Category Archives: Williams

Wait, isn’t it Friday?

Don’t worry, you haven’t skipped the weekend and fast forwarded to Wednesday — we’re just launching a new set today because I love random connections…

For those of you who have been following the blog posts for the past couple of days, I’ve been telling the story of Fred Kiser, a Gifford contemporary and fabulous photographer out of Portland in the early part of the 20th century. Why? It all started with a comment on this photo asking if we could provide a date for it.

That set us sleuthing, which led us to a treasure trove of information on dear old Fred. For those of you who want to know more about him, read the blog posts for August 26th and 27th — there’s a lot there!

One of the things that did stand out in Kiser’s biographical information was his involvement with the Mazamas, a climbing club in Portland. It just so happens that we have some wonderful, and wintery, pictures of the Mazamas that we’ve added to the Gerald Williams Collection set. For more on what’s in the Williams Collection, check out our collection guide.

Now for more on this set… Thanks to Doug for the witty narrative description!

Have you ever wondered what your grandfather did for fun? While some undoubtedly whittled their lives away, others were out conquering the wilderness. If you’re from Oregon, ol’ grandpa might have even been part of the Mazamas. On top of Mt. Hood, the original 105 charter members of the Mazamas founded their organization on 19 July 1894. Since the organization’s founding, the Mazamas have fought for environmental preservation, built a number of lodges, named Mt. Mazama, and, of course, promoted and taught basic climbing education.

Spend a little time hiking through the snow, check out the new Mazamas set in Flickr Commons! And, of course, for more information on the Mazamas check out their site and find out how to start your own adventure!

Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs & Oregon State University sign new MOU


Yesterday, Tribal Council members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and leaders of Oregon State University signed a new memorandum of understanding, renewing and expanding their partnership. The day was full of presentations, sharing, and personal stories, culminating with the signing of the new MOU.

Council members visited the Archives in the morning and poster-sized versions of some of our photos were on display throughout the library. Tribal Council Chairman Ron Suppah found a connection to one displayed on the 5th floor: he was in the picture! What did he see?

suppah1.jpg4-H boys at the winter feed lot, located at the Warm Springs Agency

Beyond this personal connection, Suppah reflected on the larger connection between the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and OSU. “Where this journey began was when the federal government built The Dalles Dam on the Columbia River. Celilo Falls was a major fishing area, and when they closed the gates on The Dalles, we lost that fishing site, and the tribes demanded compensation for that.” The Tribes took this money (over $1 million) and commissioned OSU to conduct a study of tribal resources. Suppah says “The Oregon State study set the course for us as a tribal government.” You can find a copy of this 3 volume report in ScholarsArchive@OSU (Final report: Oregon State College/Warm Springs Research Project: Vol. 1. Introduction and survey of human resources, Vol. 2. Education, Vol. 3. The agricultural economy).

Change of Reference Room hours 4/6/09


Tribal Council members of the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs and leaders of Oregon State University will sign a new memorandum of understanding on Monday April 6th. The day-long meeting will happen in the Valley Library, with a portion tomorrow morning in the Archives & Maps Reference Room. We will open at 10:00 am, so please delay your visit if you were planning an early one! The signing of a new MOU is an important act, one that deepens the 50-year relationship between the tribes and the university that began after of the 1957 flooding of Celilo Falls.

Want to know more?

OSU Archives in The Commons: Images of Celilo Falls

Look for more from the Gerald W. Williams Collection Wednesday March 4th

On March 10, 1957, the Columbia River pooled behind the newly constructed Dalles Dam, effectively drowning a five-mile stretch of cascades known as Celilo Falls. The rising water flooded one of the most prolific salmon runs in North America; it was also an area that had been occupied by Pacific Northwest Indians for at least 10,000 years.

Continuing our focus on photographs from the Gerald W. Williams Collection, we’ve decided to show you all some of the images he collected of Celilo Falls. Many of the pictures you’ll find in this set were taken by Williams’ father, Jack Williams, in September 1956 — only a few months before the falls were inundated.

