Reuniting Finley and Bohlman: A Student’s Perspective

This continues our series on Finley and Bohlman and highlights the work of one of our student employees.  Valeria Dávila Gronros 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. She is currently a digitization technician at the Digital Production Unit of the Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center.  


What was it like being thrown into a project of this scale without any prior experience in DPU or with digitizing archival collections?

It was exciting and challenging, as pretty much everything going on in my life at the time… I had recently moved in the US from my home country, Argentina; it was a radical shift, and, as I was going through that transition, joining DPU provided me not only a job but a supportive environment, where to settle down and get involved with the city and with the university by doing something meaningful.

When I joined, DPU was undertaking its biggest digitization project, «Reuniting Finley and Bohlman», in collaboration with the Oregon Historical Society. The idea was to reunite the OSU and OHS collections online, for public access. This project was challenging in many ways, not only in terms of scale –8000 paper documents–, but also in terms of time. As the project was being funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the LSTA Grant, we had just one year to complete the digitization work.

I had a background in digital photography and filmmaking, and have had previously worked digitally restoring films, so I was comfortable within the digital dominion. But, as for digitizing, my user-level experience was nothing like the specialized digitization that DPU does… DPU digitizes archival materials from the Special Collections & Archives, in accordance to international access and preservation standards, using dedicated software and equipment, so, it was a lot to learn and to get familiar with. In addition to this, the archival environment was completely new to me, but my work at DPU put me in contact with that universe too.


You had mentioned that you were under a time crunch when it came to completing the project. How did it feel when you completed it?

I felt fulfilled, and relieved… I think we all did. At that time DPU was facing its own challenges. In terms of staff, for instance, we were three after I joined. For a project like «Finley and Bohlman» this structure was critical. By the time I started, half year had passed but yet not half the digitization had been made. Six months later we were finishing the project… The achievement was truly a team effort. Both Brian’s coordination and our commitment played a key role in it.


What types of items did you work with in this project?  Do you have a favorite item that you worked with?

Fortunately, among the 8000 documents there were diverse types of items, from manuscripts and typescripts, to maps, newspaper clippings, scrapbooks, and ephemera, such as postcards, letters, social events invitations, brochures, and the list continues. This diversification made the digitization interesting for me, and a great source of training and learning. As straightforward as it may seem, digitizing requires creativity and ingenuity, since each item is different in terms of shape, texture, size, color, reflectivity, etc., demanding, accordingly, different digitization techniques.


Digitizing «Finley and Bohlman» taught me that you have to be caring and patience with the archival materials and with the process, since it can sometimes get arduous. These lessons guided me all the way through the following projects, yet it has proven to be an ongoing learning. We are always challenged with unique items that we have never handled or digitized before. Those teaches you the most, and often add a little magic to the work too.


Favourite items? Yes! Well, I wish I had digitized some of the amazing photographs, but I loved digitizing the newspaper clippings, the maps and the postcards, because they were all image-based.


You mentioned how complicated some of the scanning was, did you have a standard procedure with each item?  Could you describe how you went about scanning Finley-Bohlman?

We have specific workflows for both paper-based and photographic materials digitization. «Finley and Bohlman» was a paper-based special collection. Most of its items were fragile, and many were falling apart, requiring a extreme careful handling and scanning. Besides, we often had oversized newspaper clippings and maps, that were twice or triple the size of our scanner, so we would scan them in several parts –from as little as two and up to six, or more– and then merge the digital pieces into one single image using Photoshop. The automatic merging tool would not always work as expected, so I would often merge the pieces manually. As making a puzzle, it was arduous and time-consuming but rewarding once got the final images.


Digitizing was one part of the process. The other was preparing the materials to the online repository. So, we would review each digital file for quality control, and while we would create and keep archivable PDFs from said files, we would also create a compressed version for online access (visit


After putting in all the time and effort, what did it feel like winning the LTSA award for the project?

