Gerald W. Williams Ephemera Collection, 1866-2008

Overview of the Collection

Williams, Gerald W.
Gerald W. Williams Ephemera Collection
1866-2008 (inclusive)
1900-1999 (bulk)
3.00 cubic feet, (8 boxes, including 2 oversize boxes)
Collection Number
MSS WilliamsEphemera
The Gerald W. Williams Ephemera Collection consists of printed ephemera, documents, and objects assembled and acquired by Williams in the course of his work as a Forest Service sociologist and historian and due to his avocational interest in the history of forestry as a science and profession and the regional history of the Pacific Northwest.  Many of the materials in the collection were created or produced by the U.S. Forest Service.  Gerald Williams worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 to 2005 as a sociologist (1979-1998) and historian (1998-2005).
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.

English, Spanish;Castilian

Biographical NoteReturn to Top

Gerald W. Williams worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1979 until his retirement in 2005. From 1979 to 1993, he was a sociologist with the Umpqua and Willamette National Forests in Oregon; in 1993-1998, he served as the regional sociologist for the Pacific Northwest Regional Office in Portland; and from 1998 until his retirement in 2005 he was the national historian for the U.S. Forest Service in Washington, D.C.

Williams designed and implemented a regional and national history program for the Forest Service which culminated in his appointment as national historian, and his authorship of the centennial history of the Forest Service, The USDA Forest Service -- The First Century, in 2000. He has published more than 75 books, chapters, book reviews, and articles and conference papers exploring a variety of historical topics such as the Native American use of fire to manage environments, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the U.S. Army's Spruce Production Division during World War I.

Williams is a native of Oregon and earned degrees from Southern Oregon University (B.A., Sociology; M.A. General Studies Social Science) and Washington State University (Ph.D., Sociology).  Gerald W. ("Jerry") Williams died on January 3, 2019.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Gerald W. Williams Ephemera Collection consists of printed ephemera, documents, and objects assembled and acquired by Williams in the course of his work as a Forest Service sociologist and historian and due to his avocational interest in the history of forestry as a science and profession and the regional history of the Pacific Northwest. The bulk of the collection is comprised of Forest Service signs and markers, and 3-dimensional artifacts and objects. Of particular note is a board game, The Amazing Forest Management Game, created by Joyce C. Ulbrich in 1982. The collection also includes postcards, record-keeping tools for fieldwork by Forest Service employees, items pertaining to forest fire prevention, documents, and various printed items.  Of special note are General Land Office Inspector’s Reports detailing the performance of forest rangers in Oregon and sample homestead applications. The printed materials include political cartoons and numerous items commemorating U.S. Forest Service anniversaries, especially the centennial in 2005. A poster ordering the evacuation of Japanese Americans in the Los Angeles area in 1942 is part of this collection.

Many of the materials in the collection were created or produced by the U.S. Forest Service. Several items created in collaboration with the Oregon Department of Forestry and the Keep Oregon Green Association are also part of the collection.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Gerald W. Williams Ephemera Collection (MSS WilliamsEphemera), Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The Gerald W. Williams Ephemera Collection is arranged in 8 series: 1. Signage, 1894 - circa 1990s; 2. Artifacts, circa 1930s-1990s; 3. Postcards, 1908-2008; 4. First Day Covers and Commemorative Stamps, 1934-2001; 5. U.S. Forest Service Tools for Fieldwork, 1907-1979; 6. Forest Fire Prevention, circa 1920s-2000s; 7. Documents, 1866-1952; and 8. Other Printed Ephemera, 1873-2008.

Acquisition Information

These materials were acquired by the former University Archives and the Special Collections and Archives Research Center in multiple accessions in 2007-2016.  They were originally described as a component of the Gerald W. Williams Collection (MSS WilliamsG) and were separated for description as this collection in 2017.

Related Materials

The core of Gerald Williams' research materials are maintained as the Gerald W. Williams Papers (MSS WilliamsG).  Other materials that were collected by Williams have been described as separate collections, some of which have overlap of format or subject matter with this collection:  Gerald W. Williams Collection on Smokey Bear (MSS Smokey)Gerald W. Williams Collection of Forestry and Northwest History Publications (MSS WilliamsPubs); and Gerald W. Williams Regional Albums (P 303).

