That’s a lot of video tapes! New additions from KBVR

Several days ago collections archivist Karl McCreary rolled in a dolly of boxes. He left and returned with another dolly of boxes. What’s in the boxes? A whole lot of videotapes!

KBVR, OSU’s student-run tv station is preparing for the closing of Snell Hall and move to the (nearly done!) new Student Experience Center. Karl’s always busy, but the relocation of many student groups and programs over winter break will lead to more accessions from KBVR (e.g. music shows with live bands). He’s also expecting additions from Greek Life and possibly from the Panhellenic Educational Activities Committee.

What’s in the boxes?

Several different formats (VHS, Beta, U-Matic) that are mainly from the 1990s, and a total 8 cubic feet of programs ranging from news programs to music shows, faculty conversations with Gov. Barbara Roberts, ASOSU senate, and nightly news. One to watch for sure is the Ms. OSU pageants, which ended their run in 1993.

I love this label from 1992, which warns us that removing this particular pageant recording from the facility is a no go. It’s okay though, we’re archivists.

I’ll also admit that these two were my favorites of those I saw. I think you’ll see why…

Give us a bit to get these accessioned before storming the gate to get a viewing. If you are anxious just email before making the trip to see if they are available.

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Josh McGuffie, Resident Scholar

Many may not know this, but we have a fabulously robust resident scholar program here in SCARC. Joshua McGuffie has been with us for several months and recently gave a talk, which is summarized in this blog post by our student volunteer Anna Mitchell. We thank Mina Carson (professor in the School of History, Philosophy, and Religion) for this photo.

Josh McGuffie, a Resident Scholar in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center, and a Masters candidate in OSU’s History of Science Program, recently reported out on research that he is conducting concerning three distinguished scientists who worked at the Hanford Nuclear Site in eastern Washington. In his talk, he focused on the site during the 1950s, 60s, and 70s. McGuffie researched Hanford scientists Herbert Parker, Dick Foster, and William Rickard, and sought to understand how their narratives pertain to the one of the nation’s most polluted place that was once declared safe.

McGuffie described Herbert Parker’s era as one of “needful vigilance.” Parker came to Hanford to lead in the radiation protection program, and headed up the Health Instruments Division. McGuffie stated that Parker felt a responsibility to protect people from radiation, but also thought that the word “radiation” was dirty and a classified term. McGuffie argued that Parker, “wanted to control radiation and not hide it under a bushel.”
McGuffie found that while staggering amounts of Plutonium spewed from Hanford, Parker held a two-fold goal for himself and for the physicists working with him. First, he wanted to avoid or at least competently handle any radiation to which workers at Hanford might be exposed. Second, he aimed to understand the local population’s chronic exposure to radiation and not allow it to become a problem. McGuffie noted that the second goal has been seen as a failure by many people. Most specifically, in 1949 superiors at the Atomic Energy Commission (AEC) conducted a test at Hanford called “The Green Run” that purposefully released up to 80,000 curies of radio iodine and up to 16,000 curies of radio xenon in a single night. At the time of the test, forceful winds blew plumes of radio iodine over Hanford and through the Tri Cities area. Despite ample reason to believe otherwise, Parker continued to argue that the tests should show no explicit danger to human lives.
Next, McGuffie analyzed Hanford scientist Dick Foster, who described Hanford as “safe by any name.” In his talk, McGuffie stated that, “If Herb Parker argued that Hanford was by nature an environmental place, Dick Foster argued that it was a safe place.” Foster grew up in Washington and studied in the School of Fisheries at the University of Washington. Later, he moved to the fish lab at Hanford, where he exposed salmon and white fish to the site’s effluent reactor.

Needed as a coolant, the Columbia River’s water was passed through the reactor and back into the river, after having sat in cooling trenches for hours. In its review of this system, the AEC asked Foster about the effects of a potential reactor failure on the Columbia River. Foster acknowledged this as a problem but noted that, “many of the organisms in the Columbia would be afforded considerable shielding by the riverbank and the typography of the land and depth of water. In the worst case scenario, should the Columbia’s food chain be disrupted by a lower aquatic organism dying in mass from radiation, nearly normal conditions would probably be restored in one years’ time from reseeding and migration.” Foster also claimed that the radiation from effluent found in the Columbia and picked up by fish was not at all hazardous. He was certain that because the amount of released radiation was well within guidelines established by the government, that people and aquatic life would remain completely safe. He believed further that the radioactive landscape was totally natural and safe, and that Hanford could coexist with normal, everyday human life.

