SCARC Zines!

Zine from the COVID-19 at Oregon State University Collection

As part of a new zine video made to promote zine making kits at OSULP, SCARC zines were featured! 

Video: 2024 Zines at OSU Valley Library

OSULP Zine Maker Kits

OSULP Zine Kit Website

List of SCARC’s Zines

Zines from MSS CorvallisLesbianAvengers

Corvallis Lesbian Avengers Collection ~ Necessary Friction Zine, 1996-1997 (3 zines)

The Necessary Friction zine, produced by the Corvallis Lesbian Avengers, features art and writing in a variety of formats that relate to the experiences of queer people, and especially lesbian women, as well as the activities of the Lesbian Avengers. This material was written by members of the Lesbian Avengers, as well as solicited from the broader Corvallis community.


Zines from MSS MC

Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection ~ Box-Folder 57.5: Disabilities, Students with, 1971-2021

Various zines pertaining to the disabled community at Oregon State University.


Zines from RG 243

Women’s Center Records ~ Box-Folder 8.24: Women’s Center: Wired Zine, 1994-2011

Wired was published by the OSU Hattie Redmond Women & Gender Center. The Center’s mission is informed by feminist theories and lessons, we are committed to creating spaces of community, supporting advocacy, and developing student leaders who actively contribute to building feminist futures.

Issues of Wired are available online via ScholarsArchive@OSU: Wired Issues


The Scab Sheet, 2017-2018 (3 issues)

The Scab Sheet, 2017

Physical copies are available in the Oregon Multicultural Communities Research Collection and digital copies are available via Oregon Digital: The Scab Sheet: Islamaphobia Edition, Spring 2017; The Scab Sheet: Vol 2, 2018; and The Scab Sheet, Vol 3, 2018.


COVID-19 at Oregon State University Collection ~ Folder 1.4: The Benton County Quaranzine, 2020

The Benton County Quaranzine was compiled by the staff of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library and consists of submissions from area residents collected from June 1 to November 2, 2020, focusing on life during the pandemic and the era’s political unrest. The resulting print publication includes drawings, cartoons, collages, photographs and other artistic renderings, as well as essays and poems.

Contributors to the project were: Quinn Andreas, Ellen Beier, Jack Compere, Molly Curry, Tru Denton, Sarah Finkle, David Grube, Mari Beth Hackett, Forrest Johnson, Charlie Kelso, Colleen Kitchen, Erin MacAdams, Nancy Chestnut Matsumoto, Orion Olson, John Otto, Vic Russell, Linda Varsell Smith, Karen Stephenson, Kim Thackray, Marvel Vigil and Marion J. Whitney.


SCARC Rare Book Collections in HathiTrust

HathiTrust is a partnership of major research institutions and libraries that digitally preserve and make accessible the cultural records in their care. As a member of the HathiTrust, OSU Libraries has access to millions of digitized titles through its robust searching platform. Catalog records in OSU’s library catalog (1Search) link to HathiTrust editions, allowing quick access to digitized titles in the public domain.

In recent years the platform introduced the Collections feature, which enables users to build their own purpose-built collections of titles. Featured collections on the HathiTrust main webpage include the Edison Collection of American Sheet Music, New to the Public Domain in 2024, and Women Composers. Even better, Collections allow for full-text searching within the collection, enabling powerful discovery and deeper engagement with rare materials.

In Summer 2023, we embarked on a project to create a HathiTrust collection for all public domain titles in SCARC rare book collections: Special Collections at Oregon State University. A full-text searchable database of our rare book collection enhances research and teaching in multiple ways. One class use example can be seen through GEO 511 History of Geography. This graduate class visits SCARC each year to learn about the impact and influence of Alexander von Humboldt on geography and science. During the visit, we build valuable observation and interpretation skills by examining SCARC materials in several categories to trace von Humboldt’s life and legacy. To build searching and research skills, we also walk through demonstrations of 1Search and other relevant databases. Materials for this class have been limited, up to now, to cataloged materials by and about von Humboldt, as well as contemporary journal articles, maps, and prints.

A search in 1Search for the name “von Humboldt”, limited to SCARC, yields just these ten titles. A search for “von Humbolt” in the HathiTrust full text collection reveals a much larger and broader set of results, with captivating contemporaneous details that show the true impact of his life and the broad range of his scientific contributions.

The earliest mention of him in these results is in a “domestic encyclopedia” from 1804, referencing his earliest scientific work on galvanic force and mushrooms. The great mineralogist Robert Jameson references von Humboldt in 1816, on the nature of obsidian, in a book that would become standard throughout much of the century. Citations of von Humboldt’s expansive and varied contributions continue throughout the century. They range from his work on physical geography and plant geography, South American indigenous languages, observations on animals, astronomical observations, and more. By 1821 Swiss botanist de Candolle was bestowing “immortal honor” upon von Humboldt for his numerous botanical discoveries and the resulting impact on scientific botany. In 1831, his powers of observation are celebrated in an appendix to the Narrative of a voyage to the Pacific and Beering’s Strait, though with some mild annoyance by the author: “even the Baron Von Humboldt, to whose acute observation science is indebted for so many discoveries respecting the New World, appears not have noticed, with his usual care, the peculiarities of its bees.”

Over 3400 SCARC titles published between 1700-1860 are now available in the full text HathiTrust Collection. The collection does not yet include all available SCARC holdings within that date span; work will be ongoing to add all items in SCARC’s rare book collections published before 1928 and digitized in HathiTrust. Some multi-volume periodicals are still be added, as are items from 1861-1928.

A note on searching: searching for a keyword in the collection will take you to a page of results; to find exact matches, search the keyword again in the “Search in this Text” box in the left side bar. Note too that OSU Libraries has access to many, many more digitized titles in HathiTrust, accessible through 1Search; this collection is limited to physical items in SCARC, which can be physically accessed in our reading room on the 5th floor of Valley Library.

We welcome you to use the HathiTrust full-text collection for SCARC to enhance your historical research! (Have you found some cool stuff in your searching of the collection? Let us know of your research uses of it by emailing us at scarc [at]

Thanks to aman agah, Ph.D. student in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, who began the work of populating the collection in Summer 2023; see also aman’s reflection on this work.

Music in the Reading Room! Albina Community Archive Open House

Albina Community Archive, May 2024 Event at OSU

On May 23rd SCARC was delighted to host the archivists of the Albina Community Archive for an amazing musical experience! Earlier this year Dr. Kelly Bosworth, Horning Assistant Professor, Public History & Ethnomusicology, proposed the idea and SCARC worked with her to organize the event — we set up a record player in the reading room, projectors in the exhibit space, and a welcome + merchandise table in the lobby area.

About the Albina Music Trust:

Albina Music Trust is the only full-service community archive in the United States, dedicated to the restoration of a Black community’s historic musical culture. Our programs amplify the legacy of Albina’s musician community through archival media preservation, events and exhibitions, a record label, a radio program, oral history publications, and a sound walk. In collaboration with community members, we are the stewards of a digital repository documenting Albina’s arts and culture legacy, the Albina Community Archive.”

About the Event:

We hosted a pre-public event for Dr. Bosworth’s music history students to engage in a conversation with the Albina Community Archive archivists and then hosted an open house for the public to join in the fun! Participants selected records to play on the record player, explored the online archive via large projectors, and as a connection to SCARC materials, attendees also had the opportunity to view content from the Urban League of Portland Records, specifically the Albina neighborhood materials, as well as materials from the Obo Addy Legacy Project.

Event Photos:

Albina Music Trust Welcome Table
Albina Music Trust Materials
A Conversation with the Albina Music Trust Archivists
The SCARC Reading Room ~ it was filled with records and the music sounded great!
The SCARC Exhibit Gallery ~ there were two projectors for attendees to browse the online archive
Attendees Checking Out the SCARC Materials
Dr. Kelly Bosworth Swapping Records ~ The record player and records were donated to the OSU LBH Black Cultural Center


New Finding Aids: January – March 2024

SCARC completed 4 new finding aids January – March 2024 and updated 1 finding aid; as of the end of March, SCARC has 1145 finding aids in Archives West.

These finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, the SCARC website, and the OSU Library discovery system a.k.a. “the catalog.” The links below are to the guides in Archon, SCARC’s finding aids website.

New collection guides created this quarter:

Judy Kitzman Papers, 1972-2015

The Judy Kitzman Papers consist of materials generated and collected by alumna and Oregon State University Women’s Crew coach Judy Kitzman. Made up of photographs, scrapbooks, instructional guides, newspaper clippings, a research paper, and historical essays, this collection documents Kitzman’s particpation in competitive rowing for OSU first as a student and then as the coach of the team. Kitzman’s involvement in the Portland-area crew community after her departure from OSU is also reflected in this collection. Kitzman died in 2017.

OSU Kalmekak Community Outreach Program Records, 1994-2018

The Oregon State University (OSU) Kalmekak Community Outreach Program Records document the administration and outreach activities of this organization. OSU Kalmekak was established at OSU in 1996 and was active until 2018. The program sought to serve and advocate for the Latino/a and Chicano/a community of Corvallis – and more broadly the state of Oregon – within higher education, as well as increase cultural and racial awareness within the Corvallis area.

