Monthly Archives: November 2017

Being SCARC’s Lead Student Archivist

Hi!  I’m Anna and I am SCARC’s Lead Student Archivist.


I’ve had the pleasure of working in SCARC for almost three years, which have exposed to me to new ways to use my history of science background and just might have convinced me to pursue archival work when I complete my PhD studies!  SCARC is a great place to work as a student, but it’s hard to define what exactly that experience is or can be.  As student archivists, we’ve all had different experiences since we work a variety of different projects depending on which faculty member we work with.  (Which is precisely why we’re doing this blog series!)

While working at SCARC, I’ve had the opportunity to write for the Pauling Blog and also be involved in processing new collections or helping design and install exhibits.  Working on the Pauling Blog was a natural progression after completing my Master’s Thesis on Linus Pauling and Edward Teller’s 1958 fallout debate and associated books and I enjoyed the opportunity to explore Pauling’s collection in even more depth.  And saying there is a lot to explore in Pauling’s collection is an understatement!

Since becoming the Lead Student Archivist, my work has been more varied as I “float” between different staff members and their projects, helping where ever I am needed.  I love the variety that this position entails, but my favorite part is being involved more directly with the individual students we hire by scheduling their shifts and helping to train them and answer any questions they might have.

Stay tuned for more posts highlighting these projects and others from our students!

Processing the Olympia Brewery Library Collection

Post contributed by Jalen Todd, SCARC Student Archivist

Every day is leg day when you work in the archives. Forget hitting the gym and lifting weights, I’ll probably have arms capable of wrestling a bear by the time I’m done here. Its actually amazing how heavy a box of magazines can get. But honestly, it’s the stuff in the box that’s interesting. I started cataloging the Olympia Brewery Library collection a few months before writing this. It’s a hodge-podge of periodicals, beer can collector’s mags, and lab communications. The marginalia is sparse but interesting. It feels like a treasure hunt, trying to find the notes these people left their coworkers in the brewery. There’s a whole story inside those notes.

The coolest thing in there—in my humble opinion—is a run of Scandinavian brewer’s journals, written in Danish. I don’t speak Danish, but I can do a mean Google translate search, but it begs the question: which one of those Olympia Brewers read Danish? It’s random questions like this that makes working here really enjoyable. That and my potential future as a bear wrestler.

The things these boxes can hide!

The things these boxes can hide!


The Scandinavian Brewers Review...with a lot of text in English...

The Scandinavian Brewers Review…with a lot of text in English…

Brewers Digest with MBAA Convention Report

Brewers Digest with MBAA Convention Report

Linus Pauling’s College Years

Post contributed by Kenzie Ross, Student Archivist

Delta Upsilon Fraternity, 1917. Terrance Gather Sr. and Linus Pauling (right). Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection.

Delta Upsilon Fraternity, 1917. Terrance Gather Sr. and Linus Pauling (right). Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection.

Recently, I spent time researching and writing about Oregon Agricultural College in the year 1917, Linus Pauling’s first year of college. Aside from a surface interest in University history (it’s always fun to whip out tidbits concerning bygone eras to impress visiting family members) I knew little about the early years of Oregon State or the collegiate education of a young, eager Pauling. Excited, and a bit nervous, I set out into the stacks and immersed myself in the world of OAC circa 1917. Arriving with a certain set of expectations surrounding the time period and the college experience of the beginning of the twentieth century, I found some of my initial conjectures to be wrong. Convinced of the rigid social formalities of the era, I didn’t imagine I would see my own college experience reflected in yearbook photos and barometer articles. However, the materials of the archive fashioned another narrative, one that pulled a common thread of humanity into focus.

A facile assumption, and an epistemological disservice, is to hone in on the differences between today and previous eras. While there are obvious dissimilarities between Oregon State in 2017 and OAC in 1917, I was struck by the parallels. A prominent discovery developed from The Beaver, the student year-book, whose final section titled “The Disturber” made clear the timeless human desire to let loose and find humor in the world around us. Anticipating an ultra-proper and buttoned up student population, especially considering the global events of the time, I was delighted to find the students of OAC engaged in a lot of light teasing and enjoyed reviewing stories of their classic college antics.

During this project, another figure was thrown into relief. At SCARC, we’re enveloped by the possessions and relics of Linus Pauling, which I’ve come to regard as signifiers of his genius; this, remarkable and incredibly special, often roils a quiet feeling of intimidation. The immensity of a life well-lived permeates my research. In exploring his early diary and gleaning morsels of his youth, I related to him in a new way, empathizing with his banal ache of diffidence. Pauling, entering college at the underachieving age of sixteen, felt, as many of us do at one point or another, insecure and uncertain of himself. While it feels bit comic to think of such a brilliant and prominent scientist as harboring self-doubt, it was a small reminder that confidence is not always a static state.

Working with primary sources and archival material enabled me to find a new reverence for not only my University but for the lives imbricated in its history. It made clear the ways in which we have much more in common with people of the past than we typically assume, a realization that would not have been elucidated without the magic of archives.

Linus Pauling at the time of his 1922 graduation from OAC. Harriet's Photograph Collection, 1868-1996 (P HC).

Linus Pauling at the time of his 1922 graduation from OAC. Harriet’s Photograph Collection, 1868-1996 (P HC).