Celebrating National Hispanic Heritage Month

~Guest post by David Woken, History and Latin American Studies Librarian, for National Hispanic Heritage Month

latino roots imageSpanish-speaking peoples have shaped Oregon for centuries, and the University of Oregon Libraries are committed to making sure that role is understood.  The first Europeans to explore the Oregon coast were acting on behalf of the Spanish Empire in the 1700s and left a legacy of geographical names, including Heceta Head (named for Spanish naval officer Bruno de Hezeta y Dudagoitia), Tierra del Mar, Umatilla, and many more that are still used today.  In the 1800s, as the U.S. exerted control of the lands that are now Oregon and Anglo-American setters moved in, Latino mule traders from the formerly Mexican territories of California and Nevada provided guidance and logistical support to soldiers and settlers from the U.S., and Californian vaqueros (origin of the English word buckaroo) established the work practices and culture we associate with the cowboys and ranchers of the Oregon’s high planes.

But it is in the Twentieth Century that Oregon’s Latino community grew to the importance it has today.  Migrant farmworkers from Mexico and the southwestern states, especially California, New Mexico, and Texas, came to Oregon to work in the fields and orchards of the Willamette, Rogue River, Hood River, and Snake River Valleys.  From 1942 to 1947 the Bracero Program brought Mexican guest workers on temporary passes to alleviate labor shortages in Oregon’s fields.  Mexican workers continued to come to Oregon throughout the latter half of the century, following the routes their friends and relatives had paved before them.  By the 1960s and 1970s Oregon’s Latino community came into its own as young Chicano students formed chapters of the Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (MEChA) at Oregon’s universities, Oregon became home to the U.S.’s first Chicano institution of higher education, the Colegio Cesar Chavez in Mount Angel (1973-1983), and migrant laborers organized for legal support and workplace rights through organizations like the Valley Migrant League, the Willamette Valley Immigration Project (WVIP), and the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Treeplanters and Farmworkers United, PCUN).  Today Latinos are the largest ethnic minority in the state, and include among their ranks contract reforestation workers, farmworkers, lawyers, business owners, politicians, and many more.   The University of Oregon Libraries are committed to ensuring that the story of the state represents the crucial importance of the Latino community.


Our collections contain a variety of materials that help scholars of today and tomorrow to tell the story of Oregon’s Latino heritage.  The John Little Papers document the work the Valley Migrant League did in the 1960s to alleviate the poor housing and working conditions of the Willamette Valley’s largely Latino migrant farmers, as well as the struggles to found and keep open the Colegio Cesar Chavez.  The Jefferson Center for Education and Research Records document the lives of rural workers in various industries throughout Oregon, Washington, and Northern California, many of them Latino, from forest plant foragers to reforestation workers to migrant farm laborers.  The U of O’s chapter of MEChA houses its papers in Special Collections and University Archives as well, documenting Latino student life at UO for future generations.  And the PCUN Records document the work of the dedicated activists and organizers of the Willamette Valley Immigration Project and PCUN, providing a window into the lives of working class Latinos in the Willamette Valley from the 1970s to the present that is unmatched in any other collection.  Together with dedicated scholars, students, and activists at the UO and in Oregon more broadly the UO Libraries are working to ensure that now and for future generations, Latino history is Oregon history.

See other highlighted stories about National Hispanic Heritage Month in Around The O here and here.


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Posted in Collections, National Celebrations

Student Job Positions: Research Assistant and Intern

We are pleased to announce that we have two exciting new student job positions available for the 2014-2015 school year.

The first position is for an Archives Research Assistant that will focus on the “Documenting UO History Project” that aims to research, document, and disseminate major portions of university history. This position will be responsible for conducting in-depth historical research of significant university history, writing detailed historical overviews, and providing basic descriptions of collection contents. The full job description and instructions for applying can be found here.

We are also doing a search for an Archive Intern for the 2014-2015 school year. This position will focus on providing the student with a learning environment experience to assist in preparing them for a professional archive position. The Archive Intern will be responsible for performing a variety of tasks in arrangement and description, outreach and instruction, and communications. The full job description and instructions for applying can be found here.

