As Beaver and Duck fans throughout Oregon prepare for the annual rivalry football game between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon this week, this post highlights recent work by Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) staff to address the use of the phrase “Civil War” to refer to the long-standing athletic rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon.
As part of our ongoing commitment to engage in anti-racist archival practices, SCARC staff are identifying harmful language in our existing collection finding aids in order to change the language where appropriate or otherwise acknowledge it and give context for both its historic and continued use. For more information about our work, please see our SCARC Anti-Racist Actions Statement online.
Within SCARC collections, the phrase “Civil War” – in reference to the OSU-UO football game – is used to describe materials related to the annual football game. The term is used by material creators, donors, and SCARC staff. In June 2020, Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced that the term “Civil War” will no longer be used by either university because it “represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.” With this announcement, the use of the phrase “Civil War” in descriptions of our archival collections was identified by the SCARC staff as a high priority to be addressed as part of our anti-racism work. We developed a plan to take action.
Step 1: Provide Historical Context
The first step in that work was to have a SCARC student archivist research and prepare a blog post about the history of the athletic rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon and the use of the phrase “Civil War”. The student conducted this research in spring term 2021 and the blog post was completed in early summer 2021.
Step 2: Acknowledge the Term
SCARC staff agreed that creation and implementation of a statement addressing the use of this term in our collection descriptions was a high priority action for FY 2022. In October and November 2021, we collaboratively prepared the following statement, following the template we had developed in spring and summer 2021 for statements in other finding aids.
We acknowledge that materials in SCARC collections and the language that describes them may be harmful. We are actively working to address our descriptive practices; for more information please see our SCARC Anti-Racist Actions Statement online.
The archivist-prepared description of this collection uses the phrase “Civil War” to refer to the long-standing athletic rivalry between Oregon State University and the University of Oregon. A history of this athletic rivalry, and use of the phrase “Civil War” to describe it, is available online in The Origins of the “Civil War” Football Game blog post.
In June 2020, Oregon State University President Edward J. Ray announced that the term “Civil War” will no longer be used by either university because it “represents a connection to a war fought to perpetuate slavery.”
We acknowledge the racism represented by the use of this phrase and the harm it may cause our users. In order to provide historical context and to enable standardized searching and access across our collections, we have retained the use of this phrase in the collection description.
[Date of acknowledgement: November 2021]
Step 3: Identify the Term within Collections
In parallel with development of the statement, we identified which collection descriptions include the “Civil War” phrase in reference to the athletic rivalry. There were a total of 25 finding aids: 19 guides present both on the SCARC website and in Archives West and 6 guides available only on the SCARC website. In November 2021, the statement above was added to all of these guides.
We added a modified version of our statement to the top of the Athletics Digitized Videos page, and have also changed the section header that used to read “Civil War Football Games” to “Rivalry Games with the University of Oregon.” All of those games were called, for example, “Civil War Football Game, 1950,” and we’ve changed those to “UO vs. OSC, 1950,” etc.
Step 4: Plan for Continued Action
We understand that our anti-racism work is continuous and on-going and is never fully completed. Therefore, we are committed to the following future steps:
This statement will be added to finding aids prepared in the future that include materials that use the phrase “Civil War” provided by creators or donors.
When a new phrase to refer to the athletic rivalry is identified by Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, the statement will be revised to include it.
Once a new phrase to refer to the athletic rivalry is identified by Oregon State University and the University of Oregon, we will review descriptions of materials for archivist created metadata to address the use of the phrase.
The Oregon State University Folk Club Records contain records pertaining to the group’s charitable and social activities, and general records including annual reports, constitutions and bylaws, correspondence, meeting minutes, newsletters, news clippings, statements of policies and guidelines, and yearbooks. Also included in the collection are series documenting the establishment, activities, and membership of the Newcomers Club – a “department” of the Folk Club for those new to Corvallis and the OSU community – and the Thrift Shop of OSU Folk Club, which was established in 1949. Originally formed as the College Folk Club in 1908, the name was changed to the OSU Folk Club in 1972.
