Category Archives: Uncategorized

Maud Wilson and the Peanut

In celebration of Oregon Archives Month, SCARC staff have pulled together a few of their favorite things in our collections. This is the first in the series.


I love Maud Wilson. I sense in her a kindred spirit – the spirit of the Virgo. 

Maud Mathes Wilson was born in Pike County Illinois on July 6, 1882. In 1913, she graduated from the University of Nebraska, and subsequently spent the next five years there, working as a Professor and Extension Agent. In 1925, having received funding from the U.S. Office of Experiment Stations to conduct a study concerning itself with the “character of the job of the homemaker,” she joined the staff of the Oregon Agricultural College. More specifically, Wilson’s “time study” sought to “show in what respects and to what degree homemaking is affected by certain circumstances under which it is done, such as the location of the home, the occupation of the chief income earner, the number and the ages of children and the equipment of the house.” Wilson was the first faculty member at OAC to conduct research full-time in home economics; specializing in the study of housing design, she also served as head of Home Economics for the Agricultural Experiment Station. 

Between 1940 and 1944, she worked with the Oregon Experiment Station’s Department of Agricultural Engineering to develop architectural plans for homes suited to the conditions specific to rural Oregon, using space standards determined in previous studies. This work helped to establish nationwide housing construction standards for essentials such as kitchen cabinets and appliances. 

Wilson retired from OSU as Professor Emeritus of Home Economics Research on June 30, 1950. In 1951 she spent five months in Japan, where she helped the Japanese Agricultural Improvement Bureau with plans for setting up a department of Home Economics Research. Maud Wilson died October 31, 1972 in Portland, Oregon.

Like so many of the papers of home economists in SCARC’s holdings, Wilson’s papers unequivocally illustrate the scientific nature of Home Economics as a discipline. Consequently, I felt hard pressed to pick any single favorite thing from Maud’s papers. I was sorely tempted by several of the “Station Bulletins” she published as part of her work for the Experiment Station: Planning Kitchen Cabinets and Patterns for Kitchen Cabinets, to name just a few. Both are representative of the decades of work and research Wilson invested in rural home design efficiencies and standards. That being said, deep down I know my favorite item in Wilson’s collection is…The Peanut. Featured in an article entitled, “This is the House that Not Much Jack Built,” from the January 1949 issue of The American Home, the Peanut was the Tiny Home of the 1950s. Designed by California architect Albert Henry Hill, the Peanut cost just $4,100 to build ($46,804.77 today), and came in at just under 500 square feet (485, to be exact). With its floor-to-ceiling windows in the living room / bedroom, and wood paneling throughout, it’s both a Mid-century Modern Fanatic’s paradise, and a Tiny Home Dreamer’s, well, dream.


Rachel Lilley is the Public Services Unit Supervisor (PSUS) for SCARC, and has been a member of the department – and the OSU community – since 2017 (and is a proud OSU alumna!). In her role as the PSUS, she manages SCARC’s Reading Room on the 5th floor of the Valley Library, supervises student employees, and assists with research requests, both in-person and remote. She loves long walks on the beach unironically.

New and Updated Finding Aids in July, August, and September 2021

SCARC completed 6 new or updated finding aids from July-September 2021. The following is a list and a little information about what we accomplished. 

These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, and the OSUL discovery system (a.k.a. “the catalog”).   


Five guides are enhanced finding aids for collections that were previously under-described:

Harold W. and Charles H. Johnson Collection, 1923-1982 (MSS JohnsonHC)

The Harold W. and Charles H. Johnson Collection consists of materials documenting the student experiences and careers of father-and-son Oregon State alumni Harold William Johnson and Charles Harold “Woody” Johnson. Harold Johnson graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1923 and studied Industrial Arts. His son Charles completed two degrees from Oregon State College in Engineering (1957) and Business (1958).

Lillian Jeffreys Petri Collection, 1924-1927 (MSS Petri)

The Lillian Jeffreys Petri Collection consists of piano instruction and technique publications, Mind Over Muscle and Music Fundamentals Correlated, written by Petri.  Lillian Jeffreys Petri was a faculty member in music at Oregon State College from 1924 to 1947.

Virginia Esther Simmons Sewing Book, 1896 (MSS Simmons)

The Virgina Esther Simmons Sewing Book was assembled by alumna Virginia Esther Simmons as an assignment for a home economics class. Simmons graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1896.