Wow! The «Project of the Year» award came as a surprise to all of us, and it was gratefully welcomed.

It was the perfect way to give closure to a project like this one, that was different from the start because there were a strong interest and expectation regarding «Finley and Bohlman» within the archive community. Plus, a joint effort was made by OSU and OHS to set up lectures that would contextualize and disseminate the project, and given the relevance of these figures in the context of wildlife conservation, the project got the attention of the media as well. This interest and repercussion were great because it has drawn attention to our work, giving us the space to share our experience. I very much enjoy sharing this, so thanks for your interest!


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Reuniting Finley and Bohlman

This is the first post in a series detailing the joint project between OSU and OHS to bring together and digitize the William Lovell Finley and Herman T. Bohlman photograph and manuscript collections held by these institutions. 

William L. Finley and Herman Bohlman with the umbrella blind in the tules, 1908 (William L. Finley Photographs Collection, circa 1900-1940 (Org. Lot 369, OHS))

William L. Finley and Herman Bohlman with the umbrella blind in the tules, 1908 (William L. Finley Photographs Collection, circa 1900-1940 (Org. Lot 369, OHS))

William Lovell Finley trained as a biologist at the University of California-Berkeley and shared an early passion for birds with his childhood friend Herman T. Bohlman. Together, they developed an artistic knack for bird photography that provided an important body of scientific evidence. Backed by their keen observations and ability to communicate effectively with both policymakers and the public, they had a dramatic influence upon local and national conservation viewpoints and policies.

Finley and Bohlman’s activism, along with that of other Oregon bird lovers, led to the passage of the Model Bird Act of 1903 and the formation of the Oregon Audubon Society (now the Audubon Society of Portland). Their images also played a key role in President Theodore Roosevelt’s decision to declare Three Arch Rocks, Klamath, and Malheur as special wildlife reservations. William Finley worked for the state of Oregon for eight years, serving as Oregon fish and game commissioner, state game warden, and state biologist. Finley’s wife, Irene, also took an active role after their marriage in 1906, working as his field partner. The two worked together on several nature films and published a large body of books and articles on ornithology, wildlife, and conservation.

The materials in this collection are the result of a yearlong partnership between the Oregon Historical Society Research Library and the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center to digitize the Finley and Bohlman photograph and manuscript collections held by our libraries. Now reunited online, the materials represent over fifty years (1899-1946) of work to document and protect the diversity of bird life in Oregon.

Species names and descriptions are drawn from original metadata and may not reflect currently accepted naming conventions or terms. The Reuniting Finley and Bohlman Collection pulls materials from several preexisting OSU and OHS collections. These collections include:

Collections held at OSU:

MSS Finley – William L. Finley Papers, 1899-1946
P 202 – Herman T. Bohlman Photograph Collection, ca. 1890-1925


Collections held at OHS:

Coll 542 – Herman T. Bohlman lecture notes
Mss 2654 – William L. Finley letters and scrapbook
Org. Lot 369 – William L. Finley photograph collection


This project is supported in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the Library Services and Technology Act, administered by the Oregon State Library.


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New guides for January and February!

The month isn’t quite done, but we’re excited to share the 8 new/updated finding aids completed in January and February 2018.

It’s an eclectic set! And you’ll see several links to Oregon Digital, where you’ll find all sorts of cool digital content.

DPDlogoDifference, Power, and Discrimination (DPD) Program Records, 1970-2011  (RG 250)

The DPD Program Records document the establishment and functioning of the DPD Program at Oregon State University as well as the topics of diversity, discrimination, racism, minority students and faculty, and women in higher education.  The DPD Program at Oregon State was established in the early 1990s as a means to deliver courses to address cultural and ethnic diversity as well as racism, discrimination, and their origins.