Oregon State University Pennant Collection, ca. 1920-2020

The Oregon State University Pennant Collection is made up of six pennants promoting Oregon State University as well as its earlier incarnations: Oregon Agricultural College and Oregon State College. Two of the pennants specifically commemorate Oregon State College’s participation in the 1942 and 1957 Rose Bowl games. The pennants were donated to the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center by the Office of University Relations and Marketing and two other donors.

Kathleen A. Kerr Papers, 1935-1990

The Kathleen A. Kerr Papers document the instructional career of Oregon State University dance professor Kathleen A. Kerr. This collection is primarily made up of guides to various folk dance styles assembled and written by Kerr for use in her folk dancing classes. These guides include a few generated in the 1930s and 1940s that Kerr collected for reference. Kerr taught dance coursework in the Physical Education Department from 1975 to 1989.

Finding aids that were updated / expanded and re-uploaded to ArchivesWest:

Panhellenic Council Records, 1922-2015

The Panhellenic Council Records document the origins, administration, and activities of sororities at Oregon State University. The Panhellenic Council, established in 1917 at OSU, is the governing body for a portion of the sororities at OSU, responsible for creating rules and oversight that is outside of the institution’s range.

Bonus! Enhanced description of a finding aid:

See the blog post “Enhanced Description for the Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers: highlighting Indigenous Mexican, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Oaxaca Communities” to learn more!

Enhanced Description for the Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers: highlighting Indigenous Mexican, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Triqui Communities 

A folder from the Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers

The Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers document the research and publishing of Gonzales-Berry in the fields of Latino literature and culture and immigration from Mexico to the United States. Her research files include, but are not limited to, a plethora of notes, articles, presentations, book chapters, newspaper clippings, and reports. In the container list for the collection guide, the majority of the folder titles describe the material types but not necessarily the subjects or topics covered within the materials themselves. This was an opportunity for enhanced description, which is related to and supports “reparative description”, which is a “remediation of practices or data that exclude, silence, harm, or mischaracterize marginalized people in the data created or used by archivists to identify or characterize archival resources.” (SAA Dictionary)

In 2023, OSU Masters graduate student Sharon Salgado, shared the need for enhanced description to highlight Indigenous Mexican, Zapotec, Mixtec, and Triqui communities, mostly from the state of Oaxaca, who migrated to Oregon, documented within the collection. She was using the papers for her research project and noted that it would have been helpful to her as a researcher if the representation of these communities within the materials was more explicitly included as part of the collection guide. She shared her research notes, specifically noting the materials she referenced. 

The collection guide was updated to include a “Statement on Description” that included the keywords – so the collection would show as a result when searched – with a link to this blog post. We also added four Library of Congress Subject Headings: Zapotec Indians, Mixtec Indians, Triqui Indians, and Oaxaca (Mexico: State).

This blog post includes a statement from Salgado as well as her research notes which include the folders within the collection she referenced, along with the specific materials she used in her research.

Below is a statement from Salgado: 

“Dr. Erlinda Gonzalez-Berry carefully selects the materials in this collection and includes the works of other important scholars, like Stephen Lynn, who dedicated their lives to telling the stories of Indigenous Mexicans, mostly from the state of Oaxaca, migrating to Oregon. The main ethnicities in the records are Mixtec, Zapotec, and Triqui. However, other Indigenous identities reside in the Beaver State, like Purépechas from Michoacán, Mexico. Even though the materials about the lives and experiences of Indigenous Mexicans in Oregon and in the US are scarce, their importance to the US economy is fundamental. Their work in the fields, service industries, nurseries, and other businesses is essential for developing the state and the Pacific Northwest farming and agricultural sector. 

The materials are collections of newspaper cuts and individual research conducted by scholars, which focus on the struggles of Indigenous Mexican farmworkers to obtain fair wages and stop exploitation in the fields, as well as the struggle to find translators since most of the Oaxacans speak their Indigenous languages and not Spanish or English.”

Sharon Salgado, OSU Masters Student, 2023 Graduate

Below is the list of folders within the collection referenced, along with the specific materials she used in her research. Note: for ease of access, the materials listed have been moved to the beginning of the folder. 

Box-Folder 1.7 Immigration in Oregon, 1995-2009

  • “The New Pluralism in Woodburn, Oregon – A Community Study Conducted in 2003-2004” Summary Report written by Ed Kissam and Lynn Stephen, September 2006. Note: The Mixtec community is represented in the report, and there is a reference to El Oaxaqueno, a newspaper published in California on page 23.
  • “Cultural Citizenship and Labor Rights for Oregon Farmworkers: The Case of Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Nordoeste (PCUN)” by Lynn Stephen. Human Organization Vol. 62, No. 1 (Spring 2003), pp. 27-38 (12 pages); Published By: Society for Applied Anthropology. Note: Leonides Ávila, a Mixtec organizer and farmworker who worked for PCUN.

Box-Folder 1.13 Journal Articles, 1995-1996

  • Chapter from the 1995 book Marginal Spaces edited by Michael Peter Smith, Chapter 5 “Mixtecs and Mestizos in California Agriculture: Ethnic Displacement and Hierarchy among Mexican Farm Workers, Contributors” by Carol Zabin 

Box-Folder 1.16: Mexicans in Oregon, 1974-2006 

  • Stephen, Lynn (2004). “The Gaze of Surveillance in the Lives of Mexican Immigrant Workers” Development 47 (1), 97-102. Note: Stephen’s article mentions Indigenous Mexicans; she specifically describes the story of Marina Bautista, a 27-year-old undocumented immigrant from the Mixtec region of Oaxaca.
  • Sarathy, Brinda (2006). “The Latinization of Forest Management Work in Southern Oregon: A Case from Rogue Valley” Journal of Forestry, October/November 2006.
  • Slatta, Richard Wayne (1974). “ Valley Migrant League.”  In Chicanos in Oregon: An Historical Overview (Masters Thesis, Portland State University). [full text available online]
  • McGlade, Michael S. (2002). “Mexican Farm Labor Networks and Population Increase in the Pacific Northwest” APCG Yearbook, Volume 62. Note: The connection between rural and urban, page 51.
  • Executive Order 13166: Limited English Proficiency Resource Document: Tips and Tools from the Field, September 2004. Note: Page 67 “…trainings focused on teaching interpretation skills to speakers of indigenous languages including Mixteco, Triqui, Zapoteco, Nahuatl, Tarasco, Akateco, Kanjobal, and others.”
  • Stephen, Lynn (2004). “Mixtec Farmworkers in Oregon: Linking Labor and Ethnicity through Farmworker Unions and Hometown Associations.” In Indigenous Mexican Migrants in the United States, edited by Jonathan Fox, Gaspar Rivera-Salgado.
  • Fairchild, Stephen T. and Nicole B. Simpson (2004). “Mexican migration to the United States Pacific Northwest.” Population Research and Policy Review, 23 (3).  
  • Dash, Robert C. (2002-2003). “Latinos, Political Change, and Electoral Mobilization in Oregon,” Latino(a) Research Review 5, no. 2-3.
  • Oregon Center for Public Policy (2007). “Undocumented Workers are Taxpayers, Too.” Issue Brief, Revised April 10, 2007. 
  • O’Connor, Pat (2006). “Occupations by Race in Oregon,” Oregon Employment Department, OLMIS.

Box-Folder 1.21 Newspaper Articles, 1943-2007 

  • “Idiomas poco hablados causan problemas en tribunal” El Hispanic News, January 20, 2005. Note: Key words: Texmelucan, Zapoteco, Oaxaca, Mixteco. Información en el artículo: sólo alrededor de 4,100 personas en el mundo [hablan el idioma Texmelucan Zapoteco]
  • “Not Quite Home” by Ernestine Bousquet, The Bulletin, December 26, 2004. Note: Not Quite Home: After settling in Central Oregon, an immigrant family holds tight to its Mexican culture and traditions. 
  • “La Oaxaqueña proves small businesses have a place in the market” by Richard Jones, El Hispanic News, September 29, 2004. Note: Article about La Oaxaqueña Frutería in Portland, Oregon; Lázaro García, owner.
  • “Immigrants from Mexico’s indigenous groups work to preserve traditional medicine,” Juliana Barbassa, El Hispanic News, January 5, 2006.  

Box-Folder 1.25: Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (PCUN) and Freedom Ride, 2001-2003

  • PCUN Fighting for Farmworker Rights (compilation of news clippings – blue title page). Note: See the article, “Native Americans join farmworkers in protest against Bracero Bill” 

Box-Folder 2.8: Transnationalism, 1998-2005

  • Presentation Slides “Mexican Transnationalism from Above and Below” Note: Slide 6 “Transnationalism from Below: At Community Level” mention of Mixteco Farmworkers in Salem, OR.
  • Guarnizo, Luis Eduardo, and Michael Peter Smith. “The Locations of Transnationalism.” Transnationalism from Below: Comparative urban and community research (1998): 3–34. 2 copies.
  • Goldring, Luin. “The Power of Status in Transnational Social Fields.” Transnationalism from Below: Comparative urban and community research (1998): 165–195.

 Jewish Student Experiences in Wartime at Oregon State University 

During fall term 2023 Dr. Kara Ritzheimer’s History 310 (Historian’s Craft) students researched and wrote blog posts about OSU during WWII. The sources they consulted are listed at the end of each post. Students wrote on a variety of topics and we hope you appreciate their contributions as much as the staff at SCARC does!

