College of Home Economics Oral Histories, 1968-1985

Overview of the Collection

Oregon State University. College of Home Economics.
College of Home Economics Oral Histories
1968-1985 (inclusive)
1983-1985 (bulk)
0.2 cubic feet, including 18 audiotapes and 8 photographs, (2 boxes)
Collection Number
OH 11
The College of Home Economics Oral Histories consist of sound recordings, transcripts, and related materials for 10 interviews conducted of Oregon State University home economics alumnae and retired faculty.
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: 5417372075
Fax: 5417378674
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The College of Home Economics at Oregon State University was established in 1889 as the Department of Household Economy and Hygiene and was the first such program west of the Rocky Mountains. The College merged with the College of Health and Human Performance in 2002 to form the College of Health and Human Sciences.

Margaret Fincke, Clara Storvick, and Gertrude Tank were faculty in the Foods and Nutrition Department. Fincke joined the Oregon State College faculty in 1935 to establish the research program in foods and nutrition. She was the first faculty member in the School of Home Economics to have a Ph.D.; she conducted research on the nutritional aspects of calcium, ascorbid acid, thiamin, and other vitamins. Fincke became head of the Foods and Nutrion Department in 1944 and served as Acting Dean in 1948-1949 and 1963-1965. She retired in 1969.

Clara Storvick became a faculty member at Oregon State in 1945 and specialized in vitamin B6 studies. She served as Director of the Nutrition Research Institute from 1965 until her retirement in 1972. Storvick died in 2004.

Dr. Gertrude Tank was in charge of a nationally known dental clinic in Philadelphia until 1953, when she became a faculty member in foods and nutrition at Oregon State College and a researcher in the Nutrition Research Institute. Her research focused on the effects of trace elements, especially fluoride, selenium, and ranadium, on dental caries. She retired in 1965 and died in 1984.

Betty Hawthorne was also a faculty member in the Foods and Nutrition Department from 1954 until her appointment as Dean of the School of Home Economics in 1965. She retired in 1983.

Laura Cleaveland taught elementary and high school before completing an MS in Institution Management at Oregon State in 1942. In 1946, she became Assistant Professor of Institution Economics and Supervisor of Food Service for the dormitories. Cleaveland retired in 1970.

Virginia Harger became Head of Institution Management in the School of Home Economics at Oregon State in 1967 and is a co-author of the textbook, Food Service in Institutions. Harger retired in 1978.

Lester Kirkendall came to Oregon State in 1949 as Professor of Family Life. He was one of the first sexuality educators in the United States and taught college-level courses on sexuality at Oregon State beginning in 1960. He retired from Oregon State University in 1969.

Mabel Pernot was the manager of the stockroom for the Department of Clothing, Textiles, and Related Arts from 1947 until her retirement in 1965. Pernot was born in Corvallis in 1900 and lived in Corvallis much of her life. She was the daughter of Emil F. Pernot, who taught photography classes at Oregon Agricultural College and was the first chair of the Bacteriology Department. Mabel Pernot died in 1991.

Esther Taskerud began her work at Oregon State as Assistant State 4-H Club Leader in 1947. She served as head of Home Economics Extension from 1963 to 1969 and retired in 1970. Taskerud earned a BS degree from South Dakota State University and an MA from Columbia University. She died in 1997.

LeVelle Wood attended Oregon Agricultural College from 1917 until 1921, when she earned a degree in home economics education. She taught in Monmouth, Oregon, and then completed her master's degreee at Teacher's College in New York City. Wood founded the Department of Institution Management at Kansas State University and was a faculty member at Ohio State University until her retirement in 1965. She co-authored Food Service in Institutions, published in 1938, with Virginia Harger and others.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The College of Home Economics Oral Histories consist of sound recordings, transcripts, signed releases, photographs, and related materials for interviews of home economics alumnae, faculty, and staff. The interviews were conducted by Oregon State University home economics students Yvonne Loso and Sheri Lowery in 1983-1984 and Juliana Kelsall in 1985 as Honors Program projects. Elaine Cull conducted the interview of Mabel Pernot. The interviews were conducted in preparation for the College's centennial celebration in 1989 and coincident with the 75th anniversary of the American Home Economics Association in 1984.

Loso and Lowery interviewed Margaret Fincke, Betty Hawthorne, Lester Kirkendall, Clara Storvick, Gertrude Tank, Esther Taskerud, and LeVelle Wood. Kelsall interviewed Laura Cleaveland and Virginia Harger. The interviews address a variety of topics including the interviewees' education and training; teaching, research, and administrative activities at Oregon State University; research, especially in foods and nutrition; experiences as women faculty and researchers; impressions and recollections of the changes and developments in home economics education generally and at Oregon State; and their international experiences in Israel, Japan, and Thailand.

The Pernot interview focuses primarily on her recollections of Margaret Snell.

The sound recordings are cassette tapes; the collection includes duplicate audiocassettes (two) of all the interviews except those of Laura Cleaveland and Esther Taskerud, for which there is only one audiocassette. Transcripts are included for all the interviews. Signed releases are included for the Cleaveland and Harger interviews. Photographs of several of the intervieweees are included with the transcripts. The collection also includes some correspondence from interviewees and biographical information.

The Esther Taskerud interview is available online.

The oral histories include a transcript of a presentation by Ava Milam Clark to the HEc 101 Orientation Class in 1968 in which she described her early years in home economics at Oregon State. The sound recording of this presentation is part of the College of Home Economics and Education Records (RG 141).

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

College of Home Economics Oral Histories (OH 11), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top

Acquisition Information

These oral histories were transferred from the College of Home Economics prior to 2001, when they were separated from the College of Home Economics and Education Records (RG 141) to form this separate collection.

Related Materials

Additional documentation of the instruction and extension programs of the College of Home Economics are available in the College of Home Economics and Education Records (RG 141) and Photographs (P 044) and numerous other collections of faculty and alumni. The Archives' collections include the papers of Ava Milam Clark, Betty Hawthorne, Clara A. Storvick, and Esther Taskerud. Oral histories of Ava Milam Clark (1956) and Margaret Fincke (1981) are part of the Horner Museum Oral History Collection (OH 10).

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Food service--Study and teaching--Oregon.
  • Home economics extension work--Oregon.
  • Home economics--International cooperation.
  • Home economics--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon.
  • Nutrition--Research.
  • Sex instruction.
  • Universities and colleges--Food service--Oregon--Corvallis.

Corporate Names

  • Oregon State College--Research.
  • Oregon State College. School of Home Economics.
  • Oregon State University--Research.
  • Oregon State University. Nutrition Research Institute.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Audiocassettes.
  • Oral histories (document genres)
  • Photographic prints.

Other Creators

  • Personal Names
    • Clark, Ava Milam, 1884-1976. (creator)
    • Cleaveland, Laura Mae. (interviewee)
    • Cull, Elaine M. (creator)
    • Fincke, Margaret Louise, 1900- (interviewee)
    • Harger, Virginia F. (interviewee)
    • Hawthorne, Betty Eileen. (interviewee)
    • Kelsall, Juliana. (creator)
    • Kirkendall, Lester Allen, 1903- (interviewee)
    • Loso, Yvonne. (creator)
    • Lowery, Sheri. (creator)
    • Pernot, Mabel. (interviewee)
    • Snell, Margaret Comstock, 1843-1923. (creator)
    • Storvick, Clara A. (Clara Amanda), 1906- (interviewee)
    • Tank, Gertrude. (interviewee)
    • Taskerud, Esther. (interviewee)
    • Wood, LeVelle. (interviewee)