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Archive for January, 2013

Logging at the Age of Twelve: 19th Century Reminiscences

Saturday, January 26th, 2013

Two loggers with an anchor tree and yarder hauling log, photographed by Arthur Prentiss, Angelus Studio photograph collection (PH037)

John Joseph Villair (1876-?) traveled with his family from Michigan to California in 1887 and at the very young age of twelve he began working in logging. He had this specific recollection about “greasing skids”:

I started to work in the woods greasing skids for Johnny Keehoe, nickname of Pike, at the age of twelve; Pike had five yoke of bulls skidding in some 25 m’ of redwood logs a day… My job was to build a fire under a large iron kettle in which tallow was melted for use as grease. I was so small the men cut a black powder can in half with a bail for my use in carrying the grease so the can would not drag on the skids as I walked along and greased them… I sued a burlap swab dipped into warm grease – swab like a paint brush fastened onto a stick some three feet long – the burlap was fringed to make the swab which would last about a week.”

Following his stint as a skid greaser, he held jobs for numerous logging outfits and lived in camps and small towns on the frontier.  Villairs’ reminiscences, transcribed by John Kuhns in Josephine County, are a fascinating trip through late 19th century logging practices peppered with talk of “getting rather high” and brawling with saloon keepers.  Villair also describes his family’s journey to California to meet up with his father, and his  later experiences as a horse team driver for California logging companies.  He goes into considerable detail describing logging tools and methods, as well as the characters he met in logging camps and communities.

For more, come down to Special Collections and University Archives and see the John Joseph Villair reminiscences (Collection #CB V711).

~Austin Munsell, Collections Coordinator

Student Worker Highlight: Matt Pelos

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

The Special Collections and University Archives could not function without the amazing student workers who assist the staff on a daily basis on numerous projects including paging materials for researchers, fulfilling scanning and photocopying requests, and processing collections, among numerous other requests. Throughout this school year we will be highlighting these students each week to showcase their interests and some of their favorite collections in our repository.

What is your Major/Minor? What is your career goal? : I have a goal to be a Sports Business Major with a career goal of one day working for a professional sports organization such as the NBA or MLB.

Why do you like working at Special Collections and University Archives?  I love working in SCUA because each day brings a new topic to research, and each day brings new surprises. It is never just a typical day in SCUA.

What is your Favorite item or collection in our repository?  My favorite item I have been asked to pull was the University of Oregon football records. Those were very intriguing to look up and they were of interest to me, as well as, the researcher.

What do you like to do in your spare time? I typically go to the gym or hang out with friends and my brothers of the Kappa Sigma fraternity.

Below is a historic image of some Kappa Sigma seniors (ca. 1930):

Kappa Sigma Seniors, ca. 1930. University Archive photographs; UA Ref 3.

Get to know other Student Workers here.


Newly Available Collection: Lane County Farmers Union Cooperative Warehouse Co. records

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

The Lane County Farmer’s Union Cooperative mill was built in 1923, primarily to process grain. The collection contains meeting minutes, reports, audits, ledgers, and pamphlets.

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Lane County Farmers Union Cooperative Warehouse Co. Records

Newly Available Collection: Howard Vincent Morgan papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

A native of Tillamook and the son of a fisherman, Howard Vincent Morgan (1914-2012) served in the Oregon state legislature, as Oregon’s Public Utilities Commissioner, as Federal Power Commissioner, and also chaired the Democratic Party of Oregon from 1952-1956. The collection contains Federal Power Commission files including correspondence, memoranda, and subject files, Oregon files that include Oregon Public Utilities Commissioner files, correspondence relating to Oregon matters, Morgan’s senatorial campaign files, biographical material, and printed matter.

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Guide to the Howard Vincent Morgan papers

Newly Available Collection: Morris Watson papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Morris Watson (1901-1972) was a reporter, labor leader and an active participant in progressive causes of the 1930s and 1940s. The collection contains records from Watson’s work with the Living Newspaper, the Newspaper Guild, the International Longshoremen’s & Warehouse Union, the American Labor Party, and the National Federation for Constitutional Liberties and includes play and radio manuscripts, correspondence, memos, speeches, articles, meeting minutes, committee reports, statements and conference materials, publications, publicity, publications, and photographs.

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Morris Watson papers

Newly Available Collection: Henry R. Stern papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Henry R. Stern (1874-1966) was a music composer and music publishing executive. The collection contains correspondence, music manuscripts, phonograph recordings, composition and copyright lists, biographical material, and scrapbooks.

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Guide to the Henry R. Stern Papers

Newly Available Collection: Boyd R. Overhulse papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Boyd R. Overhulse (1909-1966) became district attorney of Jefferson County, Oregon, served in the state House, 1951-1955, and also served as a Democrat in the state Senate, 1961-1965. The collection contains minutes and accompanying documents of Oregon State Senate committees on which Overhulse served, correspondence, and exhibit material.

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Guide to the Boyd R. Overhulse Papers

Newly Available Collection: Earl Conrad papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Earl Conrad (1912–1986) was an author who specialized in biographies and books about the African American experience and race relations, among other non-fiction books and criticisms. The collection contains manuscript material and published works, professional and personal correspondence, research materials, underground newspapers, teaching materials, reviews, publicity, and news clippings.

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Guide to the Earl Conrad papers

Newly Available Collection: Ruth MacLeod papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Ruth Macleod  was an author who wrote romance and true confession stories. The collection contains correspondence, manuscript material, research files, tearsheets, and Authors Guild bulletins.

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Guide to Ruth MacLeod Papers

Newly Available Collection: Harold Hanne Elarth papers

Tuesday, January 15th, 2013

Harold Hanne Elarth (b. 1885) was a U. S. Army officer who served in the Philippine Constabulary and rose to the rank of Lt. Col. The collection contains research for Elarth’s book on the Philippine Constabulary, Philippine Constabulary Officers Association history, a diary, letterpress copybooks, a Philippine Constabulary manual, photographs, and correspondence.

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Guide to the Harold Hanne Elarth Papers