Charles Wagner Willamette Valley flax industry photographs, 1941-1946  PDF

Overview of the Collection

Photographer
Charles, Wagner
Title
Charles Wagner Willamette Valley flax industry photographs
Dates
1941-1946 (inclusive)
Quantity
0.36 cubic feet, (54 photographs in 1 box)
Collection Number
Org. Lot 452
Summary
Charles Wagner, manager of the Oregon Insurance Rating Bureau (later the Pacific Fire Insurance Rating Bureau), made the 5 x 7 inch glossy prints to document the value of harvested crops, storage and processing buildings, and harvesting and processing equipment. The images show the Willamette Valley flax industry at its height, including plants at Canby, Corvallis, Dayton, Harrisburg, Irving, Monroe, Mount Angel, Santiam, Silverton, Springfield, St. Paul, and Washington County.
Repository
Oregon Historical Society, Davies Family Research Library
Davies Family Research Library
Oregon Historical Society
1200 SW Park Avenue
Portland, OR
97205
Telephone: 503-306-5240
Fax: 503-219-2040
libreference@ohs.org
Access Restrictions

The collection is open to the public.

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


Historical NoteReturn to Top

Flax was grown at least by 1844 in the Willamette Valley. A flax oil mill was established at Salem in 1867, and the first flax-spinning mill was operating at Albany by the 1870s. An exhibit of Oregon flax won the bronze medal and certificate of merit at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition in 1876. By the 1890s, the U.S. Department of Agriculture was touting Oregon and Washington as good flax growing areas; however, costly hand labor required to harvest and process it and competition with European producers limited flax production.

In 1915, the state of Oregon built a flax processing plant at the state penitentiary in Salem, and this plant became known as the State Flax Industry. The state joined the Works Progress Administration to construct three cooperative processing plants at Springfield, Canby, and Mount Angel in 1936. Six processing plants and two spinning mills were operating in Oregon by 1941, and production reached its peak during World War II, with increased demand and reduced access to European flax. More processing plants were built to meet the demand, but the industry declined following the war.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

Charles Wagner, manager of the Oregon Insurance Rating Bureau (later the Pacific Fire Insurance Rating Bureau), made the 5 x 7 inch glossy prints to document the value of harvested crops, storage and processing buildings, and harvesting and processing equipment. The images show the Willamette Valley flax industry at its height, including plants at Canby, Corvallis, Dayton, Harrisburg, Irving, Monroe, Mount Angel, Santiam, Silverton, Springfield, St. Paul, and Washington County. Two images are annotated on their faces with the dollar values of stored flax.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

The Oregon Historical Society is the owner of the materials in the Research Library and makes available reproductions for research, publication, and other uses. Written permission must be obtained from the Research Library before any reproduction use. The Society does not necessarily hold copyright to all of the materials in the collections. In some cases, permission for use may require seeking additional authorization from the copyright owners.

Preferred Citation

Charles Wagner Willamette Valley flax industry photographs, Org. Lot 452,Oregon Historical Society Research Library

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

The following section contains a detailed listing of the materials in the collection.

Series A:  Flax plants, 1941-1943Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/1
Canby, Or.
1942
1/2
Corvallis, Or.
Furnace
1941
1/3
Dayton, Or.
Construction, retting tanks, and flax storage
1942
1/4
Harrisburg (Or.) Flax Growers Association
Interior, exteroir, and equipment
1942-1943
1/5
Irving, Or.
Interior, exteriors, and conveyor to retting tanks
1942
1/6
Monroe, Or.
Storage buildings and retting tanks
1942
1/7
Mount Angel, Or.
Exterior, interior, equipment, storage buildings, flax drying, and a stack of flax with the insurance valuation, “$81,000,” hand inked on the stack
1942
1/8
Santiam (Or.) Flax Growers Association
Construction, exteriors, interior
1943
1/9
Silverton, Or.
Exteriors, interiors, equipment, and flax storage
1942
1/10
Springfield, Or.
Exterior, interior, equipment
1942
1/11
St. Paul, Or.
Exteriors, interior, drying, and storage, including a stack of flax with the insurance valuation, “$38,000.00,” hand inked on the image
1941-1942
1/12
Washington County (Or.) Flax Growers
Exteriors
1943

Series B:  Equipment, 1946Return to Top

Container(s) Description Dates
Box/Folder
1/13
Portable flax puller
1946

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

  • Subject Terms :
  • Flax industry--Oregon--St. Paul--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Canby--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Corvallis--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Dayton--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Harrisburg--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Irving--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Monroe--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Mount Angel--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Santiam River Valley--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Silverton--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Springfield--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Washington County--Photographs.
  • Flax industry--Oregon--Willamette River Valley--Photographs.
  • Textile fiber industry--Oregon--Photographs.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Photographic prints.