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Oregon Food and Farming History

Farms and Orchards in Archival and Manuscript Collections

Victory Farm Volunteer poster, 1945Agricultural Research Foundation Records, 1936-2007 

The Agricultural Research Foundation Records consist of annual and biennial reports documenting the financial status and research funded by the Foundation. The Agricultural Research Foundation was founded in 1934 to encourage and facilitate agricultural research by scientists associated with Oregon State University. The collection is available for research.

Farmer (publication) Photographs, 1911-1920

The Farmer Photographs include many images of livestock - especially cows, rabbits and pigs - as well as barns, silos, farmsteads, agricultural machinery, produce and crops. The collection also includes documentation of rural life in the Pacific Northwest of the early twentieth century, and includes images of children and adults at work and play. Most of the images contain textual annotations on their reverse and a few have been annotated on the obverse for cropping and other editing prior to publication.

Francis T. Howard Diary, 1858-1946

The Francis T. Howard Diary is comprised of journal entries written by Oregon pioneer Francis T. Howard recording his life as a farmer and mill operator outside Mulino, Oregon between January 1858 and June 1859. Also included are newspaper clippings and other ephemera documenting the Howard family between 1863 and 1946. 

Oral Histories of the James Cant Ranch (John Day Valley, Oregon), 1982-1985

The Oral Histories of the James Cant Ranch are comprised of interviews with fifteen individuals that tell the story of James and Elizabeth Cant's successful agricultural operation - established in northeast Oregon on the John Day River in the early 1900s - and of rural agricultural life in the region where the Cant Ranch was located. The Cant family raised irrigated crops and livestock for over sixty years on a tract of land that came to encompass over 11,000 acres. In 1975 the Cant Ranch complex was purchased by the National Park Service for incorporation into the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. 

Oregon Century Farm and Ranch Program Records

Century Farm, or Centennial Farm, is a farm or ranch in the United States or Canada that has been officially recognized by a regional program documenting the farm has been continuously owned by a single family for 100 years or more. This database gives an idea of the farms that have been in the local area and in one family's hands for 100 years.

Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection, ca. 1860-present

The Memorabilia Collection is an artificial collection containing items of interest about Oregon State University and to a lesser extent, the city of Corvallis, and the state of Oregon. The Memorabilia Collection includes information about Oregon State University buildings and campus development; academic departments and programs; research, extension, and outreach; faculty, staff, and alumni; student organizations; intercollegiate and intramural athletics; and other campus events, activities, and issues. 

Ben L. Robinson Farm Journals, 1929-2000

The Ben L. Robinson Farm Journals consist of account journals for farms and ranches operated by Ben L. Robinson and his father, Carl Robinson, in Union County, Oregon. Ben L. Robinson served on various county and state-wide agricultural organizations and received a Diamond Pioneer Agricultural Career Achievement Award from Oregon State University in 1988. 

H. D. Scudder Collection, 1909-1923

The H. D. Scudder Collection consists of correspondence (primarily on postcards) between Scudder, an OAC professor of Farm Management, and Oregon farmers regarding various crops and farming questions. Along with correspondence with farmers, the collection also includes correspondence with others, publications and memorabilia. 

Western Farmer (publication) Photographs, 1915-1922

The Western Farmer Photographs contain images captured and edited for use in the publications Western Farmer and Farmer's Tribune during the early decades of the twentieth century. The photographs include documentation of livestock in the field and for show; children at play; produce being grown and displayed; farm equipment; and men and women engaged in various forms of agricultural labor. Along with textual annotations on their reverse, many of the collection's photos have been marked on the obverse by copy editors with the intent of cropping, shading and/or enlarging an image prior to placement for print in the magazine.

Students in an OAC beekeeping classBeekeeping

Agricultural and Resources Economics Department Photographs, 1925-1979

The Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Photographs consist of images taken by Oregon State College County Agents, Farm Management Department faculty and staff, and Agricultural Economics Department faculty. The photographs depict agriculture in Oregon, including livestock, equipment, and crop fields. Additional images document damage caused by the 1945/1946 Willamette River flood, pasture scenes, operations of the Duckwall Fruit Processing Plant, and fruit harvesting and processing in Wenatchee Valley, Washington. Series 2 includes images of a bee yard. 

