Monthly Archives: August 2009

What a climb…

This weekend our Flickr Commons account hit 175,000 views!! Thanks to all our loyal viewers — you make this project great.

And while we thank you, we also tease you a bit …

Love the photo in this post? It’s part of a rapid fire release schedule we’re starting this week! We have 3 more sets to show you from the Visual Instruction Lantern Slide Department Collection, all focused on Oregon Industries between 1905 and 1940. You get lots of fish, some potato prep, tug boats, the OR State Capital Building, trees, chickens, corn, and so much more. So watch for the 1905 – 1910 set this Wednesday, followed by the 1925 set on September 9th, and the 1940 set on September 16th.

And after that? Stay tuned, we think you’ll like it …

Oregon, a story of progress and development

Were you left wanting more about the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition?

We’ve digitized the book Oregon, a story of progress and development, together with an account of the Lewis & Clark Centennial Exposition to be held in Portland, Oregon, from June first to October fifteenth, nineteen hundred and five and it is now available in ScholarsArchive!

“What is ScholarsArchive?” you might ask…

“ScholarsArchive@OSU is Oregon State University’s digital service for gathering, indexing, making available and storing the scholarly work of the Oregon State University community. It also includes materials from outside the institution in support of the university’s land, sun, sea and space grant missions and other research interests.”

Remember, it exists because people contribute their work and share the digitization dreams! Submitting your research to ScholarsArchive@OSU is easy. Want to know more? send them an email at

Wait, isn’t it Friday?

Don’t worry, you haven’t skipped the weekend and fast forwarded to Wednesday — we’re just launching a new set today because I love random connections…

For those of you who have been following the blog posts for the past couple of days, I’ve been telling the story of Fred Kiser, a Gifford contemporary and fabulous photographer out of Portland in the early part of the 20th century. Why? It all started with a comment on this photo asking if we could provide a date for it.

That set us sleuthing, which led us to a treasure trove of information on dear old Fred. For those of you who want to know more about him, read the blog posts for August 26th and 27th — there’s a lot there!

One of the things that did stand out in Kiser’s biographical information was his involvement with the Mazamas, a climbing club in Portland. It just so happens that we have some wonderful, and wintery, pictures of the Mazamas that we’ve added to the Gerald Williams Collection set. For more on what’s in the Williams Collection, check out our collection guide.

Now for more on this set… Thanks to Doug for the witty narrative description!

Have you ever wondered what your grandfather did for fun? While some undoubtedly whittled their lives away, others were out conquering the wilderness. If you’re from Oregon, ol’ grandpa might have even been part of the Mazamas. On top of Mt. Hood, the original 105 charter members of the Mazamas founded their organization on 19 July 1894. Since the organization’s founding, the Mazamas have fought for environmental preservation, built a number of lodges, named Mt. Mazama, and, of course, promoted and taught basic climbing education.

Spend a little time hiking through the snow, check out the new Mazamas set in Flickr Commons! And, of course, for more information on the Mazamas check out their site and find out how to start your own adventure!

Cool things about Fred Kiser

As promised yesterday, here’s is part two of the “cool things about Fred Kiser” post!

In 1907, a Kiser Exhibition opened at the Portland Hotel, attracting what was described as “an Admiring Crowd.” Again, I reach for the book Oregon Photographers: Biographical History and Directory.

“In many ways the finest art collection ever on exhibition in Portland is to be seen in the parlors of the Portland Hotel. The pictures are the results of eight years work by F. H. Kiser, one of the best scenic photographic artists in this country, and cost to produce over $40,000. On the walls of the two rooms are hung 200 exquisitely colored scenes of Oregon scenery, while on the tables are over 800 additional views.”

After the exhibit in Portland, the collection traveled to Oregon’s coastal towns and then headed to the east coast on a “Mission of Education.” And what an exhibit it was! Mayor Lane, in his introductory remarks said this:

Ladies and gentleman, I have been called upon to be present at the opening of the Kiser exhibit, a collection of photographs of the mountain scenery of the State of Oregon. It is a pleasure and an honor; we owe as a master of justice, many words of thanks to the gentleman who has risked his life and been to great expense and trouble to produce such an elegant collection of views as we see here today; and he has many more which are not an exhibition at this time.” He goes on to say that “In his efforts as an artist, Mr. Kiser has become, as a matter of fact, a public benefactor to the state. His work will live after him, and will bring great good to the state; for an exhibit of this kind cannot be made in the Eastern States.”