The Donald Wesley Morse Photograph Album documents the student life of Don Morse at Oregon Agricultural College in 1917-1921 and his convalescence at the U.S. Veterans Hospital in Walla Walla, Washington in 1922-1923. Morse served in the U.S. Navy during World War I and graduated from Oregon Agricultural College with a B.S. in Commerce in 1921. Morse died in 1923 of tuberculosis that he contracted during his wartime service. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.
The Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection consists of scenic postcards and photographs from around the Pacific Northwest and Canada, as well as images of activities taking place on the Oregon Agricultural College campus. The membership and functions of the Oxford Club at OAC are a particular focus of the collection’s campus images. Gilbert graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1915, and a Master of Science degree in 1917, both from Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.
The Kappa Sigma Nu Fraternity Records consist of a record book, newsletters, informational reports, letters, and a warranty deed documenting the membership and activities of the Kappa Sigma Nu Fraternity at Oregon Agricultural College. Established in 1906, the Kappa Sigma Nu Fraternity became chartered as a chapter of the Phi Delta Theta Fraternity in 1918.
The Joshua Robert Akers Photograph Collection consists of eleven photographic prints collected by alumnus Akers that depict group shots of Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) students, all of which feature Akers. Akers graduated from OAC in 1917 with a BS in agriculture. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital
The McMenamins Brewery Collection includes digitized brew sheets, digital images, brochures, coasters, decals, event programs, flyers, newspaper clippings, tap handles, posters, labels, a wooden cask, and a six-pack of Hammerhead beer. McMenamins is a family-owned chain of brewpubs, breweries, historic hotels, and theater pubs in the Pacific Northwest. The brew sheets and some event materials were provided to the Special Collections & Archives Research Center in 2015 and 2016 for digitization. The original items have been retained by McMenamins.
The Barley’s Angels Records document chapter administration, marketing and promotion, financial and banking information, and events. This is primarily an electronic collection and consists of born-digital materials (.mp4 videos, photographs, documents, websites); however, club merchandise is also included. The Barley’s Angels organization is a collection of individual chapters throughout the world that focuses on increasing craft beer appreciation for female consumers. It was originally founded in 2011 as the consumer education section of the Pink Boots Society organization.
The Ella Mae Cloake Diary is a digital version of a personal daily diary created by Ella Mae Cloake from 1941 to 1944 documenting her daily activities as a high school and college student in Oregon during World War II. Cloake graduated from Roseburg High School in 1943 and attended Oregon State College from Jan 1944 through June 1945.
The Erlinda Gonzales-Berry Papers document the research and publishing of Gonzales-Berry in the fields of Latino literature and culture and immigration from Mexico to the United States and include publications and speeches, awards, photographs, oral history interviews, and a videotape. Gonzales-Berry was chair of the Oregon State University Ethnic Studies Department from 1997 until 2007.
When I rejoined OSUL as a Library Diversity Scholar in October 2019, the Valley Library was in the midst of moving collections stored at an off-site storage facility, set for demolition, to a new one. Some Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) collections, however, had been moved to the library first for a reassessment, and in that context, I was tasked with reassessing the 16 mm film production elements of Farmers of the Sea, a 1984 film documenting aquaculture practices in the US and abroad produced by Jim Larison for the OSU Oregon Sea Grant Communications Program.
Having no prior experience reassessing films, this opportunity was as frightening as it was unique. Until then, I had worked with films at SCARC only twice.
The first reassessing the Gerald W. Williams Moving Image and Sound Recordings Collection’s condition to craft a Salvage and Recovery Plan for a course, and second, inspecting, repairing, and rehousing the In Our Care series’ films in the KOAC TV Films Collection. I had also improved my skills by interning at the Yale Film Study Center that summer.
These experiences prepared me well for the task, but the project was still the most challenging I have ever had, not only in terms of size (311 film rolls for Farmers vs. 34 for the In Our Care series) but of the responsibility of determining which elements should be retained and which should be deselected. But these big challenges were also what made this project an opportunity to grow, and so, later that year, 11 boxes and 7 canisters containing these 16 mm films made their way to my office. Now I’ve completed the films’ inspection, I’m excited to share about this process in celebration of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage!
