow activists.”

What does social justice mean to you as an archivist?

In my speech I stated that in the journey toward social justice, as information professionals, we each have a role to play as part of the work that we do. One of the many beautiful aspects of our profession is that activism can take many forms. Through my work as an archivist, I collaborate with communities who have been traditionally marginalized, in both the historical record and in historiography. My contribution toward social justice is to assist communities in sharing their stories with the archive as a form of empowerment, a way in which community members can add their voice to the historical narrative. In addition, through my instruction, exhibit curation, and reference services, I have the power to highlight certain materials and assist patrons in discovering stories they might not otherwise have used. I am able to guide researchers, students, and community members to repurpose and reinterpret archival materials in new and interesting ways, and host community events to inform and share traditionally untold stories. I closed my speech by stating that it is incumbent upon all of us as information professionals to reflect upon our role and ask ourselves how we can be more pro-active to the cause of social justice as we serve, lead, and mentor others. When we fully commit ourselves to our professional values is when we can truly say that we are employing our power as information professionals, our expertise, and the love we have for our communities as we strive to promote a better society for all.

What role does mentorship play for you in your work as an archivist?

Mentorship is vital in our profession. I have been incredibly privileged to have an amazing support system of colleagues, both within the OSULP and beyond. In my speech I encouraged the graduates to open up as many opportunities as possible for others, and to build mentoring actions into their daily work. And, I reminded them that part of being an effective mentor is by they themselves having a network of mentors who can assist and guide them. Throughout all of our careers, we will always be both a mentor and a mentee. We will always have worthy experiences to share with others, and there will always be more to learn from others as well.

What do you remember about starting your career?  What do you think has had the greatest impact on your career?

When first starting my career (this job in fact), I remember feeling overwhelmed and having quite the case of imposter syndrome. For me, it was a combination of my amazing colleagues and the wonderful communities with whom I work that had the greatest impact on my career. I have learned, and continue to learn, so much from colleagues who have been generous with their time and who are willing to share their professional experiences with me. In my commitment to serving the communities with which I work, I always have to remember it is not about my intentions, it is about the impact that I have. In order to most effectively center my services on the community’s needs, I strive to ensure that community members direct me in how to best serve them.

What words of advice do you have for new archivists and librarians?

I have so many words! But I’ll be brief. My words of advice are to remember that in our commitment to being leaders in our profession and our communities, our job is to use our positions of power to be advocates for those who lack power. As information professionals, we have a lot of power as stewards and providers of information. I want to assure new archivists and librarians that they are qualified, ready, and capable – they are leaders and activists. And, while there will always be unknowns as part of our jobs, and life in general, one thing for sure is when starting a career as a librarian or archivist, it just the beginning of many amazing journeys that are yet to come!

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Exceptional Opportunities for Ambitious Young Women: Secretarial Science at Oregon State University

Rachel Lilley is the Public Services Assistant in SCARC, where she splits her time between providing front-line patron service in SCARC’s Reading Room, and assisting in the management, processing, and preservation of archival collections.


The School of Commerce – proclaims the promotional booklet The College Girl at O.A.C. – offers “training which leads to exceptional opportunities for ambitious young women.” Statistics gathered by the School bear out this claim: between 1917 and 1922, the number of women graduating from the School of Commerce had more than tripled – from 9 in 1917 to 33 in 1922 – testament to the “increasing importance of women in the business world.”

Women working on office equipment (HC0882)

Women working on office equipment (HC0882)

The four-year, curriculum was designed to “meet the needs of students who wish to prepare themselves for responsible secretarial positions or for such positions as office manager, assistants to public officials, and research assistants.” While courses preparing women for the “secretarial field” were the most popular, women could be trained for “positions in the baking world, advertising, business, and civil service work” as well. Early lower divisions course offerings included Stenography, Applied Stenography, Rational Typewriting (typing by touch), and a Reporters’ Course. By 1933, Office Procedure and Office Organization and Management had been added as requirements, and upper division courses included both a seminar in Secretarial Training, and something akin to a modern-day internship, in which students studied the “application of actual problems in college offices.”

School of Commerce class in Bexell Hall (P016)

School of Commerce class in Bexell Hall (P016)

At the height of the Second World War, Secretarial Science offerings had expanded again to include lower division courses in Typing of Army and Navy Correspondence and Forms, and Army and Navy Applied Stenography. To the upper division offerings were added Office Procedures of Army, Navy, and War Industries, Merchandising and Selling, and General Advertising. Training in Secretarial Science was seen as vital to the success of the war effort, and this was heavily emphasized in literature about the major / department.