TL HeaderTeam Liberation Records, 2002-2004 (RG 287)

These records document the establishment and functioning of this organization during its first two years.  Team Liberation was established at Oregon State University in 2002 to provide interactive human relations workshops to the Oregon State community.  All the materials in the collection are born-digital records that are available to researchers in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room. 

mss-centuryfarms-600wOregon Century Farm and Ranch Program Records, 2006-2016 (MSS ORCFRP)

The Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program Records document farms and ranches in Oregon that have applied for and received recognition as Century or Sesquicentennial farms or ranches.  The records consist primarily of application materials and administrative files related to the awards ceremonies; a database listing all the farms and ranches accepted into the program is also included.  The Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program was established in 1958.  All available application files and select administrative files are digitized and available in Oregon Digital. 

pride-center-600wPride Center Records, 1973-2013 (RG 236)

These records document the establishment of the Queer Resource Center (later known as the Pride Center) at Oregon State University and the programs and activities of this resource center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) members of their OSU community and their allies.  The collection administrative records, publications, educational materials, posters, photographs, and digital copies of scrapbooks that are available in Oregon Digital.

Coed Code CoverAssociated Women Students Handbooks, 1924-1963 (PUB 010-23d)

These handbooks (commonly known as the Coed Code) consist of guides for women students at Oregon State University regarding regulations and expectations.  The first handbook was published in 1924 for the 1924-1925 academic year.  The Coed Code ceased publication in 1963 with the 1963-1964 issue.  The Associated Women Students was established at Oregon State in 1924 with the purpose of furthering the educational, social, and cultural aims of women.  Most of the items in this collection are available online in Oregon Digital.

oregon_countryman_191202-coverOregon Countryman, 1908-1922 (PUB 010-14a)

The Oregon Countryman was written, edited, and published by students in agriculture and home economics at Oregon Agricultural College from 1908 through 1929.  This archival collection consists of 11 unbound issues of the magazine published between June 1908 and February 1922.  These issues are available online.  An index for the magazine was prepared in the 1970s or 1980s and is also available online. 



hc1888-homen-600wHomer Maris Collection, 1918-1946 (MSS Maris)

This small collection contains correspondence and manuscripts relating to the Oregon State University alma mater, Carry Me Back, which was written and composed by Maris.  Also included in the collection are photographs and an Oregon Agricultural College student handbook.  In addition to incorporating an addition to the collection, this guide has been revised to reflect current descriptive standards and practice.



Persiani-002Paul J. Persiani Papers, 1938-2009 (MSS Persiani)

The Persiani Papers document the career of Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) physicist Paul J. Persiani.  The collection includes research data related to neutron radiation, reactor development, and fuel analysis; administrative files, photographs, and memorabilia from Persiani’s time at ANL; records of his participation in the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START); publications, lectures, and teaching materials generated by Persiani; and reference materials including conference proceedings and scientific publications.  This guide has been updated to incorporate additions to the collection received in 2017.

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Interview with Karl McCreary, Organizer of OSU Art Exhibit

In honor of the new exhibit “Community – Collaboration – Craft: A Glimpse of Art at OSU” in our foyer, I interviewed archivist Karl McCreary to learn more about his reason for displaying this aspect of OSU history.

Art Exhibit Kiosk Slide Revised-01

What is your role in SCARC?

I review materials offered to the OSU Archives by campus departments, faculty, alumni, and associated organizations for permanent and historical value. For documentation of archival value, I describe their contents in a way to increase their accessibility for research.  This all means I see a lot of cool things to share.

Why did you choose this exhibit topic?

Personal interest in random crafty things.  I’ve reached out to and been a part of the art community here on campus since I started working here in 2000.  This has been through the Craft Center and community shows at La Sells, where I have pieces displayed currently!

Why do you think it’s important to showcase this topic?  Who do you think it will appeal to?

Anyone with an imagination will love this.  It’s just fun.  And it’s important to remember OSU isn’t just a science school.  I wanted to highlight the other aspects of campus and art is very visible on campus.

Image uploaded from iOS

Need help designing a face?

What is your favorite item in the exhibit?

