Heartwood: Inquiry and Engagement with Pacific Northwest Forests: A new exhibit!

People of the Pacific Northwest have deep and complicated connections with forests.  The OSU Libraries and Press Special Collections and Archives Research Center explores those connections in its latest exhibit: Heartwood: Inquiry and Engagement with Pacific Northwest Forests.

Two organizational threads run through the exhibit. One features the many terms of engagement with the forest – the forest as habitat, provider, sanctuary, studio, laboratory and classroom.

The other shows how these engagements have evolved over time, as represented by a timeline of dominant forest systems, events, issues, and legislation.

Forests of the Pacific Northwest were terra incognita to European settlers until a succession of surveys from the late 19th to early 20th century gradually revealed the extent of forest composition and age classes.  Early in U.S. history, the vast scale of the forests of the Oregon Country contributed to a belief in the boundlessness of nature and its infinite exploitability.  Since European settlers arrived here in the mid-19th century, forest “management” in its broadest sense has taken many forms. Policy governing forest management is the product of legislation, litigation, forest planning, and other social processes and forces.

The exhibit features historic forest policy and management documents and maps, poetry by Alison Deming and Jane Hirschfield, artwork by Debbie Kaspari, photographs by Bob Keefer and Tom Iraci, materials from the Gerald W. Williams and James R. Sedell collections and much more.

There are fun critters too.

When asked about the creation of the exhibit, Ruth Vondracek, OSU Natural Resources Archivist, said, “This has been a truly collaborative effort that allowed us to meld history, science and art into a meaningful display.”

The exhibit represents a joint effort of the Special Collections and Archives Research Center, the US Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station and the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature and the Written Word.

The exhibit runs from April – October 2016.  Located on the 5th floor of the OSU Valley Library, it is open to the public: Monday – Friday, 10 am – 6 pm during the academic term and Monday – Friday, noon – 5 pm during academic breaks.

Can’t make it in person? There’s a great Flickr album with pictures.

And more critters.


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Collections at the Center: A New Series for SCARC!

Next week we are excited to begin our new series called Collections at the Center. Each quarter we will be inviting a faculty expert on campus to intimately interact with historical items from our collections, including rare books, archival materials, and manuscripts.  The faculty member will present a brief lecture to contextualize, question, and reflect on these items for a public audience. Attendees will be invited to get “up close and personal” with the materials, looking closer to find new details and new discoveries. We’ll conclude with a discussion between presenter and audience, and together uncover captivating new ways of thinking about the collections in SCARC.

Our first presenter will be Dr. Rebecca Olson, Associate Professor in the Department of English at OSU. Professor Olson will discuss the manicule, the hand-drawn pointing index finger commonly used by readers throughout the early modern period to signify passages of interest in a text. While this mark would seem to adapt the highly social gesture of pointing for personal and solitary book use, it also draws our attention to the way that early modern readers regarded the book itself as a collective social space.

Please join us at 4:00pm on Wednesday, February 10 for our first exciting event in this series!

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#Color Our Collections

Museums and libraries around the country are promoting their collections by capitalizing on the current craze for coloring books. Using the hashtag #ColorOurCollections, libraries from the Smithsonian to Oregon Health and Science University are releasing fantastic images to color in. We’ve thrown one together from the Oregon State University Libraries’ rare book collections–download Color Our Collections 2016 and enjoy!

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Timely find – Malheur Lake Migratory Bird Reserve photo

Given the current focus on the Malheur wildlife refuge standoff, we thought we’d post this lovely panoramic picture of a Civilian Conservation Corp camp in the 1930s.

It doesn’t have a collection home yet, but you can search our new finding aid database for “civilian conservation corp” and see a list of all the collection that contain materials related to the CCC. Same goes for a search for “Malheur” if you’d like to see what we have pertaining to the area.

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Third Annual OSU Book Collecting Contest!

The OSU Valley Library is proud to announce the third year of our sponsored Book Collecting Contest!

Generously sponsored by the Himes & Duniway Society, a group of book collecting enthusiasts in Oregon, this contest is intended:

  • to encourage students in the collection and enjoyment of their own personal libraries,
  • to aid students in developing an appreciation for the special qualities of printed or illustrated works, and
  • to encourage students to read, research, and preserve these works for pleasure and scholarship.

The collection can focus on any subject, and the contest is open to all full-time students.


Three prizes will be awarded to student winners:

1st prize: $1,000
2nd prize: $500
3rd prize: $250

Prizes are generously funded by the Himes & Duniway Society.

APPLICATIONS ARE DUE Friday, March 11, 2016 by 5:00 PM.

