Thanks to Gillian Bergmann, OHBA student extraordinaire, for a suite of posts related to Peter Kopp’s new book Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
What’s new on the Brewstorian blog? Posts related to Peter Kopp’s Hoptopia: A World of Agriculture and Beer in Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
“As individuals who believe that the only security for America lies in world peace, we wish to ask you why at present the United States is sending its Army, Navy and Air Force to bring death and bloodshed to South Vietnam, a small Asian country approximately 10,000 miles from our Pacific Coast.”
-“An Open Letter to President John F. Kennedy Against U.S. Military Intervention in South Vietnam,” April 11, 1962.
In spring 1962, Linus Pauling was in communication with Corliss Lamont, a philosopher and the director of the American Civil Liberties Union, who was organizing an open letter to President Kennedy (which Pauling ultimately signed) opposing military action in Vietnam. Lamont had written to Pauling share the details of his own correspondence with McGeorge Bundy, the U.S. National Security Advisor. Bundy was highly critical of Lamont’s open letter and had provided documents intended to both enlighten Lamont and dissuade him from taking a strong stance against the U.S. position.
[Ed Note: This is part 2 of 7 in our series focusing on Linus Pauling’s activism against the Vietnam War. This is also the 600th post to be released on the Pauling Blog. We thank you for your continued readership.]
Last week the Oregon State Queer Archives hosted its first ever crafting event as part of OSU’s Queer History Month celebrations. We supplied attendees with copies of archival materials, including images from the Pride Center records, old event flyers, After 8 materials, and of course, glitter! One of the main goals of this event was to use archival materials as a way to imagine queer futures, particularly as they pertain to OSU and the surrounding community. Some absolutely fabulous art was created, and many of the artists generously donated their pieces to OSQA.
“Our present object is not to apportion blame among the groups of combatants. The one imperative is that this crime against all that is civilized in the family of man shall cease.”
-“An Appeal by Recipients of the Nobel Peace Prize,” 1965
On the 27th of April, 1965, Father Georges Dominique Pire wrote a letter to all of his fellow Nobel Peace Prize recipients from Aberdeen, Scotland. The letter intended to rally this group in opposition to the Vietnam War. At the time, public opinion in the United States overwhelmingly supported the recent deployment of troops to Vietnam, as ordered by President Lyndoncommitment would be increased by December, bringing the total number of U.S. military personnel in Vietnam to nearly 200,000.
Linus Pauling, who had been awarded the Peace Prize in December 1963 for his work ushering in a partial nuclear test ban treaty, read Pire’s letter with a heavy heart. Pauling had received notification of his award just as President John F. Kennedy began to increase American involvement in Southeast Asia, and only a month later the President was assassinated. This series of events paved the way for a new Commander in Chief, Lyndon Johnson, to further expand the American presence in the region.
“Poetic Dendrochronology and Human/Tree Portraiture in Historical Photographs from the PNW,” Melody Owen’s Resident Scholar talk
Melody Owen, an artist from the Portland area, is the 22nd individual to complete a term as Resident Scholar in the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC). The Resident Scholar program, which was established in 2008, awards stipends of up to $2,500 for a month’s study in the OSU Libraries. Previous scholars have included historians, librarians, graduate, doctoral, or post-doctoral students as well as independent scholars.
Owen, whose art often focuses on the fragile state and crucial importance of the earth’s ecosystems, made use of SCARC’s large collection of Pacific Northwest materials. Her research was concentrated on the many collections consisting of materials assembled by the Forest Service sociologist and historian Gerald W. Williams. Working on a continuation of a previous project, Time is a Tree, Owen sought out photographs, postcards, and prints that related humans and trees.
In her Resident Scholar lecture, titled “Poetic Dendrochronology and Human/Tree Portraiture in Historical Photographs from the PNW,” Owen discussed the relationship humans have with trees through the lens of historic photos. Using images from the late 19th and early 20th centuries in which a person or people stand next to a tree, she examined the inclination of humans to take pictures with trees for as long as cameras have existed, and discussed their reasons for doing so.
Owen’s presentation was split into three main themes, which she titled “Time is a Tree,” “Tree Rings,” and “Direction of the Road.” The first theme was dedicated mainly to human/tree portraiture; that is, photographs in which a person or people stand next to a live tree. The next theme focused on photos that showed people next to cross-sections of tree trunks, stumps, and images with loggers. The last consisted of photographs that included roads that had been created to grant public to access the forests.
