The 1918-19 Flu Pandemic: Dr. Wendell J. Phillips

This post is the first in a series on the effects of the “Spanish Flu” pandemic in 1918 and 1919. In light of the recent situation with COVID-19, SCARC archivists Anna Dvorak and Larry Landis explore how past epidemics and pandemics have impacted the Oregon State and Corvallis communities.

Over the past 250 years, Oregon and the Pacific Northwest have endured several epidemics and pandemics. These periodic bouts of malaria, yellow fever, smallpox and influenza have had profound effects, particularly on Native American communities.

Most akin to the current COVID-19 crisis was the 1918-1919 influenza. This worldwide pandemic took the lives of an estimated 50 million people globally; in Oregon more than 3,600 people perished from fall 1918 into spring 1919, and many suffered lasting health effects for years afterward. Oregon Agricultural College was not spared from the pandemic, though the college and the local community fared better than many communities.  

One of OAC’s earliest and highest profile casualties of the 1918-19 pandemic was Dr. Wendell James Phillips, who was OAC’s first college physician and head of the Student Health Service.  He died in late October 1918 while on leave from OAC serving as a military physician – one of two OAC faculty casualties of World War I. Dr. Phillips came to OAC in Fall 1916 to inaugurate the college’s health service. 

Phillips (seated right) at Louisiana State University, courtesy of the Louisiana State University Archives. 

Phillips was born on November 30, 1886 in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania, north of Harrisburg. He earned his undergraduate degree at Louisiana State University in 1911, where he played football and basketball. Phillips received his medical degree from the Jefferson Medical College of the Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in June 1915. He then served as a resident physician at Philadelphia’s St. Agnes Hospital. Phillips married Ruth Haas in August 1916, just prior to moving to Corvallis. 

When Phillips arrived at OAC in early September 1916, he was charged with outfitting the new the Student Health Service, which consisted of a clinic in the men’s gymnasium. His work with establishing OAC’s health service was widely reported in Portland and other Oregon newspapers. The new health service quickly outgrew its original space and ultimately relocated to what is now the Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center. Over the next eighteen month Phillips laid the groundwork for the robust health service that has served OSU for more than 100 years. 

Station Building (left), 1916, around the time that it became the Student Health Services Building —

Phillips was highly regarded by faculty and students. He was a faculty member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. Phillips also served as the medical advisor for the college’s athletics teams and was a charter member of the college’s chapter of Sigma Delta Psi, a national athletic honorary fraternity. He undertook specialized training in the summer of 1917 to become an ear, nose and throat specialist. Within the local community, Phillips led a league of church-affiliated basketball teams during the winter of 1918. As the college physician, he prepared a bulletin on hygiene that included treatments for colds, poison oak, and other common illnesses suffered by college students.  

Dr. Phillips doing dental work in the Student Health Services building —

In April 1918, Phillips took a leave of absence from OAC when he was ordered to report for military service in the U.S. Army as part of the war effort. On the eve of his departure from Corvallis, Phillips and another local physician who was also entering the Army were honored at a banquet at the Hotel Julian. Phillips entered the Army Medical Corps and was commissioned as a 1st Lieutenant and trained at the Army’s Medical School at Camp Lee, Virginia. He was awaiting orders to be sent to France when he contracted influenza, and passed away from the resulting pneumonia on October 13, 1918 at the camp’s base hospital, just a few weeks short of his 32nd birthday. He was interred in the Union Cemetery in his hometown of Selinsgrove on October 16. 

Phillips was highly lauded after his death. His obituary in the Corvallis Gazette-Times described him as untiring, reporting that he had seen more than 4,000 patients between January and April 1918. The January 1919 OAC Alumnuscharacterized Phillips as “naturally full of energy,” one who “never seemed to tire,” and who was ”always ready to answer a call at any time of the night as well as the day.” The college’s 1918-20 biennial report section on the college in the world war noted Phillips’ passing:

As College Physician he touched the lives of all students, and by his sympathetic interest and untiring energy made his professional influence felt throughout the institution. Technically competent and personally accomplished, he inspired confidence and friendship among both faculty and students, all of whom were deeply grieved by his untimely death.

Phillips was honored as an Oregon State Gold Star member – those Oregon Staters who gave their life during WWI and to whom the Memorial Union is dedicated. When Oregon State’s new Student Health Service building (now Plageman Hall) opened in 1936, the State Board of Higher Education approved the placement of a bronze plaque in Phillips’ honor in the vestibule of the building. The plaque was provided by his widow, Ruth Phillips.

This post was contributed by Larry Landis, Director of Special Collections and Archives. Larry Landis is the director of OSU’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center, and has worked as an archivist at OSU since 1991. He is the author of A School for the People: A Photographic History of Oregon State University. Larry is retiring from OSU on July 1.

Morning run research challenge!

It’s a Two-sday triple play with 4 visual pictorial clues! What building is this? Who is it named after? And what is underneath? Bonus points for a ghost story.

Rachel Lilley, our Public Services Archivist, is always game for a morning research challenge and has been a great sport at fielding my random queries. I won’t lie, there are days I only go for a run because I know she is waiting for a mystery!

I’ve also been posting these on our department Twitter, so you can play along on your own

Here’s what she gave me today. I know you’ll agree she is a super star. AND she did all this because we have so much online!! Links are embedded in the text so you can learn more on your own.

Part I: Originally constructed as a women’s dormitory, Sackett Hall was built to help “alleviate a severe student housing shortage on campus due to the post World War II enrollment surge.” Prior to its completion, female students complained that the University had waited too long to begin construction, and that the housing crisis on campus had already hit its breaking point. The Building and General Labor Union – Local 1386 – additionally argued the job was unfair to workers, though the reasoning is unclear. In spite of these protests, the building – which is divided into four quadrants with two wings per quadrant – was completed in 1948. In the spring of 1950 it was dedicated to Beatrice Walton Sackett, a member of the Oregon State Board of Higher Education and an alumni.

Part II: It has long been “rumored” that an underground system of tunnels, or “catacombs,” runs beneath the university, including Sackett Hall; this “rumor” is especially pernicious during late October, and has been known to surface at least once a year in SCARC’s Reading Room. As with all urban legends and rumors, there is a kernel of truth at the center: there are indeed tunnels running beneath Sackett Hall. Not catacombs, which would imply bricked-over caverns used as burial chambers, but rather the tunnel system used by university facilities and maintenance crews to service the network of pipes that heat and cool university buildings. Moreover, despite long-held belief to the contrary, there is no “secret entrance” to the tunnels and, as they are used regularly by campus staff, they aren’t especially conducive to wild parties.

Part III: A second rumor, involving Sackett Hall’s basement and the connecting steam tunnels, alleges that infamous serial killer Ted Bundy used the steam tunnels beneath Sackett to abduct and kill OSU coed Roberta Kathleen Parks. There is no evidence to substantiate this rumor; Park’s disappearance has never been explained, and her case remains unsolved. The circumstances of Parks’ abduction may in fact have been conflated with that of Diane Wyckoff, who was killed in her dorm room February 8, 1972. A tree was planted, and a memorial plaque installed, in memory of Wyckoff; the plaque and tree can be found in front of Kidder Hall at the edge of the Library Quad.

Hello from inside the library!

Hi Everyone-

It’s possible that you don’t know me by my username, but I’m the one who started this blog a really long time ago…

We’re in a tough time right now. Beyond the tragedy and struggle outside our walls, for those of us here in the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center work and our interactions with all of our terrific users has fundamentally changed. Library staff are SO busy maintaining the building, getting us equipment so we can work remotely, and making sure ALL the people in the OSU community can access our digital and physical materials. While many of the SCARC staff are working “behind the scenes” from their homes doing descriptive work and creating research guides for our or collections, providing metadata for films and video, and offering opportunities for our researchers and students to engage with us in virtual office hours, others are also catching up on reading and taking a break. We are all making it work in our own ways, thinking about how much we look forward to seeing you all again.