How Do I Enter?
The Application Package should include the following:

  • The application form;
  • The essay, which should be at least two and no more than four pages in 12-point type with lines double-spaced describing how and why the collection was assembled;
  • bibliography of the collection preferably using the MLA Bibliography format with each individual title numbered and annotated. The annotations should reflect the importance of each item to the collection as a whole
  • An annotated wish list of up to five other book titles that you would like to add in the future to complete or enhance your existing collection; and
  • digital images of at least 5 representative items in the collection, with 10 or more images being preferable.

You can submit your application in one of two ways:

1. Email your application package to Anne Bahde at anne.bahde@oregonstate.edu

2. Drop off your application package to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center, 5th floor of Valley Library.

What’s a “Collection?
A collection

  • Consists of items that a student has come to own following a particular interest, or passion, which may be academic or not
  • May consist of all books or a combination of books and other formats. For instance, a collection on a geographical topic may include a map, a collection on a playwright may include a poster or playbill, or a collection about an historical event may include ephemera.
  • Consists of not less than 15 items or more than 30 items of which the majorityshould be books, but related materials such as photographs, illustrations, maps, ephemera, CDs, music scores, posters etc. may be included.
  • Can be on any topic; subjects can be contemporary or historical and may stress bibliographical features such as bindings, printing processes, type, editions, illustrations, etc. Rare books are not expected. Comic books and graphic novels are acceptable; ephemera alone if of historical interest is acceptable; historical–not current–textbooks may be included.

Example Topics:

  • Vampires
  • Comic books or graphic novels
  • Jane Austen
  • The Beat Poets

Previous Sample Entries:

  An Interdisciplinary Survey of 20th Century Propaganda – Andrew Fink

  Words of the Waves: A Nautical Collection – Emily Selinger

  How To Be Alone – Mack Sullivan

How Do I Win?
Criteria for selection:

  • Clearly state the purpose or unified theme of the collection;
  • Explain the extent to which the collection represents the stated purpose;
  • Evidence of creativity in building the collection;
  • Originality, innovation, and uniqueness;
  • Quality of the collector’s essay describing the collection

A team of judges from campus and The Himes & Duniway Society will determine the contest winners.

The Fine Print:

Students are limited to one entry. The student must be a full time student and the sole owner of the collection. The winners may be eligible for entry into The National Collegiate Book Collecting Contest supported by the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America (ABAA), the Fellowship of American Bibliophilic Societies (FABS) of which The Himes & Duniway Society is a member, the Center for the Book and the Rare Books and Special Collections Division (the Library of Congress) with major support from the Jay I. Kislak Foundation. http://hq.abaa.org/books/antiquarian/abaapages/contest

If you have questions about book collecting or this contest, contact Anne Bahde at anne.bahde@oregonstate.edu or 541-737-2083.


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New guides for November

Wondering what new guides are available for your research and reading pleasure? The following is a list of 5 finding aids for SCARC collections that were completed or updated during November 2015.

Employees of the Kerr Library, ca. 1960s. Library Photograph Collection (P 083)



Two of the guides are for new collections received in 2015. One is for a collection that previously had only minimal information available online.  One is for a collection for which we received a major addition in 2014; and one is an update to bring the guide in-line with our current descriptive standards and practice.

New collections received in 2015:

Library Gifts and Exchange Department Records, 1951-2004 (RG 261)

These records document the donation of gift books and journals to the Oregon State University Libraries and the exchange of materials with other libraries and repositories. Tilles was the Gifts and Exchange Librarian until 1976, when Karen Starr assumed the position.

Student Incidental Fees Committee Records, 1993-2012 (RG 258)

Memorial Union from Harriet's Photographic Collection.

The Student Incidental Fees Committee Records document budget requests, reviews, and recommendations for funding provided to Oregon State University units and student-led organizations from student fees.  The Committee is responsible for the allocation of fees paid by all student enrolled at Oregon State University.

Collection that received major addition in 2014:

Azalea House Records, 1953-2014 (MSS Azalea)

Azalea House, ca. 1950s. Dedicated in 1953, Azalea House was founded as a women's cooperative house. It was named after Rachel Sager Azalea. From the Gwil Evans Photographic Collection (P 082).

The Azalea House Records were generated and collected by the Azalea House women’s cooperative residence at Oregon State University and document the management of the co-op and the daily lives of the residents there during its operation from 1953 to 2014.  The collection includes more than 2300 photographs, a sound recording, photograph albums and scrapbooks, and a small quantity of electronic records.

Collection that previously had minimal information available online:

Annual Cruise, 1921-2000 (PUB 010-12a)

Cover image from the Annual Cruise, 1955.