Blog post written by Jordan Lopez.

The evolution of American Jewish identity experienced a uniquely tumultuous period during the 20th century. Antisemitism on the home front, despite Jews being a central target of the war in Europe, remained persistent. For many Jewish college students on majority non-Jew campuses, coming into adulthood during this time presented a new set of challenges. Oregon State University, at the time Oregon State College, (hereafter referred to as OSC) has never had a robust Jewish student population.

This is not to say that the culture did not exist, especially considering how the surrounding city of Corvallis, over time, developed a Jewish community, which often included people related to OSC. In the early years of the university, OSC was very closely tied to Christianity. Until 1885, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South was the institution in charge of appointing the university’s president and overseeing other matters.[1] Naturally, the public institution of OSU today is no longer affiliated with the church. However, Corvallis knows and caters to its assumed population. In 2023, for the 39 churches in the city, there is only one Jewish synagogue.

Religious Emphasis Week flyer, from Leone Sands Johnson’s thesis.

The first document located for this piece was a graduate thesis analysis on religious activities at Oregon State published in 1948 and written by Leone Sands Johnson. The thesis analyzes how students explore religion on campus, and how this exploration relates to student’s lives. Typed on typewriter, it was later uploaded in 2017 to the database of Oregon State Graduate theses and dissertations. The work includes some scans of religious texts from the school’s groups, such as church handouts, a weekly calendar layout for the devout student, and an event flier for International Week in February 1947. Johnson mentions that his study was conducted with only civilian students, not including the ones stationed on or near campus, at Camp Adair, during WWII. There isn’t much about Jewish students’ experiences of possible oppression or advocacy, mainly because the study was more of a survey of Christian religious denominations on campus. As a result of this, he only briefly mentions Judaism. Johnson does give some context to the beginnings of the Hillel organization and mentions “Religion Emphasis Week” in October 1945, which included inter-faith discussions, although none of the talks addressed Jewish students specifically. He concludes later that “the Jewish preference by percentage of total enrollment has never reached more than 0.5. This percentage was reached in 1943.”[2]  In other words, Johnson suggested that Jewish students did not typically enroll at OSC in high numbers. 

The Oregon State Barometer newspaper proved the most useful in finding proof of Jewish student events at OSU during WWII. These short articles usually announced upcoming events or talks, and the earliest mention of the organization was in October 1946, when Hillel first began on campus. This was when President Strand gave a welcome address to the organization, and the article encouraged readers to contact Bob Cohn if they were interested in membership. At this time, Hillel’s goal was to increase membership so that activities could become “broader and more beneficial.”[3] A January 14, 1947 article in the Barometer advertised a Hillel talk given by Dr. Donald Wells on the subject of “Whom Should I Marry?”[4] This may have discussed interfaith relationships, or possibly how Jewish students could find each other for marriage.

Photo of Hillel Club in OSC’s 1949 yearbook.

OSC’s 1949 yearbook also includes the earliest documentation of “Hillel Club” at the school, accompanied by a photo showing eight students. The mission statement championed “harmonious relations…particularly with the various religious groups” as well as “to promote universal brotherhood and goodwill.”[5] The counselor at the time was Dr. J. W. Ellison. It seems that the club was open to both Jewish students and all others interested. The 1952 yearbook also includes the Hillel club, this time pictured with seven students.[6] However, in the 1950 and 1951 yearbooks, there were no matches with the term “Hillel.” There was no clear explanation found as to why the group was absent for two years, especially considering that it doesn’t seem possible that interest in membership suddenly disappeared.

One of the other few mentions of Hillel during wartime on Oregon Digital was correspondence from 1943 by the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council records, where Abram Leon Sachar, the National Director of B’nai B’rith Hillel Foundations, was listed as a member of the council.[7] This council was interested in assisting Japanese American students affected by relocation to continue their education. At the very least, this shows that Hillel was connected to assisting a fellow marginalized section of the student population.

Sylvan Durkheimer, OSC student during WWII. Sourced from the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education’s oral interview.

To examine Jewish student life, it’s also imperative to analyze the treatment of Jewish students by the university during the war years. Interviews provided by the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education show that Jewish students during WWII experienced considerable antisemitism from their peers. Sylvan Durkheimer received an invitation to join an Honors Fraternity on campus because he was second in his class, according to the college records. However, he was told by a fellow student later “that my membership in this fraternity had to be declined because of the fact that I was a Jew…”[8]Another student, Saul Zaik, returned from the Navy in 1946 and opted to attend the University of Oregon in Eugene when he found out that there wasn’t a Jewish organization on campus at OSC, nor was there available housing for veterans. Similarly to Durkheimer, a fraternity denied his pledge due to antisemitism. He shared a quote from the person who had invited him: “Zaik, you’re a dumb freshman even though you’re 19 or 20 years old. It’s the real world.”[9] Despite the fraternity member who invited him saying he was “great”, the self-described non-social Zaik was denied a pledge. 

In an interview for the Beit Am Matriarchs oral history project, Ruth Goldberg describes the city of Corvallis as having only a handful of Jewish families in 1942. She says, “My husband Ben felt that we wouldn’t win the war unless we were in it…He got his orders, and he was sent to Camp Adair in Corvallis.”[10] Based on this description, it’s likely that Jewish transplant families coming to Corvallis were also connected to the war effort. She also recalls that every Sunday, half a dozen Jewish servicemen came to their house to eat potato pancakes. 

The post-war years led to a slowly increasing Jewish population in Corvallis, most notably demonstrated by the founding of Beit Am Synagogue in 1974. In 1978, the Albany Democrat Herald ran a piece on OSU history professor Kurt Philipp’s experience teaching the history of the Holocaust as a German-born Jew. He struggled to talk about it with his students, on account of having close relatives who barely survived the event, and some who were taken by the Gestapo. Instead, he required them to watch the 1978 NBC-TV docu-drama Holocaust. Many reported to him that it made them feel sick, to which he responded that “You can read that 10,000 people were killed. To see it is different.”[11]

Comic run by Corvallis Gazette-Times.

An antisemitic comic ran in a November 1981 Corvallis Gazette-Times edition, and faced backlash from a Jewish man, Ze’ev B. Orzech. It contains a crude caricature of a Jewish man, portrayed as weak and sickly, seemingly complaining about the US government’s involvement in selling weapons to the “Saudis.” It’s not clear if this man is supposed to represent a specific figure in Congress, or rather just an “average” Jewish-American man. Insisting that antisemitism has never been a laughing matter, Orzech cites a “rising frequency of anti-Semitic incidents in our state and across the nation…”[12] This concern may be from 1981, but it still applies, increasingly so, today.

In the 1980s, the controversial questioning of the Holocaust’s existence led to an increase in antisemitism in Corvallis. The city looked down on “Christian Patriots” who attacked Jews by mail and threats, and the Corvallis Gazette-Times labeled them as “cowards.”[13]  This didn’t lessen the victim’s fear, though. A Jewish woman wrote to the Times in 1986: “World War II was not the first holocaust against the Jews, and I suspect it won’t be the last.”[14]  Even as local people looked back on the events of the war that happened in their lifetime and said it will never happen again, microaggressions continued. Due to the predominantly Christian background of both Corvallis and OSC, the culture for much of the 20th century seems to have been one that regularly experienced antisemitic rhetoric and behavior.

Many American Jews during WWII felt profoundly American, the same way those that felt inspired to serve the country at the time did.[15] But despite their patriotism, prominent American politicians still used Jews as a scapegoat. Edward S. Shapiro, a historian of Jewish and American history, writes that “The early 1940s was a difficult time for the Jews of the Lower East Side (of New York). They were terrified for their European relatives now threatened by the advance of Hitler’s armies…”[16] Although focusing on an East Coast population, it’s likely Jews across the country experienced that terror and anxiety. Additionally, Shapiro uses the death of notable congressman Michael Edelstein, who defended Jews placed in the role of “scapegoat” by his peers, as a turning point for American Jews. He argued that Jews were not to blame for America entering the war. This “martyr of democracy” represented a defensive stance for those being accused of bringing WWII to America.[17]

As women like Ruth Goldberg came to Corvallis with their husbands, their roles as Jewish housewives contributed to the city’s flourishing Judaism. In her article Transitions in American Judaism: The Jewish American Woman Through the 1930s, Norma Fain Pratt traces the broader development of women’s roles in preserving their religion. She notes that there was a rise of cultural pluralism between the world wars, leading to an increase in institutions of learning for American Jews, such as religious schools, Yiddish culture schools, and congregations.[18]  Despite this growth, women were occasionally blamed by rabbis and other men for a decline in Judaism, despite them being widely considered “defenders of the faith.”[19] Women’s groups were often connected with Hadassah organizations, which champion Zionism and “complete growth which living up to one’s historic heritage makes possible.”[20]  Many of the founding matriarch members of the Corvallis Beit Am synagogue were members of Hadassah. 