Please share widely!

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Posted in News, Students

New Notable Collections


We are pleased to announce some new notable collections and materials that we received over the past nine months. These reflect the breadth and depth of our collections and illustrates our commitment to acquire a diverse range of materials, which support all types of research from K-12 education to international scholarship.


James Blue papers and moving images

This collection extensively documents Blue’s three decades as a filmmaker and educator, as well as providing critical insights into his personal life and development as an artist.


Zola Grimes graduation dress and photograph

This collection includes the dress and shoes worn by Zola Grimes (Sorenson), as well as the fan she carried, when she graduated from the University of Oregon in 1894. It is accompanied by a framed portrait of Zola Grimes (Sorenson) wearing the dress.


Harney County photograph collection

Originally discovered in the rafters of a photo studio in Burns, Oregon, this collection contains approximately 15,000 images documenting Harney County, Oregon circa 1897 through the early 1950s.


Yoko Matsuoka McClain papers

McClain taught Japanese at the University of Oregon from 1964 to 1994, when she became professor emerita. She continued to write extensively and frequently lectured in Japan, Europe, and the U.S. This collection documents her work as educator and scholar.


James Smircich photographs

This collection contains vintage prints and negatives of Ken Kesey’s bus Further, Acid Tests, Grateful Dead (Jerry Garcia, Mountain Girl, Pig Pen), Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin.


Eckard V. Toy papers

Toy earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in American History from the University of Oregon. This collection contains pamphlets, newsletters, catalogs, ephemera and audio recordings related to Toy’s study of the history of race and ultra conservatism in the Pacific Northwest.


Peg Lynch papers

A writer for radio and television, Margaret Frances “Peg” Lynch is known in particular for her “Ethel and Albert” radio and television program that aired in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s. Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) received 30 linear feet of additional material to add to the Peg Lynch papers.


Ken Kesey letters

SCUA received two gifts to add to the Ken Kesey papers: Twelve letters between Kesey and psychiatrist F. Lewis Bartlett; and a letter from Kesey to his brother Joe, circa 1962.




Posted in Collections, Manuscripts, New Collections, Research Highlights, University Archives

New Exhibits and Talk Highlight the Life of Senator Wayne Morse

Two exhibits on Senator Wayne Morse, an Oregonian who was a proud and controversial figure in state and national politics for more than four decades, reveal much about his public and private life as one of the country’s most influential politicians.

Adobe Photoshop PDFSenator Wayne Morse, Fierce Independent: Political Cartoons, 1941-1966,” on display in Knight Library’s east and west entryways, recounts in graphic cartoon form the impact Morse had on the nation—in both the political and policy arenas–during his long stay in Washington, D.C. The hand-drawn, original cartoons signed by their creators and published by influential newspapers nationwide, are on display, along with historical background that puts the cartoons in context. The exhibit was made possible through an arrangement between the Wayne Morse Historical Park Corporation, UO’s Wayne Morse Center for Law and Politics, and the library’s Special Collections and University Archives. You can see selected cartoons here on the Center’s website.

The second exhibit, “Wayne Morse: From Campus to Congress, 1929-1968,” on display in the exhibit cases on the first floor of Knight Library near the Browsing Room, traces the development of Morse’s influence not only on national politics but on state and campus politics as well. The spotlight was trained on Morse early in his career; he became a member of the UO’s law school in 1929 and quickly rose through the ranks, becoming the youngest law school dean in the nation at age 30 in 1931. He helped the UO navigate through several notable administrative disruptions throughout throughout his time on campus while simultaneously serving as a presidentially appointed labor arbitrator for much of the Pacific Northwest. Many of these items come various collections in Special Collections and University Archives, including the Wayne Morse Papers.morsecampustocongress

“The items displayed in the exhibit are an excellent reflection of the types of sources available for research in the Morse Papers,” said Linda Long, Manuscripts Librarian. “These primary sources provide many opportunities for researchers to study Morse or topics related to his tenure in the Senate. The collection is particularly rich in topics relating to Oregon and the West: natural resources (including extensive files on public works), fisheries, forestry and the timber industry. Broader topics of deep interest to Senator Morse, such as civil rights, the economy and finance, education, foreign relations, health and welfare are also well represented. These primary sources—the documents necessary for the writing of history—are essential to the research process, and are available to all researchers in the Special Collections and University Archives Paulson Reading Room.”