Owen also discussed the frequency with which people choose to take photos with trees and some potential reasons for doing so, including admiration or sentiment. More specifically, photographs were often taken to emphasize a tree’s beauty or majesty, its immense size compared to the relative smallness of a person, and a person’s skills or bravado in cutting them down.
A majority of the photos, whether or not they are zoomed in on the person, include a massive tree, and in this they convey the awe and admiration that humans hold for these trees, which are so much larger than us. Although many of these photos show only a single person next to an enormous tree, others include groups. Owen discovered that photographs with groups generally focused on only the largest trees and often showed a group posing on the tree – either across the trunk if the tree had fallen or ranged along lower branches or protrusions on the trunk.
In many of the photos, the person depicted is leaning against the tree, reaching out to touch it, or sitting on it. Owen regards this type of portraiture as indicative of our desire to feel closer to nature. Other photos show trees that have been cut down and that are being transported, with people posing next to them. Owen found many of these types of photos, which she speculated may have been so prolific because urbanization was beginning to occur and people began to spend less and less time in the forests. Instead, trees being brought out of the forest were more accessible and still allowed people to experience a connection to nature.
Other photographs show only what was left of these colossal trees after they had been cut and taken out of the forest: the stump. In photos where people posed with tree trunks, Owen found that they often stood on top of the trunk. Owen sees these images as suggesting that the person is an extension of the tree. Logging photos also show the tree after it’s been cut or in the process of being cut. In these, the loggers often pose in the cut they have made in the tree. They also show the tree as a “prize,” like a trophy salmon or elk.
The final type of photo focuses less on the trees and more on the roads that allow access to them. As cars became more popular, so did traveling to awe-inspiring places, including old-growth forests populated by trees that dwarfed the cars driving among them. Popular locations for photographs of this type were areas where trees had had arches cut in them so that cars could drive through. Owen’s selection of photographs from this category included people walking through trees, as well horse-drawn carriages and cars. She saw this series as being a timeline of sorts, showing how, while the world around us has changed, we humans have always been drawn to trees.
Owen plans to use the research that she completed at SCARC to create a book of human/tree photos and writings that relate to the images. This fall, she is also starting a graduate program in environmental arts and humanities at OSU.
The Resident Scholar Program at OSU Libraries is now in its ninth year of operation. For more information about past Resident Scholars, please see the program’s homepage.
Halloween is just a week away. In celebration, this month’s installation of our Reuniting Finley and Bohlman series takes a look at costumes—the innovative wildlife photographer’s best friend.
William Finley and his collaborators are renowned for their ingenuity and stubborn determination in ensuring that they got the best shot. Several photographs show Finley and Herman Bohlman burrowed deep into haystacks or perched precariously in the treetops waiting for birds to land in just the right place (often persuaded by a snack kindly left by the photographers). Finley’s earliest photography blind was a large wagon with a heavy green tarp hung down the sides, inside which he and Bohlman concealed themselves and their camera. In later years, particularly after Finley’s future son-in-law, Arthur Pack, joined the expeditions, the disguises got noticeably more creative.
The Infamous Goat Men of Glacier
On a 1928 expedition to Glacier Park in Montana, Finley and Pack took their efforts to photograph wildlife a step further than hiding in a blind: They donned a white flannel goat costume, complete with horns and whiskers. Writing of the experience later, Finley noted:
Carefully smoothing out my false whiskers, I crawled on to a point where I got good pictures within fifty feet. His white form almost filled the finder as I pressed the trigger. I shot pictures as fast as the film would run, and on to the end; after all, it was rather a simple thing to get the goat at fifty feet and less. It was perhaps just a matter of whiskers—white whiskers.”
To our great fortune, Finley and Pack’s goat antics are preserved in a 1930 Nature Magazine short film, “Getting our Goat.” The 15 minute film features stunning vistas of Glacier’s rugged terrain, intimate depictions of wildlife behavior, and of course, a be-goated Finley doing his best to get the drop on a group of wary goats.
A Prickly Situation
Costumes were deployed again on a 1930 expedition to Arizona and New Mexico that Finley co-led with Pack. This time, Pack hid inside a giant cactus held up by suspenders that concealed both man and camera. As he roamed the desert of the southwest in search of vantage points from which to lie in wait, Pack succeeded in capturing images of some of the region’s most elusive species. Though, given the lack of visible ventilation and seemingly fixed position of the camera, coupled with the extreme heat of the American Southwest, one has to wonder whether this effort led to more frustration than success.