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holds other collections with various ephemeral items, including the Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC), Oregon Multicultural Communities Research Collection (MSS OMCRC), Queer History Research Collection (MSS QHRC), and the Brewing and Fermentation Research Collection (MSS BFRC).

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1:  Signage, 1894 - circa 1990sReturn to Top

Series 1 consists predominantly of signs created by the U.S. Forest Service to indicate forestland boundaries, provide warnings and caution to forest users, and deliver information. The signs are printed on paperboard, metal, cloth, and plastic. The series also includes a few signs generated by other organizations, including the Keep Oregon Green Association. Some of the signs have been used; others are new.

Container(s) Description Dates
Notices posted by the U.S. Forest Service to indicate closed wildlife areas; equipment prohibited in a streamside area; wildlife trees; fire tools; and areas closed to grazing. Notices to hunters, campers, and smokers are included. The notices are printed on paper, plastic, and metal.
circa 1930s-1990s
Metal Notices
These metal notices identify U.S. Forest Service property, campgrounds, public service sites, and administrative areas. Signs for road closures are also included.
circa 1940s-1970s
These signs mark boundaries of thinning units, sale areas, natural areas, National Forests, private property, range allotments, and experimental areas.
Old Growth Forest
This undated sign delineates "Old-Growth Forest Managed for its unique natural value". The plastic sign was printed in Tacoma, Washington.
circa 1990s
Markers used to indicate bearing trees, subdivision locations, and wildlife trees. Also includes metal U.S. Forest Service insignia.
circa 1950s-1980s
Keep Oregon Green
Metal sign "Prevent Forest Fires: Keep Oregon Green".
Pacific Crest Trail
Trail marker for the Pacific Crest Trail, a National Scenic Trail.
Signs and Banner
Includes a banner commemorating the 1991 centennial of national forests; a photocopy of an 1894 notice that lands have been set aside as a Forest Reservation; a 1993 sign warning of abandoned mine hazards in English and Spanish; and Keep Oregon Green signs warning of extreme fire hazard.
Caution and Prohibited Signs
These signs indicate closures of Forest Service lands; provide caution for blasting, and prohibit shooting or off-road vehicles. A notice regarding protection of historic and pre-historic artifacts or structures is also included.
circa 1950s-1990s
Cloth Signs
Notices and announcements printed on cloth. Several of the notices were created during the period that James Wilson was Secretary of Agriculture. Wilson's term as Secretary ended in 1913.
circa 1910s
Campground Signs
Indicate sleeping areas, picnic areas, and limits on number of campers.
Fire Prevention Signs
Signs regarding fire prevention for hunters, anglers, campers, motorcyclists, and smokers. One of the signs is specifically for Pisgah National Forest in North Carolina.
circa 1930s - 1970s

Series 2:  Artifacts, circa 1930s-1990sReturn to Top

Series 2 consists of 3-dimensional objects and artifacts, primarily pertaining to the U.S. Forest Service.  Of note is a board game, The Amazing Forest Management Game; commemorative pins of the World War II Aircraft Warning Service; and other commemorative pins, patches, and coins.

Container(s) Description Dates
5.1: Blue Forest Service Flag from Region 10
May 1980
5.2: USDA Forest Service Pacific Northwest Research Station Portfolio
circa 1980
5.3: The Amazing Forest Management Game
A board game developed by Joyce C. Ulbrich for 2-8 players to learn about and gain experience with woodlot management, timber harvesting, and other aspects of forestry.
5.4: U.S. Army Air Force Aircraft Warning Service banner and pins
Blue felt banner with pins recognizing volunteer service in the civilian Aircraft Warning Service during World War II.
circa 1943
6: 3-D Artifacts
The objects include patches, a mail tag for Timberline Lodge in the Mt. Hood National Forest, a spike, commemorative lapel pins and coins; nametags for Gerald Williams, Jerry Williams, Joyce E. Casey, and Joyce Casey Ulbrich; and other ephemeral items pertaining to the U.S. Forest Service.
circa 1930s - 1990s