The last scientist that McGuffie discussed was Bill Rickard, who described Hanford as “a pristine island.” Rickard had a background in terrestrial research at Washington State University, and in 1960 he was hired at Hanford to conduct both basic and applied radio ecology in the biology department. To Rickard, Hanford represented unlimited field research possibilities that were much more fascinating to him than was classroom teaching at the university level.

Three administration events took place in Rickard’s first decade at the site. The first was in 1962 when, under Herb Parker’s suggestion, 120 square miles of the site were fenced off and set aside for future use. Then, in 1964, the site’s first ecology lab burned down, causing a shift from lab-based research to land-based research. Lastly, in 1968 the biology department was broken apart to create a separate and independent ecosystems department. These three events helped Rickard to develop research in the 120 square miles of land that had been fenced off by Herb Parker.

This land was called the Arid Land Ecology Reserve (ALE) and was designated for desert and grassland biome studies. McGuffie noted that because of ALE, Hanford received funding from the National Science Foundation to participate in the International Geophysical Year, which looked to take a snapshot of the world’s ecosystems. In 1972, twenty-six discrete ecological studies were conducted at ALE. Rickard and his colleagues studied the land as they walked amongst it: they mapped soils and geological features, defined the water table, and studied the ground water flows emerging from ALE’s two perennial springs. Rickard was particularly interested in beetle studies and the study of energy transfer through biomass. McGuffie’s analysis indicates that Rickard’s narrative was the first to focus on the land itself rather than the land in relation to radio nuclides.
McGuffie’s research sheds important light on the different ways in which three scientists vital to Hanford’s story went about approaching radioactivity and the area’s ecology.

Herbert Parker saw himself as a real environmentalist, because he had protected a landscape characterized by atomic risk. Dick Foster saw the radioactive landscape as a safe place, because it was protected within the standards accepted by the social and scientific communities for atomic responsibility. Finally, Bill Rickard saw the land as pristine because it kept intact the biotic communities, even though it sat in the midst of a radioactive landscape.

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Back in time — what was it like in 2003?

These three women, all residents of the Oxford House Co-op, put together a small box of things they thought captured the spirit of the year.

We haven’t done much research on these three, but we do have a nice collection of materials in the Oxford House Records (1966-2014) that helps to tell the the story. You can learn more about other houses here too, because we have the records of several cooperative houses including the Dixon Lodge, the Maple Manor Cooperative House, and the Azalea House. 

We also know that this small box was found in a wall as they remodeled the building after the co-ops closed in June 2014, and then it ended up here with us last month to be labelled, described, and seen!

The box was certainly a snapshot of pop culture in the early 2000s, and you can see what was inside by scrolling down the post, but it also came with a 2 page letter from the three contributors. I’ve scanned the first page, but it’s a teaser because you’ll have to come in to read the whole thing.

After we’ve met their 22 year-old selves we learn more about their activities and life at Oxford House. For example:

We are also reminded of some high points for pop culture.

In addition to the above collage, there’s an US Weekly issue from April 2003 and a Barometer issue from June 6, 2003.

There are also three Bazooka Joe wrappers, which accessioning archivist Karl M has heard had meaning beyond being wrappers with comics…

So I ask you readers some simple questions. What would you put in a time capsule? What reflects the lives you live today and what would the things you collect show people 11 years from now? And because archivists love to document change over time, how have things changed on campus since 2003?

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OSU yearbooks digitized & available online!

A nearly complete run of the OSU yearbooks have been digitized and are freely available online! The full text is keyword searchable and easy to use, so jump right in.

What will you find there? The OSU Yearbooks website began with the first yearbook produced by the school, titled The Hayseed and released in 1894. Every yearbook published between that date up to the 2012 edition is currently accessible on the website. The 2013 and 2014 Beaver yearbooks will be added soon. In total, 109 volumes are currently available without restriction.

The digital yearbooks collection is a major resource for investigations into the undergraduate experience at Oregon State University. Particularly in its earlier decades, the yearbook provided a detailed photographic and textual chronicle of student life and campus climate, revealing important insight into the evolution of cultural trends, attitudes, fashions and much more as Oregon State changed with the times. Research projects of many types will benefit from convenient online access to this rich collection.