During WWII and into the 1950s, Jewish students experienced antisemitism and exclusion on OSC’s campus. It’s not too far-fetched to assume that some students felt targeted by the national rhetoric of blaming Jews for bringing America into the war. The heavily Christian community in Corvallis was alienating, and the early Hillel organization on campus remained low in numbers. Today, American Jewish college students still experience antisemitism, blame, and violence for their identity. The Hillel organization on OSC’s campus was not actually affiliated with Hillel International, and only is today as of 2015. OSU today gives the Hillel organization little to no advertisement in comparison to other religious groups on campus, despite the Hillel administration fighting for it. An example of this is obtaining a permanent location for Hillel to hold events, which would provide Jewish students with a safe place, something that other groups already have.

It still doesn’t seem like it’s incredibly safe to be publicly Jewish on a college campus right now, let alone outwardly proud. The culture at OSU is no longer blatantly antisemitic, like it was during WWII for many Jewish students, but that still doesn’t mean much if there’s a lack of support. OSU has the power to make all religious minorities on campus feel safer, so that we don’t risk experiencing history repeating itself.

Image 1 description: Reproduction of Religious Emphasis Week flyer, from Leone Sands Johnson’s thesis.

Image 2 description: Photo of Hillel Club and accompanying message as displayed in OSC’s 1949 yearbook.

Image 3 description: Sylvan Durkheimer, OSC student during WWII. Sourced from the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education’s oral interview.

Image 4 description: Comic run by Corvallis Gazette-Times, considered to be antisemitic.  

[1] William Robbins, The People’s School: A History of Oregon State University (Chicago: Oregon State University Press, 2017), 6.

[2] Leone Sands Johnson, “An Analysis of Religious Activities at Oregon State College” (Master of Science Thesis, Oregon State College, 1948), 159.

[3]  “Strand Will Address Hillel Group Sunday; All Students Invited,” Oregon State Barometer, October 16, 1946: 1, Oregon Digital,

[4]  “Wells To Speak At Hillel Meeting On Seeking Mate,” Oregon State Barometer, January 14, 1947: 1, Oregon Digital,

[5] Oregon State College, The Beaver (Corvallis, Associated Students of Oregon State College, 1949) 407,

[6] Oregon State College, The Beaver (Corvallis, Associated Students of Oregon State College, 1952) 28, .

[7] “Correspondence,” University of Oregon, National Japanese American Student Relocation Council Records, 1942-1946 [OAI], available through Oregon Digital.

[8] Sylvan Durkheimer, “Sylvan Durkheimer-1975.” Interview by Shirley Tanzer, Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, (hereafter OJMCHE), January 1, 1975.

[9] Saul Zaik, “Saul Zaik-2019.” Interview by David August, OJMCHE, April 16, 2019.

[10] Ruth Goldberg, “An Interview with Ruth Goldberg.” Interview by Judith Berlowitz, Beit Am Matriarchs Oral History Project, Beit Am Synagogue, September 20, 1991.

[11] Cindy Coffer, “For OSU prof, ‘Holocaust’ is real,” Albany Democrat Herald, April 19, 1978.

[12] Ze’ev B. Orzech, “Anti-Semitism, To the Editor,Corvallis Gazette-Times, November 1981.

[13] Melissa Grimes, “’Cowards’ Threaten City’s Jews,” Corvallis Gazette-Times, December 1985.

[14] Diana Artemis, “Help from a true friend,” Corvallis Gazette-Times January 2, 1986.

[15] Edward S. Shapiro, “World War II and American Jewish Identity,” Modern Judaism 10, no. 1 (1990): 65,

[16] Shapiro, “WWII,” 66.

[17] Shapiro, “WWII,” 68.

[18] Norma Fain Pratt, “Transitions in Judaism: The Jewish American Woman Through the 1930s,” American Quarterly 30, no. 5 (1978): 690,

[19] Pratt, “Transitions in Judaism,” 695.

[20] Pratt, “Transitions in Judaism,” 695.

Co-Eds & Columnists: The Women Behind Wartime Publications at OSU

During fall term 2023 Dr. Kara Ritzheimer’s History 310 (Historian’s Craft) students researched and wrote blog posts about OSU during WWII. The sources they consulted are listed at the end of each post. Students wrote on a variety of topics and we hope you appreciate their contributions as much as the staff at SCARC does!

Blog post written by Dahlia Moses.

Figure 1
An Illustration from the Barometer’s “Feminine Fancy” page, September 29, 1944.

In understanding the history of Oregon State College during WWII through the lens of archival media, it’s important to look behind the scenes of the media itself. During WWII, Oregon State College (alongside the rest of the nation) relied on a flow of information to keep students informed and aware. The war raging overseas drafted much of the male student population to fight, slashing male attendance numbers and leaving roles behind throughout the school that the women of Oregon State filled, notably in publications.[i] Patriotism at OSC and nationwide placed extra importance on accurate and fast reporting on the war overseas as well as attention for the home front effort in Corvallis. However, when women took over these roles the result was more complex than just a simple replacement. These women carried the important responsibility of relaying information about both the war and other key topics to the student body while maintaining the same strong journalistic standards OSC publications had come to be known for, forming new pathways for women in media.

 I started my research on this era with the intent of writing about the wartime production of the Oregon State Barometer, Oregon State College’s long-running newspaper. When skimming through the editors and journalists listed as staff for each issue, I noticed an increase in women’s names. I investigated other publications like the Beaver, OSC’s annual yearbook, and other promotional media and found more evidence of this increase in female staff, as well as evidence that female staffers increasingly held higher level positions.[ii] I decided to make women’s wartime involvement in these publications the focus of my research.

The first document I examined for signs of staff changes was the 1944 edition of the Beaver, OSC’s annual yearbook. The Beaver was created by students and for a student audience and intended to highlight academic life and extracurriculars. It was typed, printed, and bound, containing quips and photos similar to modern yearbooks. Each edition features details about the college’s publications staff of journalists, editors, and managers who worked on the college’s various publications, including those who worked on the Oregon State Barometer, the Lamplighter (the student literary magazine), and the Beaver itself. The 1944 yearbook mentions a reduction in Barometer production; the paper dropped from five to two copies a week due to lack of resources, primarily paper, printers, and staff.[iii] However, this upset didn’t stop the paper from flourishing. A year later, in the 1945 yearbook, the publications section is presented similarly but with one small difference. Between all featured publications, the staff is primarily women. This change corresponds with its publication at the end of the war when male students were especially scarce and women had had time to acclimate to new roles.[iv]

This is especially stark compared to the 1942 edition of the Beaver, which had a considerably higher percentage of male staff occupying  high level positions.[v] In former journalism professor Charles J. McIntosh’s unpublished manuscript titled “Story of the Oregon State College Barometer,” he writes that in 1945, women had proven their capabilities in this field, holding the average staff ratio of “four Co-eds to one Joe College.”[vi]

Despite this shift, the Barometer’s content and organizational structure remained relatively unchanged throughout the war. Typed and printed in standard newspaper size and format, the Baro detailed news both local and overseas for students at home. It is often referenced in other local papers, demonstrating its relevance in the community, and had close ties with the Gazette Times, Corvallis’ daily paper. In fact, the Gazette Times printed the Barometer, and staff often spent time there.[vii]

Like The Beaver, students produced the paper for other students, staffed by a team of journalists, editors, and managers. Anyone could be a journalist; all that was required was taking a rudimentary journalism course, and students in the class turned out hundreds of articles for the paper every year.[viii] An article from 1944 states that journalism for the Baro was not limited to liberal arts students and invited students across the campus to become contributors. The anonymous author wrote “[the newspaper] is every student’s responsibility. We need student expression.” Each edition featured columns, local advertisements, radio schedules, information for social events, and more. It would have been a valuable source of information for the average student. The paper also often featured sections aimed exclusively at women and written by female staff. These ranged in theme and included titles like “As We See It” and “Feminine Fancy” which usually spanned a full page. However, the newspaper’s focus stayed primarily on the war effort, with most non-social/sport related information focused on overseas news or the at-home war effort.[ix] This was a conscious choice by the editors and reflects the national and local sense of patriotism at the time.

The 1942 edition of The Beaver explains that “although journalism is not a major school at Oregon State, publications has become the largest all-student activity.”[x] Oregon State has never been a school aimed at journalism in particular, but it was still a draw for many in this era, especially with the increase in staff opportunities in several on-campus publications. As outlined in a 1945 issue of the Barometer (and referenced in many other publications), many young female journalists had the opportunity to join Theta Sigma Phi, the national honor society for women in journalism. The society annually published a special issue of the Barometer aimed at Co-Eds and boasted a selection of women employed throughout the school.[xi] Two of these women were Pat Glenn Hagood, who became the Barometer’s first female editor in chief in 1944, and her immediate successor, Betty Lu Nixon. Both women were extremely active in OSC publishing. In a modern Barometer article chronicling the newspaper’s 125th anniversary, the author discusses the environment for women during WWII, writing that according to former Barometer advisor Frank Ragulsky, until 1944, women’s opportunities to be part of the newspaper were cut short by a 9:30 curfew (and the paper wasn’t usually finished until after).[xii] I was able to find a few examples of curfews and restrictions placed on co-eds and freshmen women, with campus or town visits off limits on many weekday nights.

