Monthly Archives: July 2012

1912 “The Orange” yearbook online!

"The Orange" yearbook page

"The Orange" yearbook page

In days of yore, the Beaver Yearbook was known as “The Orange.” Crazy kids those days…

The 1912 yearbook is now up on Scholar’s Archive and ready for your perusal. Take a tour and check out the pageantry, the history, the mascots, and the women reflecting on suffrage!

The 1912 Orange was compiled and presented at Oregon Agricultural College by the Class of 1912 during its Junior year, 1911. A physical copy of this yearbook can be viewed in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center on the fifth floor of The Valley Library at Oregon State University.


The Day Peavy’s House Rolled Away…

Peavy House

Peavy House

Last weekend the 101-year-old Peavy House moved to an open lot at Northwest 30th Street and Northwest Johnson Avenue!

The original owner was George Wilcox Peavy. He headed the forestry department in 1910 and in 1934 was named president of what was then Oregon State College. He also was elected the mayor of Corvallis in 1947. Peavy lived for many years in the house with his wife and children; he died in Corvallis on June 24, 1951.

Read more about the move and the plans for the site on the Gazette-Times web site.


Ben Forgard and his Benny the Beaver adventure!

Benny's head!

Benny's head!

Over the past few months, I have enjoyed doing research on Benny Beaver while working on my senior project. Benny was not the focus of the project, but as a rabid Beaver fan, he took up a fair amount of my time and interest anyways. Using materials from within the OSU Archives, I slowly began to piece together the untold history of Benny—how many versions of the costume were used and when, why the name “Benny,” and other details and anecdotes. After my project ended, my research continued, sometimes in work for patrons, and other times out of continued personal interest. Then, in a culmination of my research into Benny, I hit the jackpot.

I had heard rumors of a secret “Benny room” held by the Athletic Department. A member of the Marching Band staff saw the room once and vividly recalled the creepy sight of numerous Benny heads atop a shelf in the room. Karl, our archivist responsible for accessioning new collections, even recalled that the heads were offered to the OSU Archives a few years ago, but we had to decline them because we had no space for such large items. If the Athletics Department still had the Benny heads, why not ask to see them? At best, it might confirm some of my research, and at worst, I would add a big highlight to a rewarding year working at the OSU Archives. After calling around, I got in touch with the Athletic Marketing office, and after a few days, granted me special permission to enter the room, armed with my camera.

Since Karl had been largely responsible for getting the idea in my head, he came along for our trip. We were led through the basement of Gill Coliseum where we eventually found ourselves in Benny’s locker room, where numerous heads returned our stares. We took a copy of each head (there were two of each) out to the hallway and took pictures for posterity, though we got a few poses of ourselves while we had access, before capping it all off with a picture of a few of them sitting above some of Benny’s lockers—Benny has one locker for each sport at OSU.

As if the trip was not already fruitful enough, Karl and I next headed over to an office in the Memorial Union. Karl had to pick up some new materials in a storage area, but more importantly, he knew about a mysterious plastic mold stored near the new materials. Sure enough, it looked like a Beaver, but no one knew its origins, at least until our visit. Immediately upon my first glimpse of the mold, I easily identified it as Benny’s head from 1959-1969.  It was the second head used for the Benny costume, and the first of a plastic material. Apparently, it was found stored away in the Memorial Union a few years ago, and thankfully its discoverer did not throw it away!

During our trip, I felt like a giddy schoolboy. Between the two locations, we saw each incarnation of Benny from 1959-1969 and the early 1980s to the present. For a “Beaver Believer” like me, it was a dream come true!

Check out the Flickr set from our trip “Ben & Karl visit with Benny.”


Roald Hoffmann video among three new offerings now available

Roald Hoffmann, April 2012.

The fully transcribed video of Dr. Roald Hoffmann’s presentation, “Indigo – A Story of Craft, Religion, History, Science and Culture,” is now available on the Special Collections & Archives Research Center website.  Hoffmann’s talk was delivered in conjunction with his receipt of the Linus Pauling Legacy Award, presented in Portland on April 19, 2012.

A packed house of some three-hundred people was thoroughly engrossed by Hoffmann’s lecture, which lent credence to the professor’s reputation as a talented speaker.  In tracing the historical development of indigo, Hoffmann first noted that Hebrew scripture has required, from very early on, that a small tassle of the garments worn by observant Jewish males be dyed blue. For generations this decree presented something of a problem in that the only known source of indigo in ancient times was the gland of a specific type of Mediterranean snail – 10,000 of which were required to produce a single gram of dye.

As technologies advanced, various plant species were discovered that could produce a similar shade of blue. However, as Hoffmann noted, the world would need to be completely covered with indigo plants ten feet high to color the 2-3 billion pairs of blue jeans now thought to be produced each year. Hoffmann used this statistic to expound upon the power of chemistry and its ability to create synthetic forms of the dye.

Dr. Hoffmann was the fourth Nobel laureate to receive the Legacy Award and the seventh honoree overall. Previous awardees include chemists Roger Kornberg, Roderick MacKinnon and Jack Roberts, and biologist Matthew Meselson.

Paul Emmett, ca. 1970s.

Two other lectures, both by past OSU Libraries Resident Scholars, are also now freely available online.

The Useful Science of Paul Emmett,” given by Dr. Burtron Davis of the University of Kentucky, discusses Davis’ ongoing research in support of a biography of Emmett (1900-1985), who is remembered today as the “Dean of Twentieth-Century Catalysis Chemistry.”

Emmett is recalled by Davis – once a post-doctoral student of Emmett’s – to have been a kind and talented man who enjoyed a long and distinguished career. Best known for his formulation, with Stephen Brunaur and Edward Teller, of the BET equation, (which Davis calls “Nobel quality work”) Emmett also made major contributions to the scientific understanding of ammonia synthesis and the Fischer-Tropsch process. In reviewing these highlights of Emmett’s biography, Davis’ lecture provides both an overview of Emmett’s major scientific achievements while also lending a glimpse into Emmett’s habits and personality from one who knew him and has continued to study his work.

A second lecture, “Hidden in Plain Sight: The Life of Ava Helen Pauling,” was delivered by Oregon State University professor of history Dr. Mina Carson, who is writing a biography of Ava Helen.  Carson’s talk, which was given in late 2009, reflects her thinking at that time as she developed the framework of her book, which will be published in 2013.

At the time, she noted that attempting to write the life of Ava Helen Pauling forces the biographer to confront a number of difficult questions. Perhaps the most vexing is this: how does the biographer write the life of a wife? In particular, a wife who enjoyed her own world-changing career but whose life and work were inseparably fused with, and in many ways dependent upon, her husband’s work and fame?  In ruminating on these topics, Carson also reflects on the major choices that Ava Helen made at critical points in her life as she sought to clarify her own interests and identity.

These three releases comprise only the latest additions to the large cache of digitized video available on the SCARC website.  The full list of contents is available here.