Entomology Department Photograph Collection, 1912-2002

This collection consists of photographs generated and collected by the Entomology Department. The materials document the activities of department faculty, staff, and students as well as classes, entomology research and fieldwork, and various insects.

Dairy barn and herdDairy

Banks Dairy Products Company Records, 1922-1944

Corporate records of the Banks Dairy Products Company of Banks, Oregon. The Banks Dairy Products Company was incorporated in Washington County, Oregon, in 1922 and operated until its dissolution in 1941. The company was involved in the purchase and sale of milk and milk products, particularly the manufacture and sale of cheese and butter; the construction of an ice and cold storage plant and the preservation of products by means of cold storage; and the construction and maintenance of buildings and structures for creameries, cheese factories, milk distributing plants, elevators, and storage plants. 

Philip M. Brandt Papers, 1931-1957

The Philip M. Brandt Papers document the role of Philip M. Brandt, department head of the Dairy Husbandry Department at Oregon State College, in Oregon Republican politics and the Oregon Grange. Dairy husbandry professor P.M. Brandt served on the Oregon State College faculty as head of the Dairy Husbandry Department from 1917 until his retirement in 1957. Brandt was also active in civic affairs and local politics. He was a member of the Corvallis City Council from 1924 to 1933, Mayor of Corvallis in 1933-34, and served on various state committees. 

A Dairy Program for Oregon Scrapbook, 1929

The A Dairy Program for Oregon Scrapbook documents the publicity and promotion activities leading up to the 1929 statewide Convention for the Revision of Oregon's Dairy Program held at Oregon Agricultural College in 1929. The scrapbook includes publications, clippings, correspondence, and photographs. Some of the clippings are written by Marshall N. Dana of the Oregon Journal. The publications were issues by the Extension Service. 

Paul R. Elliker Papers, 1934-1973

The collection was created during Elliker's tenure at Purdue University and as a chairman of the Department of Microbiology at Oregon State University. They document his research interests and career in teaching. Dairy related materials include curriculum materials for dairy courses, exams from dairy husbandry classes taught by Elliker, proposed lectures for a dairy technology extension course, research notes on Swiss cheese starter cultures, and a paper presented by Elliker to the National Butter Institute in 1946, "Practical Scientific Approach to Cream Quality Improvement."

Food Science and Technology Dept. Records (RG 176)

The Food Science and Technology Department Records document the instruction, research, and extension programs and include correspondence, research files, minutes, day files, travel reports, grants and awards information, Extension Station reports, and Seafoods Lab reports.

Unidentified orchardOrchards

Agriculture Photograph Collection, ca. 1890-1970

This is an artificial collection of photos from many sources pertaining to various aspects of agriculture in Oregon, the Pacific Northwest, the Midwest, and Canada. Several groupings of photographs were made by/for the Extension Service and the Agricultural Experiment Station, and depict the Emergency Farm Labor Service and Branch Experiment Station building and activities. Agricultural activities shown on campus include brooder houses, chicken coops, farm machinery classes, and the dairy barn. A small numbers of photos scattered throughout the collection were made by the USDA in Oregon around 1910.

Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Photographs, 1925-1979

The Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Photographs consist of images taken by Oregon State College County Agents, Farm Management Department faculty and staff, and Agricultural Economics Department faculty. The photographs depict agriculture in Oregon, including livestock, equipment, and crop fields. Additional images document damage caused by the 1945/1946 Willamette River flood, pasture scenes, operations of the Duckwall Fruit Processing Plant, and fruit harvesting and processing in Wenatchee Valley, Washington. 

F. Ross Brown Papers, 1890-1963

The F. Ross Brown Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by Brown documenting his student years at Oregon Agricultural College, agricultural work in the 1910s, and participation in the Oregon Wildlife Federation and the National Wildlife Federation. The collection includes photographs, a photograph album, student memorabilia, and correspondence. Brown graduated from Oregon Agricultural College in 1910. The album includes snapshots of friends and family (including children) and outings. Agricultural scenes, especially of orchards, and views of towns in Oregon and Washington are depicted, including Ashland, the Hood River Valley, Medford, Rex, Riddle, and Roseburg in Oregon and Camas, Washington. 