When the number of men working on the paper and on campus in general decreased, university administrators began to lift these curfews, which made it possible for a woman to hold the Barometer’s editor-in-chief position. Increases in personal freedom allowed for women to also have greater freedom in the workplace. I found a video interview conducted in 2017 with Betty Lu who describes in detail her experiences working for the paper during the war. She explains that “there were a whole bunch of women who worked on the Barometer” and that her duties as editor usually involved making assignments for and helping other people with their work.[xiii] The Barometer published an article in 1945 stating that she, like the other editors, didn’t want to make any changes to the paper and its content, choosing to keep the focus on reporting campus news. After graduation, both Betty Lu and Pat Hagood went on to continue careers in publishing and journalism at local newspapers and agencies.[xiv]

Another example of post-graduate careers in media is found in another OSC publication, the Oregon State Yank. The Yank, a small publication intended to relay news from OSC to students serving in the military, was created in 1943 and produced by two women, Jane Steagall and Elaine Sewell. They both graduated from OSC in 1941 (both were also members of Theta Sigma Phi) and both found jobs in publishing/advertising after graduation. They produced The Yank in their free time, and watched it grow in popularity and production quality until the end of the war. A 1945 article in the Barometer thanked them for their efforts and described the publication as a real success.[xv]

This growth was also present in other colleges across the nation, as described in an article by Charles Dorn on women’s wartime roles at UC Berkeley. Although he discusses a different setting, he argues that women’s advances in university life were not just due to a simple lack of male students. He states that women “challenged both tradition and social norms to further their curricular and extracurricular goals.”[xvi] However, he also writes that in the case of Berkeley, male students often perceived their female counterparts as “filling in,” rather than as acting with their own sense of agency, despite the fact that they proved themselves to be more than capable.[xvii] I found some evidence of this in earlier editions of The Beaver, where women on staff are sometimes discussed more as “temps” or described based on their appearance, but by 1945 and 1946 the staff are discussed with the same tone as their male counterparts years before.[xviii]

While the staff changes may not have lasted at OSU over time, the stories of former editors like Betty Lu show the tangible benefits these opportunities provided for women in their future professional lives. With men largely gone from campus during the war, women were able to fill in and excel in OSC publications, keeping things running smoothly and producing the same quality readers had come to expect during the war while also gaining valuable experience in their own lives. Instead of a passive role, women instead took advantage of these new opportunities and were able to challenge traditional systems, further their personal and educational goals, and prepare for and advance in the post-college workforce.


“Journalism in Bloom,” The Daily Barometer, LHI q07, Vol 52, Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Dorn, Charles. “‘A Woman’s World’: The University of California, Berkeley, during the Second World War.” History of Education Quarterly 48, no. 4 (2008): 534–64.

Historical Publications of Oregon State University, Oregon State University. “It’s Your Tomorrow At Oregon State, 1945” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-13.

Kalama, Jaycee. “Letter from the Editor: We Cannot Celebrate 125 Years of the Baro without Addressing Its Oppressive Past.” The Daily Barometer, March 1, 2021.

McIntosh, Charles J. “Story of the Oregon State College Barometer.” Unpublished manuscript, circa 1947-48, typescript. Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University. “Oregon State Barometer, January 30, 1945” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-06.

OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University. “Oregon State Barometer, February 16, 1945” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-06.

OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University. “Oregon State Barometer, May 1, 1945” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-11.

OSU Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Oregon State University. “Oregon State Barometer, May 11, 1945 (Co-Ed Issue)” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-06.

Oregon State University Yearbooks, Oregon State University. “The Beaver 1942” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-11-28.

Oregon State University Yearbooks, Oregon State University. “The Beaver 1944” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-01.

Oregon State University Yearbooks, Oregon State University. “The Beaver 1945” Oregon Digital. Accessed 2023-12-01.

“Running The Barometer during World War II,” Interview with Betty Lu Anderson by Mike Dicianna. The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project (June 1, 2017),

[i] Betty Lu Anderson, “Running the Barometer during World War II,” interview by Mike Dicianna, OSU Sesquicentennial Oral History Project, June 1, 2017, audio,

[ii] “The Beaver 1943” (Oregon State University, 1943), 192-195, Oregon Digital,

[iii] “The Beaver 1944,” (Oregon State University, 1944), 148, Oregon Digital,

[iv] “The Beaver 1945,” (Oregon State University, 1945), 166-174, Oregon Digital,

[v]  “The Beaver 1942,” (Oregon State University, 1942), 126-129, Oregon Digital,

[vi] Charles J McIntosh, “Story of the Oregon State College Barometer,” unpublished manuscript, circa 1947-48, typescript, 810, Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center.

[vii] Interview with Betty Lu Anderson

[viii] “It’s Your Tomorrow at Oregon State, 1945” (Oregon State University, 1945), Oregon Digital, 12,

[ix] “Journalism Fraternity’s Eleven Girls Announced,” Oregon State Barometer Co-Ed Issue, May 11, 1945, 2, Oregon Digital,

[x] “The Beaver 1942,” 126-129.

[xi] “Journalism Fraternity’s Eleven Girls Announced.”

[xii]  Jaycee Kalama, “Letter from the Editor: We cannot celebrate 125 years of The Baro without addressing its oppressive past,” Oregon State Barometer, March 1, 2021,

[xiii]  Interview with Betty Lu Anderson.

[xiv]  Interview with Betty Lu Anderson.

[xv] “Co-Editors of Oregon State Yank Feel Repaid by Thanks of Staters,” Oregon State Barometer, February 16, 1945, 3,

[xvi] Charles Dorn, “‘A Woman’s World’: The University of California, Berkeley, during the Second World War,” History of Education Quarterly 48, No. 4 (Nov., 2008): 536.

[xvii] Charles Dorn, “‘A Woman’s World’” 535-536.

[xviii] “The Beaver 1942”, 129; “The Beaver 1945”, 170.

Defending the Heart of the Valley

During fall term 2023 Dr. Kara Ritzheimer’s History 310 (Historian’s Craft) students researched and wrote blog posts about OSU during WWII. The sources they consulted are listed at the end of each post. Students wrote on a variety of topics and we hope you appreciate their contributions as much as the staff at SCARC does!

Blog post written by Preston Hobbs.

After Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7th, 1941, colleges on the West Coast became a military asset for two reasons. First, they could potentially provide the government with valuable talent and innovations to help win the war. Second, colleges were deemed vulnerable to Japanese attack and so had to prepare to defend themselves. A war mentality had already been developing on campuses[1], and the attack on Pearl Harbor resulted in a wave of paranoia and patriotism that swept the colleges as much as the rest of the country. Oregon State College began to prepare for an attack, in conjunction with the city of Corvallis, by preparing air-raid sirens, fire-proofing buildings, and creating local defense units, among other things. Although this anticipated Japanese attack on universities never happened, the Japanese made several efforts to bomb the American West Coast and most of these attacks took place in Oregon. While Oregon State College administrators determined how to prepare for an attack, students shared their thoughts about the war.

Students made their feelings known about the attack in the student press. Written by and for students of OSC about the happenings around campus and the world, the Oregon State Barometer provides us with a valuable look at a student-centered perspective on how ordinary life collided with the new reality of war. The attack on Pearl Harbor happened in the middle of the school year, right before winter break. And so, it allows us to see both the road to war and the aftermath of the attacks from the perspective of OSC students. We can see how quickly students started to think more broadly about the war and what it meant for their way of life. In an article titled “Changing Ideas.” The author states: “It is difficult to see how the United States can continue to allow her citizens these luxuries, and still turn her maximum productive power to war.”[2] Opinion pieces like this by students offer us a window, to see how the psychology on campus changes from peace to wartime and the common issues they faced because of this worldwide event.

Student Cadets salute both the national and armed forces flag. “Salute to the colors,” Historical Images of Oregon State University, Oregon Digital.

The first article after the attack on Pearl Harbor attack was published on Tuesday, December 9th, and it opened with the message of FDR’s famous speech following the attack. At the very top in big bold letters is the word Blackouts, informing all readers that the Benton County Chairman of Civil Defense, Donald Hout, stated blackouts would continue (they had been in effect since December 7th) until further notice. The blackouts were to take place between the hours of 11pm and 7am, According to the blackout order, “Civilians must stay indoors during the blackout hours. Students in living groups must keep light from shining to the street during these hours. All vehicles, except police and emergency cars, must be kept off the streets and highways.” Lights could act as a guiding beacon for enemy bombers to their targets, and so light had to be kept to an absolute minimum during dark hours. These blackouts applied to the whole West Coast and lasted many weeks after the initial attack.[3]

OSC, in cooperation with the city of Corvallis, put several air-raid sirens around the campus and city, as we can see in a Barometer article referring to a tryout run of the new system on January 7th, 1942.[4] On campus, at least two air raid sirens were installed by administration on the Physical Plant as well as the Agriculture Hall, both located near administration buildings and the library. However, all buildings on campus were modified or updated by the college administration to prepare for war conditions. The college received gas masks from the federal government and put them in all students’ wardrobes.[5] Fire exits, and fire-fighting equipment were made readily available and were updated. OSC was most worried about the potential fires caused by bombing, and so fire drills became regular and making buildings fireproof and or easy to escape was prioritized. The roofs of both the Armory and the Heating Plant were painted camouflage to make them less visible to aircraft. New phone lines were also set up to ensure communication between major buildings like the Physical Plant, Library, Administration and Armory would still be possible during an air raid, and for the first time OSC considered creating a 24-hour telephone service.[6] Buildings in the city of Corvallis also received renovation and air raid sirens, but the local city government also organized a home guard of about 70 men to protect the city in the case of a Japanese invasion.[7]

Aerial view of OSC campus, likely captured in 1944. Historical Images of Oregon State University, Oregon Digital.