Demonstrating new IBM machinces in OSC business office (P082)

Demonstrating new IBM machinces in OSC business office (P082)

According to the November 1941 issue of the Oregon Stater, in fact, “degree-granting departments such as education, forestry, pharmacy, science, and secretarial science have all felt the impact of the defense effort in one way or another.” In response, every effort was made to “encourage former students to return and complete their courses and to have new students start in these fields so that the future supply of technically trained men and women may be assured.”


Designed as a companion to the exhibit Women’s Words, Women’s Work: Spaces of Community, Change, Tradition, Resistance at Oregon State University, the exhibit Exceptional Opportunities for Ambitious Young Women: Secretarial Science at Oregon State University was researched, designed, and installed by Rachel Lilley, with gracious assistance from Anne Bahde and Tiah Edmunson-Morton.

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The Fight for Wilkinson Hall

Continuing in her work with the William Taubeneck papers, this post is contributed by SCARC student archivist Hannah Lawson, a chemistry major with a passion for art, conservation, and preserving history.


Wilkinson Hall, which resides on Orchard Avenue, is home to Oregon State University’s Department of Geosciences; the Geology and Geography programs. It was dedicated to William “Doc” Wilkinson, a former professor and chairman in the Department of Geology. It is the so called ‘phoenix’ of the Earth Sciences Department at OSU for good reason: the plans were struck down and halted time and time again, only to rise from the ashes due to the perseverance and passion of the Geosciences faculty.

In the 1940s and 50s, the Geology Department at Oregon State University was one of the most revered in the state. It began to languish in the late 1950s and early 60s. While other geology departments at other campuses were getting upgraded buildings and facilities, the department at Oregon State were being pushed and prodded into the smallest, most forgotten rooms on campus. William “Bill” Taubeneck, a geology professor at the time, described the geology facilities at Oregon State as “the most primitive in the West.” By the 1960s, the same facilities shared by 4 professors and 30 students in 1930 were now shared by 11 staff members and nearly 140 geology students.

Wilkinson Hall

Original designs for the Geosciences building from 1969

Wilkinson, along with Taubeneck and a few other members in the Geosciences faculty, began pushing for the construction of an Earth Sciences building in the 1960s. Both the Geography program and Geology program were in desperate need of defined spaces. The plans for this new Earth Sciences were revealed to the Geosciences Department in 1969. Bill Taubeneck was instantly dissatisfied with them. The original plans for this Earth Sciences building had no spaces for geology labs, and multiple ill-designed offices and classrooms. Taubeneck argued that there needed to be space for hundreds of rock specimen per student, as well as maps, photos, and fossils. Taubeneck also noted that poor facilities made it hard for Oregon State University to attract new geology professors and researchers, who could not conduct their research without a new building designated for the geosciences. A new Earth Sciences building would be integral for the future of geology at Oregon State. From that point on, Taubeneck was the chief crusader for the re-design, as well as the construction itself.

Several issues quickly arose, which postponed the development of building plans. Construction was continually put on hold by the State Emergency Board. The most devastating issue was the moratorium placed on all construction on Oregon state college campuses, which was placed by the State Legislature in March of 1970. The building was originally scheduled for construction in May of 1970. Oregon’s economy was both declining and inflating, which sharply increased the estimated cost of the proposed Earth Sciences building. Additionally, student riots across the state were causing property damage to campuses, which made legislatures hesitant to fund new buildings.

Hollis Dole, right, with Eldon GIlbert ("Oregon Stater," December 1975)

Hollis Dole, right, with Eldon Gilbert (“Oregon Stater,” December 1975)

Taubeneck was fortunate enough to have quality friends and associates in high places, which would benefit him in his fight for Wilkinson Hall. A particular ally was OSU alum Hollis Dole, who served as Assistant Secretary of the Interior for Mineral Resources. Hollis would ultimately act as a mediator between Taubeneck and influential legislators in Oregon’s government. A series of letters between Taubeneck and Dole show the collaboration and friendship between the two. Dole kept Taubeneck informed of hearings in Washington, as well as pressed his fellow politicians about the issue of the Earth Sciences building at OSU, while Taubeneck continued persuading at the grassroots level. Both pushed continuously for the Geology Department, a program they were equally invested in. In late 1970, Taubeneck brought Rep. Stafford Hansel and Sen. Lynn Newbry through a tour of the Geology facilities located in the Education Hall, Benton Annex, and the now demolished WWII Quonset hut, and how these spaces created tension for students and teachers, as they restricted access to supplies and laboratory equipment. In short – the Geology Department and its’ professors were unable to provide their students with the proper education in the buildings they were divided by and housed in. They needed a space specific for them and their unique needs. Hansel and Newbry assured Taubeneck that the building would begin construction in March the next year, but in February of 1971, Taubeneck was told by Dean Popovich that the proposed Earth Science building was a lost cause.