Finally, and I think this is the best part, he reports that “People in the East do not comprehend that such scenery as this exists; they would not believe it if we tried to describe it to them by word of mouth; if we made oath to it they would still doubt. They might even dispute the work of the painter, saying that it was the product of his imagination. But these cold facts as they are presented by the camera, a scientific and accurate instrument, is astonishing to those who are unacquainted with Oregon. Such an exhibit throughout the East will be of great advantage to the state; it will bring us tourists, hundreds and thousands of people who travel all over the world in the Summer season, many of them visiting places that have no such scenery as we have here.” Believe it — Oregon really is that beautiful!

You can read the entire article on Kiser on the forum page.

Lest you think that you’ll get away from this post without a random Flickr Commons connection, here it is: Kiser was also the official photographer for the 1905 Lewis and Clark Expo! Check out our Commons set to see some great images.

And, in a special release to celebrate Kiser’s Mazamas membership, we’ll be launching a new set tomorrow into our Commons account! 17 brand new images will be added to the Williams Collection. Here’s your sneak peak…

Bad News from Southern Oregon

The Southern Oregon Historical Society tries to preserve own future: Historical Society president says most operations will be closed for six months, vows to reorganize and reopen

“A worsening financial crisis at the Southern Oregon Historical Society will require shutting down its Jacksonville museums for six months and laying off most of its staff to restructure an organization that is the guardian of local history. ‘We will close most of the operations,’ said Terrie Martin, president of the SOHS board. On Sept. 7, the museums as well as the research library in Medford will be shut down, historical society officials said Thursday.” To read more, check out the Mail Tribune article from August 14th.

Ironically, I have been corresponding with a man who is interested in donating his research notes from a great genealogy project to an archives or historical society in Oregon. He’s frustrated and feels like the value his work isn’t being recognized. It’s hard not to understand, especially when the work he has done is the sort of thing archivists and historians love. And I’m sure I can speak for most of the archivists and historians I know when I say that we’re in business because there are people who save things, people who research things, and people who produce books/collections.

Unfortunately, inquiries about a donation come at a time when the historical societies are cutting and closing. As the current President of the NW Archivists, the professional association of archivists in WA, OR, ID, MT, and AL, my entire term has been spent thinking about the larger implications of massive lay-offs or the closing of cultural institutions…

What does this all mean for donors? In many cases, it means that repositories just can’t accept anything new. And it’s not just for the space/staffing/preservation/access issues you might immediately think of – ethically, we have a code that says that we are committed to preserving and providing access to the historical record. Again, what does this mean for donors? It means that it’s ethically “wrong” for us to accept anything that we know we can’t preserve or provide access to. It means we can’t take in materials that we know will sit indefinitely in a box on a shelf with little more than the report that was produced when the items showed up.

So please, remember the value of archives, support your local museums and historical societies, and keep collecting — fingers crossed that we come out of this budget crunch and can start chugging away again!

Fred Kiser

Still reeling over those delightful Crater Lake images in Flickr Commons? Want to know more about the man who took them? It’s another great story and another great find — from the comfort of our own offices… And the pages in Oregon Photographers: Biographical History and Directory.

It turns out that many (maybe all) of these images were taken by a Portland-based photographer who was “one of the best known commercial view photographers in the era between the turn of the century and the first world war.” No, he’s not one of the Giffords, but a man named Frederick H. Kiser.

Fred Kiser

Kiser partnered with his brother, Oscar, to set up the Kiser Scenic Photo Studio in Warrendale (1903) and Portland (1905), and they produced both images and murals. They grew up on Columbia Beach, on the Columbia River opposite Beacon Rock — a place, of course, known for its beauty and undoubtedly its inspiration! Their parents owned the Columbia Beach Hotel and Nursery. Unfortunately, Oscar died in a boating accident soon after the business was established.He is buried in Lone Fir cemetery in Portland.

Curious about those “murals”? Apparently, murals by Kiser (not sure which one) were installed at Multnomah Falls Lodge, Crater Lake Lodge, and the chateau at Oregon Caves. The Oregon Photographers book states that “it is certain that the Kiser Brothers were technically able to produce murals no later than 1905.”

