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Local History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center

Historical Sketch

A sepia photo of Main Street in Corvallis. Roughly 50 miles north of Eugene, Oregon, and nestled between the Willamette River and the foothills of the Oregon Coast Range, the city of Corvallis - originally known as Marysville - is situated on the ancestral lands of the Marys River band of the Kalaypuya. Corvallis’ first white settler, Joseph C. Avery, arrived in October 1845, staking a land claim at the juncture of the Marys and Willamette Rivers. Other settlers, including William F. Dixon of Maryland, arrived shortly thereafter; Dixon staked a 640-acre claim immediately to the north of Avery’s claim.

Avery briefly left his claim in 1848 hoping, like so many others, to strike it rich panning for gold in California. By 1849, he’d made enough to return to his claim in Oregon, where he opened a general store. That same year, he platted and surveyed a town site on his claim, a community he named Marysville.

The Donation Land Claim Act of 1850 continued to bring white settlers to Oregon; expanding agricultural production, and the establishment of steamboat traffic on the Willamette, made Marysville a burgeoning hub of commerce. According to the territorial census of 1849, the poplation of the Oregon Territory was 9,083; the population of Benton County in 1850 was 814. In 1851, Dixon and Avery combined 40-acre, adjacent parcels from their claims to establish a county seat; Corvallis’ present-day courthouse sits on the approximate boundary between those two plots of land.

In December 1853 three petitions were brought before Oregon’s 5th Territorial Legislature: to change Salem’s name to “Thurston” after Oregon Statesman founder and former congressional delegate Samuel R. Thurston, or Valena; to rename Salem “Corvallis,” from the Latin for “heart of the valley;” and to change Marysville to Corvallis, to avoid confusion with Marysville, California which, coincidentally, lay along the same stagecoach route. Ultimately, Marysville was renamed Corvallis in an act passed December 20, 1853.

Two years later, in January 1855, the Oregon Territorial Legislature passed an act making Corvallis the state’s seat of government; on December 3, 1855, the 6th Territorial Legislature began in Corvallis. One of the first pieces of legislation introduced proposed moving the capital back to Salem; the bill was passed December 15, and by December 18 the legislature had reconvened in Salem. Salem was officially named the state’s capitol and governmental seat in 1864.

Corvallis was incorporated as a city on January 28, 1857. Corvallis College – known formerly as Corvallis Academy, and would eventually be known as Oregon State University – was established January 20, 1858.

Though a portion may relate to Oregon State University, and not to the history of the city of Corvallis, there are over 350 collection guides that reference Corvallis in SCARC's holdings (you can view the complete search results list here: "Corvallis"). The collections listed below represent a sampling of those collections.


National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Corvallis Branch Records, 1971-1974
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Corvallis Branch Records document the early years of the Corvallis Branch and its activities and programs to address racial discrimination in education, employment, and housing. The records include annual reports, correspondence, resolutions, press releases, petitions, and resolutions (Box 01). The Corvallis Branch was chartered in 1971.

Corvallis Fire Department Young America Engine Company No. 1 Records, 1872-1880
The Corvallis Fire Department Young America Engine Company No.1 Records document the establishment of the Corvallis, Oregon, fire department and the organization's social activities in addition to fire fighting (Box 01).

Boy Scouts of America Troop 1 (Corvallis, Or.) Records, 1919-1996
The Boy Scouts of America Troop 1 Records document the membership and activities of this youth organization of Corvallis, Oregon. The bulk of the records are membership records, annual reports, meeting minutes, subject files, and photographs for Troop 1 from its founding in 1919 through the mid-1940s (Boxes 01 - 03).

Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets Records, 1991-2012
The Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets Records document the establishment, organization, and promotion of seasonal markets for farm-direct products in Corvallis and Albany, Oregon. The non-profit organization, Corvallis-Albany Farmers' Markets, was established in 1998 through the merger of the Corvallis Wednesday and Saturday markets with the Albany Saturday market (Boxes 01 - 02).

Corvallis-OSU Piano International Records, 2008-2014
The Corvallis-OSU Piano International Records document the concert series and educational programs sponsored by the organization, which was established in 2009 to build a culture of piano in Corvallis, Oregon. The Steinway Piano Series offers several performances each year at the LaSells Stewart Center on the Oregon State University campus.

Corvallis-Oregon State University Music Association Records, 1932-2005
This collection includes concert programs, constitutions/bylaws, correspondence, tax records, annual funding requests to the Associated Students of OSU, press releases, lists of board membership, historical essays/narratives, meeting minutes, membership lists, a list of all the Association's concerts from 1948-49 to the 2002-03 season, and newspaper clippings. Also included are records of fundraising, concert publicity, and documentation of the dissolution process of the association as an incorporated organization in 2005. The photographs include a cd of scanned images of one group, and are primarily publicity stills of musicians booked by the association.

Village Improvement Society Minutes, 1904-1911
The Village Improvement Society Minutes document the membership, activities, and finances of this civic organization (Box 01). Topics addressed in the minutes include improvements on the grounds of the depot; planting trees around the school; a petition for clearing rubbish from streets and alleys; an investigation of standing water in parks; and the sanitary problems posed by barns and manure piles.