Much of my work over the past several years has focused on brewing history in Oregon, but this term I’m also stepping up (and back into) my role as lead for our instruction program. Today I went into the library to scan some materials to do remote teaching for an English 200 class, but I also picked up the mail and some equipment to make my recordings a bit better. I thought I’d share some of my pictures with you to see what things look like on the inside of the library.

Thank you all for your patience. We are living through extraordinary times.


I’ll be ready to podcast by the time we’re back in the building!
Opening mail! 😍
Running shoes are optional for lake expeditions.
This donation is a gem! We’ll be back soon to get it in proper housing and let you know more about it.
We got a rule book in the mail too!
My coworkers are looking for a good background for virtual reference. Zoom in and you’ll see a unicorn next to the disinfecting wipes!
This is where I spent most of my time. The Library staff scanning course reserves and remote requests have been swamped, so they put our BookEye out in the alcoves to scan during the week.
Scanning letters from the Civil War… We will get through this trying time too.

Linus’ Lost Marbles – The Issues in Preserving Space-Filling Balloon Models

Among the wide variety of items in the Ava Helen and Linus Pauling Papers is the collection of
molecular models, which sit serenely on display in the back shelves of the archives. These
models were created by Pauling throughout his career; the earliest dates to the 1920s, and the
later ones to the 1980s. Each piece is testament to how incredibly useful the visualization of
molecular bonding and 3D space can be for scientific comprehension, particularly before
computer modeling was commonly available. Pauling himself was an early and vital proponent
of using these models in a classroom setting, and would often use them during his own lectures at Oregon State University and Cal Tech.  From paper to aluminum, wood, plastic, and wire, the collection of Linus Pauling’s molecular models is diverse, and shows the progression of Pauling’s various interests in molecular chemistry, as well as advancements in the understanding of these concepts. Understanding the materials comprising an artifact and how those materials degrade is extremely important for a conservation team, as no two materials will deteriorate in the exact same way in similar environments. One of the more problematic pieces within this collection of models is the close- packing hard sphere models, which are comprised of latex balloons and marbles. After filling balloons with water, Pauling would insert the appropriate number of marbles and then drain the water and tie off the balloons. The final product is a small, globular object which was meant to demonstrate how atoms arrange themselves in solid crystalline patterns. While in its time this was a unique and useful tactic to show these chemical structures, the materials of these models have posed many issues with regards to archival use and display. Today, the balloons that once were elastic and held together the shape of the molecular model, have all but completely degraded. Some of the balloons have become brittle, flaking away with the slightest touch or movement. This rendered two of the balloon and marble models unstable- as soon as the balloon encapsulating the marbles breaks away, the marbles lose their structure and tumble down, spilling across the display stand. Many of the marbles themselves have degraded significantly, shattering into a dust-like consistency. The models, once practical and pristine, have been reduced to  a pile of fractured rubber and glass, and it is almost impossible to understand what molecular form they once took.

Pictured above: Molecular Models 1 (left) and 2 (right)

Obviously, this poses significant issues in terms of display. Aesthetically, it is unappealing, this
mass of aged, pale latex and yellowed marbles. Additionally, the original function of the objects
as educational tools has been lost. In a classroom, molecular models are meant to be held,
turned over in the hands so that a student can understand the symmetry, geometry, and space
of atoms bonded together. In their current state, these balloon and marble models cannot be
touched at all without further damage to the fragile pieces. 

Unfortunately, there is not much that can be done to piece together these models. Any physical
treatment option would certainly only cause more flaking of the latex balloons and marbles.
Simply leaving these items on display can further exacerbate these issues – even the gentle
breeze of a passing staff member could cause the marbles to topple. The best approach,
therefore, is to make or purchase appropriately sized enclosures to safely house the models. 