Preparing for the inspection
Previous to inspecting the films, I reunited all the tools and equipment needed for the task. Available at SCARC were the inspection bench and lightbox, as were the loupe, split reels, gloves, splicer, and blank leader. Thinking about the inspection tools I had used at my summer internship, I ordered a film measuring stick for documenting the length of the film rolls and proposed to upgrade our lightbox with a LED light pad I had used at YFSC. The LED pad was not only smaller and lighter, fitting better in the inspection bench, but the lightning was even, unlike that of the fluorescent tubes in our lightbox. SCARC liked the idea so much that it purchased two, the second for patrons to use at the SCARC commons.
While I waited for the supplies to arrive, I watched the digital copy of Farmers of the Sea, which had been recently made available online. Farmers of the Sea had been broadcast by WGBH-Boston as part of their PBS NOVA series in 1984, and this was the version used for that broadcast. Taking screenshots of each scene of the video, I made a storyboard for visual reference, that way I would be able to check the scenes and editing without having to rewatch the video over and over. I also created a film inspection report using that on the Film Preservation Guide (National Film Preservation Foundation, 2004, p.94) as a reference. The report had fields for documenting the distinctive characteristics of the film elements (gauge, length, support material, color, positive/negative/reversal; magtrack/optical track; variable area/density, generation, etc.) as well as their current condition (mechanical, biological, and chemical damage and decay).
Inspecting Farmers of the Sea and the COVID-19 pandemic
Maintained as two accessions, 2000:100 and 2003:083, accession 2000:100 contained the fewest number of film rolls but they were the longest, with an average length of 1,000 feet. This accession was also the most diverse in terms of the film elements type and generation (A&B cut negatives, workprints, release prints, internegative, interpositive, master, etc.). Accession 2003:083, in contrast, was much bigger in quantity of film rolls, but also more straightforward, consisting mainly of camera originals trims and outtakes.
I started with accession 2000:100 in February 2020, after all ordered supplies arrived. I printed blank reports and filled them by hand as I was inspecting the films, with the idea of transferring the data to a spreadsheet on the cloud at the end, once the inspection process of all films was completed.
I also produced photographic documentation using my cellphone. For each element, I photographed the box or canister the element had come in, as well as the labels and inscriptions on them. While inspecting the films, I photographed the information written on the leaders and film frames, making sure I captured the edge codes. These photos were valuable documents in themselves, but they also served as visual reference, allowing for rechecking the elements without the need of taking the films out again. For storing the photos, I maintained a Google Drive folder on the cloud.
As for the inspection goals, the first was verifying that each element had been correctly identified as per the preliminary inventory list. The second was furthering the identification and description of the elements, and the third, reassessing their condition. All elements were color acetate, so I paid special attention to vinegar syndrome and color fading. In the video below, I go through the inspection process step by step.
By mid-March, I had managed to inspect 20 film rolls, 55% of the total 37 in this accession, but around this time, the COVID-19 outbreak occurred here in Oregon. My transition to remote work was rather sudden, and the films and equipment remained at the library. Permission had to be granted to go back in, and we decided to wait and see how the situation evolved, thinking that the onsite activities would resume sooner rather than later. But as time passed, and recommendations to quarantine continued, I asked for permission to bring the films and equipment home to resume work. This was May, so the project had been paused for two months.
Moving the tiny film archive home
Moving the tiny film archive to my house was not complicated, but adjustments had to be made, such as preparing the space I had been using as a home office to accommodate the 9 boxes and the inspection table. In addition to this, having no printer at home, I had to switch to entering the inspection information to the spreadsheet on the cloud much earlier than planned.
But perhaps the biggest challenge was catching up with the inspection after the two months pause and completing the inspection of the remaining 17 films in accession 2000:100, and the 274 in accession 2003:083, in a two-month timeframe, since I had my holidays starting in early August. Completing the task would not be possible on a part-time schedule, so I worked fewer weeks but on a full-time schedule instead. This way, I was able to return the films and equipment back to the library by August 1, and the fact that the majority of the elements in accession 2003:083 were smaller film rolls of camera original trims and outtakes also helped me achieve this.
Not all of it was inspection
Parallel to the inspection, I researched about the traditional film duplication process and the production elements often considered for retention and deselection at other archives. This process also involved consulting other film archivists in this last regard to compare against my preliminary thoughts. I also maintained conversation with the producer of Farmers to gain an insight on the production process of the film, which was helpful for clarifying one thing of two about some of the elements. Carrying out this project has been an incredibly rich learning opportunity for me, and I can hardly wait to see what I’ll be learning in the subsequent stages!