For thousands of years, Celilo Falls was a traditional fishing spot for mid-Columbia tribes, producing millions of pounds of salmon each year; but the area was much more than a “favorite fishing hole.” Nearby Celilo Village was also trading hub for tribes from California, Montana, and Canada, with an active and lively market that saw local salmon traded for medicines, dried meats, and hides from the East and cedar, shells, and beads from the Pacific Coast. Noted by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1805, the explorers said they found a “great emporium…where all the neighboring nations assemble,” and a population density unlike anything they had seen on their journey —historians have called the Celilo area the “Wall Street of the West.” However, even beyond commerce, the area was a place where “friendships were renewed, and men found brides.”

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACOE) began work on The Dalles Dam in 1952 as a means of harnessing the Columbia River and providing “clean, sustainable, and cheap” hydroelectric power to Portland and Seattle . Between 1952 and 1955, ‘USACOE and representatives from the Warm Springs, Umatilla, Yakama, and Nez Perce reservations negotiate a monetary settlement for the loss of fishing sites resulting from construction of The Dalles Dam.” It was completed it five years later. Records and recollections say that Big Eddy was under water in less than an hour and Celilo Falls in six.

Where to go for more?

To watch the Oregon Field Guide “Celilo Fishing” video, which features a color film shot by the Army Corps of Engineers, click here. To see a detailed picture of the bottom of the Columbia River at Celilo Falls, check out the sonar data from the Army Corps of Engineers, check out the “Celilo Animation” video found here.

YouTube also has many videos of Celilo Falls, with a search for “Celilo,” you’ll find plenty! For example, there are some great historic photos of the people of Celilo Falls in the “celilo finished 0001” YouTube video by clicking here.

Oregon Public Broadcasting Oregon Territory program called “Celilo Falls,”which aired March 3, 2007 is worth a viewing. Find out more here.

Katrine Barber’s 2005 book Death of Celilo Falls is another excellent resource for information on the both the cultural and political history of the area. “This book examines the negotiations and controversies that took place during the planning and construction of The Dalles dam and the profound impact the project had on both the Indian community of Celilo Village and the non-Indian town of The Dalles.”

Sites Consulted:

New Digital Collection: Gerald W. Williams Images

Indian man with huckleberry basketIn 2007 the OSU Libraries acquired the Gerald W. Williams Collection, consisting of the collected historic photographs, personal papers, and research library of Gerald “Jerry” Williams, a former national historian for the U.S. Forest Service. Williams, a native Oregonian, spent much of his Forest Service career in the Pacific Northwest before becoming national historian in 1988.

This digital collection includes some of the best imagery from the Williams Collection, including photos of the WWI era Spruce Production Division, logging photos of northwest Oregon taken by John Fletcher Ford, photos of Celilo Falls taken in 1956 by Jack Williams, and photos of depression era Civilian Conservation Corps camps and activities. Many of the historic photos are postcards arranged in several geographically based albums. Examples include the Umpqua, Columbia River, and Willamette Valley albums.

Several books from Williams’ 3,000 volume research library, many pertaining to natural resources issues, are being made available digitally through ScholarsArchive@OSU.

To see the guide and learn more about what you’ll find in this wonderful collection, see the finding aid here.

New Collection Highlighting Forest Service History!

g_williams_seaside.jpgPhotographs, films, and research materials illuminating the history of the U.S. Forest Service and related topics such as the Civilian Conservation Corps, Gifford Pinchot, logging in the Pacific Northwest, and the Smoky the Bear campaign form the core of a recently acquired collection reflecting the work of Forest Service Historian Gerald W. Williams.

Encompassing a wide variety of materials which include oral histories, maps, road signage, and lithographic prints, these papers document over 35 years of historical research by Williams. Nearly half of this collection is made up of photographs (about 24000 images in total) that mostly date from the early 20th century and depict national parks and other natural landscapes in Oregon, Pacific Northwest lumber operations, the U.S. Forest Service, Civilian Conservation Corps camps, and Native Americans. In addition to authoring the official centennial history of the Forest Service, Williams wrote over 75 other publications and conference papers on subjects ranging from the U.S. Army Spruce Production Division to the Native Americans’ use of fire in managing their environment. This collection also reflects Williams’ research of the origins of place names in the McKenzie River region of Oregon.

A graduate of Southern Oregon University, Williams began his career with the Forest Service in 1979 at the Umpqua National Forest. From 1998 to 2005, he served the National Historian for the Forest Service.