Hints of Gold in the Backlog: Part 1 of 4

The title page of the pamphlet

Throughout the pandemic, catalogers at OSULP have been working hard to complete projects and make progress on others. One ongoing project for the Special Collections and Archives Research Center is the creation of new catalog records for our old books.

Most libraries have an imbalance between the materials needing to be cataloged and the professional resources devoted to that work. OSULP is no different, though we are proud in SCARC that our ‘backlog’ is fairly minimal after years of progress by dedicated catalogers. 

To prevent materials languishing between acquisition and cataloging, we proactively move acquisitions through descriptive processes at a steady rate. However, the backlog is still a place where mysteries can turn up, and one such mystery appeared there recently. 

A short, six-page pamphlet in an unassuming binding immediately presented more questions than answers when Cataloger Vance Woods set out to create its record. Vance and History of Science Librarian Anne Bahde teamed up to find some answers about what this intriguing item was and just how it ended up in our backlog. We will explore our research over four parts presented weekly in August.

From the title page, there were a few clues to glean about what this item could be. Though neither of us read much Latin, the title of the book presented familiar Latin word roots that could at least give us indications of the time period and subject matter. For example, ‘mineral-,’ ‘corpor,’ and ‘chymia’ suggested that we were dealing with something having to do with minerals, the body, and chemistry. 

A quick pass of the title through Google Translate allowed us to guess further at content and meaning in the title through a rough translation. We looked closely at the large printed mark near the bottom of the page. This spot is typically where a printer’s device would go, but in place of that identifying image, there is a decorative ornament instead. At the very bottom of the title page we typically find the publisher’s imprint, which often lists details such as the place of publication, publisher, printer, or date of publication. 

We found none of those details in this section, and instead spotted Latin roots such as “sincer’ (sound, genuine, true) and ‘censur’ (judgment, opinion) here. The contemporary handwriting at the very bottom of the title page “Libavius [–ind] Paracel—” associated these apparent names to the title, along with the name Erastus which appears on the page twice. All these details began to suggest an unusual item related to the history of chemistry.

Several physical material clues intrigued us as well. The typeface and printing style suggested a printing date of the late 16th century, but confirmation of that suspicion was not found in any other elements of the item. The paper used was of a rougher nature, and the pages are now age-toned. But, no obvious clue to publication place or date could be found among the few pages. 

Bindings can sometimes give hints about where or when an item was published, but in this case the binding was a simple set of brown marbled boards, probably dating to the late 19th or early 20th century given the style and condition of the binding materials.  Sometimes, this type of slim, nondescript binding can suggest separation from a sammelband or nonce volume, both types of collections of pamphlets. 

Though the piece lacked stab holes or other markers of prior gathering, a thin strip of discoloration does run down the length of the inner margin, suggesting that it was removed from some other binding environment at some point in the past.

The first place we both turn to when searching for items is Worldcat. Considered to be the most comprehensive catalog of materials in libraries around the world, Worldcat offers special insight when trying to track down a difficult title. A catalog record in Worldcat can tell us not only further bibliographical details about an item, but also which libraries around the world currently hold this item, thus giving a basic indiciation of distribution and rarity. 

Despite search experiments with different spellings and other searching efforts, we found only one record with one holding library, the Thüringer Universitäts- und Landsbibliothek in Jena, Germany. 

Deepening this line of inquiry, we followed the Libavius author entry in Worldcat, then examined each item in that list of 382 records. This is a laborious but useful Worldcat trick and can sometimes turn up some potential matches or clues for difficult-to-find items. But this effort still did not yield any further hints about this title. It slowly became clearer that we could be dealing with quite a scarce item.

Bookplate of Emil Starkenstein

The item presented one further curious detail – the striking bookplate depicting two entwined poppy heads pasted inside the front cover. As physical signs of ownership, bookplates offer important evidence about the provenance of an item, and help later researchers track an item’s movements during its life. By searching for the name printed on the plate and looking at Google Image results, Vance discovered it was the bookplate of Emil Starkenstein, a Czech Jewish pharmacologist who was killed in the Mauthausen concentration camp in 1942. It was clear to us now that this was no ordinary book, and we began to pursue answers to the many questions the book had now invited. Part 2: Rare Books and Research follows next week.

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. 

January 2021 guides added to SCARC collections

SCARC completed 5 new or updated finding aids in January 2021. 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, and the OSUL discovery system (a.k.a. “the catalog”). All of these materials are available to researchers, and some have been digitized as noted below.


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

Beulah M. Porter Collection, 1928-1930 (MSS Porter)

The Beulah M. Porter Collection consists of dance cards and annotated wooden ice cream spoons collected by alumna Porter that document her participation in social events as a student at Oregon Agricultural College. Porter graduated with a degree in home economics in 1931.

John E. Dever Photographic Slides, 1960-1962 (P 237)

The John E. Dever Photographic Slides consist of color slides taken by Dever during his student years at Oregon State University in the 1960s. The images depict campus views and events as well as local landmarks and regional events.  Dever attended Oregon State University as a graduate student in botany and completed his M.S. degree in 1962.

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

Walter H. Russell Papers, 1923-1982 (MSS RussellW)

The Walter H. Russell Papers consist of materials collected by Oregon Agricultural College alumnus Russell which document his student experience as well as his participation later in alumni reunion gatherings. This collection is made up of certificate, a diploma, event programs, grade reports, newspaper clippings, and photographs. Russell graduated in 1927 with a degee in electrical engineering.

One of the guides is for a student publication:

Prism Literary Magazine, 1972-2019 (PUB 013-9)

The Prism Literary Magazine consists of issues of Oregon State University’s student art and literary magazine.  The magazine includes original content — visual art, photography, poetry, short fiction, and essays — created, edited, and published by Oregon State students. Some of the items in this collection are available online in Oregon Digital.

One of the guides is an update to incorporate additional oral history interviews conducted in 2020:

Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection, 2019-2020 (OH 046)

The Oregon Higher Education Oral Histories Collection contains the interviews of 43 individuals sharing the histories and their experiences of 16 of the 17 community colleges in Oregon including Blue Mountain Community College, Central Oregon Community College, Chemeketa Community College, Clackamas Community College, Clatsop Community College, Columbia Gorge Community College, Klamath Community College, Lane Community College, Linn-Benton Community College, Oregon Coast Community College, Portland Community College, Rogue Community College, Southwestern Oregon Community College, Tillamook Bay Community College, Treasure Valley Community College, and Umpqua Community College. All of the interviews are available online.

December 2020 guides added to SCARC collections

SCARC completed two new or updated finding aids in December 2020.

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

Both of these guides are enhanced finding aids for collections that were previously under-described with incomplete guides: 

Ruth Newmyer Photograph Collection, 1915 (P 239)

The Ruth Newmyer Photograph Collection consists of photographic prints collected by alumna Ruth Newmyer during her student years at Oregon Agricultural College. Mounted on scrapbook pages, these images depict Corvallis buildings and streetscapes, OAC campus views, and Mt. Hood. Newmyer graduated with an undergraduate degree in home economics in 1916. An image from this collection has been digitized and is available in Oregon Digital.

Thomas F. Savage Papers, 1977-1997 (MSS Savage)

The Thomas F. Savage Papers consist of annual reports documenting research conducted as a part of the Western Regional Turkey Research Project. Savage worked on this project for the Oregon State University Poultry Science Department, and later, for the Animal Sciences Department. Savage was at OSU from 1982 until 2010.

All of these materials are now available to researchers.