It’s Oregon Archives Month!

We’ve got some big fun planned to celebrate Archives Month this year.

Oregon Mementos Open House: Archives house many things! Come by to check out buttons, beanies, and maybe a postcard or two.

  • Wednesday October 12th
  • 11:00am-1:00pm
  • 5th Floor of the Library

Beer Zines Crafternoon: We’ve got too many duplicate magazines in the Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives! Stop by and make a beer themed zine or collage (what’s a zine??)

  • Thursday October 13th
  • 4:00pm-5:30pm
  • Lobby, Main Floor of the Library

Film Fest: Watch some historic films from the 1920s and 1930s — and yes, you can bring your lunch or just eat popcorn.

  • Friday October 27th
  • 12:00pm-1:00pm
  • West Classroom, Main Floor of the Library

New Finding Aids: July – September 2022

SCARC completed three new finding aids from July – September 2022! 

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


New collection guides created this quarter:

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Records, 1984-2013 (MSS Widmer)

The Widmer Brothers Brewing Company Records includes brewing records, photographs, marketing materials, office files, ephemera, and audio video content.

Widmer Brothers Brewing Company was founded in 1984 in Portland, Oregon by Kurt and Rob Widmer. Kurt Widmer retired in 2016, the Gasthaus closed in 2019, and Anheuser-Busch InBev acquired the company in 2020.

Rock Bottom Brewery Records, 1994-2010 (MSS RockBottom)

The Rock Bottom Brewery Records document the brewing operations at the SW Morrison Street, Portland, Oregon facility. Rock Bottom Brewery is a Denver-based chain of brewpubs. They opened the Portland pub in 1994 at 206 SW Morrison Street.

Oregon Trail Brewery Records, 1951-2020 (MSS OregonTrail)

The Oregon Trail Brewery Records document the brewing and company operations, finances and shareholder involvement, transitions to new ownership, marketing and promotion, and reporting about the brewery in the press.

The Oregon Trail Brewery Company was incorporated as Brewing Northwest, Ltd. on March 20, 1985 in Corvallis, Oregon and began beer production on July 15, 1987. When Oregon Trail Brewery opened in 1987, it was the first new brewery in the Willamette Valley outside of Portland since Prohibition was repealed.

A new LibGuide is up and ready for research! 

The Regional Politics and Policies in SCARC LibGuide is your guide to all things local politics in the archives. The guide is substantial, providing information and resources in five categories: politicians and public servants, civic engagement groups, legislation and ballot measures, clubs and organizations, and the Oregon Legislature and political process.

Dawn Marges, Helen Berg and Atta Akyeampong, recipients of the Women of Achievement Award

Thirty-two politicians – with public service dating from 1849 to the present day – are included in the guide, complete with abbreviated biographies, details of their career, and documentation of their political pursuits. Where more information exists about their career (often in the form of political papers) at another institution, links to finding aids are provided. Links are also provided for any substantive information that exists for each politician outside of SCARC’s various portals and collections, whether that be an online exhibit (in the case of particularly influential historical politicians) or current campaign websites for those politicians who are still active. 

Considering that SCARC doesn’t consider politics one of its collection areas, the sheer amount of information available within our holdings was admittedly a bit of a surprise to me. Many of the collections featured are not explicitly political in nature, but politics appear nonetheless – alongside a subject’s interests, passions, and expertise. Clearly, politics are bound up in nearly every aspect of our lives. In exploring collections that are not explicitly political, the nuances of public service, the importance of a rich civic engagement, and the entanglement of politics with nearly every feature of life in the Pacific Northwest come to the fore. Perhaps it will inspire you to think more about the indivisibility of politics from your life, much like it did for me.

Urban League of Portland staff

The activities and activism of several civic engagement groups are included in the guide as well, accompanied by short histories and information about each of the organizations. While some organizations, like Colleges for Oregon’s Future, no longer exist, most of the organizations are still active and influential around the state. 

A number of laws, ballot measures, and initiatives are included in the “legislation and ballot measures” section. The bulk of the legislation included in this section is environmental policy and legislation introduced and passed at both the federal and state levels in the 1980s, 1990s, and early 2000s and was influenced by the struggle between environmentalists’ interest in preserving spotted owl habitat in the Pacific Northwest, the interests of timber companies, and the role of the U.S. Forest Service in the mediation of these interests. In addition, the struggle for LGBTQIA+ rights in Oregon in the 1990s and early 2000s is documented in this guide and throughout SCARC collections in discussion of ballot measures eightnine, and thirty-six, activism in opposition to the Oregon Citizens Alliance, and the legal battle over the legalization of same-sex marriage. 

