Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center
Benton Hall, ca. 1905.
Benton Hall, ca. 1905.
Harriet's Collection. (Click to enlarge)

Campus Buildings Research Guide

The history of various buildings on campus is a topic of frequent interest for our users. Here are several resources that can help in uncovering the background of OSU's physical campus.

Memorabilia Collection (MC). This includes general information file containing newspaper and other published articles, student papers, brochures, ephemera, etc. There are files for most campus buildings - some files more robust than others. Some files have an oversize component and are therefore physically located in multiple collections. Examples include:

  • Buildings – Agriculture Hall
  • Buildings – Agriculture Utilities Building
  • Buildings – Alpha Hall
  • Buildings – Apperson Hall
  • Buildings – Ballard Extension Hall
  • Buildings – Bates Hall
  • Buildings – Bell Tower
  • Buildings – Benton Annex
  • Buildings – Benton Hall [2 folders]

MC files of interest for finding building information:

  • Bennes, John V.
  • Building Analysis (1960)
  • Building Inventory
  • Building Needs (1944)
  • Campus Fires
  • Campus Guides
  • Campus Planning (includes oversize material)
  • Campus Property
  • Olmsted Brothers – Report on Oregon Agricultural College, 1909 (report available online).
  • Taylor, A.D.

A complete inventory of Memorabilia Collection files is available online.

OSU Yearbooks Research on virtually all topics related to the history of OSU will benefit in some way from the use of the Oregon State Yearbooks collection. These volumes have been digitized and are available online. The digital collection is keyword searchable and easy to use.

Photographs. The SCARC photographic collections include more than 500,000 images taken by university staff, commercial photographers, and individuals. Photographs of buildings can be found throughout all the collections, but of particular interest are the following:

Harriet's Collection. This collection contains files of photos for most major buildings, especially those constructed before WWII. Examples include:

  • HC35 Buildings – Strand Agriculture Hall [See also Oversize Cabinet Drawer 6.]
  • HC36 Buildings – Women's Dormitories
  • HC42 Buildings – Apperson Hall
  • HC63 Buildings – Mechanical Hall
  • HC64 Buildings – Chemistry

Full inventory available online.

Buildings Photograph Collection (P 016). This collection contains photographs of Oregon State University buildings, grounds, and facilities as well as a limited number of images of other notable buildings in Corvallis . The collection also includes approximately 20 line drawings of buildings located on other Oregon University System campuses.

Gwil Evans Photograph Collection (P 082). This photographic collection consists of photographs taken by the staff of the Oregon State College (and later Oregon State University ) News Bureau. The collection documents the full range of University programs and activities and includes images of campus buildings and development; student life; instruction and research; faculty, staff, and alumni; and Extension Service programs especially for the post-World War II period through the early 1960s.

OSU Historical Photographs (P 025). This collection contains historical images of OSU. An inventory is available in the SCARC reference room.

Historical Images of Oregon State University. This digital collection contains many photos of campus buildings and views, including several from the collections referenced above.

Photographs card catalog index. This is a good source for references to older photographs. It is located in the card catalog in the SCARC 3rd Floor work area.

Institutional Records These collections contain permanent records created by university departments, offices, committees, or organizations include correspondence, annual and biennial reports, final research and special reports, policy statements and procedure manuals, meeting minutes, architectural drawings, and celebration and special event records.

Facilities Services Records (RG 193) These records were generated and collected by the Department of Facilities Services. An inventory can be found in the SCARC Reference Room. Accession 2000:055 contains a variety of records on many campus buildings, 1938-1997.

Additional guides of Architectural and Drawing Plans held in RG 193 are available online: Campus Wide; Individual Structures; Not Built; Student Housing; USDA Buildings.

Business Affairs Records (RG 017) and the President's Office Records (RG 13) contain information on the planning and construction of many campus buildings from the mid 20th century. The guide to RG 13 and a partial guide to the Business Affairs Records ares available online. Additional information about these collections is available in the SCARC reading room.

Board of Regents Records (RG 8) contain board meeting minutes, correspondence, bids, contracts and invoices pertaining to the construction of many campus buildings from the 1890s through the 1920s.


College Catalogs The early catalogs provide good descriptions of buildings and their use at the time. The also include general descriptions of the campus grounds. Catalogs starting in the 1920s include a map of campus. Catalogs are available in the SCARC Reading Room and online (Select "Browse by Issue Date").

Oregon Stater alumni magazine. The Oregon Stater often included a major feature on a building when it was completed. Copies of these articles are sometimes found in the Memorabilia Collection. An index of the magazine in card format is available in the card catalog area, as are indexes for the Oregonian and early maps collections. Copies of the alumni magazines through the early 1960s are available in the SCARC Reading Room; newer issues are cataloged as part of the SCARC book collections. The Oregon Stater index, a log of every issue of the publication dating back to 1915, is available online.

The Barometer college newspaper college newspaper often published articles on campus buildings being built or renovated. Index (through 1980) available online at http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/dspace/handle/1957/3746 (subject index) and http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/dspace/handle/1957/3745 (personal name index).

SCARC maintains a large collection of campus maps. These are currently undergoing some reorganization and consolidation. Ask reading room staff for assistance.

SCARC's collections of 20th century Sanborn maps also show campus buildings.