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.

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

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.

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

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!

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

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



Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Linus Pauling’s College Years

Post contributed by Kenzie Ross, Student Archivist

Delta Upsilon Fraternity, 1917. Terrance Gather Sr. and Linus Pauling (right). Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection.

Delta Upsilon Fraternity, 1917. Terrance Gather Sr. and Linus Pauling (right). Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection.

Recently, I spent time researching and writing about Oregon Agricultural College in the year 1917, Linus Pauling’s first year of college. Aside from a surface interest in University history (it’s always fun to whip out tidbits concerning bygone eras to impress visiting family members) I knew little about the early years of Oregon State or the collegiate education of a young, eager Pauling. Excited, and a bit nervous, I set out into the stacks and immersed myself in the world of OAC circa 1917. Arriving with a certain set of expectations surrounding the time period and the college experience of the beginning of the twentieth century, I found some of my initial conjectures to be wrong. Convinced of the rigid social formalities of the era, I didn’t imagine I would see my own college experience reflected in yearbook photos and barometer articles. However, the materials of the archive fashioned another narrative, one that pulled a common thread of humanity into focus.

A facile assumption, and an epistemological disservice, is to hone in on the differences between today and previous eras. While there are obvious dissimilarities between Oregon State in 2017 and OAC in 1917, I was struck by the parallels. A prominent discovery developed from The Beaver, the student year-book, whose final section titled “The Disturber” made clear the timeless human desire to let loose and find humor in the world around us. Anticipating an ultra-proper and buttoned up student population, especially considering the global events of the time, I was delighted to find the students of OAC engaged in a lot of light teasing and enjoyed reviewing stories of their classic college antics.

During this project, another figure was thrown into relief. At SCARC, we’re enveloped by the possessions and relics of Linus Pauling, which I’ve come to regard as signifiers of his genius; this, remarkable and incredibly special, often roils a quiet feeling of intimidation. The immensity of a life well-lived permeates my research. In exploring his early diary and gleaning morsels of his youth, I related to him in a new way, empathizing with his banal ache of diffidence. Pauling, entering college at the underachieving age of sixteen, felt, as many of us do at one point or another, insecure and uncertain of himself. While it feels bit comic to think of such a brilliant and prominent scientist as harboring self-doubt, it was a small reminder that confidence is not always a static state.

Working with primary sources and archival material enabled me to find a new reverence for not only my University but for the lives imbricated in its history. It made clear the ways in which we have much more in common with people of the past than we typically assume, a realization that would not have been elucidated without the magic of archives.

Linus Pauling at the time of his 1922 graduation from OAC. Harriet's Photograph Collection, 1868-1996 (P HC).

Linus Pauling at the time of his 1922 graduation from OAC. Harriet’s Photograph Collection, 1868-1996 (P HC).

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Four Oral History Websites Released by SCARC!

Screen Shot 2017-10-27 at 3.29.55 PM

Four new oral history websites comprising more than 550 hours of content have been released by the Oral History Program at the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC). Three of these websites were built using open source resources that are available to other repositories seeking to provide online access to their own oral history collections.

OSU 150

The largest of these sites, The OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History Project, celebrates 150 years of OSU history by presenting 276 interviews conducted with OSU alumni, faculty, staff, current students and supporters. The project’s web portal is comprised of more than 400 hours of media and over 3.4 million words of transcription. About 1.8 TB of born-digital content were collected in building what is the largest oral history project ever conducted at Oregon State.

The vast majority of the interviews presented on the site were video recorded and all are contextualized with full-text transcripts, interview abstracts and biographical sketches. Users also have the option of sorting interviews by interviewee affiliation or interview theme, and are free to download .mp3 audio files of all interviews as well.

OHMS/Omeka Sites

In addition, three websites using a combination of the Oral History Metadata Synchronizer (OHMS) and the Omeka web publishing platform are also now available. These websites are:

All three of these websites utilize a combination of OHMS, the Omeka Seasons theme, the OHMSObject plug-in, and custom .css and .php modifications that have been released by the OSU Libraries on GitHub. Additional details on how the sites were created are provided in Technical Notes appended to each project.

For more information on any of these initiatives, please contact Chris Petersen, Senior Faculty Research Assistant in SCARC.

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

My Student Experience

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.

Fort Rock, Lake County, Oregon. Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums (P 303), Album 16- Southeastern Region- Oregon.