Things are different this year… But we are still excited to share our treasures and connect with you all.
Enjoy student imagination with a showing of student produced films transferred from KBVR-TV! These short films, some of which were assignments for a New Media Communication class, feature action sequences, toys that come to life, and trees with eyes!
Hops have grown many places in the US, but since the 1890s, the Pacific Coast has dominated production. Learn about hops history and watch a short 1931 film about spring field operations and fall harvest.
In late fall 2019, Sujittra Avery Carr, approached us about doing an internship. We had various projects in the brainstorm phase for the Suffrage Centennial in summer 2020, but besides a Wikipedia editathon to improve or add articles on Pacific Northwest women and a vague idea for an exhibit, we were wide open for whatever she wanted to do. Little did we know what was on the horizon. A series of cancellations and closures for physical events, but limitless options for online projects.
Carr put together a terrific exhibit on women in medicine and two very talented graphic design students helped bring color to her content. The full exhibit can be found in ScholarsArchive, our institutional repository, but the text of this post contains her introductory panel.
This exhibit was designed to increase awareness of the stories and voices of women who are not heard enough in our Oregon history of women’s rights. Systemic white supremacy, racism, and sexism combine to render some women less visible than others in our history. These women might not have been written about in their own time; past historians, researchers, writers, and archivists may have overlooked them or de-prioritized them; or the information about them, whether plentiful or scarce, may have come from biased perspectives. By bringing the voices and stories of these women into the forefront of our history, it is possible to show that we, as a society, value the experiences of women like them, both in the past and in the present. While this exhibit is linked to the commemoration of the centennial of national women’s suffrage, it is also important to recognize that not all women were able to vote following the ratification of the 19th amendment in 1920.
The curation and the development of Beyond Suffrage: Giving Voice to Oregon’s Unsung Women in Medicine has taken place almost exclusively remotely as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. The research was done using born digital or digitized archival materials. We recognize that it’s impossible to represent everyone within the scope of this exhibit and that the work of including traditionally underrepresented voices in Oregon’s history is an ongoing collaborative effort.
We would like to acknowledge the work done by the Oregon Historical Society and the Century of Action – a project of the Oregon Women’s History Consortium, as well as the work done by our archivists Tiah Edmunson- Morton and Natalia Fernández, our graphic designers Kallie Hagel and Emma Pattee, and our intern who led the development, curation, and writing of this exhibit, Sujittra Avery Carr. This exhibit would not be possible without them.
An elfin Ariel playfully peering down from her rocky ledge to meet the eyes of a bespectacled and bearded Prospero looking upwards at her with a rather pedantic glance.
This photograph from a 1989 production of The Tempest staged at Oregon State University enchanted me from the very moment I accessioned the print as an addition to the University Theatre Photograph Collection (P 112). The image resides among several thousand other views of campus theater productions here in the holdings of the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Other archival items documenting OSU’s lively and rich legacy of theater include scrapbooks, play programs, posters, director prompt books, and letters to theater faculty from their former students with updates of their acting careers.
Little of this history would have been preserved were it not for a long and fruitful relationship between the Archives and Professor Emerita of Theatre Arts Charlotte Headrick. With a deep respect for the study of history and 35 years of directing and acting on campus, Charlotte has been a true advocate for our work to ensure that the stories from the OSU stage be saved and shared.
A longtime friendship with Charlotte has placed me in the role of her research assistant many times. So when she approached me last summer for help in researching the history of Shakespeare productions at OSU for a presentation, I donned a very familiar hat and eagerly dove into collections I knew well! Among the resources I uncovered were a set of photographs depicting Charlotte’s 1989 staging of The Tempest, one of Shakespeare’s most memorable plays. The images, taken by Charlotte and another OSU staff member, beautifully captured a production full of energy and color with vibrant costumes, monumental set design, and expressive faces.
It is little wonder then, that when Charlotte agreed to reprise her Shakespeare at OSU lecture as an event for Oregon Archives Month, I remembered the Tempest images fondly and decided to feature a shot of that magical encounter between Ariel and Prospero (described above) on the poster publicizing Charlotte’s presentation.