Donald Snyder Scrapbook, 1929-1941 (MSS Snyder)

The Donald Snyder Scrapbook was assembled by alumnus Donald E. Snyder and documents his student experience at Oregon State College. In addition to event programs and dance cards, the scrapbook contains greeting cards, ticket stubs, grade reports, newspaper clippings, photographs, watercolor drawings, and decals. Snyder graduated in 1938 with a degree in engineering.

Mark V. Weatherford Papers, 1851-1951 (MSS WeatherfordMV)

The Mark V. Weatherford Papers consists primarily of reproductions of documents created in 1851-1856 pertaining to interactions between Native Americans and the U.S. Army, local militias, and volunteers in the Rogue River Valley region of southern Oregon.   Mark V. Weatherford graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1907 and was an attorney in Albany, Oregon, from the 1910s through 1950s.

One guide is for a new collection received in 2015 that is now fully processed and described:

Oregon Brewers Guild Records, 1988-2015 (MSS OBG)

The Oregon Brewers Guild Records offer a look into the early, formative years of one of the nation’s oldest craft brewer associations, as well as their work in more recent tyears.

The Oregon Brewers Guild was founded in 1992 and is a non-profit trade, marketing, and lobbying association that represents the Oregon craft brewing industry. It’s mission is to protect the brewing industry of the state and the interests of Guild members through education, advocacy, and events.

Welcome to Oregon Archives Month!

For Oregon Archives Month, OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center has shared history in many different ways and this year is no exception!

OSU Library History Self-Guided Scavenger Hunt!

Visit the OSU Valley Library for a self-guided exploration of the past lives of this dynamic building and collect random stickers too! Historic images of the Library will be posted as a part of “Finder Fridays” in October. There will be clues with these images as to their current location (which in most cases look very different today!). At these spots, there will be envelope “sticker stations.” Take a sticker or two as a reward for being a history sleuth and share your adventure! Share with selfies of your adventure or places you’ve seen change on campus with us on Instagram

Our Favorite Things: SCARC Archivists Spotlight our Collection Highlights!

This will be both an online exhibit through blogposts and an onsite exhibit in our mini display case outside our Reading Room in the Valley Library.  

Find out what particular items in the SCARC collections get us really excited as we describe our “faves” in a series of posts on our “Speaking of History” blog (that’s right here!). Each week in October, we’ll feature a post from a different archivist in SCARC writing  about something they really like and why. There will also be an onsite exhibit about these “faves” on the 5th floor of the Valley Library.  

We’re Celebrating 10 years as SCARC!

Did you know SCARC used to be two separate departments? Did you know that SCARC was established ten years ago? Did you know we have a veritable treasure trove of old photos to share with you?

Check us out on Instagram every Wednesday when we share a photo from our past!

New and Updated Finding Aids in May and June 2021

SCARC completed 10 new or updated finding aids in May and June 2021!

These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, our website, and the OSUL discovery system (a.k.a. “the catalog”).


  • Seven of the guides are enhanced finding aids for collections that were previously under-described:
    • Farmers of the Sea Motion Picture Film Production, 1983-1984 (FV 185 – SG 2) – The Farmers of the Sea Motion Picture Film Production consist of pre-print and print film elements of the Farmers of the Sea documentary film produced in 1984 by the Oregon Sea Grant Program at Oregon State University. The film examines the most recent developments in aquaculture practices at the time, in Japan, China, the United States, Scotland, and Panamá. A digital copy of the film can be viewed here.
    • Froduald Harelimana Collection, 1994-1997 (MSS Harelimana) – The Froduald Harelimana Collection consists of materials documenting the campaign to bring Oregon State University doctoral student Froduald Harelimana and his son back to the U.S. after fleeing civil war in their native Rwanda. This collection contains a manuscript describing the campaign by international student advisor Irma Delson, correspondence, newspaper clippings, and a book (and the accompanying manuscript) written by Harelimana. Harelimana graduated with a doctorate in education from Oregon State University in 1998.
    • Lester M. Leland Papers, 1894-1938 (MSS Leland) – The Lester M. Leland Papers consist of several items from Leland’s student years at OAC including items of memorabilia, correspondence, reports, Leland’s diploma, two pieces of letterhead printed by Leland, a zoology sketchbook and organic chemistry notebook. Lester M. Leland graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1895 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture.
    • Oregon Sea Grant Communications Moving Images, 1973-1991 (FV 185 – SG 3) – The Oregon Sea Grant Communications Moving Images consist of final productions as well as extensive raw footage and film elements used in those motion picture films and others produced by Oregon Sea Grant.  The motion picture films pertain to marine resources, oceanographic research, and wildlife in Oregon.  Several of the final productions have been digitized from videotape versions and are available for viewing online.
    • John C. Scharff Collection, 1936-1995 (MSS Scharff) – The John C. Scharff Collection consists of materials documenting alumnus and conservationist John C. Scharff. In addition to a transcript of an oral history interview between Jack Southworth and John and Florence Scharff, this collection includes awards, certificates, photographs, plaques, and a scrapbook. Scharff studied animal husbandry at Oregon Agricultural College.
    • George A. Sense Photographs, 1930-1931 (P 249) – The George A. Sense Photographs consist of images created and assembled by Sense as a student at Oregon State College and document his student experience in Corvallis, Oregon.  Sense attended Oregon State College for one academic year in 1930-1931. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.
    • Lulu Thornton Papers, 1893-1895 (MSS Thornton) – The Lulu Thornton Papers consist of two items created and assembled by alumna Lulu Thornton that document her student experience at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC), and training for a career in teaching. Lulu Thornton graduated from OAC in 1895 with a degree in home economics.

