Helen M. Gilkey Papers, 1910-1974 PDF
- Gilkey, Helen M., 1886-1972.
- Helen M. Gilkey Papers
- 1910-1974 (inclusive)19101974
- 2.10 cubic feet, including 8 photographic prints, 6 photograph negatives, and 1 glass transparency., (7 boxes, including 1 oversize box)
- Collection Number
- MSS GilkeyH
- The Helen M. Gilkey Papers are comprised of materials generated and assembled by Helen Gilkey, an American mycologist, alumnus and professor of the Oregon State College Botany Department, and curator of the OSC Herbarium (1918-1951). The materials include personal and professional correspondence; notes, research materials, and drafts of publications authored by Gilkey; specimen photographs; and scientific illustrations created by Gilkey.
- Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
- Access Restrictions
This collection is open for research.
Biographical NoteReturn to Top
Helen Margaret Gilkey was born on March 6, 1886, in Montesano, Washington. She moved with her family to Corvallis in 1903. She received her bachelor's degree from Oregon Agricultural College in 1907 and her master's degree in 1911. Gilkey earned her PhD at the University of California Berkeley in 1915. After completing her doctoral work, she worked as a scientific illustrator at Berkeley until accepting a position as curator of the Herbarium and professor in the Botany Department at Oregon Agricultural College in 1918.
Gilkey remained at Oregon Agricultural College (later Oregon State College) until her retirement in 1951. During this time, she established herself as a leading authority on mycology with a particular emphasis on truffles (order Tuberales). Gilkey coauthored several books; produced more than 40 scientific publications; generated educational content for popular audiences; and was recognized for the quality of her scientific illustrations, which she created both for her own publications and those of other scientists and researchers. She also oversaw the development and growth of the OSC Herbarium, including the production of an unpublished history of the Herbarium.
She continued her research and writing efforts well into retirement and was recognized for her contributions to the field by various professional organizations including the Oregon Academy of Sciences and the Northwest Scientific Association. The genus of fungus, Gilkeya, is named in honor of her efforts. Gilkey passed away in 1972 and the age of 86.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The Helen M. Gilkey Papers are comprised of materials generated and assembled by Helen Gilkey while attending Oregon Agricultural College as a student and during her professional career at OAC (later Oregon State College). Much of the content generated by Gilkey focuses on plant identification, management of noxious weeds, and the study of Tuberales (predominantly truffles).
Much of the collection is comprised of correspondence with friends, colleagues, organizations, and members of the public, including numerous requests for assistance in plant identification. The collection also contains several research notebooks including record of a 1924 research trip to The Dalles, Oregon; notes comprised largely of species identification data and partial draft publications; specimen photographs; scientific illustrations created or traced by Gilkey using pencil, ink, and watercolors; documentation of research funding received by Gilkey; and materials recording the history of the greenhouses at Oregon State College from 1919-1960.
The collection also includes drafts and research materials related to Gilkey's publications, Tuberales of North America (1939) and Weeds of the Pacific Northwest (1957); her master's thesis "Oregon Mushrooms" (1911); numerous other scientific and popular publications; a notebook of botany-related poems; transcripts from several radio talks; and several articles and a memoir about Gilkey's life and work.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
Helen M. Gilkey Papers (MSS GilkeyH), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Series 1: Correspondence, 1910-1971Return to Top
Series 1 is comprised of correspondence between Gilkey and professional associates, publishers, Oregon State College (OSC) administrators, and representatives of various educational and research organizations. The majority of this correspondence relates to plant species identification, specimen exchanges, and sharing of professional literature and includes correspondence from both professional botanists and members of the general public, both within the United States and abroad.
While most of the correspondence is organized into general files by correspondent's name and date, several files document prolonged exchanges with friends and professional associates including Binford & Mort Publishing, Inc., Patricia Peck (Gilkey's friend and coauthor), and Morton Peck (founder of the Peck Herbarium at Willamette University).
Correspondence: B, 1923-1951
Correspondence: Binford & Mort, Publishers
Correspondence: Oregon State College Friends of the Library
Correspondence: Packard, Patricia
Correspondence: Peck, Morton and Jess
Correspondence: Washington Rhododendron Society, Inc.