The activities and political passions of OSU’s student body and the Corvallis community are well documented in SCARC’s collections – 54 politically-inclined student groups and community organizations are represented in the research guide. 

State Capitol Building

The guide also includes a wealth of resources and information surrounding the Oregon legislature – its establishment and evolution, as well as the proceedings and happenings of 33 assemblies of the Oregon Legislature, are documented in our rare books collections. The general history of the Oregon Legislative Assembly, legislative procedure, and information about the legislative membership is also documented in the guide, as is the history and proceedings of the Oregon Constitutional Convention.

I hope you enjoy using this guide as much as I enjoyed researching, writing, and organizing it! 


This post is contributed by Carlee Baker, designer and author of The Regional Politics and Policies in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Guide. Baker is a graduate student in the School of Writing, Literature and Film at Oregon State University (2022).

New Finding Aids: April – June 2022

SCARC completed eight new finding aids from April to June 2022!

  • Wigrich Ranche Photographic Album (P352): The Wigrich Ranche (sic) was a hops farm located in Buena Vista, Oregon, approximately 3 miles southeast of Independence in an area that was called the “Hop Center of the World” between 1900 and 1940. The Wigrich Ranche (sic) Album documents the operational and worker activities of the farm.
  • Corvallis Lesbian Avengers (MSS CorvallisLesbianAvengers): The Corvallis Lesbian Avengers Collection documents the activities of the Corvallis chapter of the Lesbian Avengers throughout the 1990s. The Corvallis Lesbian Avengers were a local chapter of the national Lesbian Avengers organization. Originally formed in 1992 in New York City, the Lesbian Avengers were a direct-action group focused on issues vital to lesbian survival and visibility. The bulk of the collection is made up of photo albums and scrapbooks containing photographs, news clippings, flyers, artwork, poetry, and other paper material. The collection also includes a small collection of artifacts, an annotated calendar, and 3 issues of the Necessary Friction zine produced by the Corvallis Lesbian Avengers. The entire collection is digital and fully available upon patron request or for use in the SCARC reading room.
  • Fred Milton Papers (MSS Milton): The Fred Milton Papers cover a wide range of topics related to the life of Fred Milton. Fred Milton was an up-and-coming football star at Oregon State University (OSU) in the 1960s. He later left OSU and professional athletics, and led a long career in public service. Topics addressed in this collection include the “Beard Incident” at OSU, where he clashed with his football coach over facial hair rules, the 1969 Black Student Union Walkout, his athletic career, his public service career, and his family. The bulk of the material consists of newspaper clippings and scrapbooks. The entire collection is digital and fully available upon patron request or for use in the SCARC reading room.
  • The History of Atomic Energy Collection (MSS Atomic): The History of Atomic Energy Collection is the largest collection related to nuclear history in SCARC. All topics related to the nuclear era appear in this collection across a range of material types.
  • Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine Records (MSS LPISM): The Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine Records detail the research and administrative activities of LPISM from the time of its founding in 1973 to its move to Oregon State University and rebranding as the Linus Pauling Institute in 1996, and later dissolution as a formal legal entity. Based in Palo Alto or the surrounding area for its entire history, the Linus Pauling Institute of Science and Medicine was primarily dedicated to the study of orthomolecular medicine and, in particular, the potential therapeutic use of vitamin C in the treatment of conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer. The Institute’s scientific pursuits are documented through research notebooks, laboratory data, scientific photographs, patent files, grant applications and more. LPISM’s administrative work is likewise chronicled through, among other material types, board meeting minutes, correspondence, legal records, donor files, annual reports, audiocassette recordings and biographical data.
  • President’s Office Subject and Correspondence Files (RG 013 – SG 11): The President’s Office General Subject and Correspondence Files consist of microfilmed records documenting the administration and functioning of Oregon State University — primarily during the 1950s and 1960s.
  • President’s Office General Subject File (RG 013 – SG 06): The President’s Office General Subject File consists of microfilmed records documenting the administration and functioning of Oregon State University – primarily during the 1920s through 1940s, and including materials pertaining to World War II.

New Finding Aids: January – March 2022

SCARC completed five new finding aids from January to March 2022! 

These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, our website, and the OSUL discovery system a.k.a. “the catalog.” The links below are to the guides on our website.