When choosing or creating enclosures for irregularly sized items, there are multiple things to
consider. Choosing enclosures that meet archival standards ensures the materials used to make the enclosure will not degrade and release harmful vapors or chemicals that will further harm the object it is encapsulating. It is important that the enclosure, or box, fit the item snugly,
but allow for easy removal if necessary. For unique items, such as the molecular models, it can
be difficult to find enclosures with matching dimensions. To fully enclose the circular display
stand and molecular model, I created boxes out of folderstock and mylar. On its own, folderstock can be somewhat flimsy, but with the box structure and the support of the display
stand, it is structurally sound. The mylar display allows us to see the molecular model without
interacting with it, and helps to prevent further damage. A drop front box is necessary in this
case,  it allows for easy removal from the enclosure in case the need arises. Acid-free tissue
was used as padding around the display stand to prevent the pieces from shifting in transit. For
now, the molecular models will return to the display case with the other Linus Pauling models. 

Pictured above: the enclosure without marbles

Pictured above: a single enclosure with the marbles (left) and all of the enclosures with their marbles (right)

While it is impossible to stop the inevitable deterioration of the materials, it is important to keep the parts together. Additionally, a note detailing the materials, origin, and method of creation of these items is important for context, and allows these items to return to their original use as a tool for education. While the original form of the models no longer show the complexities of atomic packing, the information of how Linus created and used them can still be valuable for researchers of the history of science today. 

Chris Peterson, Linus Pauling’s Molecular Models and the Stories that they Tell,

Author: Hannah Lawson

An Enclosure for the Scroll of Esther

The SCARC vault contains many of the rarest, most fragile, and most valuable items held in our collections. Babylonian cuneiform tablets, dating back to 2500 BCE, detail trade transactions involving sheep and goats. Charles Darwin’s expedition and experiences while aboard the The Beagle are detailed in a first-edition of The Voyage of the Beagle, published in 1836. The vault also contains historical manuscripts – including letters from famous scientists, a 13th century Bible on vellum, and Linus Pauling’s Nobel Prizes. There are many vault treasures – most of which are accessible to visiting patrons by request, and many of which are regularly used in class visits or SCARC events. One of the more unique items housed in the vault is the Scroll of Esther.

                Tucked into an ill-suited document case, wrapped in tissue paper, lies the Scroll of Esther, which was probably made in the 18th century. The scroll consists of a single wooden roller, handle, and the rolled pieces of parchment, onto which the Hebrew book has been transcribed in handwriting, as per the Jewish tradition. While delicate, the scroll is in generally good condition – each part remains intact, the ink is still dark and visible, and the scroll can be read somewhat easily, with gentle handling. The document case housing and tissue paper wrapping, however, was decidedly inappropriate, and I was tasked with creating a more suitable enclosure for the scroll.

The previous enclosure for the Scroll of Esther

                When designing a custom enclosure for an object such as a scroll, it is important to note where the object is most fragile, and thus needs the most support. The handle and top of the wooden roller are most subject to damage due to their precarious attachment. In some areas, the handle has just started to crack, as wood expands and contracts with the changing of its environment. Therefore, protecting these portions of the scroll was of utmost importance, and I needed to find a way to create a structure that would prevent the handle from becoming loose and breaking off within the box itself, in the case of careless transport or further degradation of the wood.

                Before I began, I found it necessary to do a little research on the subject of scroll enclosures. An article detailing the acquisition of a large Torah scroll by the Rubenstein Library at Duke University explains how enclosures were modified to add frames to hold and support the handles of the Torah scrolls. I used this as inspiration for an enclosure that would suit the needs of our much smaller Esther scroll, which only had one handle and roller, as opposed to two, as many Hebrew Bible books traditionally contain. The design was relatively straight-forward: a box, a lid, and a structural frame for the wooden parts. Through my rather chaotic construction plans, you can generally see the process of manipulating the flat e-flute.

The new design plans

                After the necessary measurements were made, I began the construction of the box. Each section was cut from e-flute board, folded, and shaped to form the parts. Through trial and error, a structurally sound box was created, with the appropriate dimension to enclose and protect the scroll. A label was added, and the scroll was placed back into the vault, where it will remain until it is of academic or intellectual use.

The finished project!

This blog post was authored by Hannah Lawson, a student archivist and chemistry major at OSU.

