Guide to the John B. Horner Papers

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Horner, John B., 1856-1933.
Title: John B. Horner Papers
Dates: 1885-1933 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 1 cubic foot (The Horner Papers are housed in one document box; one half-size document box; one 16x20 oversize box; and one 20x24 oversize box.)
Collection Number: Consult repository.
Summary: The Horner Papers consist of materials written or assembled by John B. Horner as an Oregon Agricultural College history professor and writer on Oregon history and literature.
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. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Biographical Note

John B. Horner taught English and history at Oregon Agricultural College from 1891 until his death in 1933; founded the college museum; and wrote extensively on Oregon history and literature.

John B. Swadelnack was born on August 4, 1856 in central Texas to Frank and Mary Anna Swadelnack. He took the surname Horner after his widowed mother married Elias Horner in Walla Walla (Washington Territory). After attending Whitman College, Horner enrolled in Philomath College, receiving the BS degree (1877) and the MS degree (1879). He also attended Willamette University and received AB (1885) and MS (1887) degrees. In the 1880s, he taught school at several places in Oregon, including Buena Vista, Union, Brownsville, Roseburg, and Albany. He married Isabelle Skimpton on September 5, 1880; they had two daughters, Vera Delle and Pearl Alicia.

In 1891, he began a teaching career at Oregon State that lasted for more than 40 years. He taught English from 1891 to 1902 and history from 1902 until 1933. In 1925, Horner formally established the museum at Oregon State that was later named for him. He wrote several books on Oregon history and literature as well as numerous articles. Horner died on September 14, 1933 in Corvallis.

Content Description

Series I contains publications authored by Horner and includes Horner's annotated copy of Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature (1919), individual lecture texts for A Vacation on the Mediterranean (1906 and 1907), a typescript copy of "History of Oregon State College, 1865-1907," a typescript of Horner's autobiography (1926), Outlines for Study of Oregon History (ca. 1927), and Days and Deeds in the Oregon Country, 1929. Series II consists of 2 volumes of maps of Europe drawn by Horner's history students in 1902 and 1905. Series III is a collection of pioneer stories written by school children around 1918. Series IV consists of letters of condolence written to Mrs. Horner after John B. Horner's death in 1933.

Series V contains a variety of programs, announcements, invitations, diplomas, and other ephemera. Included are booklets pertaining to the Cauthorn Hall and Alpha Hall dormitories, which the Horners were in charge of early in the 1900s; OAC commencement programs and invitations; a program to the memorial service held for B. L. Arnold on June 29, 1892; programs pertaining to musical, dramatic and literary productions and church, Masonic and educational organizations; and Horner's diplomas from Willamette University.

Series VI consists of three letters written by Horner. Series VII includes six photographic prints of Horner, J. R. N. Bell, and others in Egypt.

Use of the Collection

Preferred Citation :  

John B. Horner Papers, Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

The Horner Papers consist of seven series: I. Publications; II. Maps of Europe Prepared by Horner's Students; III. Pioneer Stories by School Children; IV. Letters of Condolence; V. Ephemera; VI. Correspondence; and VII. Photographs.

Custodial History :  

Most of the materials were originally donated to the Horner Museum and then transferred to the University Archives beginning in 1996. Several of the publications were transferred from the Archives' Faculty Author Collection and Memorabilia Collection.

Related Materials :  

The John B. Horner Photographic Collection (P 100) includes photographs assembled by Horner. The Horner Museum Records (RG 199) include extensive documentation of the museum and its collections.

Detailed Description of the Collection

Series I:  Publications, 1902-1931
1 Oregon: Her History, Her Great Men, Her Literature, 1919
Includes Horner's hand written annotations and typed revisions tipped in throughout the volume.
1 Oregon History and Early Literature, 4th edition, 1931
1 A Vacation on the Mediterranean, individual illustrated lecture texts
1 " A Day in Rome" , December 1906
1 " The Appian Way" , December 1906
1 " City of Pompeii" , February 1907
1 " Athens" , February 1907
1 " Egypt" , February 1907
1 " Palestine" , February 1907
1 Advertisement
1 " History of Oregon State College, 1865-1907" (typescript)
1 " The OAC Historic and Reminiscent" , ca. 1909
1 Outlines for Study of Oregon History (published by the OAC Extension Service), ca. 1927
1 The Million Mystery Mounds of Tenino, undated
1 " Madame Dorion, Holy Rainbow of the Sioux'" ", undated
1 " John B. Horner's Autobiography Dictated at the Good Samaritan Hospital in Portland for his Daughters, Vera and Pearl, June 28, 1926"
1 " Oregon Woods" , undated
1 Advertisement for Oregon Literature, 1902
1 Narcissa Prentiss Whitman - tribute and biography, undated
1 " The Santiam Pass" in the Albany High School Whirlwind, 1926
1 Wi-Ne-Ma, Heorine of the Modoc War, undated
1 Legend of Chintimini, undated
1 Days and Deeds in the Oregon Country, 1929

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Series II:  Maps of Europe Prepared by Horner's Students, 1902-1905
2 Supplementary Work in General History by Horner's Students, 1902
3 Class Work in History (Volume II), 1905
apx 20x24 in.

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Series III:  Pioneer Stories by School Children, 1918 and undated

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Series IV:  Letters of Condolence, 1933

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Series V:  Ephemera, 1885-ca. 1930
2 Cauthorn and Alpha Hall booklets, 1900-1905
2 OAC Commencement invitations and programs, 1889-1904
2 Corvallis schools commencement programs, 1902-1904
2 B.L. Arnold Memorial Service program, June 29, 1892
2 Musical, dramatic, and literary productions programs, 1890-1904
2 Presbyterian church, Masons, Oregon State Teachers Association, Willamette University, 1895-1899
2 Willamette University Certificate, 1929
2 Certificate from Governor Norblad, ca. 1930
3 Willamette University diplomas, 1885 and 1888
apx 20x24 in.
3 State of Oregon certificates, 1911-1914
apx 20x24 in.
3 Questions for University and College Examinations for State Diplomas and State Life Diplomas, 1893
apx 20x24 in.

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Series VI:  Correspondence, 1907-1919

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Series VII:  Photographs, ca. 1910
apx 16x20 in.

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  • Personal Names :
  • Arnold, Benjamin L.
  • Bell, J. R. N. (John Richard Newton), 1846-1928.
  • Horner, John B., 1856-1933.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Oregon Agricultural College.
  • Geographical Names :
  • Corvallis (Or.)
  • Europe--Maps.
  • Mediterranean Region--Description and travel.
  • Oregon--Biography.
  • Oregon--History.
  • Subject Terms :
  • History--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon.
  • Universities and colleges--Oregon--Corvallis--History.
  • Form or Genre Terms :
  • Ephemera.
  • Maps.
  • Photographs.
  • Titles within the Collection :
  • Days and deeds in the Oregon country.
  • Oregon.
  • Outlines for study of Oregon history.
  • Vacation on the Mediterranean.

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