Classes in horticulture were taught at Oregon State University as early as 1874 by B.J. Hawthorne. The Department of Horticulture and Botany was established in 1888. By 1909, the Horticulture Department had been formalized as part of the School of Agriculture.
The Oregon State Horticultural Society was formed in 1885 and incorporated in 1909 as an educational organization working for the advancement of horticulture. The staff of the Horticulture Department at OSU were closely associated with the society from its beginnings. The society's secretary was traditionally the extension horticulturalist.
Claude Isaac Lewis was a Professor of Horticulture at Oregon Agricultural College from 1905 until 1920. Henry Hartman joined the horticulture faculty in 1919 as a pomologist; he served as a Professor of Horticulture until his retirement in 1960.
The Horticulture Department Records document the teaching, research, and extension activities in horticulture at Oregon State University and consist primarily of correspondence, reports, and administrative records. The Departmental Records (Subgroup 1), specifically the General File (Series I) comprises the bulk of the collection. The General File consists of microfilmed and paper records which are primarily arranged by year and includes correspondence, reports, research agreements, minutes, and related materials. In addition to curriculum and instruction, the records document research and extension programs pertaining to fruits and nuts, vegetable crops, nurseries and ornamental plants, Christmas trees, and weed control. Interactions between the Horticulture Department and Oregon commodity commissions for strawberries, caneberries, sweet cherries, filberts, and other products are documented. Of particular note are records of the Table Wine Research Advisory Board. Cooperative extension and research activities between Oregon, Washington, and Idaho are reflected in records of Tri-State programs and task forces. Materials pertaining to the landscape architecture academic program and curriculum are included as well as campus greenhouses and campus planning and grounds maintenance. Preliminary sketches submitted by John Bennes in 1917 for the Horticultural Products Building are also included in the collection.
The records include extensive correspondence files from the 1950s-1960s for several horticulture faculty, including S.B. Apple, Jim R. Baggett, A.G.B. Bouquet, O.C. Compton, Garvin Crabtree, Harry Lagerstedt, W.A. (Tex) Frazier, and M.N. Westwood.
Subgroup 1 also includes minutes, correspondence, and newsletters of the Oregon State Horticultural Society for the 1950s-1960s; reports by horticulture faculty, a 1975 comprehensive department review, and horticultural weed control reports; and reports of grower leaf analyses conducted by the Plant Analysis Laboratory. The grower leaf analysis reports are for the time period 1964-1975. They consist of plant analysis information sheets submitted by the grower and reports of the tissue analysis done by the Plant Analysis Laboratory. The primary use of the records was to determine and document nutrient levels in leaf samples submitted by growers and provide suggestions for improvement; the secondary use was to trace nutrient levels in different geographical areas and by growers. Most of the samples are for fruit and nut trees. The records are arranged alphabetically by county and thereunder by grower. Samples from several Washington counties (Klickitat, Skamania, and Walla Walla) are also included.
Subgroup 2 consists primarily of microfilmed records of materials generated by Henry Hartman. Of particular note are recommendations regarding land and water conservation and use prepared in the late 1940s and early 1950s; courses and lectures on camouflage given by Hartman during World War II; and several reports by Hartman on Oregon pears.
Subgroup 3 consists of microfilmed reports and correspondence from the Horticulture Department to Oregon Agricultural College President, W.J. Kerr, submitted in 1908-1914. These pertain to horticultural research and extension activities; experiment station research and the establishment of branch stations; horticulture facilities, including the campus greenhouses; faculty and staffing; instruction; and campus planning, improvements, and landscaping. Most of the reports were prepared by department chair, C.I. Lewis.
Horticulture Department Records (RG 187), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.