Organic potatoes at store, Oregon, circa 1971Organic Farming

Oregon Tilth, Inc. Records

The Oregon Tilth, Inc. Records chronicle the establishment and emergence of Oregon Tilth, Inc. from Tilth, which originally was established in 1974 in Washington State.  Oregon Tilth, Inc. is an organic agriculture certification and education organization based in Corvallis, Oregon. The materials reflect the growth of sustainable agriculture in the Northwest and later, globally. It includes materials generated and collected by the organization.  The collection includes Oregon Tilth board materials, newsletters, audio recordings, video recordings, manuals, photographs, the organization's websites, and educational materials.

Oregon Tilth Oral History Collection

The oral histories include interviews with three different people (Lynn Coody, Harry MacCormack, and John Graham) over the course of five sessions.

PoultryLady McDuff

George H. Arscott Papers. 1950-1997

The George H. Arscott Papers were generated and assembled by Arscott and document his poultry science research. George H. Arscott earned a B.S. in Poultry Husbandry from Oregon State College in 1949 and was a faculty member in the Poultry Science Department at Oregon State from 1953 until his retirement in 1987. The Papers consist of articles, conference papers, publications, reports, and studies; Arscott's thesis and dissertation; research project records, newspaper clippings; correspondence; and photographs. 

Paul E. Bernier Papers, 1930-1992

These papers were generated and collected by Paul E. Bernier and document his research in chicken breeding and genetics. The collection contains correspondence, publications, research records, certificates, and photographs. Of note is Series IV. Research Project Records for "Genetics and Breeding Improvement of Chickens", 1947-1977. 

Hanson Leghorn Farm Records, 1917-1967

The Hanson Leghorn Farm Records contain materials documenting the Hanson Leghorn Farm, a nationally significant poultry breeding business located in Corvallis, Oregon. The records include correspondence, breeding and production records, financial records, incubation and banding reports, advertisements and other promotional literature, honors and awards, poultry industry trade magazines, and photographs and artwork. 

Harry S. Nakaue Papers, 1975-1997Photograph from the cover of the , 1979-1980 edition.

The Harry S. Nakaue Papers consist of materials relating to Nakaue's teaching career as a poultry science professor at Oregon State University. The collection includes correspondence research proposals and data on chicken broilers and layers, turkeys and other types of poultry. Also included are lecture notes from courses taught by Nakaue, research, syllabi, course outlines, scientific meeting and presentation slides, photos of Nakaue and publications. 

Oregon Broiler Growers Association Records, 1956-1991

The collection includes minutes, reports, committee records, bylaws and articles of incorporation, lists of members, financial records, clippings, ephemera, memorabilia, correspondence and related documentation of the OBGA.

Oregon Poultry Council Records, 1935-1989 

The records in this collection consist of correspondence, meeting minutes, bylaws, committee records and photographs produced by the Oregon Poultry Council. The collection is small but fruitful. 

Poultry Science Department Photograph Collection, 1910-1995

The Poultry Science Department Photograph Collection contains images pertaining to the production and preparation of turkey and chicken; Pacific Egg and Poultry Association (PEPA) scholarship recipients; the 1987 Poultry Society of America (PSA) convention; the general activities relating to the Poultry Science Department at OSU. The collection list is robust and details many images that were used in the Poultry Science Department. 

Oregon Poultry Industries Association Records, 1924-1989

This collection consists of the records of the Oregon Poultry Industries Association, the Oregon Poultry and Hatchery Association, the Oregon Egg Producers and the Oregon Poultry and Egg National Board.

Oregon Turkey Improvement Association Records, 1943-1992

The collection includes correspondence, meeting minutes, newsletters, financial reports, committee records, photographs and ephemera produced by the Oregon Turkey Improvement Association. 

Poultry Science Department Records, 1900-1993

The Poultry Science Department Records contain documents pertaining to Oregon Agricultural College's involvement in the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, the Poultry Extension and Training Subproject and the Poultry Industry Advisory Committee. The records consist of reports, certificates, proposals and correspondence. The collection also contains records pertaining to the general activities of the Poultry Science Department. 

