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Local History in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center


The Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) maintains and makes available the University's unique collections of manuscripts, archives, photographs, and books. Subject strengths include:

We acknowledge that materials in SCARC collections and the language that describes them may be harmful. We are actively working to address our descriptive practices; for more information please see our SCARC Anti-Racist Actions Statement.

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center public service point is located in the Reading Room on the 5th Floor of the Valley Library at Oregon State University. If you plan to visit us, please check our calendar.

See our Guide to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center for more on how to visit SCARC, find our collections, and research tips.

How to Use this Guide

Collections listed in this guide are identified by title and collection number, and are described in a brief statement on the relevant contents of the collection. Relevant subjects, topics, and/or keywords have been bolded, and box and folder information has been included as appropriate.

All collections listed in this guide are open for research. Please note that some of the collections selected are not yet fully processed, arranged, or described; in other words, a comprehensive description of the collection's content may not yet exist. Some of these collections are described in what SCARC refers to as a "preliminary container lists" these lists can be found by expanding the "Other Reference Guides" section in the finding aids / collection guides for those collections (e.g. the Oregon State University Bands Motion Picture Films and Videotapes, 1968-1991).

The Benton County tab includes collections documenting the history of Benton County writ large, including maps, aerials, rare books, and digital content. Cities, towns, and communities within Benton County are listed alphabetically on separate tabs; collections listed on those tabs are arranged by type (e.g. maps, manuscripts, rare books, etc.). Tabs for communities for which no relevant material could be found in OSU's holdings include a brief historical sketch of the community.

SCARC's holdings don't always include collections of each type (e.g. photographs, oral histories) for each city, i.e. if SCARC holdings don't include photographic collections for a specific city, there won't be a section for photographs on that city's tab. Please note that collections listed for Corvallis focus on the history of the city itself, with limited collections dealing with the history of Oregon State University.

The Rare Books featured on the tab for each city are listed alphabetically by author, and represent just a small fraction of SCARC's rare book holdings. Clicking on the hyperlinked call number for a given text will open that text's library catalog page; call numbers with asterisks have copies in Special Collections and in the main stacks of the Valley Library (the latter of which may be checked out and taken home). In cases where more books are available than can be listed, a link to the complete results list has been provided.

This guide describes physical collections located in the Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Digitized materials can be located by searching Oregon Digital, Scholar's Archive, or Media Space; where appropriate, "canned searches" and/or links to specific collection material on these sites have been provided.

SCARC Services

In order to provide more efficient and effective service, the Special Collections and Archives Research Center (SCARC) is offering on-site access to our collections by-appointment. Advance notice of your visit and research interests allows us to better assist you in identifying materials relevant to your research, and provide more efficient service during your on-site visit. A by-appointment model also allows us to limit Reading Room disruptions, and focus on you and on your research needs.

We will continue to respond to general and reference questions remotely via our department email, There is a wealth of online content in Oregon Digital, on the SCARC website, in ScholarsArchive@OSU, in SCARC LibGuides, and on OSU MediaSpace, and public services staff are available to assist you in navigating and searching these sites. In some cases, by working closely with our archivists and librarians, and identifying a limited amount of specific materials, we may be able to support your research remotely through digitization. 

Please see our Guide to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center for more information about our by-appointment model, and other services.

Contact Us

Your archivists are here to help!

Staff of the library’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center are available for virtual reference consultations. Please email us at if you have questions or would like to set up an appointment.