Since I can only pick one, I would have to say the Danceramics. They have a fascinating background and story behind them.  Although she was an instructor of modern and creative dance from 1927-1972, Betty Lynd Thompson was inspired to replicate modern dance moves in clay, a form of art she called “danceramics.”  These ceramic pieces were also given as awards.

Betty Lynd Thompson with ceramics

Betty Lynd Thompson with ceramics

What surprised you the most in looking for materials?

Well, this is a culmination of years and years of seeing amazing things come into the archives.  But I think the most surprising things I found in the Memorabilia Collection when I was just looking for information and not actual items to display.  Some of these found items actually made it into the exhibit, like the art exhibit flyers from the 1930s-1950s.

Art exhibit flyer from 1937

Art exhibit flyer from 1937

Was there anything you wish you could have included but couldn’t?

Lots of things!  But I think we did a good job including some aspect of everything that needed to be included…even film from a class project in 2006 or 2007!

If people want to know more, what are other collections they could look at?

Check out the Memorabilia Collection and the Art Department Records, or just email me (karl.mccreary at  That’s probably the easiest since some of these collections aren’t fully described or open to the public yet.

Are you ready to do another exhibit?  What exhibit would you like to do next?

Who knows!  Creating this exhibit had a huge learning curve…thank god for Tiah and Natalia!  But there is still so much more to do with this current exhibit, including talks in the Collections at the Center series and an open crafty event.

Exhibit will run until May 31 in the foyer outside of Special Collections and there will be a catered reception on February 15, from 4-6pm in the reading room.  Stay tuned for other exhibit events coming up!

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Ada and the Engine

Did you miss the play reading in our reading room last week?  Check out some photos from the event and we look forward to seeing you at our next reading!


Selection of SCARC sources displayed at the play reading

Selection of SCARC sources displayed at the play reading

Sources Displayed

Examining displayed SCARC resources

Examining displayed SCARC resources


This reading continues a series of play readings about women of science written by women dramatists. Last year’s readings included Gunderson’s Silent Sky about Henrietta Leavitt and the Harvard Observatory, Anna Ziegler’s Photograph 51 about Rosalind Franklin and the double helix of DNA, and Siobhán Nicholas’ Stella: A Story of Women, Their Men and Astronomy about astronomer Caroline Herschel. These readings are made possible by the following departments at OSU: Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; OSU Libraries; and the Office of Student Affairs.

Want more information on the play itself?  Check out:

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A New Exhibit at SCARC

Community – Collaboration – Craft

A Glimpse of Art at OSU

Exhibit will run January 15 to May 31 in the foyer outside of Special Collections

Drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, video production, photography, weaving, woodcraft, and metalworking. These activities have brought different elements of OSU together in a community of creativity, collaboration, and craft for 150 years. This exhibit is dedicated to recognizing some of those who have shaped this community through the lens of art and craft in instruction, inspiration, exhibits, and the public landscape.   

Art instruction in the first four decades of OSU could be summed up in one word: drawing. Coursework in drawing was considered a basic part of the curriculum and offered by a diverse range of departments that included engineering, mathematics, household economy, and modern language. In 1893, the college established a separate department for instruction in drawing and shortly thereafter required all incoming freshmen to take 3 terms of freehand drawing. By 1908, the scope of instruction expanded to encompass courses in color harmony and freehand lettering, followed by the introduction of classes in art appreciation and art history a few years later. Offerings in sculpture, photography, ceramics, graphic design, printmaking, exhibit design, and digital imaging would eventually be added to fill out the art curriculum.

