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Oregon Food * Farming History

Oral Histories regarding Food*Farming

SCARC Oral History Program

The Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) is home to one of the more active oral history programs administered by any archive on the West Coast. Since 2011, SCARC faculty and staff have conducted over 400 oral history interviews, in the process creating a body of work that has contributed greatly to the scholarly documentation of past events while also providing useful context on contemporary life at OSU and across the Pacific Northwest.

In that same timespan, the department has likewise collected dozens more sessions completed by OSU students and faculty as well as donors external to the university. All of SCARC's more recent interviews have been cataloged alongside several decades' worth of legacy oral history collections that are maintained and preserved by the department. All told, SCARC is the repository for nearly 1,000 oral interviews, the earliest of which was conducted in 1949.


Here are specific oral histories that touch on the basis of food in relation to the LibGuide topics.

Basques of Harney County, Oregon, Oral History Collection, 1976-2001 

  • Box-Folder 1.9: Barainca, Alsna, 197
    • Item OH04:09; 986-1-53. Alsna Barainca came to Oregon from Spain in 1961. This interview provides information about Basque food and festivals and Spanish politics.
  • Box-Item 2.11: Ebar, Josephine, September 21, 1976 
    • Ebar came to the United States in 1921 from Spain. This interview provides information on sheepherding; the Central Hotel in Burns and other Basque hotels; traditional Basque dances; and Basque food and cooking.

History of Oregon State University Oral Histories and Sound Recordings, 1956-2012

  • Series 1: Transcripts, 1956-2012
    • Box-Folder 1.2: Clark, Ava B. Milam, July 12, 1956
      • Subjects discussed include Home economics at Oregon Agricultural College/Oregon State College, 1899-1950; international home economics program; William Jasper Kerr; the American Home Economics convention in Corvallis, 1922; the World's Fair tearoom, 1915; Margaret Comstock Snell; J.C. Clark. [Item OH03a:02, interview conducted by Lillian Van Loan.] Extent: 1:04:00.
    • Box-Folder 1.3: Bouquet, Arthur G., November 13, 1956
      • Subjects discussed include Oregon vegetable production, 1906-1956; Extension radio broadcast; Oregon 4-H club; William Jasper Kerr; World War II vegetable production; James Withycombe. [Item OH03a:03, interview conducted by Lillian Van Loan.] Extent: 35:00.
    • Box-Folder 1.12: Williams, Jessamine, August 1, 1956
      • Subjects discussed include Ava Milam Clark; School of Home Economics; Household Science Department; Foods and Nutrition Department; origins of State Nutrition Council; Maud Wilson; Margaret Fincke; Kate Jameson; Radio KFDJ 1923; Willetta Moore Smith. [Item OH03a:09, Part 2, interview conducted by Lillian Van Loan.] Extent: 38:00.
    • Box-Folder 1.13: Hartmen, Henry, 1956
      • Subjects discussed include commercial growing of pears in Oregon; Horticulture Department, 1919-1955; nursery management; floriculture; J.F. Brumbaugh; William Jasper Kerr; A.B. Cordley; J.B. Horner; pomology; millage measure, 1920; Food Products Section, 1919-1940; Food Technology Department, 1940-1955. [Item OH03a:10, interview conducted by Lillian Van Loan.] Extent: 35:00.
    • Box-Folder 1.14: Besse, Ralph, October 16, 1956
      • Subjects discussed include Oregon intensive crop development; agricultural research; poultry improvement research; forage seed crop development; Experiment Station, 1922-1953. [Item OH03a:11, interview conducted by Lillian Van Loan.] Extent: 10:00.

