Agricultural Experiment Station Records (RG 25)
1889-2002 (inclusive) 1889-1985 (bulk)
58 cubic feet and 44 reels of microfilm

Agricultural Experiment Station Director Arthur B. Cordley and Branch Station superintendents, ca. 1915. Cordley, third from the left, became Experiment Station Director in 1914. Picture, from left, are Harry A. Lindgren (Astor Branch Station), Ralph W. Allen (Umatilla Branch Station), Cordley, David E. Stephens (Sherman Branch Station), Leroy Breithaupt (Harney Branch Station), and Frank C. Reimer (Southern Oregon Branch Station). Not present were Robert Withycombe (Union Branch Station) and John R. Winston (Hood River Branch Station).
[OSU Archives #1537.]




Scope and Content Note

Consists of three subgroups, Station Administrative Records, Branch Station Records, and Research Records. Each subgroup has multiple series, most which are arranged chronologically.

Subgroup 1, Station Administrative Records, consists of fifteen series, the first four of which are on microfilm. Series I, Correspondence and Budget Reports, includes correspondence on a variety of administrative subjects, financial data from the 1960s, and information on regional research projects. Series II consists of Entomology Dept. course outlines form 1931. Series III includes newspaper clippings from the 1920s-1940s. Series IV consists of spray warnings from the 1930s and 1940s. Series V is the 1889 enabling legislation creating the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Annual and biennial reports from 1889 to the 1960s constitute series VI. Series VII contains general correspondence from the 1960s-1980s.

Series VIII includes administrative and other policies and procedures. Reviews of departments and programs conducted in the 1970s and 1980s are found in series IX. Series X and XI are Councils and Committees Records and Special Events and Celebrations Records, respectively. The former includes minutes from the earliest Station Council meetings. Series XII, Legislative Information, contains information packets about the Experiment Station compiled for the legislative budgetary process. Surveys and Studies, series XIII, consists of readership surveys and studies of support for agricultural research in Oregon. Series XIV contains general informational reports about the Experiment Station. Series XV is a scrapbook of information and advertisements from the 1920s about the Rockingham Farm.

Subgroup 2, Branch Station Records, consists of eighteen series, the first fifteen of which pertain to individual branch stations. Records are on microfilm and in paper form, and pertain to general administration, land and buildings, equipment, history, special projects and events, and relationships with other organizations and governmental agencies. Records of research projects conducted at branch stations can be found in Subgroup three, Series V, Research Projects Records. Series XVI consists of general and historical information on the branch stations compiled by the director's office. Series XVII includes information on branch stations that were proposed but never established. Series XVIII is a bound volume of early annual and biennial reports from several branch stations. Most reports can be found in the series for the individual branch station.

Subgroup 3, Research Records, contains the bulk of the records for the record group, some of which date back to the station's establishment in 1889. Series I-III pertain to experiments conducted by the Station Chemist from 1889 to the mid-1930s. Series IV includes annual lists of the station's research projects. Series V contains the Station's research project files, dating back to the first decade for this century up through 1980. They are organized into several sub-series: by project number, by department or by branch station. Records for a particular project occasionally are found in more than one subseries, and may be found in both paper an microfilm forms. Series VI includes recent information on sources of research funding. Series VII contains memos of understanding and agreement between the station and another organization (governmental agency, university, etc.) regarding specific research. Most memos of understanding and agreement can be found with the corresponding project records in series V. Series VIII includes information on new crop varieties developed and released by Oregon State University since 1949. Series IX includes a 1935 land use map for Oregon and soils maps for selected counties from the 1910s and 1920s.


New Accession, 2004

New Accessions, 2005

New Accessions, 2006 [multiple entries]

Historical Note

The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station was established under the provisions of the federal Hatch Act of 1887, which provided grants of $15,000 to each U.S. state and territory for experimentation in the "principles and applications of agricultural science." Agricultural experimentation began at Oregon Agricultural College in 1888 under Edgar Grimm, the Station's first director, and in 1889 state legislation was approved formally establishing the Experiment Station. That year, the Station published its first bulletin and the college farm was increased from 35 acres to 155 acres. Between 1889 and 1899, the Station published 58 bulletins and circulares on a variety of topics, many in response to farmers' questions.