  • Two of the guides are for new collections that are now fully processed and described and available to researchers:
    • Portland Brewing Company Records, 1984-2021 (MSS PortlandBrewing) – The Portland Brewing Company Records includes brewing records, photographs, promotional and training materials, and ephemera. The Portland Brewing Company was incorporated by Fred Bowman and Art Larrance in 1983; it opened in 1986. Hart Brewing was founded by Beth Hartwell and Tom Baune in Kalama, Washington in 1984; the name was changed to Pyramid Breweries in 1996. The Portland brewery facility closed in 2021. At various points, these companies merged and purchased by other companies.
    • Ten Rivers Food Web Records, 1996-2017 (MSS TenRivers) – The Ten Rivers Food Web Records document the establishment, leadership and administration, and extensive programs and activities of this local community organization in Benton, Lincoln, and Linn Counties of western Oregon.  The Ten Rivers Food Web was formally established in April 2005 as a result of a Food Summit held in Corvallis, Oregon, in late 2004 that brought together individuals involved with and concerned about food and its production and distribution.  The energy and desire to strengthen local food security led to the formation of the Ten Rivers Food Web with a goal of seeing more of the food grown in the local “foodshed” (roughly Benton, Lincoln, and Linn Counties) processed and consumed locally. The collection includes extensive born-digital materials, which are available for use in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room or upon request.  Born-digital videos are available for viewing online.

  • One of the guides is for a University publication:
    • Campus Directories, 1912-2014 (PUB 002-22c) – The Campus Directories for Oregon State University provide directory information, including addresses and phone numbers, for students and employees of Oregon State over more than a century from the 1910s to 2010s.  These directories were published by students and, while they include directory information for Oregon State employees, were primarily intended for students.The Campus Directory ceased publication in 2014 with the directory for the 2014/2015 academic year. Some of the items in this collection are available online in Oregon Digital.

New and Updated Finding Aids in April 2021

SCARC completed 6 new or updated finding aids in April 2021. The following is a list and a little information about what we accomplished. 

These finalized finding aids are available through the Archives West finding aids database, our Archon finding aids interface on our website, and the OSUL discovery system (a.k.a. “the catalog”).

All of these materials are available to researchers.


Five of the guides are enhanced finding aids for collections that were previously under-described: 

Presidential Search Committee Records, 1969-1970 (RG 310): The Presidential Search Committee Records consist of materials assembled and created by the Executive Secretary of the Committee, Robert L. Phillips, in the course of the Committee’s work to conduct a search for the President of Oregon State University.  This search led to the selection and appointment of Robert W. MacVicar as the 11th President of Oregon State University. The Presidential Search Committee was established by the Chancellor of the Oregon State System of Higher Education and included academic deans, faculty, students, members of the Board of Higher Education, and alumni.

OSU Masters of Business Administration Association Records, 2005 (MSS MBAA): The Oregon State University Masters of Business Administration Association (MBAA) Records consist of a presidential report and a study compiled by OSU MBAA president Justin Lacche which document the activities of the association for the 2004-05 academic year.