Oregon Emergency Farm Labor Service Oral History Collection, 1992

  • Series 1: Transcripts, 1992
    • Box-Folder 2.1: Adolf, Leonard, October-November, 1992
      • Interviews conducted by Candace Johnston on October 24, 1992 and November 16, 1992. Folder also contains interviewer's comments, index and signed release form. [Item OH08:01]
    • Box-Folder 2.2: Bevens, Eldon, October-November, 1992
      • ​Interviews conducted by Dawn A. Stetler on October 22, 1992 and November 9, 1992. Folder also contains interviewer's comments and signed release form. [Item OH08:02]
    • Box-Folder 2.3: Burien, Lena, October 12, 1992
      • Interview conducted by Teré Herrera. Folder also contains list of questions and index. [Item OH08:03]
    • Box-Folder 2.4: Kalb, George and June Kalb, October-November, 1992
      • Interviews conducted by Teré Herrera on October 31, 1992 and November 2, 1992. Folder also contains lists of questions and indices. [Item OH08:04]
    • Box-Folder 2.5: Mikesell, O.E., October-November, 1992
      • Interviews conducted by Dan Pike on October 31, 1992 and November 22, 1992. Folder also contains lists of questions and signed release form. [Item OH08:05]

Horner Museum Oral History Collection, 1952-1993

  • Series 1: Audiocassettes, 1975-1972
    • Box-Item 2.1: Bishop, Merit Hiram, November 16, 1985
      • Born 1901. Discusses childhood and schooling in Iowa; attending Iowa State University; teaching jobs; moving to Oregon in 1945; farming in Oregon. Horner accession number 985-1-40. Interviewed in Tigard, Oregon by Janell Erno.
    • Box-Item 2.13: Boice, Naomi E., December 8, 1985
      • Discusses growing up and working on a farm; her brothers and sisters; education; marriage and divorce; moving to Alaska; moving to Oregon and getting married again; being a grandparent; reflecting on changing times and retirement. Horner accession number 985-1-37. Interviewed in Woodburn, Oregon by Richard Persinger.
    • Box-Item 2.14: Brainard, Emil, February 27, 1980
      • Discusses his ancestors, early schooling in Coos Bay, experiences with being sent to a Native American school in Greenville, California, various residences and employment in Seaside, Ashland, and Coos Bay after completion of school, salmon fishing, meeting his wife and getting married, living in Eugene, the effects of the Depression, and the move to Deadwood and buying a farm. Describes the various jobs he had with the Forest Service starting in 1959, changes in the Forest Service over the years, his feelings concerning the W.P.A. program, conflicts between the older Deadwood residents and new comers, and the problems of trying to make a living on a small farm. Horner accession number 982-1-12. Interviewed in Deadwood, Oregon by Lisa Walter.
    • Box-Item 3.4 - 3.5: Cooper, Arthur, July 22, 1980
      • Born 1916. Discusses his family's move from Oklahoma to Washington to farm, his early farming days and move to Sweet Home and then Klamath Falls where he was a government trapper. Discusses changes in trapping coyotes over the years, controversy over poison, value of furs, and animal population. Describes trapping on reservations, the actual process of trapping, hunting and calling in the winter, hound dogs, Native American activity and artifacts. Gives his opinions on the Forest Service as land managers, retention of Native American rights to hunt and fish, recreation management on the Winema and trapping regulations. Horner accession numbers 981-1-6a-b. Interviewed in Shady Lane, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.
    • Box-Item 3.7 - 3.8: Crow, Georgia, March 26, 1979
      • Born 1914. Discusses her ancestors, how her parents met and were married, the family's move to Hood River, childhood on a farm with orchards, memories of the year they spent in Corvallis while her father was attending OAC, the process of growing and selling apples, effects of the Depression, influences her parents had on her, and college days at Monmouth. Describes her move to eastern Oregon, the one-room schoolhouse she taught at in Voltage, boarding with the Marshall family, entertainment, how she met her husband and married him, and the process of shivaree. Horner accession numbers 979-1-15a-b. Interviewed in Burns, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.