Instructor of printmaking Gordon Gilkey played many influential roles in the OSU and Oregon art community. He served as a longtime professor (1947-1976), a renown print maker, Art Department Chair, first Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, one of the “monuments men” in the recovery of art stolen by the Nazis during WWII, and a major patron of the Portland Art Museum. (Gwil Evans (P 082), 1951)

Instructor of printmaking Gordon Gilkey played many influential roles in the OSU and Oregon art community. He served as a longtime professor (1947-1976), a renown print maker, Art Department Chair, first Dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities, one of the “monuments men” in the recovery of art stolen by the Nazis during WWII, and a major patron of the Portland Art Museum.
(Gwil Evans Photograph Collection (P082), 1951)

Notable Art Department faculty have included: Leo Fairbanks (painting), Gordon Gilkey (printmaking), Wayne Taysom (sculpture), Harrison Branch (photography), Nelson Sandgren (painting), Marian Bowman (ceramics), Yuji Hiratsuka (printmaking), John Maul (sculpture), and Julie Green (painting).                                             

A number of instructors outside the Art Department have been notable for incorporating art and craft in their teaching, research, and recognition of student achievement. Among them include Botany Professor Helen M. Gilkey (botanical drawings), Dance Professor Betty Lynd Thompson (ceramics), Manufacturing Engineering Professor Robert Claude Wilson (wood marquetry), and Entomology Professor Bonnie Hall (scientific illustration).  

An instructor of modern and creative dance from 1927-1972, Betty Lynd Thompson was inspired to replicate modern dance moves in clay, a form of art she called “danceramics.” A 1948 exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum featured some of her figurines. Harriet’s Photograph Collection.

An instructor of modern and creative dance from 1927-1972, Betty Lynd Thompson was inspired to replicate modern dance moves in clay, a form of art she called “danceramics.” A 1948 exhibit at the Seattle Art Museum featured some of her figurines.  (Harriet’s Photograph Collection, c. 1949)

The plethora of sculptures, murals, statues, paintings, carvings, and unique installations throughout campus is a testament to a long tradition of public art at OSU. These contributions to OSU’s visual landscape have had many different sources: class gifts to the university, federal government programs, donations by faculty, and Oregon legislation.

Public art as a feature of building architecture is nowhere more apparent than the OSU Library, where a series of tile mosaic murals were installed during the building’s construction. Art Professor Nelson Sandgren designed and created the murals, parts of which remain visible today. This section is on the third floor. (Harriet’s Photograph Collection, 1962)

Public art as a feature of building architecture is nowhere more apparent than the OSU Library, where a series of tile mosaic murals were installed during the building’s construction. Art Professor Nelson Sandgren designed and created the murals, parts of which remain visible today. This section is on the third floor. (Harriet’s Photograph Collection, 1962)

There are many venues on campus designed to share the visual arts. These places celebrate creativity in both temporary exhibits and permanent installations. For the showcase of student and Art faculty works, Fairbanks Hall has served as the focal point of campus exhibit space for 80 years. The gallery has also hosted shows featuring works by noted artistic luminaries such as Sue Coe, Bill Viola, Robert Motherwell, and Edward Weston. Other campus galleries featuring space for changing exhibits are in the Memorial Union, Kidder Hall, and Strand Hall.  

With the Percent for Art program ensuring that new campus construction and remodel projects incorporate artistic visual elements into the finished structures, the “artscape” at OSU has been, and continues, to grow. This has inspired the integration of art into the architecture of many new OSU buildings, such as Austin Hall, with its two-story ceramic tile mural installation “Currency of Insight.” In other buildings, such as the Valley Library, individual art pieces were purchased to form permanent collections for exhibit. Most of the 120+plus sculptures, paintings, and photographs that make up the Library’s Northwest Art Collection has been on display since 1998.

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Happy 2018 – look at the finding aids we did last month!

Thomas and Margaret Meehan, ca. 1980.Margaret Meehan Papers, 1961-1987 (MSS Meehan)

The Meehan Papers consist of materials created and assembled by Honors Program Director and History Department Instructor Margaret Meehan, a staff member at Oregon State University from 1970 to 1986.  The collection chiefly consists of materials relating to women in American history and culture and items documenting the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Robert Kennedy.  