For those who saw the curtain rise for the 5-night run of The Tempest at the Mitchell Playhouse in April 1989, the stage resembled a stony landscape of blues and greys with a series of cliffs and corridors. The play is set on an island where magic and reality are intertwined by spells cast by the exiled Duke of Milan Prospero and a sprite, Ariel, who conjures up a storm to shipwreck a group of travelers upon the isle with ties to the Prospero’s past.
Charlotte vision’s for staging this interplay of characters (realized by set designer Richard George) was reserving the upper “plateau” of the rocky stage as the magical realm where Ariel flits about and sends enchantments (at the command of Prospero) to those on the earthly plane below. Prospero resides down on the “terrestrial” level of the stage interacting with both worlds. While he confers with Ariel above, Prospero is also communicates face-to-face with daughter Miranda and the many shipwrecked “guests” he brought to the island.
Charlotte gave the character of Ariel a unique twist in this production by casting two students, Julyana Soelistyo and Soomi Kim to both play the same role. The scenes were carefully directed to have only one Ariel appear on the stage at a time, requiring Soelistyo and Kim to coordinate a sort of choreography where they alternately darted back and forth onto their rocky bluffs. The images of the show depict the silvery-suited Ariel(s) in a constant state of motion, casting spells and spying on the islanders unaware of her presence above. As one of the images reveals, Kim used this kinetic role to highlight some of the moves she picked from her experience on the OSU Gymnastic Team.
To enhance the magical ambience of the production, Scott Gilbert in his role as Prospero incorporated a few slight-of-hand tricks and employed a little flash powder to give his stage presence a little added magic.
For the overall look of the characters in the show, Charlotte wanted a Renaissance feel inspired by the sumptuousness and vibrant colors captured in the paintings of the 19th century Pre-Raphaelite artists. Miranda’s white dress was directly modeled on a subject in a Pre-Raphaelite work Charlotte saw in a London exhibition. That costume designer Marie Chesley was able to painstakingly reproduce the beautiful draping quality of this garment is still one of Charlotte’s favorite memories of her Tempest production.
Staging The Tempest required a sizable cast and among the 28 actors and technical crew members who made it possible were what Charlotte affectionately referred to as the “three Pauls.” This trio was made up of J. Paul Hopkins (Stephano), W. Paul Doughton (Caliban), and Paul Seipp (one of the mariners). For the power in his facial expressions and movement Doughton was a clear standout in the cast as the roguish and anguished character of Caliban. Playing a character that is essentially indentured to Prospero on the island, Doughton vividly conveyed Caliban’s sense of feral rage, guile, curiosity and self-pity. The images also highlight Doughton’s mastery of physical comedy in Caliban’s zany interactions with the characters of the drunken butler Stephano (one of the other Pauls!) and the jester Trinculo (played by Brent Norquist).
For many of the “alumni” of this production of The Tempest, there would be many more roles to come after 1989. Both Soelistyo and Kim have had active careers on stage in a diverse range of productions in New York City, Seattle, and Denver. Soelistyo has gone on to play the character of Ariel two more times. One of these performances, at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Ontario, Canada, won wide acclaim (with Christopher Plummer as Prospero) and was profiled in the Winter 2011 issue of the Oregon Stater. Kim, who describes herself as a performance artist as well as an actress, returned to OSU in April 2014 to give a weekend workshop in the Lab Theatre. Other Tempest actors Michael Lowry (Sebastian) and Jorji Knickrehm (Ceres) have appeared in a variety of stage and TV productions since their days at OSU.
These colorful glimpses of the Bard on the OSU stage is a reminder that life is made up of fleeting moments of amazing and intense experiences that can be captured. And in sharing these fun images of historically staged drama available, perhaps we can make our current drama a little more bearable.
This morning I send this query to Rachel Lilley, Public Services Archivist, “Who’s Graf? Walking challenge.”
Here’s what she found!