In a letter to Gov. Tom McCall, Taubeneck expressed the inadequate conditions of the Geosciences Department. McCall, a proponent of higher education and proper management of natural resources, was empathetic to the needs of Oregon State University’s geology and geography programs.  While the decision to vote upon and release the funds would ultimately be made by the Ways and Means Committee, having the governor’s approval was a large step forward for the fate of the Earth Sciences building. McCall mentioned to Taubeneck that a reduction of the estimated cost of the building construction would be necessary for the final approval.

William Donald Wilkinson (President's Office Photographs, 1947)

William Donald Wilkinson (President’s Office Photographs, 1947)

The obvious requirement for a new building motivated Taubeneck and the Geosciences Department to push even harder for state approval. The plans were redesigned with guidelines from the Geology Department (who were not initially consulted during the original plans) with downgraded fixtures and the removal of two floors. The final budget came several thousand dollars under budget, and was approved in May of 1971. Construction of the building began shortly thereafter in the following summer, and the building was completed in December of 1972. The dedication ceremony, which came two years later on April 20th, 1974, officially named the hall after “Doc” Wilkinson, whose dreams of a Geoscience building were finally realized, nearly 5 years after his death.

Hollis Dole was the main speaker at the dedication ceremony. He remarked in his speech, It’s a New World, “On this campus a new building rises to remind us that nothing stands still, that change and challenge are as much a part of life as breathing and eating. May we accept the changes and the challenges and go forward boldly to claim a better life in the future than any we have known in the past, and do to so with the confidence and spirit befitting the great nation we are.”

The entirety of Dole’s speech highlights the energy crisis in the United States during the 1970s. It parallels the story of Wilkinson Hall, which is fraught with the unpredictable nature of politics and bureaucracy. However, the fight for the Geoscience building shows us that it can only take a single, committed person to change the course of Oregon State University history. It shows us how far a professor will go for his field and his department. William Taubeneck was a man who truly cared about the education of his students, and is a prime example of excellence within Oregon State.

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In Our Care, Part 1

This first post of a two part series is contributed by Valeria Dávila Gronros, a digitization technician at the Digital Production Unit of the Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center.  She is an Argentinean photographer, filmmaker, and digital films restorer, about to obtain her BA in Cinema Studies by the Universidad del Cine of Buenos Aires. 


Getting started with film preservation: A rite of passage

Film preservation, or “the continuum of activities necessary to protect film for the future and share its content with the public,” is not only relatively new for libraries, museums, and archives, but also hard to implement. Hence, the fact that we are embracing these practices is a rite of passage for the Library, but also for myself.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

Inspecting a film on the rewinder

I have longed to get involved with the preservation of the Valley Library’s films since I started working at SCARC’s Digital Production Unit early in 2017. For me this was the natural course career-wise, considering my background in film and  in digital film restoration, but especially after being trained in film preservation at the “Film Preservation and Restoration School Latin America,” hosted by the International Federation of Film Archives (FIAF) and the Cinemateca y Archivo de la Imagen Nacional (CINAIN) in my home country, Argentina, days after my joining to the DPU. Now that we are embracing preservation practices with the “In Our Care” KOAC TV films project, I feel fortunate for being part and am deeply grateful to my supervisor Brian Davis, and SCARC’s director Larry Landis, for placing their trust in me for this task. And I hope for this project to be the foundation for future film preservation actions at the Library.

The “In Our Care” KOAC TV films preservation project

The “KOAC TV Films Collection” contains 96 acetate 16mm film reels produced by or for the “KOAC” TV station of Corvallis between 1947 and 1975. In the past few months, the Library has been considering digitizing the “In Our Care” television series, part of said collection, which contains 35 film reels from 1959 documenting Oregon’s prisons, hospitals, and schools for the handicapped and delinquent. An inspection of the films was necessary in order to know their features and physical condition, and to prepare them for eventual digitization. Once I was done with the inspection, it was decided to also clean, repair, and rehouse the films in a second stage of the project.

The inspection expectations

We knew some characteristics of the series before inspection, so this examination was expected to help us identify and document technical aspects, pictorial content, and physical condition in further detail.

From the technical standpoint, I expected to determine whether the films were positive, negative, or reversal; color or black and white; silent or sound. For sound films, I expected to identify whether they had magnetic or optical sound, and if optical, whether they had variable area or variable density sound recording. Also, I would try identify whether the elements were camera originals, duplicates, or prints.

From the damage and decay standpoint, I expected to ascertain physical damages and decay to detect films at risk and segregate them to avoid contamination. When stored properly, new films last hundreds of years. But when stored in poor conditions, they suffer chemical (“vinegar syndrome”) and biological (mold) decay. The “vinegar syndrome” appears as a reaction to humidity and produces a distinctive vinegary odor. Mold, which appears under warm, humid conditions, can irreversibly damage the film’s image layer. There is also mechanical decay (broken perforations, scratches), caused by negligent handling and projection, faulty equipment, and deficient repairs.