OSC’s administrators also participated in preparation for a possible bombing in the local area, especially Oregon’s forests. As part of a wider national effort, OSC created its own group of dedicated firefighters for its own protection and sought to recruit and educate future firefighters to protect the rest of the state and country. That’s because this was part of a wider national effort to create Army Engineers dedicated to protecting the vast forests of America. The army started researching the idea in June 1941 and by that same time the following year, the first forestry units were activated by the Army Engineers.[8] In the Pacific Northwest this was especially true as not only were the forests plentiful, but they were considered incredibly valuable “to guard one of the most precious resources of the nation… the northwest’s valuable tracts of timber, from which more than half of the nation’s softwood lumber is obtained.”[9] The lumber of the Pacific Northwest was vital to many wartime industries, and a local staple. OSC wanted to ensure it had a role in the defense of Oregon’s primary resource, as well as its main vulnerability. This project was not just for the purpose of the war but also for ordinary wildfires, so its true goal was long term.

Army special training graduates pose with field artillery.
Historical Images of Oregon State University. “OSC student members of the Army Specialized Training Program posing with a field gun on graduation day” Oregon Digital.

As it turned out, the fear that the US government had about the Japanese using the American forests to cause damage was quite well-founded, even if the Japanese did not have the full capabilities to pull it off on an effective scale. Oregon was the only state on the US mainland the Japanese bombed directly, and it happened on four different occasions. The first occurred June 21, 1942, when a Japanese submarine launched a torpedo towards Fort Stevens near Astoria.  This resulted in nothing more than a crater on the beach, but it put America and Oregon on higher alert. The next attack came on September 9, 1942, when Japanese veteran pilot Nabou Fujita launched his plane via catapult from a submarine off the coast of Brookings in Southern Oregon. His goal was to drop a firebomb in the middle of the forest and ignite a large forest fire that would engulf Brookings and beyond. He tried the same thing twenty days later near Port Orford. Both missions were complete failures, as the bombs were either duds or failed to cause a big enough fire in the damp forests.[10] The last effort, and the only one to produce fatalities, happened on May 5, 1945, near Gearhart Mountain. The Japanese had unleashed hundreds to even thousands of balloon bombs from their mainland across the Pacific Ocean, intended to land in the US and set fire to the American Forest. However, few ever reach the American Coast, and only the one that landed in Oregon resulted in any casualties.[11]

Oregon State College worked hand in hand with local and federal governments to secure the OSC campus and to support the national war effort. At home, school administrators put the campus on a war footing by renovating the campus and preparing students. On the national level, the college participated in efforts to train new units for defending the nation and its vital resources. For more information on the subject the SCARC Archive, and specifically the Barometer articles, are a great source of information on the history of OSC from the student side.

Works Cited

Biennial Report of the President for 1941-1942, 1942, Oregon State University Special

Collections and Archives Research Center, Annual and Biennial Reports (RG 013 – SG 12) Box-Folder 6.03: 16-19.

“Blackouts,” Oregon State Barometer. December 9, 1941.

Derek Hoff, “Igniting Memory: Commemoration of the 1942 Japanese Bombing of Southern

Oregon, 1962-1998.” The Public Historian 21, no. 2 (1999).

“Changing Ideas,” Oregon State Barometer. December 11, 1941.

“Forest Defense,” Oregon State Barometer. February 28, 1942.

“Gas Mask Attire of Student Soon,” Oregon State Barometer. January 24, 1942.

Larry Tanglen. “Terror: Floated over Montana: Japanese World War II Balloon Bombs,

1944-1945,” Montana: The Magazine of Western History 52, no. 4 (2002).

“New Air Raid Signal Tryout Set for Today,” Oregon State Barometer. January 7, 1942.

“Steps Taken to Secure Home Guard for City,” Oregon State Barometer. February 24, 1942.

Troy Morgan, “Wood for Warfare: American Forestry Soldiers in Action,” Army History, no. 48


Cardozier, V. R. Colleges and Universities in World War II. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1993.

[1] Cardozier, V. R. Colleges and Universities in World War II. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 1993. 170.

[2] “Changing Ideas,” Oregon State Barometer, December 11, 1941.

[3] “Blackouts,” Oregon State Barometer, December 9, 1941.

[4] “New Air Raid Signal Tryout Set for Today,” Oregon State Barometer, January 7, 1942.

[5] “Gas Mask Attire of Student Soon,” Oregon State Barometer, January 24, 1942.

[6] Biennial Report of the President for 1941-1942, 1942, Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Annual and Biennial Reports RG 013 – SG 12, Box-Folder 6.03: 16-19

[7] “Steps Taken to Secure Home Guard for City,” Oregon State Barometer February 24, 1942.

[8] Troy Morgan, “Wood for Warfare: American Forestry Soldiers in Action,” Army History, no. 48 (1999): 10.

[9] “Forest Defense,” Oregon State Barometer, February 28, 1942.

[10] Derek Hoff, “Igniting Memory: Commemoration of the 1942 Japanese Bombing of Southern Oregon, 1962-1998,” The Public Historian 21, no. 2 (1999): 65–66.

[11] Larry Tanglen. “Terror: Floated over Montana: Japanese World War II Balloon Bombs, 1944-1945,” Montana: The Magazine of Western History 52, no. 4 (2002): 79.

Gendered Expectations of Wartime: Examining Anxieties Surrounding Vice & Venereal Disease at OSC During WWII

During fall term 2023 Dr. Kara Ritzheimer’s History 310 (Historian’s Craft) students researched and wrote blog posts about OSU during WWII. The sources they consulted are listed at the end of each post. Students wrote on a variety of topics and we hope you appreciate their contributions as much as the staff at SCARC does!

Blog post written by Cecily R. Evonuk.

During World War II in the United States, women’s increasing autonomy in the labor force stirred up heightened gender expectations and anxieties. The year before the war, the number of women in higher education was at an all-time high, followed by a decline during the years of the war as women entered the war effort.[1] Worries about youth and society becoming morally corrupt intensified during wartime, and this was only antagonized by demographic shifts in the numbers of women in higher education and the labor force. Through archival material such as photographs, scrapbooks, and newspapers at Oregon State University’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC), we can chart the rise of these anxieties at Oregon State University during the years of World War II.[2]

1937 photo of OSC Alum Edna Bellow’s husband in uniform (name unknown) and their two year old child Joanna. The scrapbook page says they were living in Grass Valley California when the photo was taken. Many of the photos sent by OSC alumni for the scrapbook were of themselves, husbands, and children. Image from the Delta Zeta Sorority Chi Chapter Scrapbook.

The Delta Zeta Sorority-Chi chapter scrapbook, which includes sorority-related materials ranging from 1919 to 1949, provides invaluable insight into the lives of women at Oregon State University prior to and during the years of World War II. The scrapbook primarily includes information on past and current members, letters, and photographs. The vast majority of the material in the scrapbook is from OSC alumni responding to invitations to anniversary events for the organization over the years. What is especially compelling is that, though the scrapbook consists of accounts from approximately 70 women, nearly all of the material discusses several common themes: gender, labor, military or military-related service, and most prominently, family. The majority of the photos in the collection consist of photos these women sent of themselves and their families to be included in the scrapbook, and these alumni described and focused on the idealistic parts of their lives in their photo descriptions and accompanying letters.

Photos of OSC Alumn Dorothy Bailey Knapp with her husband Mac in uniform, 1943. Knapp provided the captions for the images in the scrapbook. Interestingly, Knapp emphasizes how her husband, Mac, is her “whole family,” this is especially important to note within the context that most of the women who had sent photographs for the scrapbook included pictures of their husbands and children, and Knapp does not. Betty Hanson with her husband in uniform, 1944. During the years of the war, bragging about their husband’s participation in the war effort was a common theme throughout the scrapbook. OSC alumni and sisters Hazel and Katherine Saremal submitted pictures of themselves posing in their Women’s Army Corps (WAC) uniforms to the scrapbook. Many women in the WAC were eager to show off their patriotism and participation in the war effort through the scrapbook.

Most of the materials these women provided for the scrapbook conform to a carefully curated image of morality and war effort idealism, however, some material suggests that these women were asserting their sexual freedom. Barbara Ness, a member of the WAC and one of the women in the scrapbook who deviated from these expectations of women in the war joked about being “out of uniform” and “naughty” in a captioned photograph. 

Barbara Ness, an OSC alum’s photos with cheeky captions in the Delta Zeta Sorority-Chi chapter scrapbook.

World War II had profound impacts on the anxieties and policing of vice and sexuality in American society. Opposing vice and promoting morality became synonymous with ideal citizenship and aiding the war effort. Women often joined and participated in clubs and organizations such as the YWCA and the Red Cross that promoted “moral” ways of living and hostessing. The YWCA, the Red Cross, and other club organizations helped to maintain the patriarchal nurturing and caretaking expectations of women while utilizing them as a tool to assist in the war effort through acting as hostesses.[3]

The WAC also imposed gendered expectations on women. Women serving in the military was perceived as a masculine concept that would open up opportunities for sexual and gender deviance, so organizations such as the WAC were encouraged to promote femininity and enforce gender and sexual expectations.[4]

Articles about YWCA and Red Cross activities. Oregon Daily Emerald, March 05, 1948, p 8.