Designed by architect John Bennes, Graf Hall was completed in 1920 for a total cost of $134,933 (it would have costed $1,729,766 today); it originally included a materials lab, a hydraulics lab, and a steam and gas engine lab, all served by a 5-ton electric crane. Samuel Herman Graf, for whom Graf Hall is named, was born in Portland, Oregon – technically speaking, Bethany, Oregon, a small community northwest of Portland – August 4th, 1887 to Samuel Graf and Emilie W. Schlueter Graf.
Graf matriculated at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) in 1903 to study engineering, graduating with his first degree – in Electrical Engineering – in 1907. He would go on to complete four more degrees at OAC: a post-baccalaureate degree in Electrical Engineering, and a bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering, both in 1908; a Master of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering in 1909; and a Master of Science degree in Electrical Engineering, also in 1909. Between 1909 and 1954, Graf held several faculty positions in Engineering at Oregon State, beginning as an Assistant in Mechanical Engineering in 1908 while still taking classes. From 1909 to 1912, he was an instructor in Mechanical Engineering; from 1912 to 1920, he was the head of Experimental Engineering; he served as head of the Department of Mechanics and Materials from 1920 to 1934, and of the Department of Mechanical Engineering from 1934 to 1954. Graf additionally served as Director of Engineering Research from 1928 to 1944, and the Director of the Engineering Experiment Station from 1944 to 1954.
Not long after graduating from OAC, Graf married his first wife; the couple had two sons, Thomas (1913) and Ralf (1915). After his first wife’s death, Graf married Blanche Ann Edlefsen, and the couple had two children, Therese and Samuel, together. Blanche died April 28, 1952, and Graf remarried a third and final time (Violet).
In addition to his teaching and research, Graf served as American Society of Mechanical Engineers(ASME) chapter representative for all states west of Colorado, and later served as the Western Regional Vice President of ASME. Graf was a member of the State Board of Engineering Examiners for 22 years, and served as the Board’s President from 1939 to 1949. In 1949, Graf was named an honorary member of the Professional Engineers of Oregon, an honor conferred to those members of the society whose “achievements and service to engineering have been outstanding.” In 1955, Graf was chosen to serve on the Board of Trustees for Linfield College in McMinnville, Oregon; the science building at Linfield – also Graf Hall – was later named in his honor.
Two roads diverged in the woods, I took the one less traveled “with you” and that has made all the difference.
The quote, of course, is a slightly altered line from Robert Frost’s poem The Road Not Taken, first published in The Atlantic Monthly in August 1915 and later included in his collection Mountain Interval (1916).
Referred to as the “Campus Seat” in a photograph captured the year it was installed, the stone bench was a gift of the class of 1903. In an article in the Orange Owl in October 1926, “Historic Monuments Found on Our Campus,” Professor of Geology D. C. Livingston stated the seat was carved out of a rock that was deposited by a glacier in Oregon’s prehistoric past. How the Class of ’03 came by this massive stone is uncertain.
Humorously, by 1920 the bench had earned a moniker a bit more salacious than “Campus Seat” – the “Fusser’s Bench” (fussing was a term used in the 1920s to mean “necking,” or “making out”). In fact, the bench, situated on what was once called “Old Administration” path, seems to have had a long history as a place of romance and assignations. The February 1928 edition of the Orange Owl jokes that on the “bench on lower campus there is a sign that reads: ‘Class of ’03.’ Something must be wrong because you seldom see more than two there.” As a senior, Frieda Linder, Associated Women Students President, wrote with fond nostalgia of the bench: “We can visualize the stone bench of ’03 drenched in blue moonlight, and recall with amusement the mad rush to reach home by closing hour on starry nights.”
Perhaps not as romantically but more momentously, the class of 1927 buried its “will” and the “class prophecy…exactly one yard in front of the right leg of the stone bench,” unearthing it 25 years later in 1952.
The dedication on the backrest, however, sadly remains a mystery. A search for “bench” in Oregon Digital, though it revealed additional information about the bench itself, surfaced no information about the plaque, or the two people whose initials are inscribed there. Keeping in mind this was a gift of the Class of 1903, the initials could belong to two students who graduated that year and who later paid for the installation of the plaque. No two students with those initials graduated in 1903, however. In 1916, a year after The Road Not Taken was published, Harley R. Shields and James A. Straughan graduated from Oregon Agricultural College. But so too did James A. Sathers.