To see more, be sure to check up on the Reuniting Finley and Bohlman Collection on Oregon Digital throughout the year as additional materials are uploaded.
This blog series is part of a yearlong partnership between the Oregon Historical Society Research Library and Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives to digitize the Finley and Bohlman photograph and manuscript collections held by our libraries and to unite them online through Oregon Digital and the OHS Digital Collections website. Stay tuned in coming months for future installments about Finley, Bohlman, and their birding adventures around the state.
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.
“War on Rabbits Begins Sunday: Ritual Rabbit Slaughter and the Oregon Extension Service,” Jason Hogstad’s Resident Scholar
Jason Hogstad, a Ph.D. student in the History department at the University of Colorado-Boulder, is the twenty-fourth individual to be supported by the Resident Scholar Program, operated by the Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC). The Resident Scholar Program awards stipends of up to $2,500 for a month’s study in the OSU Libraries. Historians, librarians, graduate, doctoral, or post-doctoral students as well as independent scholars are all welcome to apply.
Hogstad’s visit made use of SCARC’s massive body of agricultural history collections. He focused in particular on the records of Oregon State’s Extension Service and Agricultural Experiment Stations, materials which showcase an important part of the university’s history.
In his Resident Scholar lecture, titled “War on Rabbits Begins Sunday: Ritual Rabbit Slaughter and the Oregon Extension Service,” Hogstad explored the role of the Oregon Extension Service during a period of change. His specific focus was on methods of pest control, rabbit drives and rabbit poisoning in eastern Oregon, and how the standard methods for controlling rabbits changed in the years between 1900 and 1925. In particular, Hogstad wanted to learn why people in eastern Oregon considered rabbit drives, a rather violent form of pest control, to be completely normal, and even fun. He also considered the reasons why people today find this bizarre and inappropriate.
In his presentation, Hogstad led off with a story about a rabbit drive in Echo, Oregon that took place in January, 1904. He explained how hundreds of people from neighboring rural areas, towns, and even cities gathered to kill jackrabbits. In this instance, the participants formed a line and walked through the area, attempting to herd 12,000 jackrabbits into a corral. About half of these were captured in the corral and beaten to death. The other half, however, had escaped, so area farmers asked participants to come back for another drive.
According to Hogstad’s research, this was standard operating procedure for rural communities in eastern Oregon. By the early 1900s, the area had only been settled for about twenty years, and the area was not easy to farm, given that it is very dry and subject to major temperature swings. As farming technology improved, specifically irrigation, more farmers came into the area. And it wasn’t just the human population that was increasing: irrigation increased the amount of food available to jackrabbits, while a bounty on coyotes decreased predation, leading to a boom in rabbit populations.
In response, farmers began to advertise rabbit drives, asking people from surrounding areas to come help. Newspapers published articles vilifying rabbits and advertised rabbit drives and associated activities, such as dinners or a performance from an orchestra. The drives themselves were seen as fun, as a celebration.
In his talk, Hogstad spoke of the rabbit drives as more than a way to remove a threat to farmers’ financial security. They also seemed to provide an outlet for the frustration and lack of control that area farmers grappled with as they sought to make a living in a harsh agricultural environment. Through a contemporary lens, Rabbit drives might now compare to modern fishing tournaments or bird watching events, where the goal is to see how many you can “get.”
Despite the popularity of the drives, they really didn’t make much of an impact on the jackrabbit population as a whole. Indeed, it would take a whole new method of control to bring about the drastic population decline that farmers sought.
The Oregon Extension Service was created in 1911, its purpose being to bring knowledge and information from researchers at Oregon Agricultural College to farmers throughout the state. However, many county agents had trouble convincing farmers to listen to someone whose credentials were mostly academic. Amos E. Lovett was one of these state agents and, in 1915, he put a plan into action that changed the fate of Extension. Seeing increasing rabbit populations and noting the lack of impact that rabbit drives were making, Lovett decided to become an expert in pest control. As such, he began traveling the state, talking with farmers and writing articles.