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. Documented subjects relating to Corvallis and its history include the Association for Women in Science, Corvallis Chapter (Box-folder 12.9); the Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce (Box-folder 178.2); the Corvallis Army Air Field (Box-folder 46.14); the Corvallis Arts Center (Box-folder 46.15); the Corvallis Environmental Research Laboratory (Box-Folder 47.5-47.8); the Corvallis Gazette-Times (Box-Folder 48.1-48.9, 170.17, 173.16, 183.1-183.5); the Corvallis Indoor Baseball Club (Box-Folder 48.13); the Boys and Girls Club of Corvallis (Box-folder 49.5); the Corvallis Convention Center (Box-folder 50.1); the Mary's River Sanatorium (Box-folder 50.15); and the Corvallis Women's Club (Box-folder 51.8). Additional Corvallis subjects can be found in Box-folders 49.2 - 51.8, listed alphabetically. Select items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Thomas Kraemer Papers, 1908-2018
Oregon State University alumnus Thomas Kraemer helped to found the Gay Peoples Alliance, the first officially recognized gay student group at OSU, in 1976. The Kraemer Papers reflect Kraemer's decades-long research on LGBTQ+ issues. The collection includes Kraemer's blog, blog reference materials, and research files; his collection of comics, magazines, and films; some biographical materials, and a set of documents pertaining to Hewlett-Packard's LGBTQ+ related activities, policies, and trainings during the 1990s. A subject file on Corvallis Pride and gay marriage (2013) can be found in Box-folder 7.39.

T.J. Starker Papers, circa 1890-1996
The T.J. Starker Papers consist of materials generated and collected by alumnus, forestry professor, and timber businessman Thurman James (T.J.) Starker. This collection documents Starker's forestry instruction and research at Oregon State College, management of a diverse range of property holdings, involvement in community and professional organizations, family life, student experience, work with the United States Forest Service, and writings on various subjects. Among the materials included in this collection are correspondence, lecture notes, meeting minutes, newspaper clippings, maps, photographs, research data, and scrapbooks. Corvallis-area subjects in Starker's correspondence include the Corvallis Community Cannery (Box-folder 1.15), the Corvallis Depot Project (Box-folder 1.16), the Corvallis First Street Bypass (Box-folder 1.17), and the Corvallis Lions' Club (Box-folder 1.20). Starker's work on the Corvallis Parks Board can be found in Box-folders 6.13 and 8.18, and in Map-folder 1. Series 8, Property and Timber Management Files, documents Starker's management and development of property holdings, many of which were in and around Corvallis (Box-Folder 8.21 - 13.7). The Photographs series, Series 13, includes aerial views of mill operations in the Corvallis/Philomath area including Peak Plywood, Larson Lumber Company, and Rex Clemens Mill (Box-Folder 17.5).

J. Kenneth Munford Collection, 1866-2000
The J. Kenneth Munford Collection consists of a variety of materials assembled and created by Munford as a student, teacher, writer and editor, and local historian. Series VII, Corvallis Gazette Times columns, contains historic images of Corvallis (Box 02), including the Corvallis railroad station (ca. 1925), the Corvallis Water Words tower (ca. 1890), Corvallis schools (ca. 1940-1945), the Corvallis waterfront with a sternwheeler at the dock (ca. 1915), the territorial capital in Corvallis, a view of Corvallis from the west (ca. 1871), and a fire in downtown Corvallis (ca. 1930). Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Bertha Herse Collection, 1905-1960
The Bertha Herse Collection consists of materials assembled by Herse and includes diplomas and certificates, student memorabilia, postcards, and photographs. The collection documents her student years at Oregon Agricultural College, the activities of the Class of 1910, and her early years as a librarian in the Oregon Agricultural College Library. The bulk of the collection is comprised of postcards received and assembled by Herse. Many of them are greetings cards for Christmas or other holidays and special events. Picture postcards depicting Oregon scenes are included; images of buildings in Corvallis, Eugene, and Portland are part of the collection. The 1930-1931 program for the Corvallis Business and Professional Women's Club can be found in Box-folder 1.4.

Benton County Bicentennial Commission Records, 1973-1977
The Benton County Bicentennial Commission Records document the development of programs and activities in Benton County as well as in Corvallis and on the Oregon State University campus to commemorate the bicentennial of the American Revolution in 1976 (Box 01 - 02). The records consist of correspondence; grant proposals and funding requests; meeting minutes and reports; publications; and posters, certificates, and ephemera. The records document activities of the American Revolution Bicentennial Commission of Oregon, the OSU Campus Bicentennial Committee, and the Corvallis American Revolution Bicentennial Task Force.

Helen M. and Alan B. Berg Papers, 1914-2007
The Helen M. and Alan B. Berg Papers document their professional and civic activities at Oregon State University and in the City of Corvallis. The papers include articles reprints and publications; correspondence; subject files; military records; photographs; moving images; and sound recordings. Helen M. Berg earned an MS in statistics from Oregon State and was Director of the Survey Research Center; Alan B. Berg earned a BS in forestry management from Oregon State and was a faculty member in forest science. Both served on the Corvallis City Council (Alan in 1973-1978 and Helen in 1991-1994) and as Mayor of Corvallis (Alan in 1979-1986 and Helen in 1995-2006). In Helen Berg's papers, materials pertaining to the development of the Corvallis riverfront can be found in Boxes 01 and 02, as can documents pertaining to "Corvallis in National Rankings" (Box 01). Alan Berg's papers includes mayoral correspondence and clippings (Box 02) and a subject file for the League of Oregon Cities (Box 02).

Jeannette I. Cox Collection, circa 1915-1986
The Jeannette I. Cox Collection consists of photographs of Corvallis (Oregon), nearby communities, and sites throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest as well as administrative correspondence of the Pacific Northwest Water Laboratory in Corvallis, Oregon for the period 1962-1969, when Cox was a secretary to the Director (Box 01). The photographic component of the collection consists of about 550 images, primarily color snapshot prints (approx. 400) with some b/w prints (65) and color slides (75) and a few b/w and color negatives. Most of the photographs are of events such as parades and picnics in Corvallis, Albany, and Philomath and of sites (tourist and/or historical) throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest taken during the 1950s-1970s (Box 01). Cox attended Oregon State College and was a life-long resident of Corvallis and avid photographer.