The inspection process and findings

For inspection I used low-tech tools available at the Library: a hand cranked rewind bench with split reels, and a light box with a magnifying loupe (10x) that I use to inspect photographic negatives before digitization.

Inspecting with loupe

Inspecting with loupe

Technical characteristics

Inspecting the film cans: These films were stored on boxes, horizontally and vertically disposed. Most cans were of metal, and some were rusty (Fig. 1). Other few were of polypropylene. Some cans contained just one film, while others two or three; some films were properly stored on cores, while others on reels (Fig. 2). Reels are intended for film projection, not for long-term preservation, so those last should be transferred to cores.

Rusty metal film can (Fig. 1); Film stored on a metal reel (Fig. 2).

Rusty metal film can (Fig. 1); Film stored on a metal reel (Fig. 2).

Inspecting the films on the rewinder: After viewing several feet of each film, both with a naked eye and using the loupe, I discovered this series contains a myriad of negative, positive, and reversal elements, with predominance of positives; B/W and color elements, with predominance of B/W; and silent and sound elements. Among the films carrying images only, some had their sound elements stored separately. Some films had been composed combining B/W with color, positives with reversals, and even silent with sound. Some examples:

Countdown leader on B/W Gevaert film stock; “KOAC TV” plaque on B/W Kodak film stock; Detail of “In Our Care” plaque on B/W Kodak film stock; Detail of B/W Kinescope (distorted shape due to the loupe).

Negative Films: Countdown leader on B/W Gevaert film stock; “KOAC TV” plaque on B/W Kodak film stock; Detail of “In Our Care” plaque on B/W Kodak film stock; Detail of B/W Kinescope (distorted shape due to the loupe).

Positive and reversal films: B/W positive on Dupont film stock; B/W duplicate on reversal film stock (note the perforations from previous film generations printed on the edges); Ansco color reversal; Kodachrome color reversal.

Positive and reversal films: B/W positive on Dupont film stock; B/W duplicate on reversal film stock (note the perforations from previous film generations printed on the edges); Ansco color reversal; Kodachrome color reversal.

Silent and sound films: Silent film (may have a sound record stored separately); Unilateral variable area sound track; Variable density sound track.

Silent and sound films: Silent film (may have a sound record stored separately); Unilateral variable area sound track; Variable density sound track.

During inspection I paid special attention to the film edges to differentiate between camera originals, duplicates, and prints. For instance, one can easily distinguish a positive from a reversal (both have positive images) because positives have clear edges while reversals have black edges. Camera negatives have equal density on the edges and in-between the image frames, while duplicates tend to have a lavender cast to it, and may have perforations from previous film generations printed on the edges. This way I was able to determine this series contains originals, duplicates, and prints on Kodak, Eastman, Dupont, Gevaert, and Ansco film stocks, being kinescopes and workprints the predominant elements in the collection.

Kinescopes

Kinescopes are filmed recordings of live television broadcasts, produced by the studios in the early times of broadcast TV to preserve programming for rebroadcast by other stations. Kines’s were most commonly distributed in 16mm B/W film for its lower cost, and given its poor image quality, they were largely replaced by videotapes after the 1970s.

Detail of a B/W kinescope negative, and as it would be seen as a positive image, with perceivable scan lines.

Detail of a B/W kinescope negative, and as it would be seen as a positive image, with perceivable scan lines.

Kines’s were largely purged during the transition to VHS, so finding them, even among a TV film collection, is valuable. Given they were recorded from a TV monitor, usual technical problems of kinescopes, such as scan lines, or a dark bar across the image, are distinctive features that can be very helpful when it comes to identifying them.

Detail of B/W kinescope negative, and as it would be seen as a positive image, with perceivable black band across the image.

Detail of B/W kinescope negative, and as it would be seen as a positive image, with perceivable black band across the image.

Workprints

More unusual to find, since they used to be discarded after serving their purpose, are workprints. Workprints are rough prints made from the original negative that is used by editors to make rough-cuts before intervening the original negative. Workprints can also be made from reversal film to avoid damaging the very original elements during the editing process. In this last case a copy from the reversal film is used as a workprint. Being heavily and careless handled, is usual for workprints to have tape splices between most scenes, scratches, fingerprints, dirt, tears, markings for future edits, fades, and black or blank leaders throughout the print. Some examples:

9.workprints-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Damage and decay

With a myriad of elements, comes a myriad of damages. The images below illustrate some common, and singular, damages I found in this series:

Warped perforations on one edge, possibly caused by faulty equipment; Dirt, and dirty splices, especially in the first feet of the films (in this sample it is also appreciable what seems to be color fading on the film edges); Orange dots on the image of a B/W film (I have seen photos of similar damage on B/W microfilm, known as “redox blemishes” or localized zones of silver corrosion); Image and perforation breakage.

