Guide to the Oregon Community Surveys, 1925-1936
Another great collection level finding aid just waiting for a researcher interested in playing a history detective!
This very rich, albeit very small measuring in at a 1/2 cubic foot, collection has scads of data about 4 small communities in Oregon. The Oregon Community Surveys consist of data and narrative summaries documenting the schools, churches, social organizations, and economic status of the rural communities of Clatskanie, Condon, Cottage Grove, and Riddle, Oregon.
Why is this collection worth looking at? Data for the Oregon Community Surveys was compiled in 1925, 1930, and 1936, with the latter being done by C.S. Hoffman, Assistant State Supervisor of Rural Research, under the auspices of the Federal Emergency Relief Administration and the Works Progress Administration. But what makes this really great is the historical detail you get about these communities in the early part of the last century.
Each survey includes information about the demographics of the community. Predictably, this includes the total population, but it also provides incredible information about the number of individuals identified as “native born,” “foreign born,” and “negroes;” the number and type of farms and agricultural cooperatives; the types of industries and businesses; the names of influential individuals in the community; the medical services available; and information about charities, crime, social activities, and civic organizations.
You’ll also find extensive information about the community’s schools, including information about enrollment, facilities, the library and equipment, teachers, and school clubs and organizations. You’ll also find detailed information about each church in the community, with data on the church facilities, finances, membership, and religious education programs. Finally, the surveys also include narrative summaries and comments written by the surveyors.
The provenance and custodial history are unclear, hence the call for a sleuth, but we’d love you to dive into the box!
Curious about the images in this post? You’ll find many, many more of the great pictures of Oregon’s rural communities in our digital collections, especially the image-heavy and delightfully robust Gerald W. Williams Collection …
And while we have your research interest piqued …
Make sure to check out the Rural Communities Explorer, an Oregon Explorer digital library portal that “provides public access to reliable and up-to-date social, demographic, economic, and environmental information about Oregon’s rural counties and communities.”