Curious about Fred? He was a longtime member of the Mazamas, a mountain climbing club that is based in the Portland area. He was a frequent contributor of photographs to their publications. In 1915, he sold the business so he could devote his time to photographing the new Columbia River Highway and in 1922 he opened a motion picture studio! Fun fact: Gifford was also based in the Columbia River Gorge area for a time, with studios in the Dalles.

Curious about even more great connections to other Flickr Collections? Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post…

Fun Photo Find!

OAC School of Pharmacy display
Check out this great image of the OAC School of Pharmacy display at the Yukon-Pacific Exposition, which was held in Seattle, Washington in 1909. In this picture you can see OAC faculty (from left) Charles Arthur Cole (Horticulture), Edward Ralph Lake (Botany and Forestry), Farley Doty McLouth (Art), and John A. Bexell (Dean of Commerce).

While this one is quite cool, it was not quite an award winner …

The Grand Prize was awarded for display and demonstration of trap nest and poultry houses.

Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts

As part of “Quilt County,” a series of quilt exhibits in Corvallis and Philomath, and organized by the Mary’s River Quilt Guild, the OSU Women’s Center invited women quilters affiliated with Oregon State to display their work in the Women’s Center gallery. Titled “Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts,” this show honors the beauty of traditional women’s craft work and the artistry of modern art quilts. “Not Your Grandmother’s Quilts” can be viewed at the Women’s Center Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. through mid October.

Want to see more historic quilts? The Benton County Historical “Cockrell Quilts showcase a spectrum of historical quilting styles and techniques, and were dated by the donor to represent the era from the Revolutionary to the Civil War. Susan Cockrell’s goal was for them to be seen and enjoyed. Susan Cockrell gave most of the historic quilt collection to the Horner Museum in the mid-1950s, followed by two more in 1971, in memory of her mother Elizabeth Saville Lewis, a quilt enthusiast and avid collector.

The Story of Dr. Joseph S. Butts

Dr. Joseph S. Butts
One of the wonderful things about being an archivist is finding a story that grips you and all of a sudden you are enmeshed in a stranger’s life — Friday morning it happened.

We have lots of collections here … And in a push to get collection guides online we want to have at least a collection level description available for everything we have. Not surprisingly, since my favorite thing is to research and write, I have plunged into writing biographical or historical notes!

First up, Othneil Robert Chambers: psychology prof, head of the department, includes LPs for a KOAC lecture series entitled “Is my child growing up?” from the 1930s and 40s. Dr. Chambers was an interesting guy and his collection also includes items on home care pulled together by his wife. Check, history done!

The next was a smallish collection, a little more than one file box, for a professor and former chair of the Agricultural Chemistry department, Joseph Shirley Butts. We didn’t know much, and the items we have looked to be his research notebooks and a bound volume of reprints and manuscript drafts. I headed to the microform machine with his microfiched personnel file, curious about its size but ready to skim through in 15 minutes to find the demographic basics and be done. Wrong.

What I wound up with, at 5:30 on Friday, was 3 pages detailing the fascinating life of this fascinating man! I’ll spare you all the sum total, but see if this catches you like it caught me … So have a seat and get ready to read!

Joseph Butts was known for his work as a teacher and administrator, soldier, scientist, and scholar. At the time of his death, he was known as one of OSU’s most widely-traveled staff members, having served as a consultant in almost every section of the world. He was an international authority in biochemistry, agricultural chemistry, and the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

He was born in Indiana in 1903, then strayed far from home for college, getting his BS in 1926 (Agricultural Chemistry) from the University of Florida in Gainesville. He obtained his MS in 1929 from Fordham University in New York City and his PhD from USC, under the advisement of Harry J. Deuel, Jr.

  • Fun fact: while a student at Fordham, Butts traveled to the University of Leipzig, in Germany as an exchange student for the fall of 1938. That same year, he was also a “visiting worker” at the Cardiff City Mental Hospital in Wales, England.