Warped perforations on one edge, possibly caused by faulty equipment; Dirt, and dirty splices, especially in the first feet of the films (in this sample it is also appreciable what seems to be color fading on the film edges); Orange dots on the image of a B/W film (I have seen photos of similar damage on B/W microfilm, known as “redox blemishes” or localized zones of silver corrosion); Image and perforation breakage.

Distorted blank leaders at the beginning of the films, especially those not secured with tape, and old tape and glue residue were other pretty usual findings.

Documentation11.documentation-3

     

 

 

 

 

 

Documenting the information gathered during inspection help archivists make informed decisions and track any changes in the films condition over time. Therefore, after inspecting each film, I recorded my findings on a spreadsheet in the cloud. I also made photographic records, some of which I am using in this article.     

What is next?

In the second stage in this project we intend to dry-clean the films, repair broken perforations and splices, check shrinkage, transfer the films stored on reels to cores, and rehouse all films onto new polypropylene cans.

Stay tuned!

 

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Women’s Words, Women’s Work: Part Two

This is part two of a two-part series exploring the recently installed exhibit, “Women’s Words, Women’s Work.”  The exhibit will be on display through December 2018 and explores the social and cultural expectations that have framed women’s experiences on the Oregon State campus over 150 years.  The exhibit makes extensive use of SCARC’s manuscript, photograph and oral history collections.


titleWhat were some of the issues you encountered in finding a variety of materials and women to represent?

Rachel Lilley: We’re trying, as a University, to be more inclusive, but the evidence of exclusivity was a very challenging aspect of the creation of this exhibit. We tried not to “tokenize,” or represent 1940s-, 1960s-, 1990s-era  OSU as a more diverse place than it was, while at the same time highlighting the women of color, the LGBTQ+ persons, who were agents of change on campus. The source material wasn’t always a big help in that regard, as these women had either not made it into the historical record at all, or weren’t identified in a way that allowed us to tell their stories.

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: Well to put it plainly: there are a lot of white women in OSU’s history. So, finding women of color was a challenge, as was feeling like they were being included for reasons other than their race or ethnicity. That said, there were many times I was surprised to find so many women of color in science or to find reports from years ago showing that administrators, students, and faculty were struggling with diversity.

Another challenge was finding quotes. We leaned heavily on the OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History project, both because it is a robust one with lots of interviews, but also because all the interviews were transcribed. One thing that Chris said when we were discussing themes for the class was that as project lead for the OSU 150 OH project he’d noticed how narrow the fields of representation of women were. I didn’t really know what he meant until I ended up with 15 quotes from 3 women and only a handful from others. I feel proud that we are so deliberately working to document more voices now!

Finally, archivists always struggle to represent the “recent past” and this was no exception. I was glad we had oral histories that were relatively recent, but it was much easier to find historic material.

Chris Petersen: Generally speaking, our photo collections tend to reflect the decades prior to the 1970s most heavily. As such, it can be difficult to find appropriate imagery that is more recent. Also, as with any exhibit, one needs to be careful about choosing originals that might make a more striking impact but can also be damaged by being placed on display.

 

What surprised you about the materials you found while designing the exhibit?  Or items you didn’t find?

CP: I wasn’t really involved with this component of the work, so I don’t have much in the way of comment. I do know that Tiah and Rachel were often struck by the anonymity of many of the women depicted in our photo collections. Clearly these women were serving in many important roles, but often their identities were not recorded. I think this lack of documentation says a lot.

Eunice Au, Entomology

Eunice Au, Entomology

TEM: I’m not sure what I was expecting to find… There were some pictures of women (c. 1920) doing car repairs as part of an auto mechanics lesson and another of a women’s football team. I’m pretty sure the mechanics were real but suspect that the football players might have been staged. Personally I’m not a fan of bugs, but the photos of the female entomologists were phenomenal, as were all the pictures of women in labs.

I was SUPER excited when I found Susan Castillo talking about Pearl Spears Gray in her oral history interview – and then even more excited when an interview with Castillo was included in the most recent issue of The Messenger (the library news publication). I was also excited when we found the President’s Office faculty/staff photos; these are headshots from c1930-1960 of employees *with* information about them on written on the back. I have an intern this summer who is using those photos to do more research on the women in personnel files, biographical files, and other university publications. This is exciting because most of the women are clerical level staff and were only here for a few years; I’m excited to uncover more about them, but also to test my theory about marriage and employment…

I was pretty bummed out when I found out Jeanne Dost’s papers were at the UO. She started the OSU Women’s Center and it seems the UO collection has some good material about that time.

 

What were some of the things you learned in the course of curating the exhibit?