This correspondent chose to abandon the search for matching initials in the yearbooks of the 1930s, but perhaps one of our readers will take it up. All our yearbooks are digitized as a set, and are available on Oregon Digital. From the digital collection’s main page, you can click on “Decade” along the left side of the page to narrow your search.
Do you know the identities of the “H.R.S” and “J.A.S” on the Class of 1903 bench? Please reach out and let us know (seriously, it’s killing me)!
Here’s the afternoon walk research challenge I gave Public Services Archivist Rachel Lilley late in the work day on Thursday: what is this building, who is it named after, and what’s the story of the right side? Hint for the last is “food.”
She jumped right in yesterday morning — probably because I’d already sent her a Friday morning research challenge. 😆
Here’s what she wrote!
Hovland Hall* – designed by Portland architect John Virginius Bennes** – was constructed in 1919, and originally served as the home of the Horticultural Products department. In fact, if you look closely at a photograph taken of the building in 1920, you can see the name etched above the front entryway, complete with the Classical, architectural affectation of using “V” in place of “U.”
When it was constructed, the Horticultural Products building was incredibly modern, boasting thelatest equipment in its laboratories, and allowing for cutting-edge research. The laboratories were “well equipped for giving instruction in…fruit packing, vegetable grading and crating, and systematic pomology” (the science of growing fruit). The building was also equipped with a “40-horse-power boiler for high pressure steam,” and the “juice room” in the building’s basement allowed for the manufacture of “fruit juices, carbonated beverages, and vinegars.” From pressing and filtering cider, to canning berries, the Horticultural Products building left its students and faculty desiring little. In 1923, the west wing of the building was added; this space would later become the laboratories of the Food Science and Technology department. The nearly-$20,000 contract for building and outfitting the “annex” – the small addition to the right of the main entryway – included the purchase of a “modern cannery for instruction and experimental work.”
Over the course of the past century, Hovland Hall has seen a number of tenants. What began life as the “Horticvltvral Prodvcts” building became the home of “Food Technology” in 1941. By 1950, “Food Technology” was re-christened “Food Industries.” When a new food technology building – now Wiegand Hall – was constructed in 1951, the Farm Crops Department was relocated to Hovland and the building subsequently became the “Farm Crops building.” Farm Crops vacated the Hovland with the construction of the Crop Science building in 1982, and the Computer Science Department took up residence. The building’s present-day namesake is Dr. C. Warren Hovland, professor of philosophy and religion who taught at Oregon State from 1949 to 1986. Presently, Hovland Hall serves as both an administrative wing for Agricultural and Life Sciences, and the home of the Peace Studies program.
But this wouldn’t be a Morning Run Research Challenge, without a bit of a challenge! Just in front of the steps into Hovland, set into the concrete, is a mysterious plaque. It is four squares high, by four squares wide, and each square contains a number. Right off the bat, we can solve half the mystery. As expertly reported by Tiah Edmunson-Morton – SCARC’s Outreach and Instruction Archivist – the numbers on the plaque are an example of what is known as a fourth order magic square, “[adding] up to [the same number in] all directions, corner to corner and diagonally.” Historically, third order magic squares – three-by-three squares in which adding the numbers vertically, horizontally, and diagonally results in the same sum – were known in China as early as 190 BCE. Fourth order magic squares can be dated to India in the late 6th century, and examples of third to ninth order magic squares can be found in the Encyclopedia of the Brethren of Purity (983 CE).
The real mysteries of the magic square plaque outside Hovland Hall remain: who installed it, and when? As Edmunson-Morton surmises, it could have been the faculty or students of the Computer Science department. No definitive proof has yet been located, however, and this part of the mystery remains…unsolved.
*Fun Fact: Want to know more about buildings on OSU’s campus? Check out our OSU Buildings Histories Guide! The entry for each building includes information about the building’s namesake, date of construction (and renovations), architect, square footage, and often a picture!
**Fun Fact, Bonus Edition: In total, Bennes designed forty buildings – plus ten additions and remodels – on OSU’s campus between 1907 and 1941, including the Armory, Agricultural Hall, Snell Hall, and Weatherford. An Oregon Encyclopedia entry written by SCARC’s own Director, Larry Landis, has more information on Bennes’s life and work.