Wool houseWool

Animal Sciences Department Records, 1879-2011

The Animal Sciences Department Records contain a variety of materials related to the department including property data as well as as a log book documenting Oregon Agricultural College's dairy cow herd. Also included are photographs taken by Department of Animal Husbandry faculty that depict various sheep farms throughout Oregon. Documents concerning Oregon Agricultural College's dairy cattle herd and photographs taken by the Animal Husbandry Department are also housed here. 

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

The Basques of Harney County, Oregon, Oral History Collection consists of transcripts and audiotapes of 15 oral history interviews conducted in 1976 and 1979 as part of an inventory of historic sites in Harney County. Basque sheepherders immigrated to southeastern Oregon from the 1890s through the 1920s and worked as itinerant herders on the mountain ranges of Harney County until the 1930s. All of the audiocassettes held in this collection have been digitized and these files are available upon patron request.

Thomas B. Searcy Property Records, 1889-1961

The Thomas B. Searcy Property Records document the land in Sherman County, Oregon, homesteaded by Thomas B. Searcy in 1889 and Searcy's financial interactions with the Moro Grain Growers Association and the Pacific Co-operative Wool Growers Association. The documents are arranged in chronological order and housed in sleeves; the collection includes original documents as well as photocopies of most of the originals. A list of documents is also included. 

Farms and Orchards in the Main Collection


Searching the Main Collection through the library catalog is extremely beneficial for sources.  Though the terms and searches may not be obvious in the beginning, the deeper you dig, the better the finds! It's important to note that there is a plethora of sources in the Special Collections and Archives regarding Oregon food and farming, and there's a potential for the sources you do find in 1Search may actually be from Special Collections and Archives.  There is also a good chance many of the sources you find will be available digitally and the catalog will link you to external databases like HathiTrust.  If you're unsure where to go to find a specific resource, don't be afraid to ask a librarian for research tips!

Some key terms that could help with research relevant to various regional farms and orchards:

Farms and Orchards in the Rare Book Collections

The rare book collections in Special Collections and Archives Research Center Sheephave a wealth of material related to the history of farming and agriculture; indeed, this is one of our strongest collecting areas, made up of many sub-collections related to the history of farming crops, soil quality, and planning for farms. Materials span five centuries, and are primarily related to farming in America and England. 

To find these materials, search for the following keywords:

Farms and Orchards in ScholarsArchive@OSU

Isotopes in agricultureScholarsArchive@OSU is Oregon State University's digital service for gathering, indexing, making available and storing the scholarly work of the Oregon State University community, including theses and dissertations. It also includes materials from outside the institution in support of the university's land, sun, sea and space grant missions and other research interests.

Some key terms to consider when searching ScholarsArchive:

Farms and Orchards in MediaSpace

OSU MediaSpace is where the OSU community can post recordings, most of which are recent recordings of lectures. classes, or events.  

SCARC's presence on Media Space consists largely of oral history interviews, digitized copies of SCARC films, and presentations hosted by SCARC.

Some keywords to to search include:

Local Farming Initiatives

Interested in more recent local farming initiatives?  Check out:

  • Originally started by Willamette Valley farm women concerned about regulatory issues in the grass seed industry, Oregon Women for Agriculture has broadened its scope to include nearly all facets of agriculture impacting all areas of Oregon.
  • The League of Women Farmers was the first of the OSU Women Farmer Networks and provides women farmers with opportunities for business networking, expanding knowledge, and socializing in a supportive, open environment. Since their start in October 2007, they have hosted welding classes, pruning workshops, and seed exchanges.
  • The Black Food Sovereignty Coalition (BFSC) serves as a collaboration hub for Black and Brown communities to confront the systemic barriers that make food, place and economic opportunities inaccessible, and encourages these communities to seek change through participation as owners and movement leaders within food systems, placemaking, and economic development.
  • Feed’em Freedom Foundation (FFF) centers Black Agriculturists to participate as owners and movement leaders within agriculture, land stewardship, regional food security response, and economic prosperity.
  • PCUN—Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United)—is Oregon’s union of farmworkers and nursery and reforestation workers, and Oregon’s largest Latino organization.  There are also PCUN archival materials at UO.
  • Oregon Agricultural Trust partners with farmers and ranchers to protect agricultural lands for the benefit of Oregon’s economy, communities, and landscapes.