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Oregon Food and Farming History

Home Gardening in Archival and Manuscript Collections

Muriel White with corn plant

4-H Photograph Collection, 1913-2005

The 4-H Photograph Collection documents Oregon 4-H programs, projects, and participants in agriculture, home economics, natural science, and recreational activities. The 4-H youth program is administered through the Oregon State University Extension Service and was established in the early 1910s. Of note are several victory garden winners, school gardens, and various other gardens around Oregon. 

Extension Service Photographs, 1900-2007

The Extension Service Photographs document Extension programs, activities, and staff throughout Oregon as well as Oregon agriculture. The bulk of the collection pertains to the three traditional Extension programmatic areas -- agriculture, home economics, and 4-H. The photographs depict Extension Service programs and staff from all regions of Oregon; however, Benton, Clatsop, Klamath, and Lane Counties are strongly represented.

Some collections of note are photographs from Clatsop and Klamath County Annual Reports, which include images of Victory Gardens and supplies.

Extension Service Records, 1903-2011

The Extension Service Records pertain to the administration and programmatic activities of the Oregon State University Extension Service. The records document policies and procedures, research activities, special events, and services provided to Oregonians at the state and county levels.This collection contains several records regarding home gardening.

Several things of note in this collection are materials relating to Claribel Nye's Food preservation project, Pesticide safety, and Home gardening and Victory Gardens.

Facilities Services Records, 1888-2010

The Facilities Services Records document the physical campus of Oregon State University in Corvallis as well as OSU facilities throughout the state of Oregon beginning with construction of the first building on the current campus in 1888. The records consist predominantly of architectural drawings and files for the design, construction, and modification to structures.

Of note in this collection are Plans of Formal Gardens, Pre-1940

KOAC Records, 1923-2000

The KOAC Records document the establishment and functioning of the KOAC public radio and television stations at Oregon Agricultural College (Oregon State University). Most of the records pertain to KOAC radio, although a few series contain records of KOAC-TV. 

Several things of note in this collection are materials relating to the Garden Clubs Home Garden Hour, and Vegetable Gardening and Radio Study Clubs.

Landscape Architecture Department Records, 1932-1982

The Landscape Architecture Department Records document curriculum and instruction in landscape architecture at Oregon State University, department administration, extension activities, campus planning, and faculty research and publications. An academic program in landscape architecture was established at Oregon Agricultural College in 1911 and remained active until 1982.

Several things of note in this collection are materials relating to various garden clubs.

Nursery and Seed Trade Catalogues Collection, 1832-1999

The Nursery and Seed Trade Catalogues represent a comprehensive resource for researchers interested in the history of agricultural nurseries. The collection consists primarily of flower and seed catalogues, most of which were printed in Great Britain, Holland and the US between the years 1832-1950. The materials provide a historical record of prices, seed sources, and descriptions of plants and seeds offered for sale by nurserymen and growers over time.

*Related to the Nursery and Seed Trade Catalogues Collection is the Short History of The Seed & Nursery Catalogue in Europe and the U.S. 

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.

Of note in this collection are materials on the Men's Garden Club of Corvallis.

U.S. Food Administration poster, ca. 1917.World War I Poster Collection, 1917-1919

The World War I Poster Collection is comprised of propaganda posters generated by the United States Food Administration, the United States Treasury Department, the American Red Cross, the Young Women's Christian Association (YWCA), and other charitable organizations in support of the United States and its allies in World War I. Of note, the collection contains numerous posters related to food austerity, U.S. war bond and stamp sales, and the United War Work Campaign of 1918.

Things of note in this collection is Series III, which is comprised of propaganda posters from assorted assistance organizations including the American Committee for Armenian and Syrian Relief, the American Library Association, the American Red Cross, Fatherless Children of France, Inc., the National Emergency Food Garden Commission, and the Federal Board for Vocational Education. 

World War II Poster Collection, 1941-1945

The World War II Poster Collection is comprised of propaganda posters generated by United States government agencies, civilian service organizations, and foreign agencies between 1941 and 1945. The collection contains numerous posters addressing U.S. war production, war bond and stamp sales, military recruiting, civil defense, civilian wartime responsibilities, and pro-U.S. propaganda.

Things of note from this collection are the Office of War Information Posters, 1942-1943, which address austerity measures, enemy espionage, women in the labor force, and wartime health and nutrition.  Also of note are materials related to the civilian experience, which address forest fire prevention, espionage, price control and counter-inflation efforts, nutrition and food austerity, nonessential travel, proper shipping practices, and household maintenance, and includes a poster regarding war gardens, circa 1942.

Home Gardening in the Main Collection

Subsistence garden

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!

The Main Collection here at Oregon State University has a multitude of resources and information regarding home gardening. The important thing to remember are the terms that you're using to be able to refine to what you're looking for. Not only was home gardening popular during the early 20th century, it's continued to be a phenomenon, especially with becoming eco-friendly a large incentive for many. 

Some key terms that could help with research relevant to Home Gardening:

Home Gardening in the Rare Book Collections

The rare book collections contain a wealth of materials on home gardening. Early modern gardening and cultivation in the 16th and 17th centuries is a particular strength of the collections; these guides for wives and farmers often contain calendars for planting, sowing, and other home gardening activities, advice on the proper layout of kitchen gardens, tips on various uses of things grown in the garden, and advice on how to deal with pests and weather. The rare book collections also contain books on home gardens in the 18th-20th centuries, including upkeep of American farm gardens, and victory gardens and home food supplies during WWI and WWII.

You can also search for books in our Rare Books collections by searching the library catalogue as well!  To search our book collections specifically, limit your search to "Special Collections and Archives" from the default "Books, media, and articles" in the dropdown menu of the search bar.  Here are the searches run specifically within SCARC collections:

Home Gardening in ScholarsArchive@OSU

Preparing and fertilizing garden soil [1969]ScholarsArchive@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.

Prominent in ScholarsArchive are digitized files from Extension Service, which has several things relating to gardening topics from various decades.  Some key terms to consider when searching ScholarsArchive:

Home Gardening 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: