Guide to the Zoology Department Records

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Oregon State University. Dept. of Zoology.
Title: Zoology Department Records
Dates: 1895-1997 ( inclusive )
1938-1958 ( bulk )
Quantity: 0.1 cubic foot, including 36 photographs (2 boxes)
2 microfilm reels
Collection Number: RG 074
Summary: The Zoology Department Records document undergradate and graduate instruction in zoology at Oregon State University and include correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, reports, publications, and lantern slides used for ornithology instruction. Courses in zoology have been offered since the founding of Oregon State in 1868; the Zoology and Entomology Department was established in 1889.
Repository: Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections & Archives Research Center
Contact Information: Special Collections & Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 541-737-2075
Fax: 541-737-8674
Languages: Materials in English. 

Historical Note

The Department of Zoology and Entomology was established in 1889 with F.L. Washburn as head. Prior to becoming an official department, zoology had been a part of the physiology program. Instruction in zoology began in 1868 (physiology having begun the previous year) and entomology was added in 1870. In 1895, F.L. Washburn was succeeded by A. B. Cordley, who expanded the department’s staff and instruction to include histology, embryology, systematic zoology, parasitology, evolution, and advanced entomology.

In 1902 the Department of Zoology and Entomology moved to Agriculture Hall (now Education Hall) and then in 1910 to the new Agriculture Hall (now Strand Agriculture Hall). Entomology became a separate department in 1914 and the department was known as Zoology and Physiology in the 1910s and 1920s. The department name was shortened to Zoology in 1927. The first bachelor’s in Zoology was awarded in 1932; in 1935, Alfred Taylor was the first to receive a doctorate in Zoology.

Bolstered by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the department began another period of expansion after World War II. As returning veterans increased the school’s student population the department expanded staff, space, and laboratory equipment. Additional labs and classrooms were placed in Quonset huts, surplus army barracks, and the President’s old residence. By 1962, the growth of the department and the shortage of space reached a crisis point. In 1962 the Department of Zoology obtained permission to proceed with the planning of a new addition to Cordley Hall. This was ultimately delayed until 1965 and was finally completed in the fall of 1967.

Department heads have included F.L. Washburn (1889-1895); A.B. Cordley (1895-1914); George F. Sykes (1914-1921); Nathan Fasten (1921-1944); Kenneth L. Gordon (1945-1952); Ernst J. Dornfeld (1952-1976); Charles E. King (1977-1986); Christopher J. Bayne (1986-1989); Jane Lubchenco (1989-1993); John E. Morris (1993-1996); Stevan J. Arnold (1997-2003); John A. Ruben (2003-2009); and Bruce A. Menge (beginning in 2009).

Content Description

The Zoology Department Records document the administration of the department, primarily under the leadership of Kenneth L. Gordon and Ernst J. Dornfeld, and the activities of faculty, especially in undergraduate and graduate instruction. The records include correspondence, staff meeting agendas and minutes, publications, and lantern slides used in instruction. The bulk of the records are available on microfilm and consist of Reports of Service to the Institution for a 20-year period from 1938 to 1958. These reports were completed by each faculty member for each academic term and listed courses taught and number of students in each section as well as other activities, such as extension, research, or service.

The administrative records also include materials documenting possible war emergency research to be conducted in the early 1950s. Correspondence and reports documenting the cooperative research program between Oregon State College and Kasetsart University in Thailand in the 1950s are part of the General Files (Series I).

The collection includes histories of the department prepared in 1966 (by Ernst J. Dornfeld) and in 1989 (by Dornfeld and Charles E. King). Of special note is an 1895 report from F.L. Washburn to College President John M. Bloss describing the courses taught by the department in 1894-1895. This report also includes drawings and descriptions prepared by students.

The lantern slides were used for ornithology instruction and include maps and photographs of birds, habitats, and skeletons.

Use of the Collection

Restrictions on Access :  

Collection is open for research.

Preferred Citation :  

Zoology Department Records (RG 074), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Zoology Department Records are arranged in 4 series: I. General Files, 1938-1969; II. Subject Files, 1973-1997; III. Publications, 1895-1989; and IV. Lantern Slides, circa 1920.

Custodial History :  

The lantern slides were transferred by the Zoology Department, from the office of Robert Storm, to the Horner Museum in 1980 and were subsequently transferred to the Archives in 1996.

Acquisition Information :  

Materials were acquired by the Archives from 1972 to 2006.

Future Additions :  

Additions to the collection are expected.

Related Materials :  

Reports and additional materials documenting the Zoology Department are available in the College of Science Records (RG 024). The Archives' holdings include the collections of several zoology faculty including Ernst J. Dornfeld, Nathen Fasten, and Kenneth L. Gordon. Student materials for zoology courses are part of the Kareen Peiffer Laboratory Notes and the Ronald V. and John G. Hogg Papers. The Memorabilia Collection includes clippings, reports, and ephemeral items documenting the Zoology Department and zoology photographs are part of Harriet's Collection.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  General Files, 1938-1969

Series I consists of correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, and other materials that document the administration of the Zoology Department and the activities of faculty, especially in undergraduate and graduate instruction. The bulk of the series is comprised of Reports of Service to the Institution for 1938-1958. The report form was completed by each faculty member for each academic term with the courses taught, number of students in each section, and the time spent on each course per week. Faculty also reported time spent on other activities, such as administration, extension, research, or service on this form. The numbers that precede titles in the list below are the folder numbers as they appear on the microfilm.

1 1: Barrington Committee Reports for Zoology personnel, 1954-1955
1 2: Correspondence with staff, 1963-1969
1 3: Gifts, 1951-1956
1 4: Graduate certification policies, 1947
1 5: Graduate examinations, 1962
1 6: Honorary societies, 1951
Sigma Xi, Phi Kappan Phi, Phi Sigma
1 7: Kasetsart University, 1953-1959
Letters to the Staff, 1952-1954
1 1953-1954
1 9: Staff meetings, 1952-1953
Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1945-1957
1 10: Meetings, 1945-1950
1 11: School of Science, 1951-1957
1 12: Publicity, 1951-1954
Report of Service to the Institution, 1938-1958
1 1938-1941
1 1941-1945
1 Fall 1945-Spring 1946
1 Fall 1946-Spring 1947
1 Fall 1947-Spring 1948
1 Fall 1948-Spring 1949
1 1949-1950
1 1951-1952
1 1952-1953
1 1953-1954
1 1954-1955
1 1955-1958
1 25: Unreasonable requests, 1958-1967
Public inquiries on a variety of topics with responses.
1 26: War Emergency research, 1950-1951
1 27: Zoology staff meetings agendas and minutes, 1945-1950

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Series II:  Subject Files, 1973-1997

Series II consists of materials that document undergraduate and graduate instruction. The records include expanded course descriptions for Biology (Bi) and Zoology (Z) courses in the early 1970s and an announcement of public speakers for a zoology course on environmental controversies (Z 565) in 1997.

1 Course Offerings for Zoology Major Curriculum in 1973-1974, 1973
1 Announcement of Public Lectures in Fall 1997, 1997

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Series III:  Publications, 1895-1989

Series III consists of several publications prepared by the Zoology Department. These include histories of the department prepared in 1966 and 1989; a publication of drawings of the anatomy of several animals; and an 1895 report from the Zoological Department that describes courses offered and includes drawing and descriptions by students.

1 Anatomy of Selected Animal Types, 1973
Report by Kathryn Torvik and John E. Morris
1 History of the Department of Zoology, 1966
By Ernst J. Dornfeld.
1 History of the Department of Zoology 1889-1989, 1989
By Ernst J. Dornfeld and Charles E. King.
Laboratory Studies, State Agricultural College, Zoology, 1895
A report from F.L. Washburn to College President John M. Bloss on work done in the Zoological Department during fall and winter terms of 1894-1895. The report describes courses in physiology, ornithology, and zoology and includes drawings and descriptions by students W.F. Holman, Lester M. Leland, Louis Leuenberger, Elsie Long, Amelia J. McCune, Kate B. McCune, A.D. Morrison, Dorothea Nash, Lulu C. Thornton, Effie Willis, and Lena Willis. This report is identified as vol. 1, no. 1; no additional reports were published in the series.
box 1
2 paper copies
reel 2
microfilmed copy

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Series IV:  Lantern Slides, circa 1920

Series IV consists of 36 lantern slides that were likely used for ornithology instruction. They include maps of bird species migration routes; USDA weather maps; and photographs of bird species, habitat, visceral contents, and skeletons. Most of the specimen photos are taxidermy mounts; although several photographs of birds in the wild are included. Some of the bird species photographs are identified. The lantern slides also include several images of mayweed and dog fennel. The items are numbered 980-55-1 thru 980-55-36; a few of the glass mounts are cracked and should be handled with caution.


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    • Corporate Names :
    • Oregon State College--Faculty.
    • Subject Terms :
    • Ornithology--Study and teaching.
    • Zoology--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.
    • Form or Genre Terms :
    • Lantern slides.
      • Other Creators :
      • Dornfeld, Ernst John, 1911-
      • Washburn, F. L. (Frederic Leonard), 1860-1927.
      • Oregon State Agricultural College. Zoological Dept.
      • Oregon State College. Dept. of Zoology.

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