Four New Finding Aids Added – January 2020

January is finally over!  Throughout the course of last month, four new or updated finding aids (a.k.a. collection guides) were completed by SCARC staff.  These collections are now fully processed and described and available for researcher use.  Two of the guides are for new collections received since 2015 that were previously unavailable to researchers (the Zigler Papers and Summer Session Records).   The other two guides are substantial updates to incorporate additions and reflect full processing and description.  Descriptions of more than 1300 SCARC collections are available on the SCARC website; 1029 SCARC collections are now described in Archives West.

Finding Aids for new collections:

Gilbert Zigler Papers, 1962-2014 (MSS Zigler)

The Gilbert Zigler Papers document the career of Gilbert “Gil” Zigler, a nuclear engineer who specialized in reactor safety and monitoring. The collection is comprised of items collected during his education at the United States Air Force’s Institute of Technology and career as a reactor diagnostic engineer, spanning from 1962-2014.  The collection includes scientific publications, reference materials, notes, and memorabilia from his career, and highlights Zigler’s professional expertise primarily through documents relating to his role in diagnosing and solving problems during the Three Mile Island reactor incident. Much of the collection addresses the field of reactor safety in its various applications and aspects.

Summer Session Records, 1913-2018 (RG 270)

The Summer Session Records document the operation and administration for courses and special programs and activities offered at Oregon State during the summer beginning in the 1910s. The records specifically pertain to academic courses and special programs and activities; enrollment and demographics for summer students; finances; and promotion and marketing. Summer courses were first offered at Oregon State in 1908.

Finding aids for collections that were only minimally described and are now fully processed and described:

College of Science Records, 1880-2015 (RG 024)

The College of Science Records document the administrative activities of the College of Science at Oregon State University from its founding in 1932. The records include administrative records, biographical files for select faculty and staff of the college, correspondence, department histories, college publications, newspaper clippings, photographs, and microfilmed correspondence and reports. The College of Science was first established as the School of Science in 1932; it became the College of Science in 1973.

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

Russell and Katherine Tegnell Scrapbook, 1931-1941 (MSS Tegnell)

Russell and Katherine (Smith) Tegnell were students at Oregon State College who met on campus and married in 1934, just before their fourth year of college. The Russell and Katherine Tegnell Scrapbook was compiled by the couple, and contains numerous newspaper clippings as well as a smaller number of photographic prints. Much of the material included in the scrapbook is related to Russell’s time as the President of the Memorial Union as well as Katherine’s academic achievements. Initiation and award certificates, and a blank class officers ballot are also included.

Florence Hupprich and Eva Seen ~ conflict in Physical Education

Dr. Florence Hupprich
Dr. Eva Seen

The Department of Physical Education for Women experienced some turbulent years during the 1950s when one of their instructors, Dr. Florence Hupprich, requested a hearing from the Faculty Committee of Review and Appeals for wrongful termination of employment in 1952. She claimed that Dr. Eva Seen, the head of the Department of Physical Education for Women, after long denying her tenure, had fired her without reason. Dr. Hupprich’s case against Dr. Seen would reveal an almost decade-long feud between the two women, and instigate numerous reviews into their character, professional practices, and the department as a whole. Ultimately, these reviews would reveal a department pervaded by sexism, ageism, and maladministration practices.

Dr. Hupprich came to Oregon State College in 1937 as an associate professor in physical education. Before coming to OSC, she was an associate professor at Texas State College for Women. When she began at OSC, Hupprich had a master’s degree in physical education from the University of Wisconsin. In 1944, she requested a leave of absence to obtain her Ph.D. During her leave of absence, she was promoted to the rank of assistant professor. Hupprich obtained her Ph.D. in 1949, and it was then that she began asking Dr. Eva Seen about receiving tenure.