Newman Foundation of Oregon State University Records, 1962-2008
The Newman Foundation of Oregon State University Records document the establishment of the Foundation in 1965 to support programs for Catholic students and faculty at Oregon State. The records include administrative records, property and legal files, publications, photographs, and sound recordings. The reports and subject files include planning documents and feasibility studies for redevelopment of the Foundation property on Monroe Avenue as Newman Commons and Trinity Court, including documents presented to the Corvallis Planning Commission. A large portion (about a third) of the records are property and legal files documenting the lawsuit by the Foundation against the Catholic Archdiocese of Portland regarding these properties (Box 03).

Carolyn Schelling Scrapbook, 1909-1978
The Carolyn Schelling Scrapbook consists of materials created and assembled by Schelling. The materials primarily document Schelling's attendance and activities during the 1916 Summer Session at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). The collection includes a scrapbook; photographs, memorabilia, and publications that were not affixed in the scrapbook; and two posters. Of particular note is a panoramic postcard print titled "A View of the Country at Corvallis, Oregon" showing a view to the west from about 14th Street of the southern part of the OAC campus and the residential area between Washington and Western Streets and west of 14th Street (Box 01). The memorabilia includes a broadside of a moonlight dance given by the Corvallis Women's Club (Box 01). One of the posters in the collection documents the Corvallis Chatauqua in July 1916 (Box 02), which featured motion pictures of Antarctica, the New York City Marine Band, and Balmer's Kaffir Boy Choir of Africa.

Oregon Tilth, Inc. Records, 1975-2018
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. Series 13, Photographs, includes images taken at the Corvallis Farmers' Market (Box-folders 8.34, 12.1), the Corvallis Community Garden (Box-folder 12.1), and the Corvallis Saturday Market (Box-folder 12.2).

Bluebird Habitat Research Records, 1975-2004
The Bluebird Habitat Research Records document the Bluebird Trail project of the Audubon Society of Corvallis to install and monitor bluebird nesting boxes in Corvallis and the surrounding area in an effort to reestablish local breeding populations (Boxes 01 - 02). Elsie Eltzroth founded the program and was coordinator until 2008.

Oregon Wine Industry Collection, 1937-2011
The Oregon Wine Industry Collection documents the wine industry and winemaking in Oregon and includes clippings, winery newsletters and guides, publications, and ephemera. Newsletters from Tyee Wine Cellars (Corvallis), Springhill Cellars Winery (Albany), Foris Vineyards Winery (Cave Junction), Bellfountain Cellars (Corvallis), Hinman Vineyards/Silvan Ridge (Eugene), and Serendipity Cellars Winery (Monmouth) are included (Box 01).

Merlin S. Eltzroth Papers, 1971-2005
The Merlin S. Eltzroth Papers consist of field notes compiled by Eltzroth about first and second recorded sightings of birds that are rarely seen in Oregon and a personal history, Here, There and Eltzwhere, written by Eltzroth. The field notes document the first and second recorded sightings in Oregon of birds that are rarely seen in the state. The notes include details on the date and location of the sighting and the observer. Information from these records was developed into a database by the Oregon Department of Fisheries and Wildife, that was transferred to the Oregon Natural Heritage Program. Eltzroth's autobiography, Here, There, and Eltzwhere, presents a chronological personal history of Eltzroth's family, education, military service, and life in Corvallis, Oregon, including his involvement with the birding community in Corvallis (Box 01).


Corvallis, Oregon, Photograph Collection, 1902-1964
The Corvallis, Oregon, Photograph Collection consists of images of Corvallis and vicinity that document the city and region in the early and middle 20th century. A variety of formats are represented in the collection, including panoramic prints, nitrate negatives, hand-tinted prints, and large mounted mural-size prints. The photographs were assembled from a variety of sources. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

E. E. Wilson Photographic Collection, circa 1855-1953
The E. E. Wilson Photographic Collection consists of images of Wilson, a Corvallis native and Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) alum, as well as his family and friends, the OAC campus, Corvallis, and other locations around the Pacific Northwest. Corvallis subjects include the Corvallis Carriage Wagon Factory (images #0443a and 0443b; Box 02), the Allen home at 3rd and C Street (image #0182; Box 01), the home of A. Rennie on North 2nd Street (image #0458; Box 02), the home of Kirkpatricks at 6th and Madison (image #0347; Box 01), the J.A. Knight Furniture Store (image #0448; Box 02), the Corvallis Opera House (image #0184; Box 01), and a river ferry (image #1275; Box 04). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Harriet's Photograph Collection, circa 1868-1980
Harriet's Photograph Collection--named for the first University Archivist, Harriet Moore--is an artificial collection of photographic images documenting a range of Oregon State University programs, activities, and personnel from the institution's founding as Corvallis College in 1868. The collection consists of about 25 cubic feet of photographic prints and negatives (approximately 30,000 items) dating from the late 19th century through the 20th century. The images of Corvallis portray different parts of town after a snowfall including two blocks in downtown, a destroyed lumber yard building, and a boarding house (image #3445; Box 54); and a sidewalk scene in front of the Hotel Benton Coffee Tavern, the Corvallis water reservoir, and the Corvallis flood in 1927 (image #3418; Box 54). Series 7, Local and Regional Scenes, is comprised of shots of Corvallis and the surrounding area and is predominately comprised of rural scenes, including Marys Peak (image #3386; Box 53) and the Marys Peak River Dam (image #2052; Box 45). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

University Publications Photographs, 1890-2002
The University Publications Photographs consist of images taken or assembled by the publications staff for use in OSU catalogs, brochures, posters, and other publications as well as in OSU Press publications. The images depict the wide variety of academic and research programs; students, faculty, staff, and administrators; campus buildings and views; Oregon scenes; athletics; and student life. The photographs also include images of Corvallis street scenes, public buildings, and businesses; and special events such as commencement, homecoming, Pet Day, and Mom's and Dad's Weekends. Photographs of Corvallis buildings and scenes can be found in Boxes 06, 23, and 31. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