Five New Collections:

Robert Dalton Harris Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera, 1897-2017

The Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera consists of printed ephemera produced from the late 19th century to the present day. The materials comprise broad coverage of many scientific, religious, cultural, industrial, political, environmental, and other aspects of nuclear history. Items are arranged chronologically by date of creation. Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. and his partner Diane DeBlois are authors, editors, historians, independent scholars, and long-time proprietors of aGatherin’, a business that deals in ephemera and original source materials.

African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection, 1983-1992

The African American Railroad Porters Oral History Collection is primarily made up of thirty reel-to-reel sound recordings containing interviews between filmmaker Michael Grice and African-American railroad porters employed in the Portland area. The interviews cover a variety of topics, including the day-to-day work of porters, labor unions, and racism in the Portland area. These recordings formed much of the background research used for Grice’s 1985 film, “Black Families and the Railroad in Oregon and the Northwest.” Copies of the film are included in the collection and is available online.

A website for the oral history interviews including digitized audio along with interview transcriptions can be found at: http://scarc.library.oregonstate.edu/oh29/index.html

College Bulletins, 1902-1932

The College Bulletins consist of bulletins published by Oregon Agricultural College, and later Oregon State College, to promote the academic programs and outreach activities of the College.  Almost 500 bulletins were published over 30 years from 1902 to 1932.  Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Anne Frewerd Scrapbook, 1945

The Anne Frewerd Scrapbook consists of mementos from her time working at Los Alamos, New Mexico for the Manhattan Project in 1945.  Included are souvenir and personal photographs, newspaper clippings covering the bomb dropped on Hiroshima, and other ephemera related to her work in Los Alamos, including a telegram and pin.

Annual and Biennial Reports, 1872-2007

The Annual and Biennial Reports consist of reports from the earliest years of Oregon State University in the 1870s through the early 2000s and document the administration and all functions and activities of the institution.

Items in this collection are available online in Oregon Digital.

The Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera (continued)

Contributed by Anne Bahde, Rare Books and History of Science Librarian

This final post continues our look at this marvelous new collection, the types of research resources it contains, and potential topics of inquiry supported by it. See last week’s announcement to explore other collection strengths and examples of ephemera.

Increased public awareness about the health and environmental dangers of radioactive fallout from nuclear tests is documented through fallout shelter designs, disaster plans, and guides for the layperson on radiation detection. The Harris materials add further depth to this topical area in SCARC’s collections, which also includes materials in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers, the History of Atomic Energy Rare Book Collection, and the Barton Hacker Papers.

A number of items relate to educating laypersons and/or students about nuclear energy and science, including school newsletters, curricula, comic books, exhibit guides, and manuals. These materials, with others from SCARC collections, can collectively show how atomic energy was introduced to a generation of children, teenagers, and young people whose lives would be affected by it.

The presence of the developing nuclear industries is asserted in the later 1940s through the next two decades, in the form of uranium prospecting materials, investment guides, company booklets, trade publications, and promotional materials. The growth of nuclear power is well represented in the form of brochures, postcards, and training guides. 

Materials related to anti-nuclear activism are present from just after WWII and increase in number during the 1950s and 1960s, with organized protests and rallies advertised in posters, flyers, and leaflets.  The late 20th century is reflected in ephemera related to nuclear-themed protest art and the space race, as well as satiric posters and postcards.

The Harris Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera provides moving examples of the presence of the atom in our lives, and tells this story from nearly every possible angle. The materials comprise broad coverage of many scientific, religious, cultural, industrial, political, environmental, and other aspects of nuclear history. Rarities and surprises abound in the collection. Particularly notable items include: a program to a lecture by Nicola Tesla lecture on Roentgen rays in 1897; restricted newspapers from Manhattan Project locations; an early offprint of an address to Los Alamos scientists by J. Robert Oppenheimer, dated November 1945; this moving tour map of Hiroshima from 1949; and much, much more! We look forward to seeing how this fantastic collection is used to support research and teaching at OSU.

The Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera

Contributed by Anne Bahde, Rare Books and History of Science Librarian

SCARC is delighted to announce that the Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera is now open to researchers.

Carefully collected over three decades, this collection was one of the largest collections on American nuclear history in private hands before coming to OSU in 2017. Collector Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. and his partner Diane DeBlois are authors, editors, historians, independent scholars, and long-time proprietors of aGatherin’, a business that deals in ephemera and original source materials. They began building a collection of materials from the era in the early 1980s, and added books, pieces of ephemera, manuscript collections, and artifacts gradually over decades. 