These ideas surrounding vice and sexuality seeped into both the social and academic sectors of OSC. The pressures to conform to the archetype of the ideal woman in the war effort significantly impacted women at OSC. These attitudes are reflected in the Delta Zeta Sorority Chi Chapter Scrapbook through written correspondence and photographs. This pressure to conform to a womanhood of morality and respectability to aid the war effort created intense anxieties surrounding vice and venereal disease during the war.

In the sorority scrapbook, we see these women conforming to this respectability with the exception of a scant few such as Barbara Ness who intentionally used vague language when implicating otherwise. The establishment of stringent gender norms during wartime, fueled by anxieties caused by changing conditions, firmly entrenched the idea in society that venereal disease was one of the products of moral corruption. Because of wartime campaigns that had linkages between sexuality, morality, respectability, and patriotism, almost all the women in the scrapbook conform to a carefully constructed image of wartime respectability.[5] We can see how this gendered rhetoric and social pressures, reflected in the scrapbook, influenced societal perceptions of vice and venereal disease at OSC.

Picture Will Show Disease AffectsOregon State Barometer, January 14, 1944: p 1. Cartoon in the Oregon State Barometer, and spread in the paper dedicated specifically to female students that highlighted gendered expectations. “Postwar Oregon State” and “Woman’s World” Oregon State Barometer, June 9, 1944: 2-3. Post-prohibition anxieties as seen in the article “Return of Beer See as Health Detriment” in the Oregon State Barometer, April 1, 1933: 1.

Anxieties surrounding vice and venereal disease at OSC during World War II are clearly seen in the language of the school’s newspaper, the Oregon State Barometer. Through the Oregon State Barometer, we see the rise in anxieties surrounding student health and venereal disease at OSC in the years leading up to the war.

When the war began, these anxieties intensified. During the years of the war, there were many mentions of concerns surrounding venereal disease, morality, and respectability in the paper.

With soldiers nearby at Camp Adair, and with the recent dismantling of the prohibition in 1933, fear surrounding the spread of vice permeated OSC.

Camp Dance is to be May 23,” Camp Adair Sentry, May 14, 1942: 1. “Co-eds Teach Adair How to Square Dance,” Oregon State Barometer, November 27, 1943, 1.

Students and soldiers also organized dances as a part of fundraising for the war effort. These dances, though viewed as important to the war effort, frequently bred anxiety about inappropriate fraternization between soldiers and female students. These anxieties are reflected in the subtle language used in the local newspapers during the war. One article in the Camp Adair Sentry details the importance of maintaining a “well-supervised” dance at the MU Ballroom.

During the years before the war, the OSC student health center had been criticized for its lack of emphasis on social hygiene by Dr. Beattie as discussed in the Oregon State Barometer. This indicates the presence of concerns surrounding venereal disease and social hygiene at OSC. OSC’s Dean Langton responds to the criticism by highlighting the required hygiene courses for all freshmen, and the frequency of these courses. 

Dean Langton Criticizes Article by Dr. Beattie,” Oregon State Barometer, November 3, 1931, 1, 3. OSC Dean responded to Dr. Beattie’s article stating that “here hygiene is a required subject,” and highlighting how there is “regular hygiene instruction” at OSC. “Oregon State Monthly, December 1931.”

The health center also had “women’s days” one of which was dedicated to breast examinations on January 20th, 1949. The gendered nature of these “women’s days” raises the question of what possible ways the student health center could have targeted female and male students differently. Did the student health center ever explicitly have programs for students who had contracted venereal disease? Were any potential anti-venereal disease campaigns by the student health center gendered? It can be difficult to discern from the written record the scope of institutional action regarding subjects such as venereal disease, which could be considered a contentious and controversial topic for the time that people were hesitant to openly publicly address in the written record. 

Student Health Center X-Rays 411 Women,” Oregon State Barometer, January 20, 1949, p 1.

The crusade against venereal disease began before World War I. Its roots came from the anti-vice campaigns that began in the early 20th century and were defined by the prohibition from 1920 to 1933. However, the end of the prohibition was not the end of strong anti-vice sentiments. World War I marked a new chapter for anti-vice movements. Wartime created more opportunities for women to participate in labor, contributing to more interactions between young men and women. A spike in venereal disease for young soldiers that threatened the war effort called American institutions to action. Authorities began policing vice and incarcerating individuals who had contracted or were suspected of having contracted venereal disease. These campaigns to prevent vice and venereal disease disproportionately impacted and targeted women, more specifically, poor women of color. Men were rarely the ones held accountable for the spread of venereal disease. World War II provided a continuation of this anti-vice and venereal disease campaign.[6]

A venereal disease booklet from The National Women’s Advisory Committee on Social Protection that highlighted women’s duty to promote morality and prevent venereal disease. As seen in the booklet, syphilis and gonorrhea were the two diseases of major concern.
 “Meet Your Enemy” Venereal Disease Booklet, Federal Security Agency, 1944. Folder 14, Box 35, Defense Council Records, Oregon State Archives.

Women continued to assert their independence, autonomy, and sexuality through labor in the war effort.[7] Wartime often manifested these campaigns due to the gendered nature of American patriotism. It was women’s duty to remain the pure and moral guiding force for men.

These attitudes towards gender, vice, and venereal disease during World War II are reflected in the subtle language used in the various materials such as photos, letters, and newspaper articles in Oregon State University’s SCARC. By learning about how these gendered pressures affected women during the war, we can complicate our understanding of what the war effort looked like and its implications on race, class, and gender during World War II.  


 “Camp Dance is to be May 23,” Camp Adair Sentry, May 14, 1942: 1.

“Co-eds Teach Adair How to Square Dance,” Oregon State Barometer, November 27, 1943: 1.

Dean Langton Criticises Article by Dr. Beattie” Oregon State Barometer, November 3, 1931: 1, 3. 

 Delta Zeta Sorority Chi Chapter Scrapbook (MSS DeltaZeta), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

 Dorn, Charles. “‘War Conditions Made it Impossible…’: Historical Statistics and Women’s Higher Education Enrollments, 1940-1952.” Studies in the Humanities 36, no. 2 (2009).

Historical Publications of Oregon State University, Oregon State University. “Oregon State Monthly, December 1931” Oregon Digital: 13. Accessed 2023-12-14.

“Meet Your Enemy” Venereal Disease Booklet, Federal Security Agency, 1944. Folder 14, Box 35, Defense Council Records, Oregon State Archives

Meyer, Leisa. “Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II,” Feminist Studies 18, no. 3 (1992): 593–596,

Oregon Daily Emerald, March 05, 1948: 8.

Oregon State Barometer, June 9, 1944: 2-3.

 “Picture Will Show Disease Affects” Oregon State Barometer, January 14, 1944: 1.

 Kimberley Reilly, “‘A Perilous Venture for Democracy’: Soldiers, Sexual Purity, and American Citizenship in the First World War.” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 13, no. 2 (2014): 225.

 “Return of Beer See as Health Detriment” Oregon State Barometer, April 1, 1933: 1.

 Strom, Claire. “Controlling Venereal Disease in Orlando during World War II,” The Florida Historical Quarterly 91, no. 1 (2012): 88-93.

“Student Health Center X-Rays 411 Women” Oregon State Barometer, January 20, 1949: 1.

 Meghan Winchell, “‘To Make the Boys Feel at Home’: USO Senior Hostesses and Gendered Citizenship.” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 25, no. 1 (2004): 190–211.

[1] Charles Dorn, “‘War Conditions Made it Impossible…’: Historical Statistics and Women’s Higher Education Enrollments, 1940-1952,” Studies in the Humanities 36, no. 2 (2009) 1.

[2] Oregon State University was known as Oregon State College or OSC during the years of World War II

[3] Meghan Winchell, “‘To Make the Boys Feel at Home’: USO Senior Hostesses and Gendered Citizenship,” Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies 25, no. 1 (2004): 190.

[4] Leisa Meyer, “Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II,” Feminist Studies 18, no. 3 (1992): 581–587.

[5] Kimberley Reilly, “‘A Perilous Venture for Democracy’: Soldiers, Sexual Purity, and American Citizenship in the First World War,” The Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era 13, no. 2 (2014): 225.

[6]  Claire Strom, “Controlling Venereal Disease in Orlando during World War II,” The Florida Historical Quarterly 91, no. 1 (2012): 88-89,

[7] Leisa Meyer, “Creating G.I. Jane: The Regulation of Sexuality and Sexual Behavior in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II,” Feminist Studies 18, no. 3 (1992): 593–596,

The Prisoners of War Who Weren’t Supposed to be There: POWs in Camp Adair

During fall term 2023 Dr. Kara Ritzheimer’s History 310 (Historian’s Craft) students researched and wrote blog posts about OSU during WWII. The sources they consulted are listed at the end of each post. Students wrote on a variety of topics and we hope you appreciate their contributions as much as the staff at SCARC does!