J. Frank Ligon Papers, 1965-1979 (MSS Ligon): The J. Frank Ligon Papers consist of materials created and assembled by Ligon in the course of a series of administrative roles for academic programs at Oregon State University – specifically his roles in the 1960s and 1970s as Director of Summer Term, Assistant to the President for Continuing Education, Curriculum Coordinator, and Assistant to the President for Community College Relations.  J. Frank Ligon was a faculty member and administrator at Oregon State University from 1946 until his retirement in 1981.

Charles Burton Winne Scrapbooks, 1916-1979 (MSS Winne): The Charles Burton Winne Scrapbooks are comprised of two scrapbooks assembled by alumnus Charles Burton “Burt” Winne that document his student experience at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) and service in the Army during War World I. Winne graduated from OAC in 1924 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering.

James Kenneth Fleshman Photograph Album, 1927 (P 250):

The James Kenneth Fleshman Photograph Album consists of images of the Oregon Agricultural College campus taken by Fleshman, likely for an Introduction to Photography class in the fall of 1927.  James Kenneth Fleshman attended Oregon Agricultural College in the mid-1920s and graduated in 1928 with a B.S. degree in chemical engineering.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

One of the guides is for a collection that was initially acquired in 2020 and for which an addition was received in 2021: 

Josh Worden Interviews on OSU Athletics, 2020-2021 (MSS Worden): The Josh Worden Interviews on Oregon State University Athletics were recorded by Worden, an OSU alum, for syndication on a podcast titled Beaver Tales. Conducted primarily with former OSU athletes and coaches, the interviews touch on the highlights of each interviewee’s athletic career while also documenting their lives following their departure from the university. The collection includes representation of nearly every varsity sport sponsored by Oregon State, with particular emphasis on Beaver baseball. Born digital .mp3 audio files of each interview are available in the SCARC reading room or upon patron request.

New collection guides in February and March!

We have several new guides to archival collections just for you!

Oregon State University Folk Club Records, 1908-2014 (MSS Folk Club)

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.

Donald Wesley Morse Photograph Album, 1917-1922 (P 255)

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.

Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection, 1905-1917 (P 158)

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.

Kappa Sigma Nu Fraternity Records, 1910-1955 (MSS KappaSigmaNu)

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.

Joshua Robert Akers Photograph Collection, 1915-1917 (P 244)

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

McMenamins Brewery Collection, 1983-2015 (MSS McMenamins)

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.

Barley’s Angels Records, 2010–2021 (MSS BarleysAngels)

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.

Ella Mae Cloake Diary, 1941-1944 (MSS Cloake)

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, 1943-2010 (MSS Gonzalez-Berry) guide was updated to include expanded description in Spanish of a portion of the collection.

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.

The R. Buckminster Fuller Collection of Joe Moore and Trevor Blake

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center is delighted to announce the acquisition of the R. Buckminster Fuller Collection of Joe Moore and Trevor Blake. The hundreds of manuscripts, books, ephemera, and artifacts in this collection tell the story of Fuller’s visionary contributions to the worlds of architecture, the human built environment, design science, and sustainability. 

This collection intersects with existing collections in fascinating ways. Fuller’s radical vision of collective progress, peace, and equity is echoed within the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers many times over; together, the documents in these collections help us understand how the hopes of their era might yet be realized in ours. ‘Bucky,’ as he liked to be called, embodied a bold, independent, and unapologetic approach to the pursuit of humanity’s benefit, which can be paralleled with Pauling’s similar approach.The contents of these two rich collections will be in constant interaction and conversation with each other, on topics as diverse as shelter, renewable energy, marriage, molecular biology, world government, and technological change. Indeed, the vibrant Fuller collection will complement and expand subject concentrations found in many other collections in SCARC, ranging from environmental activism to energy production to information history.

Humanity still may have lessons to learn from Bucky. Students in OSU Humanitarian Engineering, Materials Science, and Design and Human Environments programs will find a wealth of historical sources in their fields, as will those in Environmental Arts and Humanities. It is our hope that this collection will attract students and researchers from a number of different disciplinary routes, and that the Special Collections and Archives Research Center can use it to further interdisciplinary conversation around Fuller’s visions and their modern evolutions and parallels.

Bioshphère d’Environnement Canada, by abdallah, CC BY 2.0
R. Buckminster Fuller developed and popularized the geodesic dome in North American architecture.

