Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Oregon Emergency Farm Labor Service Oral History Collection, 1992

Historical Note:

The Emergency Farm Labor Service in Oregon was sponsored by the Oregon State College Extension Service to ensure an adequate farm labor supply during World War II and the years immediately after. Between 1943 and 1947, Oregon's Emergency Farm Labor Service assisted with over 900,000 placements on the state's farms, trained thousands of workers of all ages, and managed nine farm labor camps. Farm laborers included urban youth and women, soldiers, white collar professionals, displaced Japanese- Americans, returning war veterans, workers from other states, migrant workers from Mexico and Jamaica, and even German prisoners-of-war.

Leonard Adolf was born in 1921 in Bethune, Colorado and lived and worked on farms in Colorado and Washington. He earned his B.A. (1946) and Ph.D. (1953) degrees from the University of Washington. He joined the faculty of the Oregon State College History Department in 1955 and retired as Professor Emeritus of History in 1987. He specialized in Asian history and was instrumental in development of the Peace Studies certificate program at Oregon State University.

Eldon Earl Bevens was born in Dallas, Oregon, in 1925, and was the owner of Muir and McDonalds Tannery in Dallas, Oregon.

Lena Burien was born in Albany, Oregon, in 1909, and lived in the Albany-Corvallis area all of her life.

George and June Kalb were native Oregonians who lived on farms and worked in canneries and mills in the Willamette Valley during World War II.

O.E. Mikesell was an Oregon State Extension Service Agent in Linn County during the period of the farm labor program. Mikesell graduated from Oregon State College in 1934 and became the 4-H Club Agent in Linn County, a position he held until becoming the Agricultural Extension Agent for Linn County in 1943. He continued in this position until 1974, when he retired with 40 years of service for Oregon State University.


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