CP: My understanding of the richness of our oral history collections, image collections, and digital collections was confirmed by working on this exhibit. The skill and versatility of the colleagues with whom I worked on the project was also clearly evident throughout the process.

Meal preparation demonstration for OSC Home Economics students, 1954

Meal preparation demonstration for OSC Home Economics students, 1954

TEM: I was always excited when I found out more about the roles women played in Home Economics – or really anything about the program. It’s interesting to learn more about how rigorous the program was, as well as how much “hard science” went into their research.

RL: I learned that creating an exhibit of this magnitude is a full time job.

 

How has the exhibit shifted your perspective on the role of women on OSU’s campus and in academia more broadly?

CP: For me, the exhibit, and the class before it, really underscored the importance of Title IX in bringing about change. Typically people talk about Title IX in the context of sports, and it was certainly crucial in ushering in an entirely new era for women in that regard. But women also started to make in-roads in other academic areas at around this time as well, and that’s no accident. For me, Title IX is the single most important reason why women at Oregon State began to study in areas like Forestry and Engineering; spaces that had traditionally been mostly or totally dominated by men. The relative gender parity that we see across colleges today has evolved out of that historical moment.

TEM: Honestly, it confirmed what I already knew and had experienced…

One thing that struck me when I was looking for quotes was how these women just … kept … pushing! So while that was inspirational, most of the stories they told were really hard to read. A bright spot exception was when they would talk about the role of their own mentors or other women who had inspired them. That was when the language felt more optimistic.

 

What do you see as the largest the success of the exhibit?  The largest challenge?  Why?

CP: The largest success of the exhibit is that it is done and that it tells an important story, one that has been a bit overlooked in the past. I think the exhibit will also serve as a nexus or platform for additional programming that is likely to spread awareness even further, both about women’s history at OSU and about SCARC in general. The biggest challenge of the exhibit was trying to distill a huge topic into manageable components that could be absorbed by a visitor to our foyer. This is a challenge with any exhibit, but was especially so for a topic as weighty as this one.

TEM: I love how many people the exhibit brought together even before it was an actual physical thing to see! People were really excited and engaged, which is something that inspires you to keep working even when you hit the exhibit design/install wall.

The biggest challenge was confronting how much I wanted to see massive changes between 1918 and 2018… And while there certainly have been big societal shifts in the last 100 / 150 years, I was also struck by how little things have changed. I’ve been an archivist for a long time, so you think I’d be used to that by now!

 

Women at the Home Management House (with practice baby), c. 1940

Women at the Home Management House (with practice baby), c. 1940

What is your favorite aspect of curating the exhibit?  Do you have a favorite item?  Or an item you wish you could have included but didn’t?

RL: I loved getting to partner with staff members that I don’t work with on a day-to-day basis. It’s awesome to see the talents and abilities of your co-workers on display in a project like this. I think my favorite item is the Hayden Bridge Unit scrapbook from the Extension Service Records.

CP: I most enjoyed the process of creating something out of nothing, and doing so with people who are talented, committed and a pleasure to work with. My favorite image is probably the portrait of Pearl Spears Gray, mostly because I know a little bit about her years at OSU and am sure that she had to endure a fair amount to achieve what she did. There aren’t any items, per se, that I wish had been included, though I will admit to being a little bit obsessed with the history of compulsory swimming at Oregon State and wouldn’t have objected to a little sidebar on that topic. But that’s very much a Chris thing 🙂

TEM: My lazy person answer is that I loved all the things and they were all my favorites 😉

Probably my favorite thing is actually not an archival item – it’s the wallpaper with the quotes and pictures. We’d never printed a full sheet before, and even when we had wallpaper it didn’t have the lovely large pictures and words. Every time I walk into the gallery I love it all over again!

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Women’s Words, Women’s Work: Part One

This is part one of a two-part series discussing the recently installed exhibit, “Women’s Words, Women’s Work.”  The exhibit will be on display through December 2018 and explores the social and cultural expectations that have framed women’s experiences on the Oregon State campus over 150 years.  The exhibit makes extensive use of SCARC’s manuscript, photograph and oral history collections.


Women_s_Exhibit_Kiosk_Slide

Tell me a little bit about the exhibit and what provoked you to pick it as a theme?

Rachel Lilley: The impetus/catalyst for the exhibit was, I believe, OSU’s celebration of its sesquicentennial, combined with the applicability of Tiah’s and Chris’s HC 407 content. I didn’t play a role in picking the theme, but I suppose that I helped refine it (and how we would break it up).

