Douglas C. Strain Papers, 1914-2007  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Strain, Douglas C.
Douglas C. Strain Papers
1914-2007 (inclusive)
1970-2000 (bulk)
16 cubic feet, including 850 photographs, 3 videotapes, and 1 DVD, (16 boxes)
Collection Number
MSS Strain
The Douglas C. Strain Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by Strain and document his establishment of Electro Scientific Industries (ESI) and professional and philanthropic activities as well as his family. Strain founded Electro Scientific Industries, a manufacturer of precision instrumentation and laser fabrication systems, in Portland, Oregon, in 1953. He was actively involved in a civic organizations and boards and supported a number of projects at Oregon higher education institutions, including Oregon State University.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.

Additional Reference Guides

Preliminary container list available online.


Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Douglas C. Strain was the founder, chairman, and CEO of Electro Scientific Industries (ESI) and was instrumental in the establishment of the high-technology and electronics industry in Oregon. After working as a design engineer for several southern California electronic and instrument companies, he founded Electro Measurements with his father, Clayton Strain, and several Cal Tech classmates in 1953. Strain retired as CEO in 1980, but continued as chairman, and later vice chairman, of the board until his full retirement in 1999.

Strain was active in a variety of professional, civic, and philanthropic organizations and received numerous honors and awards. He actively supported numerous higher education projects in Oregon, including building campaigns at Oregon State University and Portland State University, and was a member of the Pacific University Board of Trustees.

Douglas Campbell Strain was born in Spokane, Washington, in 1919 and lived in Idaho and California as a child. He graduated from Pasadena Junior College in 1941 and from California Institute of Technology in 1948. He died in Portland, Oregon, in 2008.

Douglas' parents, Clayton Preston Strain and Edith Crockatt Strain, both attended Agricultural College and earned BS degrees in 1915. His father, Clayton Strain, also earned an MS in Dairy Manufacturing in 1917. Clayton Strain and Edith Crockatt were married in 1918.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Douglas C. Strain Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by Strain and document his establishment of Electro Scientific Industries (ESI); his participation in professional, civic, and philanthropic activities; awards and honors he received; and his family. The papers include correspondence, newspaper clippings, notebooks, photographs, publications, reference materials, sound recordings, speeches, videotapes, and a DVD.

The collection includes annual reports, newsletters, board meeting minutes, and financial information for Electro Scientific Industries (ESI). Extensive materials pertaining to Strain's membership on various boards, including the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, Oregon Health Sciences University, Pacific University Board of Directors, American Committee for the College of the Cayman Islands, OSU Advisory Council for the Center for Advance Materials Research, City Club of Portland, and Oregon Innovation Network, are included. The reference materials address a variety of topics such as adoption of the metric system in the United States, nuclear power, business management, energy consumption, and health.

The photographs include about 700 color slides and 150 prints; these include self-portraits of Strain; images of family vacations, ESI employees, Douglas Strain as a child, and Clayton Strain's student years at Oregon Agricultural College; graphics prepared for metric education; and slide presentations by Strain. The sound recordings consist of 8 audiocassetes and one open reel audiotape pertaining to the history of Strain's family, the Harris Trust, and the 1969 Instrument Society of America conference. The videotapes include footage of a 1991 trip to Hawaii and the retirement of ESI employee Jack Burraston. A DVD documenting Strain's life and involvement in community organizations and philanthropy, The Everyday Philanthropist, includes interviews with Strain and his daughter.

Materials documenting Clayton Strain's student years at Oregon Agricultural College in the 1910s and his association with the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity and the Umatilla Club are also part of the collection. The papers also include Oregon State commencement programs and lists of alumni for class reunions.

A history of Electro Scientific Industries written by Marshall M. Lee in 1999 is part of the collection.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Douglas C. Strain Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Electronic industries--Oregon--Portland.
  • Fund raising--Oregon.
  • Student activities--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Universities and colleges--Oregon.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Lambda Chi Alpha.
  • Oregon State University--Alumni and alumnae.
  • Oregon Agricultural College--Students.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Audiocassettes.
  • Audiotapes.
  • DVDs.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Slides.
  • Videotapes.
  • Other Creators :
    • Personal Names :
    • Lee, Marshall M. (creator)
    • Strain, Clayton Preston. (creator)
    • Corporate Names :
    • Electro Scientific Industries, Inc. (creator)