Series 3:  Postcards, 1908-2008Return to Top

Series 3 consists of postcards of tourist sites in the United States and Canada, primarily the western United States. It includes souvenir folders of postcards of Florida; Vancouver, British Columbia; the Shasta Route from San Francisco to Portland; Glacier-Waterton National Parks; and Spokane, Washington as well as several individual postcards from the Grey Towers National Monument in Milford, Pennsylvania. Of special note are postcards received by Captain George Frissell and Mrs. George Frissell in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon.

Container(s) Description Dates
Postcards of tourist sites in the United States and Canada, with the majority from the western United States. Includes a souvenir folder for the Shasta Route of the Southern Pacific Railroad from San Francisco to Portland; a booklet of cards for Vancouver, British Columbia (The Pacific Gateway of Canada); and a 1995 book of postcards, Clearcut: The Tragedy of Industrial Forestry, published by the Foundation for Deep Ecology.
circa 1920s-1990s
Postcards of tourist sites in the United States and Canada, including several postcards from the Theodore Roosevelt National Forest and the Grey Towers National Monument. The folder also includes souvenir folders of postcards from Florida, Glacier-Waterton National Parks, and Spokane, Washington. A postcard commemorating the 2008 election of Barack Obama is also included.
circa 1940s - 2008
Postcards to Frissells
Postcards received by Captain George Frissell and Mrs. George Frissell in McKenzie Bridge, Oregon from family and friends.
Souvenir Envelopes and Stationary
Featuring Vista House at Crown Point and Portland, Oregon.
circa 1920s
Collectible Postcard Clubs and Shows
For events in Portland, Oregon, and Seattle, Washington.
Include Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams, and the McKenzie River Basin.
circa 1915 - 2000

Series 4:  First Day Covers and Commemorative Stamps, 1934-2001Return to Top

Series 4 consists of first day covers for commemorative postage stamps. Most of the covers are for stamps issued by the U.S. Postal Service, however, stamps commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bureau of Forestry in the Philipines are also included. First day covers commemorating national parks, the centennial of the Oregon Territory (1948) and Oregon statehood (1959), John Muir, and conservation topics are also part of the series.

Container(s) Description Dates
Waterfowl Festival

Series 5:  U.S. Forest Service Tools for Fieldwork, 1907-1979Return to Top

Series 5 consists of forms, procedures, and tools for fieldwork by U.S. Forest Service employees, especially in the Pacific Northwest. Of special note is a completed field notebook that served as a daily diary for a unit ranger in California.

Container(s) Description Dates
Measurement Templates
Forms and tools for recording measurements of trees in plot surveys and determining fire acreage from fly-overs.
Plot Procedure and Forest Type Classification, prepared by Pacific Northwest Forest and Range Experiment Station in 1956 and 1957; Field Procedures for Forest Inventories in Oregon and Washington, 1960.
Blank Field Notebooks
Circa 1940s-1950s.
Law Enforcement Field Information Guide - Southwestern Region
Forest Service Notebook with Blank Forms
U.S. Forest Service notebook with blank forms, note paper, and tables for determining volume of lumber from timber stands of certain trees by region --such as Douglas fir in western Oregon and Washington, western red cedar in Idaho, western yellow pine in Klamath County, and western larch in Montana. The blank forms are for reports on conditions of a special use area and transfers of property. The leather notebook is labeled "Benecke" on the front cover.
Diary of Big Tujunga Unit Ranger
This diary includes daily entries of the ranger's activities and indicates the amount of time spent on fire prevention, pre-suppression, and suppression tasks. The Tujunga Unit was part of the Angeles National Forest near Los Angeles, California.