Chris Petersen: The exhibit emerged out of an honors colloquium class that Tiah and I taught during Winter 2018 called “OSU, Women and Oral History: An Exploration of 150 Years.” The class focused on oral history methods and theory, using women’s history at OSU as its historical grounding. We uncovered and shared a lot of interesting themes over the course of the class and pretty quickly began thinking about repurposing and further exploring these themes in an exhibit. At some point we also made contact with the President’s Commission on the Status of Women who agreed to fund a student position to support the exhibit.

Tiah Edmunson-Morton: That’s a hard question to answer succinctly.

From a practical standpoint, Chris and I taught an Honors College class winter 2018 that focused on gathering OSU women’s oral histories. The final product for the students was an indexed oral history and an online portal to their interviews as well as other interviews we’d identified in the SCARC collections. The upshot is that both of us were thinking A LOT about women’s experiences at OSU, and when it turned out that we needed a spring exhibit I said, “this will be easy, we’ll just copy all the class content.” Chris has worked with me for a while, and I think he knew that I wouldn’t make it “easy.” Concurrently, during winter term we had some good opportunities to share our class plans with others, including the leadership in the President’s Commission on the Status of Women. They had plans to create an online gallery of women, so we piggybacked onto that idea and included an online component to the physical exhibit. PCOSW offered some money for a student intern position and the library expanded Rachel’s position to full-time for two months. All of a sudden, we had an actual exhibit team!

c5be2ab2e6bfd84481172c8efa7e55e9The more complicated part of the answer is that I have long been interested in women and representation, especially as it pertains to archival collections and the historical record. It’s unsurprising to many that women’s work (academic research or otherwise) often isn’t recorded in archives – for lots of reasons, but the main being that many of these women weren’t doing work that was deemed “appropriate” or “scholarly” enough to be included in an archive. It’s also the case that there is a disproportionate number of men in positions of leadership or power, so when archivists are making priority lists for “distinguished faculty” women just aren’t on that list. There are exceptions, but for the most part, other than in their role as students, the work that women have done at this university has been in clerical or staff support roles; often, that means they don’t leave behind file cabinets full of memos or research reports.

In 2013, I established the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives, an initiative that documents a VERY male dominated field. The women in these industries are called on pretty regularly to talk about “being a woman in a male dominated field,” but often not asked deeper questions about their lives or experiences. So… over the past several years, I have come to think of oral history as a powerful tool for recording the stories of these women, and I’ve found that by continuing to focus on gathering their stories in addition to the stories of the men in the industry, I talk more about gender than I have since my time as an English Lit graduate student.

 

What was your role in curation of the exhibit?

CP: Many of the visuals and some of the themes used in the exhibit emerged from work that I did for the honors class. I also drafted the first iterations of four of the panels, created the videos that run on a loop in both cases, and built the companion web exhibit.

TEM: I was the exhibit lead/project manager. This meant I had the 40,000 ft view of what was going on, but also knew the minutia. I was the point person for calling meetings, doing much of the initial selection, hiring and working with the intern, working with Clara on graphic design (colors, font, layout, etc), working with/checking in with Rachel on her collections research, working with Chris on the web site, working with Natalia to coordinate printing, materials prep, and designing and installing the physical exhibit.

 

How did “Women’s Words, Women’s Work” differ from other exhibits you have worked on in the past?

RL: The sheer scope of it. This was larger, by far, than any other exhibit I’ve worked on in the past, both physically and intellectually. I also found myself very emotionally invested in this exhibit, to a degree that I’ve never been in the past. It was both heart-breaking and disheartening at times – when we had to leave women out of the main display, or to read stories that made it clear that, though we’ve come a long way, there are so many things that remain the same.

CP: There were a lot more people involved than is usually the case. Also, we created a companion web exhibit and LibGuide, which has not been done in the past either.

Female students in an auto mechanics class, 1918

Female students in an auto mechanics class, 1918

TEM: We’re living in a time when gender relations, harassment, rights, et al, are in the national and international news regularly. The #metoo and #timesup movements have given many of us a framework within which to discuss these issues and our own experiences. And I thought it was important that we (SCARC) brought these conversations into the OSU150 commemoration year.

We had super interesting conversations as an exhibits team about issues of item selection, but also deeper conversations about things like the title and the colors (purple, yellow, white for Suffrage). “Women’s Work” carries multiple meanings for people, and I advocated for us embracing that ambiguity and pushing people to engage with what “Women’s Work” means on a symbolic and practical level. What is women’s work, what work were women allowed/banned from doing, what work just wasn’t feasible for a single mom, etc.

This exhibit felt deeply personal, both as a mid-career / mid-forties woman, but also as the mother of a teenaged daughter. I want us to have these hard conversations about intended/unintended behaviors/messages and to look deeply at how much gender inequality is STILL built into the very structures in which we exist. Not everyone who has a gender bias is a bad person, but I’m ready for us to look critically (again) at gender expectations as it pertains to roles, behaviors, abilities, voice, opportunities, etc. What are the choices we didn’t even know we had to make? What do we never think to even try?