For exhibit viewing hours in Knight Library, visit http://library.uoregon.edu/hours/knight/month.

Both exhibits are in support of a free public talk on the impact of political cartoons by Jack Ohman, former Oregonian cartoonist and now editorial cartoonist for the Sacramento Bee, on October 3 at 7 p.m. in Gerlinger Hall on the UO campus. For more information on the talk, visit http://library.uoregon.edu/node/4411 and http://waynemorsecenter.uoregon.edu/line-fire-cartoonings-political-impact/.

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Posted in Events, Exhibitions

Celebrating National Comic Book Day

Ghost Rider, no. 10, 1952

Ghost Rider, no. 10, 1952

Happy National Comic Book Day!! We are pleased to celebrate this day and highlight some amazing comics from the Gardner Fox collection. A prolific author of comic books, as well as other genres, Gardner “Gar” Francis Fox (1911-1986) was one of the most influential comic book script writers in the business. A part of this branch of Americana since its inception, Fox wrote before the advent of Superman and Batman and continued to script comics until his death.


In the early years of comic books, he created the first Flash comic, wrote for Justice Society of America, did several issues of Detective Batman, Dr. Fate, Spectre and Starman, all for National Comics. He later created Magazine Enterprises’ Ghost Rider, one of the most widely read series of the period when heroes began to fade out. For Columbia Comics, he wrote some Big Shot Comics. Later, when revivals were popular, he wrote Adam Strange, Justice Society of America, Justice League and other super hero stories.

Justice League of America, no. 5, July 1961

Justice League of America, no. 5, July 1961


We are honored to have this collection in our repository and to have the opportunity to work with amazing colleagues on campus like Professor Ben Saunders who specialize in this type of publication and who recently established the new minor in Comics and Cartoon Studies at UO, the first academic minor of its kind in the country.

Wild Bill Hickok, no. 2, Dec.-Jan., 1949-1950

Wild Bill Hickok, no. 2, Dec.-Jan., 1949-1950

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Posted in Collection Highlight, Manuscripts, National Celebrations

Behind the Scenes: Student work on the Wayne Morse film collection

I am a delicate ribbon of film – misuse me and I disappoint thousands; cherish me, and I delight and instruct the world.”

~excerpt from The Film Prayer by Crawley Films Limited


Do you ever wonder what it might be like to work on one of our amazing collections? The UO Special Collections and University Archives is very lucky to have amazing student workers who have the opportunity to process some very interesting collections.  Over the past year Kit Becker worked diligently on the processing and preservation of the Wayne Morse film collection. In this video below she sits down with UO Libraries to discuss her position in the department as a film conservation and preservation technician.

In a second video Kit provides details about the step-by-step film preservation process.

Everyone at SCUA extends a huge thanks to Kit for her amazing work and dedication to the collection!!

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Posted in Behind the Scenes, Collection Highlight, Collections, SCUA Staff Highlights, Students

Celebration of the James Blue Archive: Wednesday, April 23

jamesblueA celebration of the James Blue Archive and a talk on film preservation will take place in Knight Library’s Browsing Room on the UO campus at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, April 23. Representatives from the James and Richard Blue Foundation will be on hand to participate in the event. The event is hosted by UO Libraries and Cinema Pacific.

James Blue, a University of Oregon alumnus and award-winning independent filmmaker, is renowned for his socially engaged documentaries and teaching.

Following the brief celebration of the archive, Christina Kovac, supervisory motion picture preservation specialist at the National Archives, will discuss her work in preserving Blue’s films made for the U.S. government.

At 7 p.m., in the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art Lecture Room, ethnographic filmmaker and scholar David MacDougall will introduce and discuss Kenya Boran, the film he co-directed with Blue in 1970.