Series 6:  Forest Fire Prevention, circa 1920s-2000sReturn to Top

Series 6 consists of printed ephemera promoting forest fire prevention and includes brochures, booklets, broadsides, decals, bookmarks, and postcards.  Items from the 1920s-1930s promote care with smoking and campfires in the forests; items from the 1940s emphasize that carelessness in the forests result in fires that "aid the Axis" powers.  Smokey Bear and Woodsy Owl are prominent in materials from the 1950s through 2000s.  Many of the items were produced in collaboration with state agencies, such as the Oregon Department of Forestry.  Of note is a blank citation form, signed by Regional Forester H.J. Andrews, that was awarded to civilians who participated in the Forest Service Reserves and protected the National Forests of the Pacific Northwest from fire during World War II.

Container(s) Description Dates

Series 7:  Documents, 1866-1952Return to Top

Series 7 consists of individual documents assembled by Williams.  Most of the items date from the early 1900s and document operations of the General Land Office, especially with regard to inspection and supervision of the work of foresters.  The series also includes sample homestead applications for lands in the national forests.

Container(s) Description Dates
Envelopes and Registered Mail Notices
Envelopes for mail sent to Gifford Pinchot, the District Forester in Portland, and the U.S. Chief Forester among others.
General Land Office Inspector's Reports
Two reports from the Forest Inspector in Portland, Oregon, to the General Land Office in Washington, D.C. In one report, the Inspector details that Ranger J.R. Wick has "not been performing service for the government, but has been performing service to others on his account" during the time he has been on the government payroll. The second report pertains to a visit to Superintendent W.H.H. Dufur of the north division of the Cascade Forest and Bull Run Reserve.
Homestead Applications
One blank application form and a completed application submitted by Mrs. J.E. Miller for land in the Sequoia National Forest in Kern County, California, in 1909.
Letter to M.J. Anderson
The first page only of a multi-page letter to M.J. Anderson, through Forest Inspector D.D. Branson regarding concerns with Anderson's work in the Cascade Forest Reserve.
circa 1904
Letter to Receiver of Public Moneys
A letter from the Assistant Secretary of the Treasury Department in Washington, D.C. to A.B. Thomson, the Receiver of Public Moneys in LaGrande, Oregon, pertaining to a request for duplicate receipts for the sales of public lands. Also includes the envelope and a deposit certificate.
Resettlement Administration Receipt
Receipt issued to Neill Sherman of Gilman City, Missouri.
Stock Certificate
For 100 shares of capital stock in the Little Miami Railroad Company.
Portion of Letter
One page of an undated letter; perhaps from the General Land Office to Mr. Aschoff.
circa 1905
General Land Office Patent
An 1877 patent from the General Land office for lands granted to Nathanial Sawyer and William Minter, as recorded in the Records of Virginia Military Patents held by the General Land Office.
General Land Office Receipt
Receipt for funds received from May A. Berndt of Rothiemay, Montana.
General Land Office Patent
Land patent issued to Doddridge Harrel and his wife Miriam Harrel for a land claim of 320 acres in Linn County, Oregon.
Charter Membership Certificate
Certificate issued to R.K. Helphenstine, Jr. recognizing "pioneer work" as a U.S. Forest Service employee and employment with the Forest Service at the time of its establishment in 1905; presented in 1955 during the 50th anniversary year of the Forest Service.
Forest Service Documents and Correspondence
Includes a 1917 application for the Twentieth Engineers (Forest); a 1921 letter from the Harney National Forest Supervisor regarding the telephone system; and two reproduced memoranda (1923 and 1925) to Forest Service employees in the North Pacific District regarding Forest Protection Week and cut-over areas in the western yellow pine region.
Cascadians Membership Card
A membership card for Alice Holmes in the Cascadians, a mountaineering club in Yakima, Washington.
Letter from U.S. Senator Guy Cordon
To Hugh C. Mitchell of the Oregon State Fish Commission regarding Charles L. McNary.

Series 8:  Other Printed Ephemera, 1873-2008Return to Top

Series 8 consists of variety of printed ephemeral items pertaining to forestry, Native Americans, and local history of the Pacific Northwest that were assembled by Williams. In addition to excerpts and clipping from late-19th to mid-20th century national publications, this series includes a promotional railroad publication about Oregon published in 1912, materials from several U.S. Forest Service anniversaries, and engravings of iconic Oregon scenes. Of special note is a 1942 Japanese American evacuation poster for the Los Angeles area.