By 1900, the success of the Station resulted in an expansion of programs and facilities. Farmers' institutes, begun in 1888, were continued and eventually helped lead to the establishment of the Oregon Extension Service in 1911. In 1900 cooperative work was begun with the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, and in 1906 the first demonstration train traveled the Willamette and Valley Columbia Basin. In 1901 the first Branch Station was established at Union, in northeast Oregon, to address issues pertaining to the agriculture in that part of the state. Over the next few years, Branch Stations were established throughout Oregon, at Hermiston & Moro (1909); Harney & Talent (1911); Hood River (1912); and Astoria (1913). Subsequently, Stations were established at Pendleton (1927); Medford (1931); Squaw Butte (1935); Klamath Falls (1937); Oregon City (1939); Powell Butte & Ontario (1947); Aurora (1957); and Newport (1989). The Oregon City and Astoria Branch Stations were closed in 1964 and 1973. Several other Branch Stations have been combined to form Research & Extension Centers.

Major achievements of the Station's first 50 years included a successful way to remove spray residues from fruit; introduction of new grain varieties; new methods for storing and marketing Oregon pears; control of various livestock diseases; development of the modern maraschino cherry; and poultry breeding for egg production. Since WWII, major research efforts have focused on improved crop varieties, mechanical harvesting techniques, replacements for petrochemicals, use of rangelands, and environmental issues, such as field burning.

Edgar Grimm served as first Station Director from 1888 until 1890. From 1890 to 1907, the college president served as Director, and included Benjamin L. Arnold, 1890-1892; John M. Bloss, 1892-1896; H.B. Miller, 1896-1897; Thomas M. Gatch, 1897-1907; and William J. Kerr, 1907. James Withycombe served as Director from 1908 to 1914. From 1914 through 1965, the Dean of the School of Agriculture served as Director, including A.B. Cordley, 1914-1920; James T. Jardine, 1920- 1931; William A. Schoenfeld, 1931-1950; and F.E. Price, 1950-1965. Since 1965, Station Directors have been assistant deans in the school, and have included G. Burton Wood, 1966-1975; John R. Davis, 1975-1985; Robert E. Witters (acting), 1985-1986; Steven L. Davis (acting), 1987; and Thayne Dutson, 1987-.

NOTE: For an in-depth history of the Experiment Station, see 100 Years of Progress: The Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station, Oregon State University, 1888-1988 (1990).


Related Materials

The College of Agricultural Sciences Dean's Office Records (RG 158) contain material pertaining to the Agricultural Experiment Station. Station annual reports for 1890-1920 are part of the annual/biennial reports of the college, located in the President's Office Records (RG 13). Research related materials can be located in the Research Office Records (RG 170). Other associated record groups include records of the Extension Service (RG 111); Extension and Experiment Station Communications (RG 69); and individual departments such as the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department (RG 128), the Bioresource Engineering Department (RG 1), and the Food Science and Technology Department (RG 176).

Related photograph (P) groups include Agriculture (P 40); College of Agricultural Sciences (P 36); Agricultural Communications (P 120); Agricultural Experiment Station (P 29); Experiment Station Publications (P 132); Extension Service (P 62); Robert W. Henderson (P 98); Station Bulletin Illustrations (P 19); and collections for individual departments, especially Horticulture (P 90).

The Archives' holdings include the G. Burton Wood Papers and all the publication series produced by the Agricultural Experiment Station. Several Memorabilia Collection (MC) files pertain to the Experiment Station.


Shelf Locations

8/3/8/10-8/3/2/60
8/1/10/13
8/1/3/10-50
9/4/6/40-60; 9/4/7/10-60
10/1/4/10
4/2/9/51
7/1/1/c (12x17 oversize box)
oversize drawer 2
microfilm cabinets


Subgroup and Series Outline


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