Post contributed by Kassidy Benson, Student Archivist
As a student, working in the archives is one of the highlights of my time at Oregon State. The atmosphere is friendly and calm, and the materials we have available are riveting to study.
I first got involved with SCARC when my Medieval Literature class took a tour to see what materials this branch of the library had to offer. Among several other pieces of the main collection, the artifact that stood out to me the most was a Latin handwritten edition of the Holy Bible from circa 1400. The fact that I could hold this artifact in my hands, to look through it to see the water-coloring in the margins and the manicules drawn next to important passages, was one of the most moving experiences of my life. Though the Rare Books Collection was what initially caught my eye, it’s just the tip of the iceberg with this area of the Valley Library.
My own personal work has been organizing and filing materials from the Williams Collection, which consists of the personal papers and references of former national historian for the U.S. Forest Service, Gerald W. Williams. His papers date from 1970 to present and include his personal papers, reference documents, correspondence, many manuscript drafts for his several books, and ephemera from several different areas of his study. My duties with this collection include sorting materials into several of the main areas of Williams’ focus, such as: Army Spruce Production, Umpqua National Forest, Smokey Bear, Civilian Conservation Corps, papers on Gifford Pinchot, papers on Judge Waldo, and more. It has been insightful and interesting to go through this collection, as I’ve learned so much about the nature and history of the National Forest Service, the history of the Pacific Northwest, and how the NFS has changed in the last 40 years.
My time working with the rest of SCARC has been both educational and transformative. Direct contact with patrons in the Reading Room and viewing their research first hand has been a great experience; watching students and non-students alike utilize our resources and marvel at our collections is inspiring. Learning to page and circulate materials is also enjoyable–I feel knowledgeable about the various collections we have acquired, and it’s refreshing to learn something new about our archives every day. The staff is a delightful bunch, each student or staff member with a passion about the work they do and the materials they work with.