Author Archives: petersec

Limited Reading Room Hours: Friday, December 6th.

Due to staff shortages resulting from today’s inclement weather, access to the Special Collections & Archives Reading Room will be limited today, Friday December 6th.  Access will vary as follows:

  • 8:00 AM – 1:00 PM: Access by appointment only. Please phone 541-737-2075 to gain entry.
  • 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM: Normal access.
  • 3:00 PM: Closed for the weekend.

Our apologies for the inconvenience. Stay warm out there!

SCARC Open House this Weekend!

Terry Baker.

We’re celebrating homecoming by hosting an open house this Saturday, October 20th, from 10:00am to 2:00pm.  Come see us on the 5th floor of the Valley Library in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center reading room.

During your visit you’ll be able to learn about OSU’s unique and historical collections, including the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers; view materials from past OSU Homecoming celebrations; and watch historic football films featuring Terry Baker, OSU’s 1962 Heisman Trophy winner.

We’ll also have a full complement of Beaver yearbooks and Daily Barometers available for those wishing to take a trip down memory lane.

This is the first of three football Saturday open houses that we will be hosting.  The others will be held on Saturday, November 3rd (OSU vs. ASU/Dad’s Weekend) and Saturday, November 24th (Civil War Weekend).  As with this coming Saturday, each of the November events will be held from 10:00-2:00.

For additional information, please contact us at 541-737-2075 or scarc[at]oregonstate[dot]edu

Go Beavs!

A New Online Home for SCARC

It is with great pleasure that we announce the official launch of our new department website!  Please find it at and be sure to update your bookmarks away from the old University Archives and Special Collections sites, which will no longer be maintained.

Access to Collections

A project some ten months in the making, the new SCARC website is chock full of new features.  Archival materials naturally lie at the heart of what we do and this new site presents at least some mention of all 1,033 (and growing) collections currently under the stewardship of our merged department.  And while full description is not yet available for all of that material, we have created at least collection-level EAD records for more than 900 of them.

An example of the alphabetical sort available for all of our collections.

In addition, all of the SCARC collections are accessible in multiple ways.  There’s the big list of everything as well as the alphabetical view, with easy access to abstracts and other basic information about a given collection. In addition, our materials are also sortable by theme (university history, natural resources, multicultural archives, history of science and local history) and by the genre(s) of materials held within a specific collection (photographs, sound recordings and oral histories, videos and books).

Digital Resources

Over the years, SCARC has placed great emphasis on developing a robust set of online exhibits and digital libraries, and with the new department website, this huge batch of content is now more accessible than ever.  As with one view of our finding aids, SCARC’s digital resources are presented according to collection development theme.  Within this context, users will find a neatly organized treasure trove of materials available 24/7.  Be it the mammoth Best of OSU Archives digital library or our groundbreaking Flickr Commons presence, our massive Linus Pauling Online portal or the rapidly growing Oregon Multicultural Archives digitization program, the Digital Resources component of our work is now on full display. (we have a bunch of online videos too!)

A glimpse of our new University History Digital Resources portal.

And So Much More…

From our homepage you’ll quickly gain a sense of what we do and what’s new – be it our most recent accessions or latest outreach activities, as reported from various points across our social media hub. You’ll also find quick links to more information on some of our specialty work – the Records Management program perhaps or maybe our Rare Books. Nuts and bolts information is easy to find too, from forms to fees to people who are here to help.  Need assistance getting started with your research? We’ve got tutorials and learning curricula for that.  Just need to ask a question?  Fill out our online form and we’ll get back to you soon.

The SCARC website represents a big step forward for us a merged unit.  Over the coming weeks and months, we will be working to refine its effectiveness and add more and more content.  As the process plays out, please don’t hesitate to let us know what you think.  We’ll look forward to hearing from you!

E.E. Wilson, aka “the bicycle guy.” He shows up a lot on our new website.

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.