The Soap Creek Valley History Project was initially authorized in 1989 by Dr. William Atkinson, Director of the Oregon State University Research Forests. Funding for the project was provided by the Oregon State University College of Forestry. The project included the transcription and publication of interviews conducted before 1989 as well as conducting new interviews which were published as a series of monographs.
All of the new interviews done in 1989-1991 were conducted by Bob Zybach, who also provided oversight for transcription and publication of the interviews. Zybach earned a BS in Forest Recreation Management in 1991; a Master of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies in Forest Ecology, Cultural Anthropology, and Historical Archeology in 1999; and a Ph.D. in Environmental Sciences in 2003 -- all from Oregon State University.
The Soap Creek Valley History Project Oral Histories consist of oral histories conducted primarily in 1989-1991 by the Oregon State University Research Forests to better understand the history, ecology, and culture of the Soap Creek Valley in Benton County, Oregon. The collection consists of published transcripts of 12 interviews. Sound recordings (audiocassettes) for 5 of the interviews are also part of the collection. Transcript drafts, corrrespondence, and related materials are included.
Interviews with the following individuals are included: Wanda Marcks Cook, Donald Dickey, Paul M. Dunn, Lorna Grabe, Eugene Glender, James Hanish, Bessie Murphy, Charlie Olson, Velma Carter Rawie, John Jacob and Wilma Rohner, Edward Sekermestrovich, and Neil Vanderburg. Topics addressed in the interviews include farming and ranching, the Soap Creek School, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) camp at Camp Arboretum, and logging practices and saw milling. The interview with Velma Carter Rawie provides information about the town of Wells, Oregon, which was acquired in 1942 by the federal government as part of Camp Adair. Bessie Murphy's interview describes the native plants and flora of the Crescent Valley area of Benton County.
The interviews of Paul M. Dunn were conducted by Royal G. Jackson and Jennifer Lee in 1978-1979; Jackson also conducted, with Karen Thomas, the interview with Edward Sekermestrovich in 1980. The remainder of the interviews in the collection were done by Bob Zybach with the assistance of Judy Carlson, Marlene Finley, Phil Hays, Jan Meranda, Kevin Sherer, Angela Sondenaa, Neil Vanderburg, and George Wisner.
Soap Creek Valley History Project Oral Histories (OH 06), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.