Butts came to Oregon in 1939 to take a position as a professor of biochemistry after completing a PhD in biochemistry (1933) at the University of Southern California. Serving as the head of the Agricultural Chemistry Department from 1946 to 1961, he increased the number of full-time staff nearly five-fold, brought in outside contracts from the Atomic Energy Commission and the Surgeon General’s Office, and enthusiastically supported the expansion of the Physics Chemistry building.

Rumor is that Butts was one of the first civilians to leave OSU when the U.S. entered WWII. After a stint in D.C., he seized the opportunity travel to England with the Eight Air Force as a Nutrition Officer.

  • Fun fact: his first attempt to get to England was interrupted by a Nazi torpedo!

After the war, he stayed in Active Reserve and was honorably retired in 1960 after nearly thirty years service. He was one of only a few Colonels in the Medical Service Corps.

  • Following his return to campus after the war, he was selected by the State of Oregon to go to Oak Ridge to become acquainted with the “Manhattan Project.”

In 1952, Butts did a two-year assignment in Europe with the AEC’s National Biology and Medicine Lab. Immediately following that he was picked to be the U.S. representative at a six-week atomic energy exhibit in Germany for the State Department: the focus was on peace-time atomic energy utilization. 1957 found him in Western Europe on a special assignment working on the International Atoms for Peace Program. Following this assignment, he worked with the office of European Economic Cooperation on the Peaceful Use of Atomic Energy, a job that led him through 19 European countries to establish research programs.

However, Dr. Butts’ work was not confined to the field of atomic energy. His services as a consultant on a national and international level were varied, including positions with the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), UNICEF, the Atomic Energy Commission, the Interdepartmental Committee on Nutrition for National Defense, and the Surgeon General. His work on nutrition surveys took him to Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan. After spending an hour reading through all his leave requests, I wondered how he functioned as the head of a department — and then there was another! This one was for a project in India working with the school milk program for children; the assignment was sponsored by the FAO to establish an accelerated program in foods and nutrition.

As I scrolled to the next microformed document, feeling a bit bad for the OSU staff in the Ag Chem department, I was hit with the program for his memorial service: Joseph Butts died in New Delhi after contracting a fatal case of amoebic dysentery.

In quotes after his death, Butts was often referred to as an unselfish congenial person, dedicated to increasing the understanding of science and developing higher standards of living throughout the world. But it was this quote, from President A.L. Strand in an April 18, 1961 that sums up Butts’ amazing contribution to the world.

“Dr. Butts’ competence, notably in the fields of human nutrition and the peaceful uses of atomic energy, made him much in demand as a consultant. During the last ten years he must have spent fully half the time abroad on such official duties.

The ancient pestilences of Asia — cholera, typhoid, plague, and dysentery are an ever-present hazard in most countries of that part of the world. Dr. Butts was well aware of this calculated risk. He was willing to take it. Versed as one may be in how to avoid infection, there are times when known precautions are impossible. It was doubtless such a situation along with the delay in obtaining proper medical attention that led to death.

It would not be his wish to be singled out for matchless praise. He accomplished much. He worked diligently to improve the health and welfare of a great many people. And he died in the line of duty. The university honors his name.”

And now, nearly 50 years later, take few minutes on this sunny Monday morning to do the same … And then, think about all the work that is being done today on our campus — making history and stories for some archivist to find in the not too distant future!

The Legend of Llao Rock…

Another great one from the Visual Instruction Department instructor booklets!

According to the legend of the Klamath and Modoc Indians the mystic land of Gaywas was the home of the great god Llao. His throne in the infinite depths of the blue green waters was surrounded by his warriors, giant crawfish able to lift great claws out of the water and seize too venturesome enemies on the cliff tops.

War broke out with Skell, the god of the neighboring Klamath Marshes. Skell was captured and his heart used for a ball by Llao’s monsters. But an eagle, one of Skell’s servant, captured it in its flight, and a deer, another of Skell’s servants, escaped with it; and Skell’s body grew again around his living heart. Once more he was powerful, and once more he waged war against the God of the Lake.

Then Llao was captured; but he was not so fortunate. Upon the highest cliff his body was torn into fragments and cast into the lake, eaten by his own monsters under the belief that it was Skell’s body. But when Llao’s head was thrown in, the monsters recognized it and would not eat it.

Llao’s head will lies in the lake, and white men call it Wizard Island. And the cliff where Llao was torn to pieces if named Llao Rock.