    • Box-Item 4.2: Ellingson, A. E. "Pony", February 14, 1980
      • Discusses family history in Minnesota; his wife, Lyndall, her family and her career as a teacher. Their experiences during the Depression in Sweet Creek, and Pony's work in the Forest Service in the 1940s, maintaining the Ellingson farm and his participation in community affairs as a member of the Lions Club. Horner accession number 982-1-11. Interviewed in Mapleton, Oregon by Lisa Walter.
    • Box-Item 5.23 - 5.24: Hagelstein, George, June 26, 1980
      • Abstract for all Hagelstein interviews: Born 1893. Discusses farming changes - physical labor, Native American land use and sale. "Can't see much difference in the management of the land between the BIA and the Forest Service." Horner accession numbers 981-1-3a-b. Interviewed in Algoma, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.
    • Box-Item 6.22: Kenny, Matthew J., November 29, 1985
      • Born 1915. Discusses his family history in Ireland; moving to Heppner, Oregon; wheat farming; schooling and activities; recruitment into the U.S. Navy; marriage and children; employment with the Southern Pacific Railroad; retirement and traveling. Horner accession number 985-1-46. Interviewed in Milwaukee, Oregon by Kayann Kenny.
    • Box-Item 9.1 - 9.2: Pompe, Ethel, March 5, 1983
      • Abstract for all Pompe interviews: Born 1915. Discusses the Depression, effects of the Depression on farming families and the community, 1930s entertainment, effects of the Depression on mothers and children, working odd jobs, having babies during the Depression (home births), and education. Describes hops picking. Remembrance of migrants from the Dust Bowl area and Midwest gatherings. Horner accession number 983-1-1a-b. Interviewed in Philomath, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.
    • Box-Item 9.23: Reavis, Delbert D., April 14, 1980
      • Discusses his ancestors, including their family life and employment, and his memories of growing up on Fiddle Creek Farm south of the Siuslaw River. Discusses family life, school and activities, and hobbies. Recounts his work for the Forest Service starting in 1958, his marriage and family life, comparison of how the district "operated then and now," firefighting practices, changes in logging and milling practices, mills in the area during the 1950s and changes in public involvement over time. Other topics include the changing settlement patterns of western Lane County, efficiency in Forest Service operations, future predictions for the Forest Service, his feelings about the protection of wildlife, his plans for the future and enjoyable aspects of his life. Horner accession number 982-1-16. Interviewed in Mapleton, Oregon by Lisa Walters.
    • Box-Item 9.26 - 9.27: Reynolds, Minerva (Kiger), October 2, 1979
      • Born 1892. Discusses the history of Harney County since her parents lived there, before she was born. Describes her childhood in Corvallis, memories of the town and OAC, the farming her father did on various pieces of land, her four years in Pharmacy School at OAC, classes that she took in domestic science, campus entertainment, OAC administrators and teachers. Other topics include her memories of Margaret Snell and her first experience driving a car. Horner accession number 979-1-41a-b. Interviewed in Corvallis, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.
    • Box-Item 10.6 - 10.8: Spillman, Paul, November 25, 1981
      • Born 1886. Discusses family history and several of his father's businesses: dairy, the cracker factory and farming. Describes his impressions of OAC as an agricultural student, professors, administrators, his ROTC experience, social societies, the town of Corvallis, early memories of the Horner Museum. Discusses his experiences as a county extension agent in Union County in 1912, his years as a farmer, his family, and changes in farming over the years. Horner accession numbers 981-1-13a-c. Interviewed in Peoria, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.
    • Box-Item 11.13: Wilt, Olive, January 27, 1987
      • Abstract for all Wilt interviews: Born 1887. Discusses her family; growing up on a farm; personal views. Horner accession number 987-1-9a. Interviewed in Corvallis, Oregon by Jennifer Lee.

Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection, 2013-2017

  • Item 2.071: Wolfe, Bryan, October 31, 2014
    • Wolfe details his life as an agriculturalist, noting his upbringing as a fifth generation farmer/rancher, his college years studying Agricultural Economics at OSU, and the steady expansion and diversification of his family's agricultural operations in northeast Oregon. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "A Fifth-Generation Farmer and Rancher." Extent: 1:36:44.
  • Item 2.083: Arscott, George, December 5, 2014 
    • In his second interview, Arscott discusses his career as a member of the Oregon State Poultry Science faculty. In this, he notes important colleagues, the evolution of his research agenda, his administrative responsibilities as head of the department, and observations on life in Corvallis. He also recalls the two months that he spent in Yemen developing poultry extension and training in that country, and speaks to the wide program of international travel that followed as he conducted similar work in numerous other countries. Interview conducted in Milwaukie, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "A Career in Poultry." Extent: 1:40:56.
  • Item 3.029: Reser, Pat, April 24, 2015 
    • Reser shares the story of her life, including her years as an OSC undergraduate, her career as a teacher, the growth of Reser's Fine Foods, and recollections of her late husband, Al. Reser also recounts her family's decisions to support a number of high-profile facilities projects at OSU, as well as her service as a co-chair of The Campaign for OSU and as chair of the university's Board of Trustees. Interview conducted in Beaverton, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "The Labyrinthine Journey of an Influential Alumna." Extent: 2:15:48.
  • Item 3.050: Weider, Linda, July 14, 2015
    • In this solo interview, Weider describes her undergraduate years at OSU, her memories of living on the Children's Farm Home between Corvallis and Albany, and her career in real estate in Klamath Falls. Interview conducted in Klamath Falls, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "Alumna Memories and a Career in Real Estate." Extent: 0:39:59.
  • Item 3.070: Strik, Bernadine, August 21, 2015
    • Strik reflects upon her career in Horticulture and the research that she has conducted on a wide array of berries. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Mike Dicianna. Transcribed video available online: "A Berry Expert for Oregon." Extent: 1:43:03.
  • Item 3.087: Casale, Carl and Kim, November 6, 2015
    • The Casales reflect on their experiences as undergraduate students in Agricultural and Resource Economics, and likewise note the impact that OSU has made in their work as business executives and family farmers. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "Of International Business and Precision Agriculture." Extent: 1:37:13.
  • Item 3.088: Sidor, Larry, November 6, 2015
    • Sidor traces his years as a Food Science student at OSU, his earliest work in the beer industry at Olympia Brewing Company, and his influential involvement in Oregon's craft beer community, first as brewmaster at Deschutes Brewery and later as founder of the Crux Fermentation Project. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Tiah Edmunson-Morton. Transcribed video available online: "From Olympia to Deschutes to Crux: A Brewer's Life." Extent: 1:54:35.
  • Item 3.094: Manore, Melinda, November 30, 2015
    • Manore provides an overview of her career conducting research in Nutrition and Exercise Science, including the years that she spent at OSU as both a doctoral candidate and a faculty member. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "At the Forefront of Nutrition and Exercise Research." Extent: 1:04:57.
  • Item 3.095: McDaniel, Mina, December 1, 2015
    • McDaniel shares her story of attending OSU as both a bachelor's and masters's degree student in Food Science and Technology, her twenty-five years as a member of the Food Science faculty, and her experiences leading the OSU Sensory Science Laboratory. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Janice Dilg. Transcribed video available online: "The Memories of an Alumna and Sensory Scientist." Extent: 1:51:06.
  • Item 3.096: Wrolstad, Ron, December 14, 2015
    • Wrolstad reflects on his student years at Oregon State College as a Food Technology major, his subsequent tenure as a member of the university's Food Science and Technology faculty, and his research on a variety of subjects, including fruit juice adulteration. Interview conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Chris Petersen. Transcribed video available online: "A Life in Food Science." Extent: 1:44:15.
  • Item 4.020: Enquist, Merrily, November 18, 2016 
    • Enquist reflects on her student years as an undergraduate in OSC's Business Education program, and also discusses her work as a tree farmer and her association with the Clackamas County Extension Service. Interview conducted in Molalla, Oregon by Mike Dicianna. Extent: 1:11:31.
  • Item 4.021: Black, Harold, December 7, 2016
    • Black recalls his OSC years as a student in Farm Crops, his service during World War II, and his career as a 4-H Agent with the Clackamas County Extension Service. Interview conducted in Milwaukie, Oregon by Mike Dicianna. Extent: 0:43:34.

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives

  • Oral Histories, Videos: This page includes countless oral histories dating from 2014 to present, as well as oral histories from the Benton County Historical Society.