Fort Rock, Lake County, Oregon. Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums (P 303), Album 16- Southeastern Region- Oregon.

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Taste’ of the ‘Chives: International Flavors

We’ll be scaring up some toothsome aromas and flavors from the files of International student organizations at OSU this upcoming Halloween for this year’s Taste of the ‘Chives Recipe Showcase!  Lemon rice, aloo gobi, minted tabouli, postre de nues, and many other dishes were featured in campus cultural celebrations over the years.  These are now archived and we want to try them out!

When?  Tuesday, October 31, noon to 1:00

Where?  Willamette Rooms-Library 3rd Floor  

To bring these flavors to life, we always need some extra cooks to help out, so if you’re willing to share your culinary skill, please let Karl McCreary (karl.mccreary@oregonstate.edu) know or check out our Facebook event!

You can find other recipes used by international student organizations here in the “Food Fair: International Cookbook.” Our own Melissa Hartley helped to put together this publication!

Looking forward to seeing you there and enjoying some tasty times!

Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment

Oregon State University Releases Major Oral History Project Featuring Interviews with Hundreds of Faculty and Alumni


Oregon State University has released the largest oral history project ever conducted at OSU. The product of more than four years of work, The OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History Project consists of more than 400 hours of fully transcribed video and audio recordings with well over 200 alumni, faculty, staff and current students. The entire collection is available online at http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/oh150/index.html

The project team, which was housed in the OSU Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC), traveled near and far to collect regional perspectives on Oregon’s Land Grant university. In addition to a great many interviews captured in Corvallis, Portland and the Willamette Valley, project staff traveled to Bend and Newport as well as Pendleton, Hood River, Sutherlin and Klamath Falls to record the stories of a wide variety of alumni and faculty, particularly those associated with OSU’s branch campuses and Extension and Experiment Stations. The oral historians likewise visited locations out of state including San Francisco, Denver, Norman (Oklahoma), Houston and Washington, D.C. to meet and interview a selection of high-profile Oregon Staters.

The completed collection consists of more than 100 interviews with OSU alumni from every decade beginning with the 1930s; over 100 additional interviews with OSU faculty, both current and emeritus, representing all of OSU’s colleges; another 20 interviews with OSU staff (current and retired); and 10 more with current OSU students (undergraduate and graduate). A total of 111 majors, departments or thematic points of emphasis are represented within the collection.

Included among those interviewed are three OSU Presidents (Ed Ray, John Byrne and Paul Risser); an assortment of prominent OSU athletes (Terry Baker, Yvenson Bernard, Dale Story, Joy (Selig) Petersen and four individuals connected with the 2006 and 2007 College Baseball World Series-winning teams); and internationally known alumni including National Geographic editor Chris Johns, groundbreaking clergywoman Katharine Jefferts-Schori, NASA astronaut Don Pettit, and National Medal of Science recipient Warren Washington. The collection also features interviews with 24 OSU Distinguished Professors as well as the three individuals who served as co-chairs for the $1 billion Campaign for OSU. Likewise included are interviews with a retired carpenter, a greenhouse worker and union activist, an E-campus student located on the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation, and the head of the OSU Motor Pool.


“Our ambition was to provide as full a portrait of the university and its history as we could,” said project director Chris Petersen, senior faculty research assistant in SCARC. “I’m quite certain that there are pockets of OSU that are not especially well-represented in the finished product, but my hope is that anyone associated with Oregon State will see at least a piece of themselves somewhere within the collection.”

A total of 276 interviews have been made available on the custom-built project website, each of them fully transcribed and contextualized with biographical sketches and abstracts for all those who participated. In total, more than 3.4 million words of transcription have been released on the site. Some of the collection’s most significant topical strengths include the Advancement of Women, Athletics, Entrepreneurship, Environmental Sustainability, Extension and Experiment Stations, International Studies, Journalism, Military Service, Multiculturalism, Oceanography, and Public Service. OSU’s Land Grant heritage and mission are documented throughout the project. Specific interviews focusing on Sea Grant, Space Grant and Sun Grant at OSU are included as well.

Commissioned in anticipation of OSU’s 150th anniversary in 2018, the oral history project was sponsored by the OSU Office of the Provost, University Marketing and Relations, OSU Libraries and Press, the OSU Foundation, the OSU Alumni Office, and The Oregon Stater alumni magazine. All told, thirty-eight people contributed in some form to the creation, development and online representation of the project.


Posted in Main Page | Leave a comment