Helen H. Marburger Photograph Album, 1920-1926 (P 341)

This album documents the interests and activities of a woman tentatively identified as Helen Marburger – an Oregon Agricultural College student – between 1920 and 1926.  The album includes images of Marburger’s friends and family, campus buildings and views, recreational activities, and Oregon landscapes and landmarks,  The collection includes about 400 prints and 50 nitrate negatives.  This album was formerly part of Harriet’s Collection and was separated in order to allow for enhanced description.

Oregon Agriculture, 1944-1972 (PUB 006-43d)

These publications consist of two groups of reports issued in the late 1940s-early 1950s and in the early 1970s that summarize the status of agricultur3e and other natural resources in Oregon, identify trends, and recommend future directions.  The reports were published by the Oregon State University Extension Service.  All of the publications are available online in Oregon Digital. 

Nuclear Science Technical Reports Collection, 1946-1979 (MSS Reports)

This collection includes papers issued by a variety of both government and government-contracted organizations focused on the research, application, and development of nuclear energy and reactor design.  The finding aid describes items held in original paper form and those that are available online.  The original finding aid (created in 2009) was substantially revised in 2017.

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Being SCARC’s Lead Student Archivist

Hi!  I’m Anna and I am SCARC’s Lead Student Archivist.


I’ve had the pleasure of working in SCARC for almost three years, which have exposed to me to new ways to use my history of science background and just might have convinced me to pursue archival work when I complete my PhD studies!  SCARC is a great place to work as a student, but it’s hard to define what exactly that experience is or can be.  As student archivists, we’ve all had different experiences since we work a variety of different projects depending on which faculty member we work with.  (Which is precisely why we’re doing this blog series!)

While working at SCARC, I’ve had the opportunity to write for the Pauling Blog and also be involved in processing new collections or helping design and install exhibits.  Working on the Pauling Blog was a natural progression after completing my Master’s Thesis on Linus Pauling and Edward Teller’s 1958 fallout debate and associated books and I enjoyed the opportunity to explore Pauling’s collection in even more depth.  And saying there is a lot to explore in Pauling’s collection is an understatement!

Since becoming the Lead Student Archivist, my work has been more varied as I “float” between different staff members and their projects, helping where ever I am needed.  I love the variety that this position entails, but my favorite part is being involved more directly with the individual students we hire by scheduling their shifts and helping to train them and answer any questions they might have.

Stay tuned for more posts highlighting these projects and others from our students!

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New on Rare @ OSU

Have you checked out our rare book blog recently?  Our student archivist Ethan is highlighting some of our unique collections!  His recent posts include:

Papers for Peace: Vietnam, Linus Pauling, and Thích Nhất Hạnh’s Burning Lotus

The 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Scrapbook

The Art Journal of the Victorian Era 

Captain Cook’s Voyages



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Processing the Olympia Brewery Library Collection

Post contributed by Jalen Todd, SCARC Student Archivist

Every day is leg day when you work in the archives. Forget hitting the gym and lifting weights, I’ll probably have arms capable of wrestling a bear by the time I’m done here. Its actually amazing how heavy a box of magazines can get. But honestly, it’s the stuff in the box that’s interesting. I started cataloging the Olympia Brewery Library collection a few months before writing this. It’s a hodge-podge of periodicals, beer can collector’s mags, and lab communications. The marginalia is sparse but interesting. It feels like a treasure hunt, trying to find the notes these people left their coworkers in the brewery. There’s a whole story inside those notes.

The coolest thing in there—in my humble opinion—is a run of Scandinavian brewer’s journals, written in Danish. I don’t speak Danish, but I can do a mean Google translate search, but it begs the question: which one of those Olympia Brewers read Danish? It’s random questions like this that makes working here really enjoyable. That and my potential future as a bear wrestler.

The things these boxes can hide!

The things these boxes can hide!


The Scandinavian Brewers Review...with a lot of text in English...

The Scandinavian Brewers Review…with a lot of text in English…

Brewers Digest with MBAA Convention Report

Brewers Digest with MBAA Convention Report

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