J.B. Horner Photograph Collection, circa 1846-1925
The J.B. Horner Photograph Collection consists of images assembled by Horner depicting historical figures and groups of people, such as members of the Siletz and Umatilla Indian tribes, as well as locations around Oregon. The collection also contains a number of images depicting early life on the Oregon State University campus and individuals associated with the university. The collection includes lantern slides of the Methodist Church on 4th and Madison (images #012-013; Box 02), and a Presbyterian Church (image #063; Box 02). Of particular note are a lantern slide and print of Corvallis blacksmith Louis Southworth playing a violin (image #087; Box-folder 1.1). Images from this collection, including the image of Southworth, have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

John Garman Photographic Collection, 1894-1966
This personal collection of photographs taken and assembled by John Garman includes many studies of campus buildings and sights, as well as extensive photographic studies from vacations in the 1960s. Subjects featured in Garman's photography include Marys Peak (image #12; Box 01), the Corvallis Library (image #43; Box 05), Mt. Hood (image #108; Box 06), Corvallis floods (1916 and 1942, image #114, Box 01; 1960, images #601-604, Box 07; 1964, images #235, 291-297, 596-598, Boxes 01, 02, and 07)), and the Corvallis Methodist Church (images #245 and 255; Boxes 01 and 02, respectively). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Jessie Ruth Darling Photograph Collection, 1916-1942
The Jessie Ruth Darling Photograph Collection consists of photographic postcards assembled by Darling, primarily during her student years at Oregon Agricultural College. Several of the Corvallis scenes depict the February 1916 flood, including the damaged Oregon Electric Railroad near the Willamette River and the depot surrounded by floodwater (Box 01). Other Corvallis views include the Van Buren Street bridge and a 1923 street scene that includes the Julian Hotel and Majestic Theater (Box 01). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

James G. Arbuthnot Photograph Collection, 1909-1915
The James G. Arbuthnot Photograph Collection contains images produced or collected by Arbuthnot during his time at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). These images document Arbuthnot's life and activities in and near Corvallis as well as OAC's athletic teams and sporting events. Corvallis-area subjects include the Corvallis flouring mill (image #034; Box 01), a Corvallis public school building (image #054; Box 01), street paving at 2nd and Madison (images #055-056; Box 01), and a Corvallis lumber mill (image #108; Box 01). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Willibald Weniger Photographic Collection, 1870-1940
The Willibald Weniger Photographic Collection consists of a photograph album of images taken and/or collected by Willibald Weniger. The bulk of the collection is a photograph album documenting scenes, buildings and people at the University of Wisconsin and Oregon Agricultural College. The Oregon Agricultural College images are of campus and the vicinity around Corvallis, Oregon. Of special note are photographs of the Willamette and Marys Rivers and forests on Marys Peak; floods; and railroads, including the Corvallis and Alsea River Railroad. Included in the collection is an image of an abandoned trolley used for the Occidental Hotel in Corvallis (image #283a, Box 01); a view of Corvallis from a hill to the northwest (image #320; Box 01); an auto on the Corvallis and Alsea River Railroad (image #425; Box 01); the Willamette River at Corvallis (image #427; Box 01); images of flooded Corvallis streets (images #284b - 294, Box 01); and the flooded Oregon Electric depot at Corvallis (image #555; Box 01). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

W. Lester Powell Photograph Collection, 1913-1956
The W. Lester Powell Photograph Collection consists of images taken and assembled by Powell, primarily during his student years at Oregon Agricultural College in the mid 1910s. The photographs depict campus activities, including pageants; athletics, especially football; and forestry students and faculty in forest campus and on forestry trips. The collection also includes images of Corvallis and Benton County. Of particular note are three images of the clearing of land for Grant Street (images #235-236, 250; Box 01). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital

Pernot Family Photographic Collection, circa 1870-1940
The Pernot Family Photographic Collection documents members of the Pernot and Coote families and includes images of the Oregon Agricultural College campus and faculty. Emile Pernot taught photography at Oregon Agricultural College beginning in 1890 and became the first chair of the Bacteriology Department in 1900. He married Edith Coote, daughter of OAC horticulturist George Coote. Of particular note are two images of paddlewheelers at the Corvallis wharves on the Willamette River (images #01-02; Box 01), and an image of a "Sliver Thaw" along the Willamette River in Corvallis north of VanBuren Street Bridge site (image #018; Box 01). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

John W. Trigg Photograph Album, 1915-1918
The John W. Trigg Photograph Album was assembled by Trigg during the 1915-1916 academic year and includes images of campus views and building, athletics, student activities, and military cadets. The campus views include an image of Benton Hall in snow and the interior of the Armory (now McAlexander Fieldhouse). The album includes several views of the Corvallis area, especially of the 1916 flood in the Willamette Valley (Box 01). Images of the Oregon Electric Railway Station and a farmhouse submerged in 3 feet of water are of special note (Box 01). Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

George Alderson Photographs, 1954-1955
The George Alderson Photographs consist of snapshot photographs made by Alderson when he visited Corvallis, Oregon, as a youth in the mid-1950s. The photographs depict views of the Oregon State College campus and agricultural lands, Camp Adair, and downtown Corvallis. The downtown Corvallis images include the Corvallis City Hall on 4th and Madison that was constructed in 1892 and demolished in the late 1950s (Box 01). Photographs of the downtown streets include Christmas decorations and a view of McGregor's variety store (Box 01).