Though the restrictions in place due to COVID will impair our progress for some time, we hope to make the collection available to researchers as soon as possible. We are delighted to be the steward of this fine collection, and look forward to many years of making it accessible to researchers at OSU and in the global community of scholars.

Additional Resources

Wikipedia: R. Buckminster Fuller
Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers

Foodie Friday: Cream of Peanut Butter Soup

Back in the school cafeteria of my Carter/Reagan-era childhood, soup was usually not on the list of offerings, unlike standards like wiener wraps, carrot “coins”, and those iconic cartons of milk. According to the 1936 Oregon State College Extension Bulletin, The School Lunch, soups and stews played a much bigger role in the past, however. Among the 15 soup recipes featured in this 32-page publication was one that deeply intrigued me: cream of peanut butter soup. So I set forth to give it a go!


Cream of Peanut Butter Soup

  • ½ cup of peanut butter
  • 2 ½ medium onions
  • ½ pint of boiling water  
  • 1 quart of milk 
  • ¼  cup of flour 
  • 1 teaspoon of salt 
  • ½ teaspoon of celery salt 
  1. Peel the onions and cut up into small pieces. 
  2. Add peanut butter and boiling water to onions, stir until blended and boil 15 minutes. 
  3. Heat the milk and add the thickening made from the flour and a little cold water. 
  4. Mix the salts together and add to the milk. 
  5. Combine peanut butter mixture with milk, scald and serve.

Featured in “The School Lunch,” November 1936. Oregon State College Extension Bulletin # 492 (Home Economics Series), which can be found online here.


First off, I was a little concerned over possible onion overload, so I adjusted the recipe to 1 chopped large onion. The ratio of milk to peanut butter also seemed a little skewed and the flavor that resulted was definitely not peanut dominant. It tasted like a subtle creamy soup with a hint of peanut and an oniony crunch. By itself, it tasted decent, but was sort of underwhelming. I thought of the soup’s potential as something else: “what else could I put in this?” and “can I use this as a sauce?” The concoction did taste better after a few hours of sitting around. I’m glad I satisfied my curiosity about this strange recipe and plan to re-purpose the leftover soup for a more exciting dish this weekend!

Foodie Friday featuring Icelandic Meat Soup

Soup in the winter months is like a receiving warm embrace from the inside.  In the kitchen the lingering heat and aromas from the preparation give soup a whole other set of sensory delights.   

Homemade soups played center stage in a Library tradition that took place every February as a part of the month long OSU Food Drive. This event brought together a tasty variety of meat and vegetarian soups, stews, and chilis to serve as a fundraiser lunch for the Linn Benton Food Share.

While this year we can’t share the soups in the usual way, I wanted to keep the tradition alive virtually by making one and posting about it here. To honor the motivation behind our annual soup extravaganza, I ask the reader to please consider a donation to the OSU Food Drive. Thanks! 

So, without further ado, let’s get to the soup!


Icelandic Meat Soup

  • 1 pint water 
  • 1 lb lamb meat 
  • 1 to 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 2 tablespoons rice 
  • 8 oz beets    
  • 2-3 carrots 
  • 2-3 potatoes 
  • 4 oz cabbage 

1.       Boil the water in a saucepan.

2.       Wash and clean meat and cut into cubes. Put the meat into the boiling water.

3.       Remove the scum off the top of the soup and add salt.

4.       Wash the rice and add to the soup. 

5.       Clean and wash vegetables. Cut up and add to the soup. Cook for 20 minutes. 

*Featured in Food Fair: An International Cookbook. 1987 International Student Organization & International Cultural Service Program, Oregon State University. Recipe contributed by Margret Reynisdottir. Publication available online here


This seemed like an ideal winter soup: hearty, full of root veggies, and from a country known to get a little chilly.  Preparing this brought me a few culinary firsts: cooking with meat from a chop (lamb), boiling bones to make a broth, and using beets in a recipe. I was concerned about blandness since salt was the only spice added, so I took the extra step of making a little stock from the chop bone for a little “flavor insurance.” 

The results offered up a visual feast of vibrant colors-orange, yellowish white, purple, and grey. All of this was bathed in a reddish broth tinted by the beets-quite a sight! The root mixture gave the soup an overall sweetness that was a little surprising, while the lamb helped to balance out with a savory and fatty flair that I did expect. One thing to note is that the rice and cabbage really added nothing to this in the way of taste or texture. Overall, the soup worked perfectly in warming me up during lunchtime on a cold winter Monday.