 

I’m sure there was a lot of material to choose from and sift through.  How did you narrow items down to those displayed?

CP: Most of the visuals that we used for the honors class were mined from Larry’s pictorial history of OSU or from Oregon Digital sets with which I was already familiar. Many of these images were repurposed for the exhibit, though Tiah, Rachel and Natalia did a lot of digging to find more. I was not really involved with that component of the work.

Students working in the Secretarial Science lab, 1951

Students working in the Secretarial Science lab, 1951

RL: This was the most difficult part. For me, as classified staff, I had a natural bias and affinity to the “everyday” women of OSU – the women who toiled away as “secretaries” for 50 years and then went unidentified in the photos taken at their retirement parties. If it were up to me, every concourse in the library would be covered in their photos and stories. But we tried to do our best to tell the stories of both the recognized agents of change, you could say, and the lesser known/unrecognized women.

TEM: I literally had a binder full of women, printouts of every picture anyone found and loved. I carried it around with me like some sort of talisman! I did part with the binder for a few days and left it up in a staff and student space for people to note which were their favorite images. I had my favorites, but it was cool to feel like others were chosen by the group.

It also helped that I knew we could put all the images in the online gallery.

I have dreams of making a more official binder(s) to put in the gallery in the fall. We’ll be having some public events then, so I have some time to recover from the installation and start thinking about the exhibit again!

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The Sublime: Exploring Oregon with Wild Bill

This post is contributed by SCARC student archivist Hannah Lawson, a chemistry major with a passion for art, conservation, and preserving history.


thousandislandlake1947Imagine trudging through the mud on a rainy morning, with fifty pounds of supplies tied to your back. Your socks are soaked through, and you’re miles away from any sort of civilization. When Ralph Waldo Emerson described the great outdoors, he surely couldn’t have meant this, you think to yourself. The only respite is your Geology professor, who is leaps and bounds ahead of you, excitedly pointing out igneous rock structures and patterns.

William “Wild Bill” Taubeneck was a faculty member of the Geology Department at Oregon State University from 1955 until 1983, during which time he taught many classes and was in part responsible for building Wilkinson Hall, the home of the Geology Department. Bill received his BS and MS in Geology from Oregon State College and his PhD at Columbia University.

riverBill served in the US Army during WWII, and then had several jobs involved in timber and forestry. There, he found his love for the outdoors. During his doctoral program at Colombia University and throughout his academic career, he conducted several field studies of Oregon. Field studies often took place over the course of weeks – during which time Bill would be deep in the Oregon wilderness, mapping out geological formations and taking notes and pictures of what he saw. With his trusty rock hammer, Taubeneck would take samples from the places he studied to store in the Wilkinson Hall basement, which held over 200 of his specimens at one point.

Bill’s field studies were long, hard work. His students often remarked that they would be out taking surveys from dawn until past dusk, using the car headlights to see their way around the dikes in the darkness. Bill was focused on igneous petrology, or the study of the conditions under which volcanic magma form ancient rock structures.

Through his letters and photography of nature and geological formations, it is immediatelyglaciallake apparent that William Taubeneck had an immense appreciation for the world around him. He describes weather and wildlife with poetic detail. In a series of letters, Bill describes seasonal wildflowers to his elderly neighbor, Norma, who lived next to Bill Taubeneck for over ten years in Corvallis, “Norma, you would have loved the wildflowers in the Eagle Creek Cap Wilderness Area. All of the rains of May and June have resulted in exceptional flowers. The red mountain heather is especially nice this year. This flower grows very close to the ground, is small, exquisite, and very much like an Arctic flower such as you would see in Greenland. Each small flower in the clusters is about 1/7th the wildflowers2001size of your thumbnail, bell-shaped, and red. Generally the plants with the tiny flowers are not more than a few inches above the ground…Buttercups also are extra nice this year. I walked across one small meadow at 8,200 feet with only buttercups – no other flowers.”

 

Bill had a particular interest in nature and wildlife, though he specialized in geology. Many of his letters and retained subject files contained stories about black bears, elk, and bearsmountain lions. The photographs in his collection tell the quiet stories of his travels; along mountains and lakes, in the snow and through the High Desert of Eastern Oregon. His studies and adventures continued past his time with Oregon State University. After his retirement, “Wild Bill” remained in Oregon, conducting field studies and mapping the wilderness until his death in 2016.

taubeneckonsomerocksAs a professor at Oregon State University, Taubeneck was loved by both his undergraduate and graduate students. He received several awards for his teaching, and devoted most of his extra time towards the needs of the Geology Department. His dedication and passion for geology and the Oregon outdoors is exemplified through the letters and photographs in his collection at the Special Collections and Archives Research Center.

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