Box-Folder 3.157: Atomic pop culture items, circa 1950s-1990s Add to Shelf
Items involving atomic themes, including Christmas wrapping paper, candy wrappers, and restaurant menus. ID: undated.097

The materials of the collection span over a century of nuclear science and history. Together, these items tell the story of the Atomic Age from every possible angle, capturing the hopes and fears of the world’s citizens as they grappled with the promises and dangers posed by atomic discoveries, both in the United States and internationally.  

The Harris Collection of the Atomic Age is in three parts. Part 1 is comprised of nearly 30 separate manuscript and archival collections from individuals who were associated in some way with the nuclear era, including Leo Szilard, Norman Hilberry, Joseph Dietrich, and Peter Skinner. The collection also includes rich collections around the concept of imminent danger or disaster, including the Y2K scare and the fable of Chicken Little. These collections will be processed individually in the coming years. The first of these, the Anne Frewerd Scrapbook, is an exciting first-hand look at a young woman’s life at Los Alamos during the Manhattan Project and will be released soon.

Part 2, Books, is composed of nearly 1,000 published print items, again covering a multitude of nuclear angles and issues and dating from the late 19th century to the early 21st century. Print items include both books and magazines/journals. Cataloging for monograph and serial publications from the Harris Collection of the Atomic Age is ongoing, and research access to these titles is limited until cataloging is finished.

Box-Folder 3.36: Star Wars: The Missing Link to a First Strike?, September 16, 1985 Add to Shelf
Remarks by Dr. Michio Kaku at UE’s 50th International Convention, Sept 16-20, 1985. ID: 1985.003

Part 3, Ephemera, is the part of the collection now open for researchers. (This previous post explores the definition of ephemera using materials from the collection.) In this collection , the story of the Atomic Age is told through nearly 50 different material types. The majority of items are typical ephemera formats such as newspapers, pamphlets, booklets, brochures, leaflets, flyers, posters, and postcards. Additional formats in the collection include stamps, promotional materials and advertisements, newsletters, instructional materials, conference materials, government documents, calendars, stickers, stamps and envelopes, original art, sheet music, and artifacts.

The Harris materials join existing collections on nuclear history in SCARC, and add considerable depth to a number of nuclear subjects already covered in those collections. The Harris materials also establish sub-strengths that did not yet exist in our collections. Below, and in the next post, we will explore a few of those areas and the research topics across many disciplines these materials can support.

Many materials prior to 1945 deal with early scientific advances and the therapeutic radium craze, documented through promotional materials, testimonials, and advertisements. Prior to the Harris acquisition, SCARC collections were somewhat sparse on this crucial era of nuclear history. The Ephemera Collection adds a number of items, and additional titles wait to be cataloged. These materials can support a wide variety of research topics around radium use in health, science, and culture.

Photographs, scrapbooks, and newspapers from Manhattan Project sites reflect the development of the atomic bomb and the relationships between government, scientists, and citizens during the war.  The Harris Ephemera collection has particular strength in the early American response to news of the atomic bomb. This response is documented through over 75 pieces produced in the immediate days and months after the United States destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The large set of newspapers in this section, particularly the rare newspapers from Hanford and Oak Ridge announcing and discussing the atomic bomb, are a notable highlight of the collection.

Tensions around international control of atomic energy in the years just following the war are represented through offprints, reports, and speeches. Growing anxiety at the start of the Cold War and calls for peace from individuals and organizations can be seen in pamphlets, newsletters, and article reprints. One very rare item describes the Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission and its mission in Japanese for victims of the Hiroshima bombing.

Civil defense is a primary concentration of the collection, and a number of handbooks, manuals, training materials, and survival guides dominate the collection from 1950 to 1965. The Harris materials deepen this existing concentration for our collections and provide exciting new examples of civil defense ephemera, including a fallout shelter sign and other artifacts. These examples with others across our collections can support a wide range of research into this tense period of American history.

The final post in this series will continue to explore the rich Harris Collection, including materials relating to testing, fallout, public engagement with nuclear issues, education, nuclear industries, nuclear power, nuclear disasters, and anti-nuclear activism. The Harris Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera can be now consulted by appointment in SCARC’s reading room.

Exploring Ephemera: The Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera

Contributed by Anne Bahde, Rare Books and History of Science Librarian

The Robert Dalton Harris, Jr. Collection of Atomic Age Ephemera is nearly ready for researcher access. Comprised of hundreds of pieces of printed ephemera produced between 1897 and 2010, this marvelous collection will serve researchers across a broad range of issues in nuclear history, covering scientific, religious, cultural, industrial, political, environmental, and other areas.