Correspondence: Professional Organizations
Series 2: Research Materials, 1919-1964Return to Top
Series 2 includes materials collected and generated by Helen Gilkey for research purposes. The series consists of several notebooks and a collection of research notes comprised of species descriptions, partial draft manuscripts and typescripts of numerous publications, bibliographic notes, and sketches. Of particular note is a field notebook documenting Gilkey's travels through central and northern Oregon during the summer of 1924. The notebook details Gilkey's travel, social and professional interactions, presence of various weeds and other vegetation, agricultural activities in the area, character of the landscape, and observations of Native Americans from the Wapinitia area near The Dalles, Oregon,
The series also includes specimen photographs, many of which may have been taken by Gilkey and other collected materials used as reference sources, including photocopies, two photographs of Oregon dendrologist Oliver Matthews, and a hand-tinted illustration of Lilium Washingtonianum. Also present is a relatively large quantity of scientific illustrations created by Gilkey or traced from Edward's Botanical Register, including ink, pencil, and watercolor works. Some of the illustrations appear to have been prepared for publication, including two pages containing border illustrations for Willis Linn Jepson's Manual of Flowering Plants in California.
Also present is a small group of materials documenting research funding received by Gilkey from Oregon State College, the American Philosophical Society, the Mycological Society of America, and other organizations. Additionally, the series contains collected records of the OSC greenhouses, possibly as reference material for Gilkey's unpublished "History of Botany at Oregon State College."
Notebook: [Central Oregon Research Trip]
Notebook: "Miscellaneous Notes"
Notebook: [Species descriptions]
Scientific illustration tracings from Edward's Botanical Register
Scientific illustration reference materials
Oregon Agricultural College Greenhouse Facilities records
Series 3: Speeches and Written Works, 1911-1973Return to Top
Series 3 is comprised predominately of notes, correspondence, and drafts related to the production of numerous publications authored by Gilkey. Included are materials for two of Gilkey's books: Tuberales of North America and Weeds of the Pacific Northwest; a copy of Gilkey's master's thesis, "Oregon Mushrooms"; and several other publications mostly relating to Tuberales. The series also includes copies of a number of articles by Gilkey published in The Oregonian (many of which appeared as part of the "Outlawed Weeds" column) and transcripts of three radio talks given by Gilkey on truffles and plant identification.
Of particular note is a small notebook featuring more than a dozen one-stanza poems composed and hand-lettered by Gilkey. The poems are related to plant identification and appear to have been created as educational tools or mnemonic devices. The series also includes newsclippings about Gilkey's professional efforts and Dr. Helen Margaret Gilkey: Her Life, Her Family and Her Poems, a memoire edited and published by her sister, Beulah, which features other poetry by Gilkey.
Tuberales of North America
Weeds of the Pacific Northwest
"Thesis on Oregon Mushrooms," Oregon Agricultural College
"New or Otherwise Noteworthy Species of Tuberales"
"Taxonomic Notes on Tuberales"
"General Notes on the Tuberales, with a New Species of Tuber from Australia"
"History of Botany at Oregon State College"
"Truffles in America"
Articles published in The Oregonian
Articles and publications re: Helen Gilkey
Radio Talk: "Truffles in America," Phi Kappa Phi
|April 5, 1932|
Radio Talk: "Poisonous Plants, How to Recognize Them," KOAC
|May 24, 1956|
Radio Talk: [Species Identification]
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- Subject Terms :
- Botanical artists--Oregon--Corvallis.
- Botany--Research--Northwest, Pacific.
- Fungi--North America.
- Mycology--North America.
- Truffles--Northwest, Pacific.
- Weeds--Research--Northwest, Pacific.
- Personal Names :
- Gilkey, Helen M., 1886-1972.
- Corporate Names :
- Oregon State University. Department of Botany & Plant Pathology.
- Oregon State University. Herbarium.
- Form or Genre Terms :
- Botanical illustrations.
- Drawings (visual works)
- Film negatives.
- Glass transparencies.
- Photographic prints.
- Poetry--Women authors.
- Scientific illustrations (images)