W. Lester Powell attended Oregon Agricultural College during the 1912-1913 through 1916-1917 academic years. He enrolled initially as a forestry student, but changed to horticulture in 1915; he did not complete a degree from OAC. Powell was a photographer for the 1916 Orange yearbook and also for Ball Studio in Corvallis. During the 1920s and 1930s, he lived with his family on Kiger Island near Corvallis. William Lester Powell was born February 18, 1893 and graduated from Citrus High School in Azusa, California, in 1912. He died in 1978 in Medford, Oregon.
Powell's daughter, Mary Lou (known as Lou), was born July 21, 1918, in Seattle. She graduated from Corvallis High School in 1936 and attended Oregon State College in 1936-1937 and 1937-1938. Her married name was Lou Richards.
The W. Lester Powell Photograph Collection consists of images taken and assembled by Powell, primarily during his student years at Oregon Agricultural College in the mid 1910s. The photographs depict campus activities, including pageants; athletics, especially football; and forestry students and faculty in forest campus and on forestry trips. The collection also includes images of Corvallis and Benton County; of special note are images of the small town of Wells, in north Benton County, that was removed in the early 1940s in order to establish Camp Adair. Images of land being cleared for Grant Street in Corvallis are also included.
Almost all of of the images are from Powell's student years at OAC; however, the collection includes a photograph of a 1935 pruning class at Oregon State College and a reunion photograph of the Class of 1916, probably in 1956.
The collection consists primarily of photographic prints. Most of the prints (210 items) are affixed to album pages; the remainder of the prints (89) were originally affixed to album pages and have been removed; 18 copy negatives are also included in the collection. Several of the images were published in the 1916 Orange yearbook.
Restrictions on Access :
Collection is open for research.Preferred Citation :
W. Lester Powell Photograph Collection (P 192), Oregon State University Special Collections & Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.
The W. Lester Powell Photograph Collection is arranged in 3 series: I. Photographic Prints, circa 1913 - circa 1956; II. Album Pages, circa 1913-1917; and III. Copy Negatives, circa 1913-1917.
Custodial History :
W. Lester Powell's daugher (Lou Richards) loaned the collection to Bob Zybach in 1990 for his research of the Soap Creek area. Richards identified materials that she was willing to have donated to the Archives and other items that she was willing to have duplicated and the originals returned to her.Acquisition Information :
The photographs were donated to the OSU Archives in 1990 by Bob Zybach.Related Materials :
The Special Collections & Archives Research Center includes many collections documenting the activities and experiences of Oregon Agricultural College students during the 1910s. These include the Leslie Miller Scrapbook and the John W. Trigg (P 227), Marshall S. Wright (P 276), and J. Llewellyn Spriggs (P 285) Photograph Albums.
Detailed Description of the Collection
Series I consists of snapshots, photographic postcards, and a few professional photographs; most have been removed from album pages. The photographs depict Oregon Agricultural College students participating in student activities and attending athletic events; Powell's fraternity brothers; forestry students and faculty, including George W. Peavy, in forest camps; and Marys Peak and forest scenes. Of special note are several duplicate prints of Wells, Oregon, a small town in north Benton County that was evacuated and demolished in the early 1940s to establish Camp Adair.
210 photographic prints
Series II consists of photographs affixed to black paper album pages. Most of the photographs are snapshots or photographic postcards. The photographs depict Oregon Agricultural students; athletes and athetic events; intramural teams; pageants; student events and activities; and picnics, camps, and outings. This series includes numerous images of football players and football games as well as the OAC freshman baseball team and individual players. Also of note are images of land being cleared for Grant Street in Corvallis.
18 copy negatives
Series III consists of copy negatives made in 1990 by the OSU Archives of snapshot photographic prints that were retained by the donor. These negatives depict Oregon Agricultural College students participating in campus activities. Of special note is an image labeled as bachelor's quarters and an image of a group of bachelors sitting at a dining table.