This occasion provides an opportunity to explore the particularly special genre of printed ephemera, along with its rewards and challenges. As a source type, ephemera often provides some of the richest information about a time period or topic, and can lead researchers to unique insights.

The genre has long been plagued by a problem of definition. Anne Garner, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts at the New York Academy of Medicine, describes the situation best: “Ephemera is a synthetic term applied inconsistently over time by historians and collection stewards…[it] has meant different things to collectors, librarians, and historians.”

Typically, the word refers to printed materials that are not commonly saved. The Ephemera Society of America’s delightfully illustrated definitions page presents a detailed history of the term, quoting Oxford Reference,

“…ephemera refers to “things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time, items of collectable memorabilia typically written or printed that were originally expected to have only short-term usefulness or popularity. Recorded in English from the late 16th century as the plural of ephemeron from Greek, neuter of ephēmeros ‘lasting only a day’. The word originally denoted a plant said to last only one day, or an insect with a short lifespan, and hence was applied to a thing of short-lived interest. Current use has been influenced by plurals such as trivia and memorabilia.”

Merriam Webster is slightly more judgmental in its definition, deeming ephemera to be something “of no lasting significance.” 

By definition, ephemera has its expiration date built into its creation; it is designed to be short-lived and discarded after use. Because of this deliberate temporality, ephemera that does survive its intended lifetime can often provide a sharper or closer view of a moment in time than other primary source types also surviving from that time. In this sense, ephemera is special even on the special collections spectrum.

The Harris Collection has many examples of transitory ephemera designed to be short-lived or disposable. Examples of these types include brochures, calendars, comic books, envelopes, flyers, leaflets, petitions, postcards, promotional materials and advertisements, programs, stamps, and tickets.

However, the collection also contains many ephemera items that are the opposite of this definition; things specifically created to last beyond one use and/or to be kept and saved. “Something of no lasting significance” depends on who is assessing that significance, and when and why. In the Atomic Age, for example, saving the item could in fact be a matter of life or death. For example, the cards below were printed to be kept in a wallet or pocketbook in case of a nuclear weapon attack, providing a handy guide for how to save one’s life in that potentiality. (Perhaps in that sense these do imply a single use only?) 

Other non-transitory material types in the collection that were meant to be kept include certificates, government documents, handbooks and manuals, maps, photographs, sheet music, and stickers. Defining an item as ephemera is sometimes dependent on its original use and context, when known. For example, today we might consider a physical photograph something to treasure and keep. But the photographs shown below were created for the purpose of press releases, which means they could be used once by a publication, then discarded if necessary (thus making their current existence more notable).

Pieces of ephemera dodge many possible deaths through time. Ephemera is generally what goes into the wastebasket when a purse or a drawer or a pocket is emptied. But at some point, some human decided that an item was worth saving. Many pieces in the Harris Collection bear physical evidence of that saving effort over time, showing careful folds, taped edges, and smoothed crumples. Perhaps it was merely chance that saved the item, safely setting it aside through a kaleidoscope of shifting human circumstances and situations.

The following five pieces from the collection illustrate the ambiguity of the term and raise provocative questions about the nature of ephemera and the lessons ephemera can teach us.

1. The Villager was the town newspaper for Richland, Washington, where the massive workforce for Hanford secretly resided. This Extra issue was produced in the hours immediately after news of the atomic bomb had been released to the world. A detail from the main story puts modern readers straight into the confusing fray of the news around town: “as in other parts of the country, it was the housewives who first heard the news over their radios, and broke it to their husbands in the flurry of telephone calls which kept the switchboards humming.” 

This page also gives us a look at how tricky it must have been to be a journalist at Hanford. Upon hearing the news, the unnamed reporter for The Villager immediately set out to spread the revealed secret on the street. But this reporter had the very frustrating role of breaking news both to skeptics and to those who had been repeatedly warned about keeping secrets. Reactions ranged from disbelief, to pride, to jubilation and hopes for the war to be over soon. Several workers voiced racist hatred of the Japanese. But many of them wouldn’t talk at all, concluding that they had been told never to talk about the project, their role in it, or anything else to anyone, and therefore had nothing to say: “You know we’re not supposed to ask questions.” 