Perhaps next February during more “open” times, I can revisit this recipe and share it with others-stay tuned!

Karl McCreary   

Russian Translation in the F. A. Gilfillan Papers

As a physics major minoring in math, it’s rare that I get to dabble in the humanities and arts. My work at SCARC is often a welcome break from the grueling number-crunching of STEM. And what better way to give my brain a break than by translating documents from Russian to English? Well… It may not be a break for my brain, but it’s certainly an enjoyable change of pace!

My Russian experience first started in high school, when I read Tom Clancy’s The Sum of all Fears which sparked my interest in the Russian language, culture, and history. Though Russian wasn’t offered at my high school (nor at Oregon State University by the time I got here), I began teaching it to myself using online resources. By the time I had the opportunity to go to Saint Petersburg to study abroad in fall 2018, I was placed in an intermediate language class. I enjoyed my time in Saint Petersburg so much that I went back again in summer 2019 and took another intensive language course (as well as art history and plasma physics). But throughout my time in Russia, I always had a particular worry brewing in the back of my mind: Would I ever be able to apply this language skill in my career?

That brings us to the present day: I’m a student archivist at SCARC and my supervisor told me that there are Russian documents in the F.A. Gilfillan Papers in need of translation – an ideal project for remote work. Francois A. Gilfillan was a chemistry professor at Oregon State University (then Oregon State College) from 1927-1939, as well as the Dean of Science from 1939-1962 and the acting President from 1941 to 1942. My excitement to tackle this project was palpable: This was the first opportunity I’d had to put my language abilities to use outside of Russia. Being able to work on this project gave me a sense of closure for the concerns that festered after studying abroad, yet also opened for me a doorway of new possibilities and learning experiences. For example, most of my prior experience with Russian has been day-to-day conversation and classroom communication. However some of the documents I translated in the F.A. Gilfillan Papers are written in a much more formal tone, which could be aptly labeled as “business language”.

The letter identified as “S02B14F06_01” was especially interesting, made even more so by the fact that these documents are all from the 1940s. As I was translating, I realized that in English I am not very conscious of how much languages can change over a handful of decades. One of the goals of my translations was to preserve the tone and formality of the original documents, which meant reflecting on how my translation of 1940s Russian into 2020s English should be translated into 1940s English. My process was to first generate a rough, relatively literal translation, and then edit to restore the same business-like inflection of the original text, but with more practice I hope I’ll be able to translate faster without an intermediate phase of editing.

This project also encouraged me to continue studying languages (not just Russian but also other languages I’m interested in such as Korean and French). Since Gilfillan isn’t a native speaker of Russian, it was really interesting to read his style of writing and reflect on how my own language abilities have grown, especially seeing some of the corrections made by Mrs. Riasanovsky in the letter from “S02B13F06_02.” I can see myself making those same mistakes a few years ago. I admire Gilfillan for putting his language abilities on display in these letters. Of course perhaps he never expected them to be read by anyone other than the intended recipient, but I myself still fight self-consciousness speaking or writing in foreign languages even to just one native speaker. When I was in Russia this was much less of a problem, as I became so used to using it as a day-to-day language, but it is difficult to keep that mentality when I am no longer completely immersed in the language.

Corrections made by Mrs. Riasanovsky to a letter Gilfillan sent on June 25, 1943

I’ve also learned more battle-hardened lessons from this project, such as reading ahead. I made the mistake of not reading ahead on one of the documents, and after translating the first couple pages I discovered that there was already a translation made by someone else. After that I made sure to read all the way through every document before starting my translation, which can also help me understand the context better. But I don’t consider my translation a waste of time. I was able to compare my translation to the previous translation and reflect on slight differences in wording and stylism. While our two translations hold the same meaning, they do not always use exactly the same words in the same order. I think it’s fascinating how subjective language can be. There’s almost always multiple ways to communicate the same idea, and sometimes those different ways can have different implications as well.

I am very thankful to have had the opportunity to apply my experience and knowledge in a way that may be helpful to our patrons. I hope I can continue to do so in the future.


This post was contributed by Genevieve Connolly, who has been a student archivist at SCARC since April 2019. She has worked on a diverse repertoire of projects including translations, video editing, transcription, and processing and description of archival collections. She will graduate with a B.S. in Physics in spring 2021.