The Annual Cruise was published each academic year from 1920 through 1975 by the Forestry Club as a yearbook for Oregon State forestry students and alumni.  The College of Forestry published three issues of theAnnual Cruise at the close of the 20th century in 1996, 1999, and 2000.  The publication includes articles on forestry topics, information about and photographs of forestry students and faculty, reports of Forestry Club activities, alumni news, and updates on current research activities.  All of the yearbooks in this collection and the 1920 Forest Club Annual are available online.

Updated finding aid:

Manley, Harold L., Collection, 1911-1949 (MSS Manley)

Lecture notes by Harold Manley from a numerical calculus class taught by W.E. Milne, 1940.

The Manley Collection consists of lecture notes and problem sets from mathematics and engineering classes as well as several mathematics and engineering textbooks.  Manley graduated from Oregon State College in 1940 with a BS degree in Civil Engineering.


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“Log Rolling, Ax Throwing, and the Owl” ~ David Benac’s visit as Resident Scholar

Thanks to Angela Barker for this post on David Benac’s time as Resident Scholar!

David Benac, Associate Professor in the Department of History at Western Michigan University, recently completed a term as Resident Scholar in the Oregon State University Libraries. While here, Benac used the Gerald W. Williams Collection and conducted a series of oral history interviews to further his research on timber company towns of Oregon.

In his Resident Scholar presentation, “Log Rolling, Ax Throwing, and the Owl,” Benac spoke of three types of company-owned saw mill towns: those that are gone and forgotten; those that are gone but not forgotten; and those that continue to carry on. In doing so, he revealed fascinating details about a way of life that has largely disappeared.

In establishing a framework for his talk, Benac suggested that the dual notions of heritage (defined by Benac as “the historical legacies that individuals or communities select and use to understand contemporary society”) and nostalgia (“an enchantment with distance that cannot be bridged”) have played a large part in how these towns were remembered by residents after they moved on, and how the towns are viewed today.

He also pointed out that company-owned saw mill towns were either intentionally built by timber companies or grew up organically around mills. Towns that were planned and built by timber companies were usually carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing and often included outdoor recreation, swimming, camping, and social organizations for the benefit of residents and employees. It was believed that these positive social outlets would make employees happier and therefore better workers.

Benac’s research reveals intriguing insight into communities like Gilchrist, Westfir, and Powers – three Oregon mill towns that have carried on, in one form or another. Gilchrist, a model company town built in the 1930s, was paternalistic in design, and sought to control many of the activities of its residents. In 1997 the town was sold into new private ownership. The mill in Westfir shut down in 1984 and its office was eventually converted into a bed and breakfast. Today the community is known for including Oregon’s largest existing covered bridge, and is a hiking and biking destination. Powers was built to log cedar and provided very few opportunities for the women who lived there. Of the women who were employed at Powers, most worked in the cookhouse, lacking many other options. Dining was an important social function in mill towns like Powers – workers went home, cleaned up, and dressed nicely for dinner at the cookhouse.

Gone and largely forgotten are the towns of Pondosa and Wauna, whereas the communities of Kinzua, Wendling and Bridal Veil might be more aptly described as gone but not forgotten. The latter three towns have not been forgotten because, Benac argues, there is still a strong sense of attachment to them by former residents. Benac found mixed opinions in his research on remembrances of Kinzua, some hated it while others loved it. Wendling, on the other hand, is fondly remembered for having the best food. In 1988 a community picnic was organized for former residents and, that same year, the Wendling Conveyor newsletter (and subsequent social media presence) was founded to publish the memories of the people who once lived in the mill town.

Another community, Valsetz, was described by Benac as having been seen as a “surrogate” for the lumber industry in the minds of many people. In 1984, the town was demolished by the Boise Cascade Company, an event that was extensively covered in the news. Press coverage of the town’s elimination tended to frame the story as a visual metaphor for the decline of timber in Oregon.

The community of Vernonia followed a different path. In 1956 the town’s mill shut down, and in response the town founded an annual logging show as a means to keep its community alive. The show still exists, with amateur local loggers competing in a variety of events to this day. Over time, the logging show became an increasingly important way for townspeople to connect with what they had lost. However, attendance gradually declined and today the goal of the show is primarily to bring in tourism dollars. Benac found that there is now less community involvement in the event from the people who have a connection to the town’s past, because the shows do not represent the town that they had once known.

Benac’s research was sponsored by the OSU Libraries Resident Scholar Program. Now in its eighth year, the program awards stipends of up to $2,500 per month to researchers interested in traveling to Corvallis and conducting work in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center.  For more information on the program, please see http://scarc.library.oregonstate.ed/residentscholar.html


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New finding aids for October!

Wondering what we were doing last month? In addition to programming activities for Archives Month there were four new finding aids for SCARC collections completed or updated during October 2015.

