Campus societies are a large portion of any university history, older universities such as Harvard or Yale pride themselves on their societies. The men and women who have participated in literary societies historically have found lucrative jobs and connections due to the unique experience that these societies provide to undergraduates. Literary societies were regularly founded in pairs in order to foster competition and growth. This history often brings to mind older institutions on the east coast. However, the University of Oregon is no stranger to the benefits of literary societies on its campus.
In honor of Women’s History Month, Special Collections and University Archives is highlighting the Oregon Women’s Political History Collection.
The Oregon Women’s Political History Collection comprises over a dozen individual manuscript collections. These collections constitute over 200 linear feet of manuscript material and represent women’s political and activist work in Oregon in the latter half of the twentieth century. The collection was started in the 1990s as a collaborative collection development effort among UO Libraries, the Center for the Study of Women in Society (CSWS), and the Friends of the Oregon Women’s Political History Collection.
The collections include:
- Anderson, Jean Fuller Papers (Coll 312) 1978-1990, Finding aid
- Davis, Eleanor Papers (Coll 351) 1963-1989 Finding aid
- Dost, Jeanne Papers (Coll 366) 1972-1988 Finding aid
- Dunn, Nancy Papers (Coll 362) 1986-1990 Finding aid
- Eugene Women’s Crisis Center Records (Coll 313) 1977-1991 Finding aid
- Fadeley, Nancy Papers (Coll 349) 1971-1989 Finding aid
- Frye, Helen Papers (Coll 348) 1971-2011 Finding aid
- Hendriksen, Margie Papers (Coll 365) 1971-1992 Finding aid
- Kafoury, Gretchen Papers (Coll 353) 1971-1983 Finding aid
- Milligan, Marian Papers (Coll 370) 1974-1983 Finding aid
- Novick, Jane Papers (Coll 368) 1968-1990 Finding aid
- Oregon Now Records (Coll 371) 1971-2006 Finding aid
- Oregon Women’s Political Caucus Records (Coll 369) 1971-1999 Finding aid
- Ryles, Nancy Papers (Coll 364) 1972-1990 Finding aid
The activist women represented in these collections worked to increase women’s political engagement in Oregon and empower women to fully participate in elective politics and government agencies at the local, county, and state levels. The story of women’s political work in Oregon in the mid-to-late twentieth century has not been fully told; these primary documents–the sources necessary for the writing of history–are essential to that process. Through support by LSTA funding administered by the Oregon State Library, grant project staff were able to process, catalog, and publish finding aids for these collections and provide access to these collections.
Researchers can find out more about related SCUA collections documenting Women, Gender, and Sexuality in our research guides.
Special Collections & University Archives is pleased to announce the recent acquisition of “Standoff,” a portfolio of photographs by Portland-based photographer Shawn Records. The photographs document the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in January of 2016. Included are portraits of the militant Ammon Bundy and his family, as well as images of the media circus and protests that surrounded the occupation. This was a pivotal moment in Oregon and US history, when a group of armed men were able to occupy a government building without significant legal repercussion. The photographs are quiet and subtle, exploring the complex and fraught history of land use and cowboy culture in the American West. The portfolio is now available for viewing within the Special Collections & University Archives reading room.
By Danielle Mericle, Curator of Photography Collections
Special Collections and University Archives (SCUA) has recently mounted an exhibit focusing on Black Deaf Americans to celebrate Black History Month.
Black Deaf people have one of the most unique cultures in the world. The Black Deaf Community is largely shaped by two cultures and communities: Deaf and African-American. Some Black Deaf individuals view themselves as members of both communities. Since both communities are viewed by the larger, predominately hearing and White society as comprising a minority community, Black Deaf persons often experience an even greater loss of recognition, racial discrimination and communication barriers coming from both communities.
Little has been written about the Black Deaf community. Even though segregated schools existed until the mid-1950s, no historical analysis of that experience, its people, or events has been written. Only a handful of memoirs by Black Deaf individuals have been published. Recent interest in Black Deaf sign language has produced a seminal work on the subject, The Hidden Treasure of Black ASL, but much more research needs to be pursued. This exhibit seeks to highlight the history, experiences, and accomplishments of Black Deaf Americans through six themes: segregated schools for Black Deaf students, memoirs by Black Deaf adults, incarceration of Black Deaf, Black Deaf sign language, Notable Black Deaf, and artwork of Black Deaf. Some of the archival material exhibited is extremely rare and difficult to find. Several publications on exhibit are considered rare books. Even some recent titles on exhibit are difficult to find.
Yale University Library Paper Conservator Marie-France Lemay recently presented two workshops in Special Collection and University Archives’ Ken Kesey Classroom on the materials of medieval and early modern books. Lemay presented samples of materials and tools that would have been used by early bookmakers and illuminators from the Traveling Scriptorium, a teaching kit created by Yale’s Beineke Library conservators. These workshops were arranged by Dr. Vera Keller in conjunction with a JSMA lecture on the history of color in the Italian Baroque period.
Lemay provided students from Dr. Vera Keller’s “Global History of Color” and Dr. Nina Amstutz’s “Art and Science” courses with the opportunity to handle raw materials used in historical manuscript production and scribal practices, such as stretched parchment and laid paper used for writing substrates and the ingredients for black iron gall ink (gall nuts from oak trees, green vitriol/iron sulfate, and gum arabic). The workshop also included a mixing demonstration of traditional pigments and inks and discussion of the chemical differences of organic versus inorganic materials and the nature of man-made pigments such as verdigris, produced by exposing copper to acetic acid (vinegar).