Sydney Trask Photograph Collection, 1871-1932
This personal collection of photographs taken (and assembled) by Sydney Trask includes many notable images from the 1890s through 1910s of Oregon Agricultural College buildings, campus views, classrooms, and laboratories. Trask attended Oregon Agricultural College in 1894-1896. In addition to images documenting the OAC campus and student life, the collection also includes images of Corvallis businesses and structures such as the Carriage Factory (image #084; Box 01), J.H. Harris General Store (image #090; Box 01), the Benton County National Bank (image #091; Box 01), and the Benton County Courthouse (images #029, #089, #233; Box 01). Before coming to Corvallis in 1894, he was a photographer for the railroad in eastern Oregon; in the late 1890s, he had a photographic studio in Corvallis. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Aerial Photographs of Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Polk Counties, 1936-1979
This collection is comprised of aerial photographs taken by or under contract with the United States Department of Agriculture from 1936 to 1979 and includes images of 5 counties in western Oregon: Benton, Lincoln, Linn, Marion, and Polk. This collection includes multiple sets of photographs (arranged chronologically by year) for each county. Each set is comprised of two components: photo mosaics (Series 1) and photo tiles (Series 2-6). The mosaics, which serve as indices for the photo tiles, are representations of each county (typically one quadrant of the county per sheet) made by arranging reproductions of the photo tiles in geographic order. The mosaics include serial numbers for each tile and are annotated to indicate which tiles are held in the collection. Aerial mosaics for Benton County are held in Box-folder 1.1; aerial tiles are held in Boxes 03 - 25. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital. 

Marys Peak Area Aerial Photographs, 1962
The Marys Peak Area Aerial Photographs consist of photographic prints made by the U.S. Forest Service in June-September 1962. The photographs are part of the Forest Service's Project EIJ (FS-EIJ) and depict Marys Peak and other areas in the Oregon Coast Range that are part of the Siuslaw National Forest. Many of the images include logging roads and clearcuts. The photographs were made on June 6, July 2, August 22-23, and September 1, 1962, and are at a scale of 1 inch=1667 feet. The collection includes an index map for the images of Marys Peak; some of the images are annotated with township and range.

McDonald Forest Aerial Photographs, 1962
The McDonald Forest Aerial Photographs consist of photographic prints (9x9 inches) made by Western Aerial Contractors, Inc. (WAC Corp.) of Eugene, Oregon, on July 23, 1962. The photographs depict the forest cover within the McDonald Forest as well as areas immediately surrounding the forest. The photographs are at an approximate scale 1:12,000 and were made in 7 north-south flight lines. An index map showing the flight lines and locations of images is part of the collection.


Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Oregon, 1879-1956
The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps of Oregon are an extensive collection of detailed maps of 178 towns and cities in Oregon prepared for the primary use of insurance companies. The bulk of the maps were prepared in the 1880s through 1920s. The maps depict both business and residential areas, including homes, apartments, and boarding houses; churches; schools, courthouses, community halls, parks, playgrounds, and other public facilities; warehouses, factories, mills, dryers, canneries, and creameries; retail stores, banks, and other businesses; and garages, barns, and sheds. They also provide detailed information about the construction materials used (e.g. brick, wood, stone), size of the structure and number of floors, and the heating source. Maps of Corvallis are found in Box-folder 1.5 - 2.3; maps date to 1884, 1888, 1890, 1895, 1912, and 1927.

Corvallis and Benton County, Oregon Maps, 1859-1991
The Corvallis and Benton County, Oregon, Maps include a variety of maps depicting Corvallis and Benton County and provide a broad spectrum of information about Corvallis and vicinity. The maps depict changes in the region from the mid-19th century until the early 1990s. About two thirds of the collection consists of maps of Corvallis; the remaining third are of Benton County. The maps depict roads, parks, schools, public buildings, and natural features. Maps of Corvallis - of various types - can be found in Series 2, Boxes 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, and 11.

Street Surface Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns, 1939-1942
The Street Surface Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns depict street surface types, railroad locations, and building locations in 207 Oregon cities and towns. The maps differentiate between concrete roads, bituminous surfacing on rock, concrete, or treated bases, macadam surfacing, graded surfaces, or unimproved road surfaces. The maps also show the location of structures and the function of the building -- house barn, garage or shed; school, church, or post office; and business establishments of 1-3 stories. In addition to these features, the maps also provide information about data sources, survey control points, city limits, street names, and key surroundings. Most maps also include a reference to the township and range. Maps of Corvallis can be found in Box-folder 3.1.

Oregon State Highway Division Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns, 1969-1989
The Oregon State Highway Division Maps of Oregon Cities and Towns consist of maps of 230 Oregon cities and towns created between 1969 and 1989. The maps include details such as city limits, road systems, post offices, schools, public buildings, court houses, and some notable land features. The population of the town or city is given on each map. The maps were produced in cooperation with the Federal Highway Administration. Maps of Corvallis can be found in Box-folder 1.2.

Camp Adair, Oregon, Maps and Aerial Photographs, 1942-1973
The Camp Adair, Oregon, Maps and Aerial Photographs collection includes topographic maps, orthophotographs, and other maps and images documenting Camp Adair, which was located north of Corvallis, Oregon. Most of the materials in the collection were prepared by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the bulk are from the war years of 1942-1944. The maps offer details on buildings in the cantonment area; artillery ranges; training courses; roads, ditches and culverts; and general land features.

Wetlands Inventory and Survey Maps, circa 1976-1990
The Wetlands Inventory and Survey Maps document the National Wetlands Inventory as conducted in the western United States and the central Willamette Valley and Pacific Coast in Oregon by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services. The collection includes an atlas of state and local wetlands surveys that had been conducted in 1965-1975 as well as drafts of wetlands inventory maps documenting the type and extent of coastal and inland wetlands in Oregon. Series 2, National Wetlands Inventory Maps, consists of drafts of wetlands inventory maps prepared by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Office of Biological Services. The maps depict the area from the central Willamette Valley near Corvallis (Folder-item 2.3) and Albany, Oregon, west to the Newport area of the Oregon coast.