Brewmaster and two assistants from the Blitz Weinhard brewery, Portland, are shown hop breeding work under way on the OSC experiment station by G.R. Hoerner, extension hop specialist.

As of October 31, 2015 the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center had 829 finding aids in Archives West (formerly known as NWDA). Thanks to everyone who has contributed to the preparation and review of these new guides – this work is definitely a group endeavor!

Godfrey R. Hoerner, 1895-1959 (MSS Hoerner)

The Hoerner Papers consist of photographs, news clippings, and publications from Hoerner’s student years at Oregon Agricultural College and the University of Minnesota, as Oregon State College’s Extension Specialist for Hop Production, and during his four-year tenure working at the Kasetsart University in Thailand.  Godfrey R. Hoerner earned his degree from Oregon Agricultural College in 1916 and was a faculty member at Oregon State College from 1931 to 1959. The collection includes 500 photographs. A detailed list of the collection contents is part of this guide, which can be found at http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv44711.

Frank E. Hall Collection, 1886-1909 (MSS Hall)

Image from the O.A.C. Cadets 1908-1909 photo book. First Lieutenant Frank Edward Hall is pictured back row, third from left.

This collection includes photographs and memorabilia assembled by Hall while he was a student at Oregon Agricultural College.  Frank Edward Hall attended Oregon Agricultural College from 1906 to 1909, graduating in 1909 with a degree in agriculture. This guide can be found at http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv98846.

Arthur S. King Papers, 1931-1972 (MSS King)

Art King monitoring experiments in a corn field near the Halsey paper mill in Linn County, Oregon, July 1972. From the Robert W. Henderson Photographic Collection (P 098)

The King Papers consist of materials created and assembled by King in this role as Soils Extension Specialist at Oregon State University. The materials address irrigation, soils and soil testing, water use and conservation, and fertilizer application. King earned his BS (1928) and MS (1930) degrees from Oregon State Agricultural College. In 1930, he was appointed as the first full time Soils Extension Specialist at Oregon State, a position he held until his retirement in 1972. Find the guide at http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv56778.

M. Ellwood Smith, ca 1930.

M. Ellwood Smith Papers, 1913-1961 (MSS SmithME)

These papers consist of publications and reports written by Smith, a list of his publications, and a small quantity of correspondence.

Smith was an English Professor, Dean of Basic Arts and Sciences, and Dean of the Lower Division for Oregon Agricultural College from 1919 until his retirement in 1949.

Find the collection guide online at http://archiveswest.orbiscascade.org/ark:/80444/xv29762

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Film Fest 2015!

October brings us fiery colors, pumpkins, and fun films about OSU!

This year, we’re highlighting footage of student performances and activities from the 1980s and 1990s that were transferred to SCARC by KBVR-TV and the Memorial Union.

Join us for excerpts from these flashy films:

  • 1987 Mom’s Weekend Fashion Show
  • Indonesia Night, 1994
  • Ms. OSU Pageant, 1992

And did we mention Benny skiing?

Where and when?

  • Wednesday, October 21
  • Willamette Room East
  • Noon to 1:00pm

Snacks and soda will be available.

And stay tuned for more details about the recipe showcase on the 30th!

Hope to see you there!

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Weatherford Hall tour: Archives Month Activity #1!

Our first Archives Month event of this year, last Wednesday’s tour of Weatherford Hall, went swimmingly with excellent guidance from Weatherford Resident Director Jesus Ramirez and Austin Entrepreneur Program (AEP) Project Manager Dale McCauley.

There were 13 on the tour and we explored rooms, lounges, and office areas on the ground floor, first floor, and one of upper levels in the “tower” area. Not surprisingly, the tower offered most of the scenic highlights as we enjoyed a birds-eye view of autumnal campus from the balconies on both sides of the building facing northwest and southeast.

Inside the tower, we toured a meeting room where documents from the Weatherford’s “in-house” archives were displayed on an ancient table. These items included meeting minutes, reports, photos, and newsletters which were apparently kept in a locked glass display case. This room and the piano lounge downstairs both seemed to exude an old dorm feel, steeped in the dark brown wood and the white plaster walls.

Weatherford’s modern look was exemplified by the well-equipped maker lab for AEP students on the first floor. This spot was jam packed with printers not just designed to generate 3d objects but also to handle sheets of vinyl and cloth. For first year AEP students assigned to come up with their own small business, this space has been essential in creating customized decals and socks (which both sell very well).

The famous decorated doors are scattered throughout the building and we were able to see at least three of the 12 that are said to survive.

Some photos that I took during the tour are now posted on Flickr at https://www.flickr.com/photos/osuarchives/

It was a fun way to start off Archives Month 2015!

~Karl McCreary, SCARC Collections Archivist and Archives Month Bandleader.

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