The school yearbook has variously been titled The HayseedThe Orange and, since 1917, The Beaver. Two yearbooks were also published, in 1900 and 1905, as souvenir editions of The Barometer. The last ever edition of the Beaver yearbook was published in 2014.  Much more about the history of this hugely important publication is available in an introduction, “Hayseed-Orange-Beaver, 1894-2014” released on the OSU Yearbooks website.

How do you use it? The full text of this digital collection is keyword searchable, both across the collection and within an individual volume. Users looking for names of students, clubs or events recorded in the yearbooks will be able to locate information quickly and easily, simply by typing terms into a search box.  Online viewing of given volumes is also user-friendly: full-screen views and multiple page layouts are available, and users can “flip” through virtual pages with the click of a button.  The website also allows users to zoom into a page for easy reading.

Who did the work? All of this has been accomplished through the implementation of a new digital collections platform, called Hydra, which has been developed jointly by the Oregon State University Libraries & Press in collaboration with the University of Oregon Libraries.  The OSU Yearbooks website is itself the fruit of a collaboration between OSU Libraries & Press staff working in three of its divisions: the Digital Production Unit, Emerging Technologies and Services, and the Special Collections & Archives Research Center.


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New exhibit opens for SCARC: learn about the Rural World

“The Rural World” exhibit offers a glimpse into the rural endeavors such as beekeeping, orchard cultivation, kitchen gardening, producing dairy products and wool, and brewing. These activities have provided  sustenance since early times and formed the backbone of rural economies in Oregon.  On display from October 13, 2014 – March 20, 2015. OSU Libraries Special Collections & Archives Research Center, 5th floor of the Valley Library,  10a.m. – 6 p.m. Monday – Friday.

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Taste of the Chives 2014 ~ the recipes!

Here are some gems of recipedom! Check back on this page because we’ll add new recipes as we find them!


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Oregon Archives Month at OSU? It’s going to be a fun one!

Students are back and so is Oregon Archives Month — with a tasty selection of fare inspired by Fall! This month we have three events lined up here in the Library to highlight Oregon history and the collections of the OSU Special Collections and Archives.

Film on Tap: a Showing of Films about Beer and Vintage Beer Commercials

  • Friday, October 17th. Noon to 1:00
  • Willamette Rooms-Third Floor of the Valley Library

Stop by for a screening of films about Oregon beer, including the OPB documentary Beervana (brewery history in Portland) and a series of short videos showcasing recent brewery culture in Oregon. Stick around for a showing of vintage TV beer commercials. Presented to celebrate OSU’s Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives. Refreshments will be available.

Taste of the ‘Chives- “Eat Like a Local: Treats from the Past”

  • Friday, October 24th. Noon to 1:00
  • Willamette Rooms-Third Floor of the Valley Library

Come and sample dishes with homegrown Oregon flavors such as apples, honey, hops, and cheese for this popular smorgasbord celebrating historic recipes. Cooks and culinary magicians are always welcome!

Recipes to prepare and share will be featured on the Speaking of History blog and in ScholarsArchive.

Showing of Milagro Theatre Día de los Muertos Performances

  • Thursday, October 30th. Noon to 1:00
  • Willamette Rooms-Third Floor of the Valley Library

In the spirit of Halloween, join us for a viewing of performances
on film of “Day of the Dead” inspired plays by Milagro, a Latino-based
theatre group in Portland! Refreshments will be available.

Hope to see you there!

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A bit tardy ~ new guides for July!

Finding aids are maps to collections and the following is a list of the 6 finding aids for SCARC collections that were completed or updated during July 2014.  All are available through the NWDA finding aids database as well as on the SCARC website, and MARC records for the collections are available through the OSU Libraries’ Catalog, Summit Navigator, and Worldcat.

This month’s batch consists of guides for  5 “new” collections that were received in 2013 or 2014 and  1 maps collection.  As of July 31, 2014 the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center had 780 finding aids in NWDA.

New collections received in 2013 or 2014:

Badura, George J. and Florence, Collection, 1921-1947 (MSS Badura). The materials in this collection, which include 6 photographs, document the Baduras’ student years at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) in the early 1920s.  George J. Badura graduated from OAC in 1923 with a BS in Commerce.  Florence Bedell attended OAC for two academic years in 1920-1921 and 1921-1922.