Historic Oregon Topographic Maps, 1898-1993
The Historic Oregon Topographic Maps consist of superceded or obsolete topographic maps published by the U.S. Geological Survey. The maps cover all of Oregon as well as small portions of the bordering states of California, Idaho, and Washington. The bulk of the collection consists of 1:24,000 (7.5 min) quadrangle maps that were issued predominantly in the 1950s through 1970s and 1:62,500 (15 min) quadrangle maps which date from 1906 to the early 1970s. The maps depict topography; vegetation cover; rivers and lakes; roads, railroads, and other transportation; political boundaries; and the boundaries of national forests and parks. Of special note in Series 1 are topographic maps of the Willamette Valley and vicinity that were prepared in the 1900s-1910s; these maps are housed in one map folder and some of the items are encapsulated. All of the maps are available online: Sheet 1; Sheet 2; Sheet 3; Sheet 4; Sheet 5; Sheet 6; Sheet 7; Sheet 8; and Sheet 9.

Oregon State University Campus Maps, 1894-1994
The Oregon State University Campus Maps document the development of the Oregon State campus from the 1890s through the 1990s. The collection includes campus guides and visitor maps; detailed surveys; campus plans; and maps showing buildings, roads, and walkways. The inital land for the current Oregon State University campus in Corvallis, Oregon, was purchased in 1871.

Record Groups

Office of Multicultural Affairs, 1986-2009
The Office of Multicultural Affairs Records document the administration and functioning of the Office, which was established in 1991, and the variety of multicultural programs and activities for students and faculty at Oregon State University. Interactions between the Office of Multicultural Affairs and the Corvallis City Government (Box-folder 1.24), the Corvallis Police Department (Box-folder 1.25, 9.24), the Corvallis branch of the NAACP (Box-folder 2.38, 9.54), the Corvallis Rotary Club (Box-folder 10.8), the Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce (Box-folder 10.50), the Corvallis-Benton County Economic Development Partnership Inc. (Box-folder 10.51), the Corvallis Multicultural Literacy Center (Box-folder 10.59), the Corvallis Partnerships for Diversity (Box-folder 11.20), and the Oregon Commission on Asian Affairs-Corvallis Area Advisory Committee (Box-folder 12.13) are documented in the collection.

Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) Records, 1917-2014
The Associated Students of OSU Records document the administration of student government and its interaction with other campus organizations, offices, and bodies primarily for the 1960s through the 1990s. The records document student government at Oregon State University and include records of the ASOSU Executive Branch, the ASOSU Senate, and the Graduate Student Senate. They address the full range of issues that impact OSU students including fees and tuition, student activities, academic programs, athletics and intramurals, diversity and discrimination, campus security, and student housing. Files relating to the Corvallis Citizens' Advisory Commission on Transit (Box 04), the Corvallis City Council (Box 13), the Corvallis Housing Code (Boxes 13 and 14), the Corvallis Police Department (Box 14), the Corvallis Transit System (Box 14), and the Corvallis-OSU Music Association (Box 14) are included in the collection.

Student Club and Organization Records, 1931-2008
The Student Club and Organization Records document the approval and recognition of more than 900 student clubs and organizations at Oregon State University.  The records include annual review forms, constitutions and by-laws, lists of officers and members, and event registration forms.  The Office of Student Involvement provides support services to student organizations and oversees the process for annual recognition of clubs and organizations. The collection includes documentation of the Corvallis Organization for South African Freedom (Box-folder 3.02), the Corvallis Philosophical Association (Box-folder 3.02), and the Corvallis Center for Environmental Services (Box-folder 3.12) student groups.

Oregon State University Child Care Records, 1969-2006
The Oregon State University Child Care Records (RG 280) are comprised of correspondence, reports, financial records, contracts, manuals, and ephemera documenting child care associated with Oregon State University from the 1970s to the early 2000s. The collection includes records from the OSU Child Care Advisory Committee and other related committees and task forces; needs assessment surveys and reports; fundraising documentation; and administrative records from the Campus Child Care Center, the Growing Oaks Child Development Center, and the OSU Child Care Center. Files documenting the Corvallis Community Children's Centers (Box-folder 2.22 - 2.24), and a report, "Corvallis Housing and Childcare Feasibility Study Focus Group Report," written by Moore Iacofano Goitsman, the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation, and the City of Corvallis (Box-folder 1.23) are included in the collection.

Speech Communication Department Records, 1918-1996
The Speech Communication Department Records document speech instruction at Oregon State as well as speech, debate, and drama activities. The Records include orations and speeches, correspondence, reports, organization records, course materials, committee minutes, a scrapbook, and several photographs. Microfilmed correspondence between Earl W. Wells - Speech Department faculty member and department chair - the Corvallis Boy Scouts (Reel-Folder 5.124), the Corvallis Camp Fire Girls (Reel-Folder 5.125), the Corvallis Rose Society (Reel-Folder 5.126), and the Corvallis Summer Recreation and Educational Program (Reel-Folder 5.127) is held in the collection.

Contract Administration Records, 1889-1976
The Contract Administration Records consist of expired contracts, leases, and agreements records; real property records including deeds and titles for land purchases, leases, and easement agreements; and construction and architectural service contracts for construction of buildings on the Oregon State University campus in Corvallis and other sites in Oregon. City of Corvallis contract file subjects include easements (Box-folder 3.21, 3.83, 3.98, 3.118) and real property options, purchases, and leases (Box-folder 3.29, 3.80).