The April 23 event begins the second part of Cinema Pacific’s six-month tribute to James Blue. Additional events exploring Blue’s work and legacy are scheduled for April 24 in Eugene and April 25 and 26 in Portland. A complete schedule is at http://jamesblue.uoregon.edu/cinema-pacifics-tribute-to-james-blue/.

We previously highlighted the arrival of the James Blue Archive in this post here: http://blogs.uoregon.edu/scua/2014/02/24/arrival-of-james-blue-collection/.

Information about the larger James Blue Project, can be found here: http://jamesblue.uoregon.edu/. Included on this site is the newly released short documentary about Blue, “Discovering James Blue,” by faculty and students in the School of Journalism.

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Posted in Collection Highlight, Collections, Events, New Collections

New Exhibit and Opening Event April 22: “Recipe: The Kitchen and Laboratory in the West, 1400-2000″

invitation-ginger-1m7tfq5-1024x791We are pleased to announce a new exhibit recently opened entitled, “Recipe: The Kitchen and Laboratory in the West, 1400-2000.” The exhibit is co-curated by Vera Keller, Jennifer Burns Bright and the students of Clark Honors College History 431, “History of Experiment.”

There will be a special exhibit opening event and reception on Tuesday, April 22, 4:00-5:30 PM, Knight Library Browsing Room. Please join us for presentations by the curators and students, as well as a tour of the exhibition.

4:00 PM: Presentation by Kim Ta, Spencer Kales, David Swanson, Jaclyn Rushing, and Erin Parsons
4:30 PM: Presentation by Jennifer Burns Bright
Tours of exhibition at 4:00 and 4:30 PM.

Catering provided by Party Downtown and Brew Dr. Kombucha.

Special thanks to Special Collections and University Archives, the Robert D. Clark Honors College, the Oregon Rare Books Initiative, the Department of Environmental Studies, Food Studies, Party Downtown, and Brew Dr. Kombucha.

Posted in Collections, Events, Exhibitions, Students

Showcasing Our Treasures: Meeting with the New UO Board of Trustees

Last week on March 27th, the UO Libraries hosted some of the new members of the UO Board of Trustees. The purpose of the visit was to introduce them to our unique collections in the Special Collections and University Archives and show them in-person some of our most treasured collection. Some of the collections highlighted included the Ken Kesey collection, Oregon Trail diaries, James Ivory papers, and the Children’s Literature collection. The Board of Trustees’ members met with Deb Carver, Dean of the Libraries, Linda Long, Manuscripts Librarian, and Jennifer O’Neal, Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivist.

Below are some images from that day (click on images to enlarge them):






Posted in Behind the Scenes, Collection Highlight, Collections

Iconic Moments in University of Oregon History

Deady and Villard Hall

Deady and Villard Hall, ca. 1890s

We were thrilled to see that the Daily Emerald highlighted two separate posts today about iconic moments in history of the University of Oregon.

The main article “From the Arrival of Oregon Football to Flag Rushes, These 16 Iconic Moments Shaped the UO In Ways You Never Imagined” highlights the following  moments:

  • 1876: Building a School
  • 1890: The Beginning of Junior Flag Rush
  • 1894: College Football Comes to Eugene
  • 1900: The Rise of Fraternity and Sorority Life
  • 1902: The Prince Expands a Campus
  • 1917: First Rose Bowl Appearance
  • 1919: The Opening of Hayward Field
  • 1932: The Zorn-McPherson Bill
  • 1947: The Establishment of The Duck
  • 1948: The Bowerman Era Begins
  • 1949: Erb Memorial Student Union Constructed
  • 1969: Robert Clark and Student Protests
  • 1970: The Prefontaine Legacy Begins
  • 1977: The Arrival of Animal House
  • 2008: Dr. Posner’s Achievement
  • 2011: The Fall of Lariviere

In addition, a video with images from the University Archives can be found here.

Jennifer O’Neal
Corrigan Solari University Historian and Archivist

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Posted in News, University Archives, University History