Daily Archives: March 16, 2009

Coming for St. Patrick’s Day!

Tomorrow morning you’ll be treated to 47 of Ralph I. Gifford’s amazing WWI pictures of Ireland’s Whiddy Island on our osu.archives Flickr page.

More about Whiddy Island

An island off Bantry Bay, Ireland, Whiddy Island is about 3.5 miles long and 1.5 miles wide. According to the Wikipedia article on the island, “As late as 1880 it had a resident population of around 450, mainly engaged in fishing and small-scale farming. It currently has a permanent, resident population of around 20 people, although there are many visitors in the tourist season, many staying in self-catering accommodation, in the form of several restored traditional island cottages. The island is linked to the mainland by ferry, with return trips several times a day. There is one pub, The Bank House, which opens at weekends and also serves food during the summer months. The local economy is mainly fueled by the fishing and farming industries.” While it now has a large oil terminal for berthing supertankers, in the last few months of World War I it was the site of a US naval air station. And that’s where Ralph Gifford’s pictures come in!

More about Ralph Gifford

Gifford was born in Portland, Oregon in 1894. As a young boy he worked in his father’s photography studio, accompanying his father on photography trips around Oregon. He married Wanda Muir Theobald in 1918 and spent the last part of World War I in the U.S. Navy– stationed on Whiddy Island. Gifford took over the family’s Portland-based photography business around 1920, selling it 8 years later to go into the motion picture business with F. C. Heaton. In 1936, Ralph became the first photographer of the newly established Travel and Information Department of the Oregon State Highway Commission. His landscape views of Oregon’s natural beauty were used for many years to promote tourism in the state; he also took motion pictures for the Highway Commission, including the 1941 color version of The New Oregon Trail (which you can watch by clicking here) and the 1947 Glimpses From Oregon State Parks, released shortly before his death. Ralph was also a commercial photographer, and many of his commercial shots were taken at the same time as his Highway Commission photos; his photographs could be purchased as postcards, view sets, individual prints, and photo-plaques.

More about the Gifford Collection

The Gifford Collection consists of photographs taken by Ralph I. Gifford; his father, Benjamin A. Gifford; his wife, Wanda M. Gifford; and his son, Ben L. Gifford. The pictures taken by Ralph and Wanda Gifford make up the bulk of this collection, with shots of Oregon and the Pacific Northwest from the 1910s through the 1950s. Between 1936 and 1947, Ralph Gifford extensively photographed the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Silver Falls, Mount Hood and Timberline Lodge, the Pendleton Roundup, the Wallowa Mountains, and the Snake River Canyon. Many of his photographs were made into postcards or view sets, which were sold at souvenir shops throughout the state. And, of course, his collection also includes several photographs he took while stationed at Whiddy Island during World War I. To read more, check out OSU’s collection guide. The Oregon Historical Society also has a large collection of Gifford pictures; however, its focus is on those of Benjamin A. Gifford.

More about how great it is that everything is connected

As it happens, there are also some great Gifford images on the Oregon Historic Photograph Collections site, which is managed by the Salem Public Library. Dating back to the mid 1800s, this site provides access to thousands of photographs of Oregon from the Library’s digital collections. Doing an advanced search bring up 127 Ralph Gifford images, including six from Celilo Falls! Those of you connecting the Flickr account dots will remember that the last release on the OSU Archives Commons account was a set of 43 images of Celilo Falls taken from the Gerald Williams Collection.

Check these out!

Another fun fact

Alan Phelan was inspired by these images of Whiddy Island, creating an exhibit in 2007 entitled Ralph Eamon Odo Barbara.

More about Oregon

Ava Milam Clark and her travels…

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Born on November 27, 1884 in Macon, Missouri, Ava Milam Clark was one of five daughters of Ancil and Louisa Milam. She taught two years in a public school (1902-1904) and then spent three years teaching at Blees Military Academy in Macon, Missouri (1904-1907). Clark returned to school, this time as a student, obtaining her Ph.B. (1910) and A.M. degree (1911) from the University of Chicago. While working as an instructor of Foods and Nutrition at Iowa State College in the summer of 1911, she was hired to be a professor and head of the Department of Foods and Nutrition at Oregon Agricultural College (1911-1916).

She was named Dean of Home Economics in 1917, the youngest dean in college history, and under her leadership the program became nationally known. In 1932, she was made Director of Home Economics for the Oregon State System of Higher Education.

Clark was known for her international travels, focusing on establishing home economics programs in Asia. In 1922, Clark went to China to help establish a home economics department at Yenching University (Peking), introducing the study of home economics to China. She left OSC for a year in 1931 to work as a consultant in home economics at various universities in Asia. In the summer of 1937, Clark returned to Asia with Alma Fritchoff, conducting a home economics tour of both China and Japan. For five months in 1948, she acted as a consultant in home economics colleges in Korea and China, making an educational survey in the Philippines for the Foreign Missions Conference of North America. Finally, from 1950 to 1952 Clark served as a home economics advisor to the governments of Syria and Iraq for the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). She retired from OSC in 1950 and was made Dean Emeritus. In 1966, she received the Distinguished Service Award from OSU, two years later she received the same award from Yonsei University.

Clark wrote many articles for various professional magazines as well as two books: A Study of Student Homes of China (1930), and her autobiography, Adventures of a Home Economist, with Kenneth Munford (OSU Press, 1969). To see a more complete list of her publications, click this link to see the Open Library project site.

Ava Milam married J.C. Clark on November 1, 1952. Nearly 25 years later, on August 14, 1976, Clark passed away.

In 1915, a charming bungalow on Corvallis’ NW 26th Street was built for Clark. She remained in this house for over four decades, spanning her remarkable career. In her autobiography, Ava Milam Clark wrote this about her house: “Early in 1915, I decided to build a home of my own in which to live and entertain students, faculty, and other friends. When my parents came for an extended visit that summer, Father helped me choose a lot a few blocks from the campus. Mother helped me develop plans, while Father talked with the carpenter. In a time when large houses were the custom, many people thought I was building a doll’s house when I built one just large enough to accommodate myself, a college girl to live with me, and a guest or two from time to time” (p. 105). To learn more about the house and read more about its evolution, visit the City of Corvallis site to read the Oregon Inventory of Historic Properties form. To see some great pictures, especially of Clark when she was young, click here.