Journalism Department Records, 1918-1998
The Journalism Department Records document the undergraduate and graduate instruction programs in technical journalism at Oregon State University. The records also include materials pertaining to the reorganization of higher education in Oregon in the early 1930s and the controversy between the University of Oregon and Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) in the 1920s regarding the offering of journalism degrees at OAC. Series 4, Oregon Newspaper Scrapbooks, includes microfilmed scrapbooks containing clippings from the Corvallis Gazette-Times (Reel-item 02.02 and 02.04 and Reel-item 03.02 and 03.08).

Women's Center Records, 1970-2015
The Women's Center Records document the Center's roles at Oregon State University. The Women's Center serves as a resource and information clearinghouse and offers advocacy, support, and other services to women and men, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status. This collection includes artifacts, scrapbooks, reports and publications, correspondence, committee records, surveys, course records, conference and workshop records, subject files, photographs, and videotapes. A subject file entitled "Equal Rights Amendment, Corvallis" is included in the collection (Box-folder 6.20).

Oral Histories

OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection, 2015-2020
The OSU Queer Archives Oral History Collection is a growing repository of interviews and event recordings that document the experiences and perspectives of members of the LGBTQ+ community and its allies who have spent at least portions of their lives at Oregon State University and/or in Benton County, Oregon. Series 1 includes a panel presentation on the LGBTQ+ history of Corvallis, and the majority of the interviews in the collection touch on the history of LGBTQ+ people in Corvallis. The majority of the interview videos and event recordings are available through the online portal LGBTQ Voices.

Oregon Multicultural Archives Oral History Collection, 2011-2020
The Oregon Multicultural Archives Oral History Collection is a growing repository of interviews that documents the experiences and perspectives of people of color who have spent at least portions of their lives in Oregon. Of particular note is the Oregon State Univeristy Multiracial Beavers Oral History Project interviews, as well as three interviews with OSU students involved in leading the 2015 OSU Students of Color Speak Out; the interviews were conducted in 2017. Interviews from this collection are available via the Multicultural Voices of Oregon website.

Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection, 1975-1978
The Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection consists of 33 interviews conducted primarily in the summer of 1975 by Oregon State University students to document various aspects of local history from 1880 to 1929 in preparation for the United States bicentennial in 1976. The interviews describe Corvallis, Philomath, Kings Valley, Benton County, and the surrounding area (including Newport and Yaquina Bay) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Topics include railroads and ferries, Corvallis businesses, the Fischer flour mill, logging and lumber mills, agriculture, Chautauqua events, pioneer families, and the Siletz Native Americans. The collection includes both audiocassettes and transcripts for almost all (31) of the interviews. Nearly all of the audiocassettes held in this collection have been digitized and are available upon patron request.

Indian Americans in Corvallis, Oregon Oral History Collection, 2016-2018
The collection consists of eight born digital recordings (6 audio; 2 video) of interviews with members of the Corvallis Indian American community.  All interviews were conducted in Corvallis, Oregon by Sravya Tadepalli, a student at the University of Oregon, with family living in Corvallis, at the time she completed the project. Interviewees include twelve members of the Corvallis Indian American community; four of the interviews are with couples. Topics discussed include the interviewees' experiences growing up in India and immigration to the United States; experiences with education in both India and the United States; dealing with discrimination and bias; the challenges and rewards of living in the United States; religion; community service; issues of race and identity as Indian Americans; and reflections on how they have changed as a result of living in Corvallis, Oregon. Links to online audio recordings and transcripts are provided within the item-level description of this collection.

Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection, 2014-2017
The Oregon Hops and Brewing Archives Oral History Collection is a growing repository of interviews with industry professionals, journalists and community members. More specifically, this collection documents the stories of people involved with Pacific Northwest hops and barley farming; craft and home brewing, cider, and mead; and scientific research. Of particular note are interviews with Rich Hoerner, in which he discusses Corvallis during World War II (Digital File 4); Theodore Cox's anecdotes relating to Corvallis history (Digital File 4); Guy Seghetti's, Lee Larsen's, Nick Loranz's, and Dave Takush's reminiscences about growing up in Corvallis (Digital File 12); and Dave Wills' recollections of the early home brewing community in Corvallis (Digital File 23). All interviews are available for streaming online.

Horner Museum Oral History Collection, 1952-1993
The Horner Museum Oral History Collection consists of more than 250 oral history interviews conducted or assembled by the Horner Museum. The interviews address a variety of topics including the stories of Oregon State University faculty, students, and academic departments; the history of Corvallis and Benton County, Oregon; evolving economic and cultural perspectives on natural resources in rural Oregon; the life experiences of Native Americans and other ethnic minorities in the region; and the recollections of Americans born in the first few decades of the twentieth century. All of the audiocassettes held in this collection have been digitized and these files are available upon patron request.

Oral History Interviews, Personal Histories, and Sound Recordings Collection on Agriculture, Forestry, and Oregon History, 1908-2001
The Oral History Interviews, Personal Histories, and Sound Recordings Collection on Agriculture, Forestry, and Oregon History consists of various oral histories, personal and family histories, recollections, and sound recordings prepared by different individuals. The collection materials document forestry in Oregon and the Northwest, the history of Oregon State University, local Corvallis and Benton County history, and the activities of Oregon State alumni. Nearly all of the audiocassettes held in this collection have been digitized and are available upon patron request.

Judith Carol Carlson Oral History Interview with Robert C. Ingalls, 1977
The Judith Carol Carlson Oral History Interview with Robert C. Ingalls consists of two audiocassette tape recordings of an interview with Ingalls on June 17, 1977. The interview was conducted by Carlson as part of the research for her graduate thesis, Corvallis and Salem, Oregon Newspapers in Transition, which describes the history of the Gazette-Times as family-owned paper and the implications of its purchase by a newspaper chain in 1969. In the interview, Ingalls discusses his father and family; newspapers in Oregon; family-run newspapers and the purchase of family-owned newspapers by newspaper chains; higher education in Oregon and Ingalls' role on the State Board of Higher Education; and the Corvallis community. The collection was transcribed by the Special Collections and Archives Research Center, and the full text, with audio, is available online.