Dr. Hupprich did not mince words with Dr. Seen on this issue. By 1949, no one within the Department of Physical Education for Women had received tenure for over a decade. The department only had two tenured faculty: Dr. Eva Seen and Betty Lynd Thompson. Hupprich had been working at Oregon State for thirteen years by this time, and believed that she had earned the right to tenure. Hupprich pointed out to Dr. Seen that the Department of Physical Education for Men had already granted tenure to many of their faculty. According to Hupprich, Dr. Seen was opposed to granting tenure to any of her faculty. Dr. Seen changed her stance in 1952 when the department adopted and began practicing the standard tenure policy for institutions of higher education. However, Dr. Hupprich was not one of the faculty members to receive tenure in that year. In fact, the majority of the members who did receive tenure had been working at Oregon State for much less time than her. By the end of the 1952 school year, Dr. Hupprich received a letter from Dr. Seen informing her that her employment would be terminated by the spring of 1953. Dr. Seen did not give any reason for firing Hupprich.

Dr. Hupprich was crushed by this. She had spent well over a decade at Oregon State in the hopes of receiving tenure. At fifty-two years old, she worried her career would be over. She fought back against her termination of employment and requested a hearing from the Faculty Committee of Review and Appeals (FCRA). During this time, she contacted Dr. A.L. Strand, the president of Oregon State, informing him of her situation. Strand was well aware of the situation between Seen and Hupprich, as Hupprich had come to him before to ask about tenure policy. Strand agreed to allow Hupprich to remain working at Oregon State until the FCRA completed its review of her case. The review was long delayed and ultimately proved to be unhelpful to Hupprich. During her hearing, she was unable to gain insight into any accusations Seen may have made against her regarding her firing. The committee did, however, find that Hupprich should have received tenure years ago.

Hupprich took her case to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) in 1954. Not long after she did so, President Strand received a letter from the association inquiring the nature of the relationship between Seen and Hupprich and the circumstances under which Hupprich was fired. Strand wrote back, explaining that Seen and Hupprich’s relationship was nothing more than a clash of personalities. He also stated that according to their policy, any untenured faculty can be terminated with no reason. If Strand’s letter was intended to mollify the association, it certainly did not work. They responded to inform Strand that any faculty member who had been working at the institution for as long as Hupprich had should not have been terminated without receiving a faculty hearing first. They then stated that they would be looking into why Hupprich and Seen didn’t get along.

While the AAUP conducted its review, Hupprich was allowed to continue working at Oregon State. During this time, Dr. Seen came forward and informed President Strand why she had not given Hupprich tenure. Seen claimed that Hupprich was not an engaging instructor and that she was unwilling to take on extra responsibilities outside her work hours. Seen pointed to Hupprich’s salary raises to prove her point. From 1937 to 1954, Hupprich never received a raise based on merit. However, the AAUP looked into student reviews on Dr. Hupprich to judge the quality of her teaching. While some students complained of Hupprich being too “exacting and detailed” in her beginning courses, the AAUP largely found positive reviews about her. They ultimately concluded that she was strict, but “a good teacher”. Ultimately, they concluded that this was in no way grounds for her termination. As for the relationship between Hupprich and Seen, the association found that the women had been feuding for almost a decade. Hupprich claimed that Dr. Seen practiced favoritism in granting merit-based salary raises and tenure. Hupprich and Seen also had many disagreements over teaching and administrative methods. Other staff members in the department concurred that Hupprich was one of the few people that occasionally stood up to Dr. Seen’s “autocratic procedures”. Hupprich even agreed with Dr. Strand’s explanation that the situation between her and Dr. Seen could be described as a character clash. However, she also added that she felt Dr. Seen had been jealous of her ever since she obtained her Ph.D. The association found that Dr. Seen had been encouraging Dr. Hupprich to seek employment elsewhere since 1945, when she was on leave to study for her degree. Hupprich had also been complaining about her low salary since that time. In a letter written to Dr. Seen that year, Hupprich complained about how little she was paid, given her education level. Dr. Seen had shown dissatisfaction with Hupprich’s decision to take a leave of absence to accept a graduate assistantship with the University of Oregon.

“Oregon State College, I feel, owes me some consideration since I served the department for a very low salary for several years. With new instructors just out of college getting only $225 less than I would after more than a year’s work toward a doctor’s degree does not seem to justify my returning at this time.”

The AAUP concluded in a letter written to President Strand that there was evidence that Dr. Seen had some failings as an administrator. In 1955, the American Association of University Professors concluded that Hupprich was unfairly terminated and was entitled to indefinite tenure. This was granted by President Strand.