Environmental and Molecular Toxicology Department Faculty Research Publications, 1973-2010 (RG 255). These publications consist of journal articles written by faculty and graduate student researchers at Oregon State University conducting toxicology-based research on the effects of chemicals on humans and the environment.

Maple Manor Cooperative House Records, 1940-1995 (MSS MapleManor). These records document the establishment, members, and activities of this men’s housing cooperative at Oregon State College and the activities of the members during and following World War II.  Maple Manor was established in 1940 and operated until the spring of 1943.  The collection includes 150 photographs.

McKay, Douglas and Mabel, Papers, 1905-2014 (MSS McKay). The McKay Papers document Douglas McKay’s student years at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC), his military service during World Wars I and II, and his political career.  Douglas McKay graduated from OAC in 1917 and married Mabel Christine Hill that same year.  McKay was a successful businessman and politician, serving as an Oregon State Senator, Oregon Governor, and Secretary of the Interior in the Cabinet of President Dwight D. Eisenhower.  The papers include 850 photographs.

Oral Histories of the 1959 Oregon State College Wrestling court, 1983-2013 (OH 27). This collection consists of born-digital audio files and transcripts as well as supporting research materials compiled by Brittany Backen, an OSU undergraduate student, for her research on the wrestling court and the controversy it provoked.   The collection includes interviews with members of the court, the former editor of the campus newspaper, and a former member of the 1959 wrestling team.

State of Oregon Maps Collection, 1866-2000 (MAPS ORMaps). This collection consists of more than 500 maps and includes a diverse selection of maps of the full state of Oregon as well as counties, cities, and regions.  Topics of the maps include geology, soils, agriculture, recreation, traffic flow, dams and reservoirs, land use, and physiography.


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Friday Feature: an inspired post, two strange portraits

Collections Archivist Karl McCreary has had a crazy summer, bringing in scrapbooks from the closing Co-ops and slides from the relocating School of Design and Human Environment, but I admit that this is the strangest thing since we accessioned a keg.

The treasures this time were woodcut faces of past Deans, 3-D though you can’t tell.

This is Karl’s story.

The fence along Benton Place was long and impenetrable. If my mission
were to succeed I would need to negotiate the bushy dark wilderness
skirting Kidder Hall. Emerging from the thicket, I came before the temple of Business, known to the locals as “Bexell Hall.” The task at hand required
tact and precision, as I passed by the ancient wood murals on the wall to
the inner sanctum. Moments later, the harsh summer sun blinded my eyes
as I re-emerged with an armful of history salvaged from the temple.

As I surveyed the spoils to be added to the Library’s Special Collections, my
eyes felt the gazes of others upon me. Then I noticed the wooden faces of
Deans Clifford Maser and Earl Goddard staring up from the library cart and into my soul. “These were the guardians of the temple” I muttered to myself, long histories of service to the college and revered in those halls of Bexell.

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It was a flood of finding aids in June!

“Sunday morning on top of the ‘Shack.’” Real photo postcard created for OAC student Edgar Pierce, ca. 1911-1913.

Another busy month for SCARC-ers with 11 finding aids completed or updated during June 2014. All are available through the NWDA finding aids database as well as on the SCARC website. MARC records for the collections are available through the OSU Libraries’ Catalog, Summit Navigator, and Worldcat.

This month’s batch consists of guides for five “new” collections that were received in 2013 or 2014, one maps collection, and three collections for which there was previously only minimal information available online. In addition, two existing finding aids were updated during June. As of June 30, 2014 the OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center had 774 finding aids in NWDA.

Milagro (Miracle Theater Group) Records, 1966-2014 (MSS Milagro).

Masks in the “Applause!” exhibit.

This extensive collection documents the establishment and administration of Milagro, the premier Latino arts and culture program in the Northwest, as well as its educational programs and productions of Latina plays, music, and dance. The collection includes photographs, videotapes and DVDs, audiocassettes, and born-digital electronic records. A detailed list of the collection contents is part of the guide.

Fendall, Roger, Papers, 1953-1981 (MSS Fendall). These papers document Fendall’s role as Head Advisor in the School of Agriculture at Oregon State University and his coursework at North Dakota State University. Roger Kenneth Fendall earned a BS in Farm Crops from Oregon State College in 1960 and a Ph.D. in Agronomy from North Dakota State University in 1964. He joined the faculty of Oregon State in 1968 and held various administrative positions until his retirement in 1993.