Audio-Visual Material

Willamette River Pollution Film, circa 1940
The Willamette River Pollution Film (FV059:1) is a 16 mm color, silent film (39 minutes) of various point sources of pollution in the Willamette River and its tributaries. The film begins near Springfield and progesses downstream to Portland and includes footage of various forms of industrial, agricultural, and municipal effluent being dumped into the Willamette River and its tributaries, including the Pudding and South Santiam Rivers. The footage includes tests of the length of time that small fish can survive in water from the Willamette River and chemical tests of the river water. The film includes footage of the river or its tributaries at Springfield, Eugene, Corvallis, Crabtree, Lebanon, Salem, Woodburn, and Portland (Box 03).
The full film is available online as a streaming media file.

News and Communication Services Motion Picture Films and Videotapes, 1942-2000
The News and Communication Services Motion Picture Films and Videotapes consist of raw footage and final productions of news releases and public service announcements documenting and promoting Oregon State University students and faculty; research and academic programs; and athletics and student activities. The bulk of the collection was recorded or filmed in the 1970s and 1980s on 16 mm film or 3/4" Umatic videotape. Heart of the Valley (item #634; Box 29) was produced in 1976 by Jan Baross, a freelance filmmaker with funding from the OSU Bicentennial Committee in cooperation with the Journalism Department, Department of Information, and Horner Museum. The 22-minute color film includes historical still photographs and interviews with descendants of pioneers and residents of Corvallis, Oregon, at the turn of the century and documents early days in the Willamette Valley. The video has been digitized and is available online.

4-H Moving Images, 1939-2009
The 4-H Moving Images consist of motion picture films, videotapes, and a DVD documenting Oregon 4-H programs, projects, and participants. The 4-H youth program is administered through the Oregon State University Extension Service and was established in the early 1910s. The collection includes fourteen motion picture reels, eight videotapes, and two DVDs. One DVD, the Wagon Trek Movie and Pictures DVD, was prepared in honor of the 50th anniversary of a 1959 4-H wagon trek from Jacksonville to Corvallis (Box 4). The DVD includes film footage of the 1959 trek as well as still photographs that depict the trek participants with their wagons and horses, parades along the route, and their campsites.

KBVR-TV Moving Images and Sound Recordings, 1979-2013
The KBVR-TV Moving Images and Sound Recordings consist largely of original television productions created by Oregon State University students from the mid-1990s to early 2010s, including scripted comedies and dramas, unscripted educational and reality shows, nightly news broadcasts, and programs focusing on OSU athletics. The video tapes in the collection include a recording of the “Valley League Band Festival: Corvallis and Albany Bands” from 2001 (item #013; Box 1), and an episode of C2 Music Videos entitled "Downtown Corvallis" (item #051; Box 2).

KEZI Sports Videotapes, 1980-2013
The KEZI Sports Videotapes consist of recordings of Oregon State University sports events with a primary emphasis on football, men's basketball and, to a lesser extent, women's basketball. The collection also includes recordings related to OSU baseball, softball, gymnastics, swimming, and Spring football practice, as well as two tapes focusing on the city of Corvallis. These two tapes, "Our Town: Corvallis" and "New Corvallis, Tape 1," are housed in Boxes 05 and 12, respectively. Several items held in this collection have been migrated to digital format and are available online.

Rare Books

Corvallis. Charter, City of Corvallis, Oregon; Adopted November 2, 1948, including Amendments through May 23, 1972. 1972. JS354.C8 A2 1972*

Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce. Community Economic Profile, Corvallis, Oregon. Corvallis, Or.: Corvallis Area Chamber of Commerce, 1983. HC107.O72 C5971*

Corvallis City Planning Commission. Streets: Part of a City Plan for Corvallis, Oregon. Corvallis, Ore., 1951. HE356.5.C7 A3

Corvallis Civil Defense Agency. Civil Defense Plan for Corvallis, Oregon. 1951. UA928.5.C7 A3

Corvallis Evangelical United Brethren Church. Centennial Anniversary, 1867-1967. Corvallis, Ore., 1967. BX7556.Z7 C6

Hewitt, Mary. Marysville Revisited : A Tour of Historic Corvallis Houses. Corvallis, Ore.: Mary Hewitt, 1976. F884.C6 H4*

Johnson, Arthur R. A Report on a Position and Wage Classification Plan for Corvallis, Ore., July 1960. Corvallis, Or., 1960. JK9055 .C8

League of Women Voters of Corvallis. Corvallis, Oregon: A Description of the City Government and Public School Administration. Corvallis, 1961. F884.C6 L4*

Martin, Bruce. History of Corvallis, 1846-1900. Eugene, Or.: University of Oregon, 1938. F884.C6 M18*

McVoy, Arthur D., and Goodnight, V. L. Master Plan, Corvallis, Oregon. Corvallis, Ore., 1945. NA9127.C6 M2

Munford, James Kenneth, and Cox, Ralston. A Guide to Early Corvallis. 1980. F884.C6 M81*

University of Oregon, Bureau of Municipal Research Service, and Corvallis City Planning Commission. Central Business District Planning, Corvallis, Oregon. Eugene, Or.: Bureau of Municipal Research and Service, U of Oregon, 1962. NA9127.C6 O68

Additional rare books documenting Corvallis's history can be found by searching the Valley Library's online catalog.

Digital Resources

Looking for online content? Oregon Digital, ScholarsArchive, and Media Space contain a wealth of digitized materials that document the rich history of Oregon's residential communities. Often, digitized materials are gathered together as sets, either by publication or collection. Please note that links listed below are "canned searches" for specific content relating to the city, town, or community in question.