Container(s) Description Dates
Political Cartoons
Clippings and photocopies of political cartoons pertaining to salmon restoration, climate change, the spotted owl, Smokey Bear and fire prevention, and multiple uses of forest lands.
Anniversary Items
Brochures, pamphlets, and other printed items for the Forest Service centennial in 2005; the silver (25th) anniversary of the Manistee National Forest (Michigan) in 1958; and the 40th (1945); 50th (1955), and 75th (1980) anniversaries of the U.S. Forest Service.
Brochures and Pamphlets
Includes various brochures and pamphlets pertaining to Forest Service activities and programs, especially focused on the Pacific Northwest Region. Also of note are a brochure of the Canada Forest Accord; a 1989 management philosophy for the U.S. Forest Service; and a 1970 U.S. Department of Interior brochure about the Johnny Horizon program.
This folder includes two items: A Lassie comic book ("Lassie and Forest Ranger Stuart climb Spire Peak on a dangerous mission that is TOP SECRET"), published in 1966, and Oregon, prepared and published by the Great Northern Railway in 1912 to promote settlement in Oregon.
Other Items
Various printed items for specific forests, forestry operations, and tourist sites.
circa 1915-2000
Sunday Oregonian
Article about the use of electricity in logging in the state of Washington.
July 20, 1941
Crook County Historical Society Limited Edition Prints
A set of limited edition prints of sketches by Elva Paulson, of Prineville, Oregon, of homes, barns, and camps in Crook County.
Native Americans
This folder includes two items. The first is a clipping from the Picture Post, March 25, 1950 of Native Americans fishing at Celilo Falls. The second is a reproduction of portrait drawings of a Native American woman and man of Prince William Sound, Alaska.
1950 and undated
Saturday Evening Post
A story about California John of the Federal Forest Service written by Stewart Edward White and published in the Saturday Evening Post.
April 18, 1908
Daily Graphic
One page of the Daily Graphic with maps of the Lava Beds near Tule Lake in northern California.
June 14, 1873
Harper's Weekly
Excerpt from Harper's Weekly about the Modoc War, specifically the alliance with Donald McKay and the Warm Springs Indians.
June 14, 1873
Engravings of Oregon Scenery
Undated color engravings of Crater Lake and Multnomah Falls published by West Coast Engraving Co., Portland, Oregon.
circa 1920
Elmore Vincent's Lumber Jack Songs
Songbook published by M.M. Cole Publishing Co., Chicago.
Japanese American Evacuation Poster
This poster dated May 3, 1942 was for Los Angeles, California.
Forest Service Ephemera
Includes a document folder commemorating the Forest Service centennial, a "Leave No Trace" hangtag, and a "Going the Extra Mile" brochure for Forest Service employees.
Wild Rose Creamery Butter Wrapper
Mounted wrapper for butter produced at the Independence Creamery in Eugene, Oregon.
Brochures and Pamphlets
Includes a 1962 version of the by-laws for the San Francisco Bay Chapter of the Sierra Club; a 1980 self-guided auto tour of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge; and a Forest History Society brochure.
Decals and Protest Postcards
Decals and postcards protesting the "Bush National Forests Giveaway" of the early 2000s and a "Restore Hetch Hetchy" bumper sticker.
circa 1990s-2000s

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Forest fires--Oregon--Prevention and control.
  • Forest reserves--Oregon.
  • Forests and forestry.
  • Smokey Bear.

Corporate Names

  • Keep Oregon Green Association.
  • United States. Forest Service--Employees.
  • United States. Forest Service--History.

Geographical Names

  • McKenzie River (Or.)

Form or Genre Terms

  • Ephemera (general object genre)
  • Information artifacts.
  • Picture postcards.
  • Printed ephemera.

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Keep Oregon Green Association. (creator)
    • Oregon. Department of Forestry. (creator)
    • United States. Forest Service. (creator)
    • United States. General Land Office. (creator)