Blog post written by Quinn Wright.

William Robbins wrote an extensive, chronological study of Oregon State University (known as Oregon State College (OSC) prior to the 1960s). In his study, he dedicated a full chapter to OSC during the Second World War. In this chapter, he covered Camp Adair, a military base located at the intersection of Highway 99 and a railroad line, on flat, open land about eight miles north of Corvallis. Robbins states that Camp Adair held several prisoners of war from 1944 to 1946, and then states that “not many locals knew about these prisoners.”[1] But why not? It was no secret that the US was holding POWs; the United States Army even advertised it in Camp Adair’s official newspaper, the Camp Adair Sentry.[2] The article “203 POW Camps,”, initially published in Washington D.C. and republished in the Camp Adair Sentry,[3] implies the number of prisoners the armed forces had captured, particularly in Europe, was a point of pride for the American people. The high number of POWs captured suggested that to the American people that America was winning the war. However, because these prisoners were perceived as enemies, they likely weren’t openly welcome in populated areas. However, if that were the case, why choose Camp Adair, a site so close to civilians? Additionally, the site was not built to be a prison. A likely reason for the secrecy was that those prisoners should not have been there and were only placed in Camp Adair out of necessity.

Images from the Camp Adair Sentry. Although it is known that POWs were present at Camp Adair, the Sentry attempts to “quash” these rumors, despite their truth. “No War Prisoners Here, NSC Reports,” Camp Adair Sentry, April 28, 1944, 3, University of Oregon Historic Oregon Newspapers Collection,

The first piece of evidence that Camp Adair wasn’t an ideal camp to hold POWs is its location. Camp Adair, or Adair Village as it is known today, is surrounded by forest vegetation and farmland.[4] This was even more true in the 1940s than it is now. In fact, OSU’s College of Forestry is using the forests to test old-growth management techniques because they are so old.[5] This is all to say that Camp Adair would not be the best place to hold prisoners who might try to escape into the obscuring forest, or into a local civilian neighborhood. While POW Willi Gross states that gates, fences and guards were present at Camp Adair, they spent ample time working in and around farmland protected only by guards.[6] Escaped POWs were known to happen from time to time in both Allied and Axis camps.[7]

The second piece of substantial evidence is the extensive use of POW labor on local farmland to help with harvesting and planting. First-hand accounts from POWs talk about this farm work. Willi Gross recounted the story of his transfer from other POW camps, in much more open, arid parts of the US. Willi Gross was a German POW captured by British soldiers along the North African front. He was transported to the United States, and held and transported to several different POW camps throughout the United States before being sent to Camp Adair. Strangely, a good amount of Gross’ retelling is spent reminiscing about how similar Oregon is to Germany. Additionally, he befriended a guard at Camp Adair with whom he reconnected with after the war had ended and he had been released. In his account, Gross recounted his arrival in Camp Adair and explains how he worked on nearby farms, helping to harvest crops in the area. For example, Gross remembers cutting grass for hay bales and harvesting bean crops.[8] This is corroborated by another Camp Adair Sentry article, printed in May 1943, entitled “Axis War Prisoners May Work for Allies.” This article states that Axis POWs will be working as farm laborers throughout Allied territories for the remainder of the war.[9]

The third major piece of evidence demonstrating the likelihood that Camp Adair housed POWs comes from the final Camp Adair Sentry article paper entitled “No War Prisoners Here, NSC Reports.”[10] The article continues that the Ninth Service Command (NSC) ”quashed [rumors]…via Associated Press wire reports from Salt Lake City.”[11] It’s clear from the wording of the article “current rumors about using a portion of Camp Adair for war prisoners have been quashed,” that enough.[12] There was fabricated evidence either from the newspaper, or the Associated Press which corroborated the lie that there were no POWs in Camp Adair.

The POWs in Camp Adair were there out of necessity. There were certainly other camps that would be more well suited as prisons than Camp Adair. However, because of Gross’ account, there is proof POWs were in Adair. POWs were kept in Camp Adair because farmers needed all hands-on-deck for the war effort. With the number of able-bodied men deployed across seas, whether because they had volunteered or had been drafted, there were few left over to harvest crops. Additionally, OSC coordinated volunteer harvesting groups, which included apple picking and harvesting sugar beets. However, despite their limited supply of labor, the OSC board voted that “women would not be allowed to join in the apple picking project.”[13] Robbins mentions this in his book, but doesn’t speculate the reasoning. Whatever it may be, if there were too few men to harvest local crops and women weren’t allowed to join the effort, the fact remains that labor was scarce. For the US military, the answer may have been simple. There weren’t enough workers for these valuable farms that produced necessary crops such as sugar beets and grass for feeding livestock, and they had a surplus of able-bodied men (POWs) at their disposal.

Image of Camp Adair mess hall in 2023. Originally built with the initial construction of the camp in 1942 (Robbins, A People’s School, p 159). Now currently resides roughly at the center of town, and is neighbored by the local elementary and high schools. Currently used as a community center. Photo credit: the author. 

I believe that the Camp Adair administrators were so secretive about POWs being housed there because Camp Adair was not a suitable prison. Locals who wouldn’t be using POW labor would not have been happy about their new neighbors, the landscape itself did not lend itself to the task, and Camp Adair simply wasn’t built as a secure facility, but rather as a training ground. This meant that the area produced more food than its local workers could reasonably harvest with the equipment on-hand, because the war had taken so many of its able-bodied workers. As far as the US government perceived the issue, they were solving the problem by positively utilizing another problem. That being, the lack of workers could be solved with the surplus of prisoners they were controlling. This created a win-win situation, besides the necessary secrecy.

The use of Prisoners of War as laborers was not unprecedented. Allied forces used Italian and German POWs to harvest crops throughout the war.[14] Germany used loopholes in the Geneva Convention to classify POWs, particularly those from Poland, as “civilian guest workers” so that the former soldiers would become, in essence, slaves.[15] POWs were kept in good health by the US and Britain because of a sort of “status quo” of soldiers. The British and German military had shown that poor treatment of the enemy’s POWs would result in an equal or even greater mistreatment of their own soldiers held captive by enemy forces. The Axis and Ally stance of mutually assured destruction of POWs both kept POWs safe and put them in danger. If you don’t keep our soldiers well, we’ll reciprocate in kind.[16] This status quo created by both Axis and Ally leaders is why the US government felt so comfortable using POWs as labor in Camp Adair. They were simply returning in kind the treatment which had befallen their own soldiers. This included being well fed, and receiving medical treatment.

William Robbins’ statement that “few locals knew about the Prisoners of War” makes a lot more sense in the present tense than it does in the past tense.[17] Few locals know about the area’s history with POWs, but knowledge and cooperation were a requirement to have POWs in Camp Adair. POWs were only present in the area because they were a necessity for the war effort and to get the greater population through a time of rationing. There is a precedent for this being the case brought up by historian Jake Spidle, Jr..  Spidle argues in his article ”Axis Prisoners of War in the United States,” that the number of people knowledgeable about POWs held in the US is only going to shrink over time. Spidle was able to find several farmers that used POWs during the war. ”With a bit of luck,” he says, ”a diligent researcher may find them.”[18] That may have been true in 1975, but it is certainly a rare find in 2023. Even so, with the information gathered between several archives, an understanding of the past with greater clarity can be produced.

[1] William Robbins, A People’s School: A History of Oregon State University (Corvallis, OR: Oregon State University Press, 2017), 160.

[2] “203 POW Camps,” Camp Adair Sentry, June 9, 1944, 7, University of Oregon Historic Oregon Newspapers Collection,

[3] The article itself has the subheading “Washington D.C. (ALNS).” This acronym doesn’t seem to be associated with any US press agency, or POW associated group. The assumption made in this article is that this was published in multiple army-run newspapers like the Camp Adair Sentry throughout the United States. ALNS may be a typo, or an acronym that was rarely, if ever used.

[4] The author is currently a resident of the area and is familiar with the buildings in town.

[5] John Sessions, lecture series, “OSU’s Old Growth Forests,” Sustainable Forests, Oregon State University, 2022.

[6] “Memories of Sergeant Willi Gross,” Oregon State University Special Collections & Archive Research Center (hereafter SCARC), Memorabilia Collection: Business and Technology, School of 1923-2000  — Campus Fires. 1898-2002. Box 32. SC, Folder “MC Calvert, Leonard J.”

[7] Jake W. Spidle, Jr., ”Axis Prisoners of War in the United States, 1942-1946: A Bibliographical Essay,” in Military

Affairs 39, no. 2 (1975): 64.

[8] “Memories of Sergeant Willi Gross.”

[9] “Axis War Prisoners May Work for Allies,” Camp Adair Sentry, May 27, 1943, 10, University of Oregon Historic Oregon Newspapers Collection,

[10] “No War Prisoners Here, NSC Reports.”.

[11] Ibid.

[12] Ibid.

[13] Robbins, A People’s School, 156.

[14] S. P. MacKenzie, “The Treatment of Prisoners of War in World War II,” The Journal of Modern History 66, no. 3 (1994): 489.

[15] Ibid, 500-501.

[16] Ibid, 489.

[17] Robbins, A People’s School, 160.

[18] Spidle Jr, Military Affairs, 64.