But Dr. Hupprich’s case was not over yet. At this point, there was little reason for those in charge to think the case of Dr. Hupprich and Dr. Seen was anything more than an extreme character clash between two faculty members. It would be easy to assume the incident was an isolated occurrence within the department. But only a few years later in 1957, another faculty member, Betty Lynd Thompson, came forward and requested a review from the FCRA. Thompson claimed in 1957 that she was being unjustly differentiated against by Dr. Seen and Dr. Langton in her salary.

Thompson had a unique perspective within the department, because she had worked there longer than Dr. Seen had. She had seen how the department was run before Dr. Seen arrived. Thompson was also the only staff member who had already been tenured before Dr. Seen had arrived. In a letter written to President Strand, Thompson stated that the Department of Physical Education for Women had been negatively impacted by Dr. Seen’s leadership. She described the general atmosphere among the faculty as having a low morale.

Thompson had come forward in 1957 with the complaint that Dr. Seen showed favoritism in her decisions to grant promotions and salary raises. She also raised a complaint about Dr. Seen and Dr. Langton, the head of the Department of Physical Education, who she claimed had encouraged her students to petition against her.

According to Thompson, in 1957-1958, Dr. Langton and Dr. Seen had a private conference with two of Thompson’s students who were upset over their low grades from Thompson’s classes. They suggested to these students that they should circulate a petition against Thompson. Thompson was not made aware of these meetings or the petition until a year later.

Thanks to OSU alumna Julia Fox (class of 2018) for her research and writing of this piece!

Three New SCARC Finding Aids Added in December 2019

The three new collections added were received by SCARC in 2015 and are now available to researchers through the Archon finding aid database. Additionally, two out of these three new collections are electronic, as they were born-digital and digitized, representing 38.4 Gigabytes of new archival material. The addition of these finding aids brings the total number of collections available through the Special Collections and Archives Research Center to 1,026 as of January 1, 2020.

Read more about these new collections below:

Raul Peña Collection, 1968-2005 (MSS Peña)

The Raul Peña Collection consists of Peña’s personal scrapbook and a compilation of video-recorded news stories depicting the struggles of migrant farm workers in Oregon during the late 1980s and early 1990s. Peña served in the U.S. Army and Oregon Army National Guard in the 1970s and 1980s, and advocated for migrant worker rights through his work for the Bureau of Labor and Industries in the late 1980s and 1990s.  This collection consists of digitized versions of the scrapbook and video content.

Roy Philippi and Beth Miller Philippi Scrapbooks, 1915-1943 (MSS Philippi)

The Roy Philippi and Beth Miller Philippi Scrapbooks were assembled by Oregon Agricultural College student Roy Philippi and his daughter-in-law, Beth Miller Philippi, herself an alumna of Oregon State College. The scrapbooks document student life at Oregon State College during World War I and the beginning of World War II, primarily through candid snapshots and newspaper clippings.

The Beth Miller Philippi scrapbook is in fragile condition and a digital surrogate should be consulted as a primary source of access. This surrogate is available in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center Reading Room, or remotely upon request.  The collection includes 232 photographs.

Oregon State University Libraries and Press Oral History Collection, 2018-2019 (OH 041)

The Oregon State University Libraries and Press (OSULP) Oral History Collection primarily consists of audio-recorded interviews conducted with current employees of the OSU Libraries and the OSU Press, all of which were structured using a set script of interview questions. A smaller subset of the collection is comprised of more individually tailored interviews with former employees of the OSU Libraries. Members of each OSULP branch and department are represented in the collection, which includes interviews with library faculty, staff and student workers. Online access to the interviews, as well as a promotional video, is provided through a dedicated project homepage.  The collection includes 50 oral history interviews.

