Robert W. Henderson Papers, 1933-2003  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Henderson, Robert W. (Robert Wesley), 1914-
Robert W. Henderson Papers
1933-2003 (inclusive)
1933-1980 (bulk)
10 cubic feet, including 650 photographs, 128 sound recordings, 4 films, and 1 video, (11 boxes, including 1 oversize box)
Collection Number
MSS Henderson
The Robert W. Henderson Papers document Henderson's student years at Oregon State College; his work with Kasetsart University in Thailand; his resarch as a plant breeder and an Assistant Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station; his long-time interest in photography; and the slide presentations he developed about OSU agricultural research. Henderson graduated from Oregon State College in 1938 and served as a faculty member and administrator at OSU from 1946 until his retirement in 1976.
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.

Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Bob Henderson’s connection with OSU spanned more than 70 years from 1933, when he enrolled as a freshman from Hermiston, until his death in early 2006. During this time he served student body president in 1937-1938, earned a BS in agronomy in 1938, and served as a Farm Crops faculty member and Assistant Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station from 1946 until his retirement in 1976. Henderson completed a masters degree at Cornell University and a Ph.D. in plant genetics at the University of Minnesota in 1949.

Henderson was an avid photographer and carried a camera wherever he went on or off campus; he was well-known throughout Oregon for his slide prsenations to schools and clubs on OSU's agricultural research. His 30-year retirement was an active one as he became known for his expertise in numismatics, participated in Triad Club and other OSU activities, and continued as a ubiquitous photographer.

Alice Welbes graduated from Oregon State College in 1937. She and Henderson married in 1938.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Robert W. Henderson Papers document Henderson’s research as a plant breeder, including his work at the University of Minnesota during World War II to domesticate the Russian Dandelion (Kok-Saghyz) as an emergency source of natural rubber; his role as Chief Advisor for the cooperative research program between Oregon State College and Kasetsart University in Thailand in the late 1950s and early 1960s; his long-time interest in photography; and the slide presentations about OSU agricultural research that he developed and presented throughout the state.

The papers include biographical information, correspondence, research notes, photographs, architectural drawings, newspaper clippings, notebooks, photographs, publications, slide show scripts, speeches, sound recordings, and films as well as student memorabilia and other ephemera. The photographs primarily depict Henderson's Russian dandelion research; images of the OSU greenhouses, the Junior Agricultural Research Scientists’ Institute on campus, and a retirement reception for Dean Earl Price are also included.

The sound recordings include Henderson's slide presentations, Magic of Research, Scientists at Work, Benton County Country, and This is Oregon State; Experiment Station public service announcements; interviews with OSU faculty Warren Kronstad, Boersma, Wilber Cooney, John Bieber, and OSU President Robert MacVicar; special events such as the Marine Science Center dedication and an OSU Marching Band performance at Candlestick Park in San Francisco; and agricultural topics such as animal waste disposal, the Willamette airshed, the protein value of pork, and the Oregon beef industry; an interview with Governor Tom McCall; Triad Club meetings; and testimony before a 1975 legislative committee

One motion picture film includes footage from a Junior Agricultural Research Scientists' Institute (JARSI) workshop. "Home is Where the Heart Is" is a videotape interview of Bob and Alice Henderson made by their daughter, Alice Rampton in 1993-1994 at several locations on campus and at various houses where the Hendersons lived in Corvallis. The interview documents the Hendersons' student days, their early married years, neighbors connected with the university, household wares, and Bob's teaching career.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Robert W. Henderson Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Agriculture--Research--Oregon.
  • Agriculture--Research--Thailand.
  • College students--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Kok-saghyz.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Mahāwitthayālai Kasētsāt.
  • Oregon State College. Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • Oregon State College--Students.
  • Oregon State University. Agricultural Experiment Station.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Corvallis (Or.)
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Architectural drawings.
  • Film negatives.
  • Motion pictures (visual works)
  • Photographic prints.
  • Sound recordings.