Lovett and a colleague eventually formed improvement organizations to show farmers how to mix rabbit poison – a combination of strychnine and alfalfa. The clubs also empowered county Extemsion agents to communicate with people in different areas, and to show what they could do for the area’s residents. For the farmers, there was a bit of a catch to the poisoning campaigns: to get poison, they had to join an improvement club. But once they did, the poison was free. Like the rabbit drives, farmers and their families managed to make poisoning campaigns fun, even holding so-called “poison picnics.” And unlike the rabbit drives, poisoning worked: in 1918 alone, an estimated $750,000 worth of agricultural production was saved.
When the rabbit populations around Echo boomed again in 1922, farmers this time turned to an Oregon Extension Service agent. The result was a staggering 110,000 rabbits killed; almost twenty times the number claimed in the rabbit drive held eighteen years earlier.
Near the conclusion of his talk, Hogstad branched out to look at the consequences of the change from rabbit drive to rabbit poisoning. He found that the shift in who was involved in pest control – namely the disappearance of urban residents – changed the ways in which these people viewed agricultural life. This disconnect between rural and urban dwellers inevitably changed the relationship between the two groups of people. Poisoning also turned pest control into an area for experts only, as it now required professionalism and science, not just the enthusiasm that propelled the rabbit drives.
Of course, people were not the only populations affected by the switch to mass poisoning as a method of jackrabbit control. Once jackrabbits were mostly eradicated, the farmers then moved on to other groups of pests, such as mice and ground squirrels, both of which experienced population booms as the jackrabbits, their primary competitors for food, disappeared. Potentially broader impacts on the environment were not considered.
The Resident Scholar Program at OSU Libraries is now in its ninth year of operation. For more about past Resident Scholars, please see the program’s homepage.
What’s new on the OMA blog? Hear the Stories: Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection
The OMA hosted the first of SCARC’s 2016 Archives Month events and we have it recorded for you to view online! “Hear the Stories: Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection” featured the oral historian, filmmaker, and educator, Michael “Chappie” Grice sharing the stories of Oregon’s African American railroad porters, including his personal experiences.
SCARC is so excited for another great set of events planned for 2016 Oregon Archives Month – all of which are free and open to the public!
We have three events in October:
Hear the Stories: Oregon African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection
A presentation by Michael Grice, oral historian, filmmaker, and educator, sharing the stories of Oregon’s African American railroad porters.
Location: 5th Floor SCARC Reading Room in the Valley Library
Date: Wednesday, Oct 12th
Recipe Showcase “Taste of the ‘Chives”
Celebrate the legacy of Obo Addy at the launch of the new i-Book on the Obo Addy Legacy Project with a showcase of prepared selections from the organization’s Hot and Spicy Cookbook.
Location: Willamette Rooms, 3rd Floor of the Valley Library
Date: Friday, October 21st
Glitter in the Archives! Using History to Imagine Queer and Trans Futures
An opportunity for community members to participate in an evening of crafting using archival materials and, of course, learn about OSQA (OSU Queer Archives) and OSU + Corvallis area queer history.
Location: 5th Floor SCARC Reading Room in the Valley Library
Date: Wednesday, October 26th
This event is also a part of the OSU Pride Center’s Queer History Month
Also, if you are headed to the Oregon Archives Crawl in Portland on Saturday, October 8th, 11am-3pm, be sure to stop by the OSU table!
And coming to the SCARC Reading Room in November in celebration of OSU’s Year of Arts and Science, join us for two more events:
A play about the famous photo by scientist Rosalind Franklin that led to Watson and Crick’s discovery of DNA.
Date: November 2nd
“Collections at the Center”
A public talk by historian William Robbins and archival materials from SCARC’s historical collections.
Date: November 3rd
In the years immediately following Linus and Ava Helen Pauling’s purchase of Deer Flat Ranch, the space quickly fulfilled its potential as a refuge from an extremely busy existence. A few years after buying the property, Ava Helen told her husband
Do you know, we have been here for one week, you and I, without seeing a single other person? This is the first time in our 40-odd years of marriage that this has happened.
More than a refuge even, the ranch gradually emerged as a kind of paradise for the Paulings. One could reliably harvest ten abalone off the adjacent rocks at low tide, and Linus found that he greatly enjoyed harvesting these sea snails with his wife, pounding them shoreside to tenderize them for dinner.
This is part 2 of 3 in “The story of Deer Flat Ranch.”