OSU 150: Archives in the Making

            In 2017 and 2018, Oregon State University commemorated its 150th anniversary with the OSU 150 celebration.  This experience consisted of several events over the course of the year, recognizing the abundant contributions made by OSU, including festivals recognizing OSU’s land, sea, space, and sun grants. [1]  Though the celebrations wrapped up in 2019, memorabilia left behind will be preserved in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC), as well as online through the Sesquicentennial Oral History Project.[2] 

            The materials collected from the OSU 150 celebration represent years of planning from many different individuals and departments across campus.  The anniversary opened in August 2017 and continued through October 2018 with the goals to, “celebrate and commemorate OSU and its unique land grant mission; inform, inspire and engage diverse audiences; and distinguish what makes OSU unique now and in the future.”[3]  Special Collections hosted its own cache of events, including the book launch of The People’s School: A History of Oregon State University, with a lively discussion by author William G. Robbins and SCARC Director Larry Landis.[4]  With events such as this hosted all over campus, archival material collected for SCARC to preserve.  Karl McCreary, OSU Collections Archivist specializing in campus history, is managing the accession process for this collection – which alongside documental material includes memorabilia from the celebration.

Crayola’s newest color, Bluetiful, based on a new blue pigment discovered by OSU Chemist Mas Subramanian[5]

These glasses were distributed before the 2017 solar eclipse, where Oregon experienced totality

A selection of some of the OSU 150 memorabilia to be preserved in the collection

            This material, having been primarily accessioned by SCARC, will be fully described in an online guide at a later date.  At that point, these treasures will be available to the public!

[1] A list of events can be found here:

[2]“An Oral History of OSU,” Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University,,

[3] “OSU 150: Celebrating Oregon State University’s 150-Year Legacy of Transformation, Anniversary Final Report,” University Relations and Marketing.

[4] “The People’s School: Book Launch,” Oregon State University Press,

[5] “Licensing Agreement Reached on Brilliant New Blue Pigment Discovered by Happy Accident,” Oregon State University Newsroom,

Kali Furman, Resident Scholar

During the month of August, the Resident Scholar Program at the Special Collections & Archives Research Center hosted Kali Furman, a PhD candidate in Women, Gender, and Sexuality Studies here at Oregon State University. During her term of residence, Furman conducted a case study analysis of the formation of the Difference, Power, and Discrimination program at Oregon State University. The program was instituted by the university in the 1990s to promote diversity and social justice education in response to a string of racist incidents involving Oregon State students. While conducting the case study, Furman focused on what historical, contextual, and institutional factors come together to enable critical social justice education programs to take root and find success in higher education.

Kali Furman at the OSU Leadership Conference

Furman’s presentation of her research, titled “Student Activism and Institutional Change: A History of the Difference, Power, and Discrimination Program,” provided an overview of the social climate on Oregon State’s campus and the surrounding Corvallis community in the 1990s. Furman specifically documented a span of a few days in 1990, when multiple students of color were verbally assaulted by white students, leading to public protests and other forms of unrest on campus.

OSU President John Byrne responded to these high-profile incidents by tasking a commission to investigate them and to provide him with recommendations for moving the university forward. Furman’s research indicates that student leaders were not satisfied with this course of action, and that they demanded that the university implement required coursework related to issues of multiculturalism and diversity. Initially the administration was slow in its adoption of this idea, but by the 1991-92 school year, the Affirming Diversity Course Development Committee had been formed, which ultimately grew into the Difference, Power, and Discrimination program that exists at OSU to this day.

The creation of the program was a major success for student leaders and concerned faculty, but obstacles remained throughout the course of the decade. In particular, budget cuts enacted for the 1997-98 academic year threatened the existence of the program, which again caused protests and dissatisfaction among the student body. This time around, both students and the community rallied around the DPD program, publicly expressing their feelings about the value that the program brought to the student experience and the broader culture of Oregon State University. In response to this outcry, the OSU Provost’s Office provided interim budget support for the program, which finally received more stable funding in 2002.

For nearly thirty years now, the Difference, Power, and Discrimination program at Oregon State University has worked to develop a comprehensive curriculum that promotes diversity and social justice, while addressing institutionalized systems of inequity. A component of the university’s Baccalaureate Core, the DPD program also sponsors guest speakers, film festivals, informal workshops and seminars, and other special events.