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.
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.
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 eight, nine, 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.
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).