The Oregon Pioneers oral histories were conducted in the summer of 1975 by Oregon State University students enrolled in J 407A Seminar: An Oral/Written History of Oregon Pioneers offered by the Journalism Department. The interviews were used to prepare a publication, Pioneers, published by the Journalism Department and the Summer Term Office that included articles on pioneers, the Yaquina Bay Life Saving Station, Philomath College, the Siletz Indians, Fort Hoskins, the Willamette River, regional railroads, Eddyville, and Chautauqua events in the area.
The Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection consists of 33 interviews conducted primarily in the summer of 1975 by Oregon State University students in a journalism seminar to document various aspects of local history from 1880 to 1929 in preparation for the United States bicentennial in 1976. All of the interviews were conducted in the summer of 1975 with the exception of the Helen Johnston interview, which was conducted in March 1976.
The following individuals were interviewed as part of the project: Edith E. (Peggy) Allworth, Virgil Avery, Mr. and Mrs. Harold Carey, Chester and Rita Chambers, Alice Coolidge, Chester Cosgrove, Catherine Ann Cracraft, William Payne, George Buxton, Ralph Schindler, F.A. and Violette Gilfillan, Dan S. Hart, Melvin S. Hawkins, George and Bessie Hughes, Minnie McMurtry, Ethel Morgan, Floyd Mullen, Bessie Murphy, Dale Propst, Winnie Propost, Robert E. Sommers, Robert Rilatos, Florence Adell Smith, T.J. Starker, A.L. and Mollie Strand, Beatrice Eddy Wilcox, Baird Woodcock, Violet Updike, Richard Andor Christiansen, Bertha A. King, Minerva Kiger Reynolds, and Helen Johnston. The name of an interviewee who discussed bootlegging in the area during Prohibition is not given.
The interviews describe Corvallis, Philomath, Kings Valley, Benton County, and the surrounding area (including Newport and Yaquina Bay) in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Topics include railroads and ferries, Corvallis businesses, the Fischer flour mill, logging and lumber mills, agriculture, Chautauqua events, pioneer families, and the Siletz Native Americans. A few of the interviews address topics relating to Oregon State University, such as the Memorial Union, the President's home on campus, and the name change from Oregon State College to Oregon State University.
Interviewers include Judith Carlson, Lorraine Charlton-Ruff, Janice Tiland, and Darrell Wolfe.
The collection includes both audiocassettes and transcripts for almost all (30) of the interviews. For two of the interviews (Robert E. Sommers and T.J. Starker), only transcripts are available. There is only a sound recording (no transcript) for the interview of Minerva Kiger Reynolds. Copies of the publication, Pioneers, that was prepared using in the interviews are also included in the collection.
Oregon Pioneers Oral History Collection (OH 01), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.