This page is filled with remarkable statements that help us understand how Americans would collectively process the news of the atomic bomb. One small box in the center of the page asks “How Much Damage?” reporting that while everyone was asking the question, no true news about this fact was yet known: “Japanese news sources, while admitting the raid, did not reveal the extent of the damage.” Another small box asks “What is Atomic Bomb?” and marvels that “observers report that the explosion was thousands of times greater than an earthquake and may change the course of civilization.” This statement is repeated elsewhere on the page, suggesting the difficulty of conveying news of such magnitude to readers. 

The grouping of newspapers in the Harris Collection invites comparisons across different categories to aid in teaching and learning. When grouped with other Villager issues, issues of the Oak Ridge Journal and T. E. C. Bulletin, this issue can illustrate how workers of the Manhattan Project began to understand their role in this news and how it affected the end of the war. One of them likely kept this memento of the day the secret was known, and the day their world changed forever.

Visitors Guide to Hiroshima City Atomic Bomb Relics, 1949

2. This astonishing pamphlet, issued by Hiroshima City Hall, was produced just four years after the first atomic bomb destroyed the city. The black and white photographs that had been seen in the press showed charred, flattened, twisted ruins where a vibrant city had once stood; but the dead grays of those photographs are replaced here by bright blues, greens, and reds. Artist “S. O.” conveyed the hope and spirit of rebirth in the city at that time with this design, and with the flock of birds soaring above the ruins. The pamphlet describes the sights of the city, encouraging visitors to “See the Progress of Peacetime Reconstruction out of the Ruins of War” via a series of tram stops. 

The audience for the guide is identified as the “totally new tourist trade” for the city, made up of “pleasure seekers, scientists, and champions of peace.” (Who among these groups thought to keep this fragile pamphlet from the wastebasket?) The unattributed text inside uses precise, descriptive words to show visitors the city’s ghosts. At each site of interest, the text directs the attention of visiting scientists and ‘pleasure seekers’ towards the material evidence of the bomb, observable phenomena, and distance from the center of impact. 

At the Geibi Bank, 250 meters from the center of impact, “judging from the shadow mark on the granite steps in front of this office building adjoining Geibi Bank, it appears that someone had been resting there completely exposed to the impending blast..leaving a strange shadow of a man clearly discernible.” Other entries point out similar reminders of those lost to the bomb.  Away from the ruins, visitors are also encouraged to also seek sights of natural beauty at nearby Miyajima, “where cherry blossoms in spring and crimson tinted maple leaves in autumn are sights of exceptional beauty.” 

Perhaps this guide was not meant to be saved. But because it was, its lessons about forgiveness, peace, and resilience become lasting and poignant. There are two other known copies of the pamphlet, just one other in the US

A close up of the map showing the location of the
Atomic Bomb Casualty Commission
An Anti-Nuclear Songbook (as performed by Shelly & the Crustaceans), 1979 

3. This stapled, slightly crumpled mimeographed booklet is a beautiful artifact of the spirit and drive of antinuclear activists in the late 1970s. Shelly & the Crustaceans was an “independent performing collective,” derived from a Northwest antinuclear activist group called the Crabshell Alliance. (The Crabshell Alliance was the West Coast’s answer to the Clamshell Alliance, an anti-nuclear group created to oppose the Seabrook Nuclear Plant in New Hampshire.) The Crabshell group was formed in early 1977 to “oppose the construction of the Satsop twin nuclear plants in southwestern Washington.” Shelly’s rallying songs are meant to be sung to familiar tunes of the day, such as “Under the Boardwalk” (re-titled to “Imminent Danger”). The core of the show seems to have been a “mini-rock-operetta complete with Mom, apple pie, a meltdown, and the lesson of Power in Union,” written for the people of Grays Harbor County where the Satsop plants were being built. 

The activists were up against difficult odds. They fought against well-resourced lobbyists and developers, as well as citizen apathy and ignorance. Lyrics to songs like “It isn’t Nice” by Malvina Reynolds reflect the activists’ stalwart rejection of the traditional strictures of polite public behavior they had grown up with. The adapted lyrics to “Sixteen Tons” warn local listeners about nuclear reactors and waste, as well as potential ongoing dangers: “If the strontium don’t get you / then plutonium will.”

Ultimately the Satsop project was doomed by skyrocketing building costs and building delays, combined with a ballot measure passed by voters in 1981 that required any further additional funding for construction to be voted upon by citizens. Perhaps Shelly and her Crustaceans’ dedicated advocacy had something to do with that fate. Only one of the ‘twin’ plants was ever built, and that was permanently closed in 1999. Other printed “nuclear music” artifacts in the Harris Collection include sheet music from the early 20th century radium craze, sheet music on the atomic bomb threat from 1945, and the next baffling item below. 