Medhus, Sigurd D., Papers, 1947-1949 (MSS Medhus). The Medhus Papers document “Dewey” Medhus’ student years at Oregon State College from 1946 to 1950, especially his membership in the Delta Upsilon fraternity, activities as a yell leader and member of the rally squad, and military training in the Air Force ROTC summer camp at Hamilton Air Force Base. Medhus earned a BS in Business and Technology from Oregon State in 1950. The collections include 34 photographs, a yearbook from the 1949 ROTC summer camp, and a felt Oregon State pennant.

Rosenkoetter, Sharon E., Papers, 2002-2009 (MSS Rosenkoetter). These papers document Rosenkoetter’s research in early childhood development, especially transition planning between settings for children with special needs, and leadership development to promote quality services across early childhood agencies and disciplines. Sharon E. Rosenkoetter was an Associate Professor in Human Development and Family Sciences at Oregon State University from 1999 until her retirement in 2010.

Wang, Chih H., Papers, 1947-1984 (MSS Wang).

Description: Chih H. Wang posing on top of the TRIGA nuclear reactor, 1971.

The Wang Papers document Chih Wang’s career as a chemist and nuclear scientist, the founding and development of the Oregon State University (OSU) Radiation Center, and the growth of nuclear science research and training during the 1960s and 1970s at Oregon State. Wang was a faculty member in the OSU Chemistry Department, Director of the OSU Radiation Center, and Head of the Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering. This guide includes a folder-level list of the collection contents.

Early Topographical Maps of the Oregon Coast, 1868-1915 (MAPS CoastTopo).

Segment of a topographical map of the Oregon Coast from Yaquina Head to Cascade Head. Originally draw in 1887.

This collection of 5 maps document topographic surveys of the central Oregon coast conducted by the U.S. Coast and Geodetic Survey in 1868 and 1887 with updates added through the 1910s. The maps are high-quality reproductions.

Edmonston, George, Jr., Collection, 1907-2011 (MSS Edmonston).

The Edmonston Collection consists primarily of materials collected and generated by Edmonston over the course of his 19 years (1986-2005) as editor of the Oregon Stater alumni magazine, during which time he wrote dozens of articles on the history of Oregon State University. The collection includes almost 500 photographs and born-digital electronic records.

Fraternities and Sororities Photograph Collection, 1915-1989 (P 034).

Chi Omegas at the Inter-fraternity Council Sing practice, ca. 1960s. Barometer Photographs (P 035).

This collection of 51 photographs documents activities and events sponsored by Greek organizations at Oregon State University as well as various fraternity and sorority houses. The guide includes an item-level list with descriptions of individual images.

Student Activities Photograph Collection, 1910-1968 (P 045). These 35 photographs include images of Oregon State student groups and of students engages in a number of activities. Photographs of members and officers of Mortar Board, Blue Key, and the Dad’s Club are included in the collection. The guide includes an item-level list with descriptions of individual images.

Radiation Center Records, 1953-2008 (RG 202).

The Radiation Center Building soon after construction, 1964. President’s Office Photographs (P 092).

The Radiation Center Records document the creation and operation of the Oregon State University Radiation Center. The collection includes administrative correspondence; records of the construction, operation, and maintenance of the Center’s facilities and equipment; documentation of research conducted at the Center; and records of the day-to-day operations of the Center. Classes in nuclear physics and radiochemistry began in the early 1950s and, in 1955, a cyclotron was constructed. Funding was secured in 1962, and construction on the OSU Radiation Center began in early 1964. In early 1967, a 250 kilowatt research reactor was completed. The collection includes photographs, born-digital electronic records, and various forms of radiographs. This guide includes a folder-level list of the collection contents. This extensively updated guide incorporates a substantial addition that was received in 2013 as well as former separate collections for the Radiation Safety Department Records and Radiation Center Photographs. Separate finding aids for those two collections have been superseded by this new guide.

Student Affairs Moving Images, 1963-1992 (FV P 182). This guide has been updated to include additional information about the Paths with Proud Moments video and a link to it online: The video was created by the Indian Education Office in about 1992 for the purpose of recruiting Native American students to Oregon State University. The production includes footage of Native American undergraduate and graduate students describing their experiences at Oregon State; campus views; and scenes of students in classrooms, laboratories, and outdoor settings.

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