4. This poster was produced in 1980 (and is not a later satire as might be thought upon first encountering it).  The text proclaims that “[a]cting to protect the public safety, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission has issued a statement in the form of a rock & roll album” and promises “[m]usic that confronts issues.” The order form on the back proves this was an actual new wave band on an actual label called Official Records with an actual album entitled REACTOR. Besides taking issue with nuclear industries, the band tackled a wide-ranging agenda including sugar addition, fax machines, the military draft, and population growth. Quotes from Albert Einstein, Chuck Berry, and Adlai Stevenson surely enticed the potential record buyer. 

5. This beige brochure is just a folded, stained piece of paper. But even modest pieces of ephemera can tell mighty stories. The First Global Radiation Victims Conference was held at the Health and Energy Institute in New York City, and was designed to attract a wide audience of victims, their families, medical and legal experts, and activists. The organization’s broad goals include establishing and protecting the rights of all Hibakusha (a term for survivors of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, broadened here to all victims of radiation), eliminating nuclear industries, reducing weapons, and beginning a global movement for survivors of radiation. 

The back of the brochure lists other publications available from the Health and Energy Institute meant to support and inform, including a Radiation Victims Organizations Directory listing by state, as well as brochures on women and radiation, and radiation hazards on the job. Though the conference itself did not endure beyond a couple of years, the attention to radiation victims and survivors of nuclear blasts would only increase in the years to come. Publications and ephemera such as those listed in the brochure, along with the dedicated activism of the antinuclear leaders involved, brought growing awareness of victims’ plight to the world. Within a few years, Congress would pass the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act, the first Downwinders lawsuit would be filed, and new activist groups and conferences would emerge. 

Ephemera collections such as the Harris Collection contain rich materials to both support and inspire research. SCARC has many, many collections containing ephemera from the later 19th century to the present day. If you are looking for research inspiration or have an interest in the many forms ephemera can take, we are welcoming consultation and appointments at scarc@oregonstate.edu. The Harris Collection will be available to researchers this month – watch this space for an announcement. And next time you clean out pockets or drawers or attics, pause just for a moment before sending something on to the trash, and consider: what lessons might this teach in the future? That crumpled item may not seem “of lasting significance” at that moment, but someone years from now may thank you.

New and Updated Finding Aids: October – December 2021

SCARC completed 6 new or updated finding aids October – December 2021. The following is a list and a little information about what we accomplished.

These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, our website, and the Valley Library catalog.


Four New Collection Guides Were Created

  • Karl F. Drlica Papers, 1909-2018 – The Karl F. Drlica Papers are comprised of materials generated and collected by Oregon State College alumnus, physical education professor, and crew coach Karl F. Drlica. This collection documents Drlica’s management of the Oregon State University crew teams, instruction of courses, involvement in organizations, and work as an educator for the United States Military in post World War II Japan. Among the materials included in this collection are correspondence, game programs, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, photographs, a scrapbook, artifacts, and a thesis. Drlica graduated from Oregon State College with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in education in 1940 and 1952, respectively. From 1950 to 1983, Drlica coached and coordinated crew activity at OSU.
  • Barometer Campus Newspaper (PUB 015-11b) – The Barometer Campus Newspaper consists of Oregon State University’s student-published newspaper and documents the full range of campus programs and activities, as well as local and regional news and events.  The first issue  — The College Barometer — was published in March 1896 in a magazine format.  In 1906, a weekly publication in a newspaper format was launched and by 1923 the Daily Barometer was published every weekday during the academic year. Many issues of the Barometer are available online in Oregon Digital.  Comprehensive digitization of the campus newspaper began in 2020 and will continue until completed; issues are added to the site regularly.
  • Hmong at OSU Records (MSS HmongOSU) – The Hmong at Oregon State University (OSU) Records provide insight into the operations of the Hmong at OSU student organization. This student organization was founded to foster awareness of Hmong culture at OSU, as well as provide social support and skill-building opportunities for members of the organization. The entire collection is digital and fully available upon patron request or for use in the SCARC reading room.
  • Memorial Union Records (RG 099) – The Memorial Union Records document the administration of this organization and its role in managing services and events at the two student union facilities at Oregon State University: the Memorial Union and the Memorial Union East (also known as Snell Hall). Spanning the years 1922 to 2012, these records include: annual reports, correspondence, course materials, digital files, financial records, flyers, handbooks, meeting minutes, photographs, posters, publications, scrapbooks, and sound recordings. The Memorial Union has served as OSU’s official student union facility since 1928. Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Two Existing Collection Guides Were Updated

  • Oregon State Yank Collection, 1942-1945 (MSS Yank) – The Oregon State Yank Collection consists of correspondence from Oregon State College alumni serving in the military during World War II to Elaine Kollins Sewell and Jane Steagall, editors of the Oregon State Yank.  Digitized versions of all the letters are available for use in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room or upon request.
  • Japanese-American Association of Lane County, Oregon, Oral History Collection, 1994-2008 – The Japanese-American Association of Lane County, Oregon, Oral History Collection consists of digital recordings of oral history interviews of Japanese Americans living in Eugene, Lane County, Oregon, and the vicinity. These oral histories document the immigrant experiences of the interviewees’ parents and grandparents; the World War II experiences of the interviewees in internment camps; and their lives in Eugene and neighboring communities in the years following the war.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. The collection materials are also available via the Japanese-American Association of Lane County, Oregon, Oral History Collection website.

SCARC Anti-Racist Action: Addressing the Use of the Athletics-Related Phrase “Civil War”

As Beaver and Duck fans throughout Oregon prepare for the annual rivalry football game between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon this week, this post highlights recent work by Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) staff to address the use of the phrase “Civil War” to refer to the long-standing athletic rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.

As part of our ongoing commitment to engage in anti-racist archival practices, SCARC staff are identifying harmful language in our existing collection finding aids in order to change the language where appropriate or otherwise acknowledge it and give context for both its historic and continued use. For more information about our work, please see our SCARC Anti-Racist Actions Statement online.

Within SCARC collections, the phrase “Civil War” – in reference to the OSU-UO football game – is used to describe materials related to the annual football game. The term is used by material creators, donors, and SCARC staff. In June 2020, Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced that the term “Civil War” will no longer be used by either university because it “represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.” With this announcement, the use of the phrase “Civil War” in descriptions of our archival collections was identified by the SCARC staff as a high priority to be addressed as part of our anti-racism work. We developed a plan to take action. 

Step 1: Provide Historical Context 

The first step in that work was to have a SCARC student archivist research and prepare a blog post about the history of the athletic rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon and the use of the phrase “Civil War”. The student conducted this research in spring term 2021 and the blog post was completed in early summer 2021.

Step 2: Acknowledge the Term

SCARC staff agreed that creation and implementation of a statement addressing the use of this term in our collection descriptions was a high priority action for FY 2022. In October and November 2021, we collaboratively prepared the following statement, following the template we had developed in spring and summer 2021 for statements in other finding aids. 

We acknowledge that materials in SCARC collections and the language that describes them may be harmful. We are actively working to address our descriptive practices; for more information please see our SCARC Anti-Racist Actions Statement online.

The archivist-prepared description of this collection uses the phrase “Civil War” to refer to the long-standing athletic rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. A history of this athletic rivalry, and use of the phrase “Civil War” to describe it, is available online in The Origins of the “Civil War” Football Game blog post.

In June 2020, Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced that the term  “Civil War” will no longer be used by either university because it “represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.”  

We acknowledge the racism represented by the use of this phrase and the harm it may cause our users. In order to provide historical context and to enable standardized searching and access across our collections, we have retained the use of this phrase in the collection description.  

[Date of acknowledgement: November 2021]

Step 3: Identify the Term within Collections 

In parallel with development of the statement, we identified which collection descriptions include the “Civil War” phrase in reference to the athletic rivalry. There were a total of 25 finding aids: 19 guides present both on the SCARC website and in Archives West and 6 guides available only on the SCARC website. In November 2021, the statement above was added to all of these guides.

We added a modified version of our statement to the top of the Athletics Digitized Videos page, and have also changed the section header that used to read “Civil War Football Games” to “Rivalry Games with the University of Oregon.” All of those games were called, for example, “Civil War Football Game, 1950,” and we’ve changed those to “UO vs. OSC, 1950,” etc. 

Step 4: Plan for Continued Action

We understand that our anti-racism work is continuous and on-going and is never fully completed. Therefore, we are committed to the following future steps:

  • This statement will be added to finding aids prepared in the future that include materials that use the phrase “Civil War” provided by creators or donors.
  • When a new phrase to refer to the athletic rivalry is identified by Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, the statement will be revised to include it. 
  • Once a new phrase to refer to the athletic rivalry is identified by Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, we will review descriptions of materials for archivist created metadata to address the use of the phrase.