Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Oregon Emergency Farm Labor Service Oral History Collection, 1992

Scope and Content Note

The Oregon Emergency Farm Labor Service Oral History Collection consists of five interviews conducted in 1992 of individuals familiar with farm labor in Oregon during World War II. The interviews were conducted by Oregon State University students in cooperation with the University Archives in preparation for the exhibit: Fighters on the Farm Front: The Emergency Farm Labor Service in Oregon, 1943-1947.

Interviews of the following individuals are included in the collection: Leonard Adolf; Eldon Earl Bevens; Lena Burien; George and June Kalb; and O.E. Mikesell. The primary topics addressed in the interviews are rural and farm life; work in canneries, mills, and a tannery; and life on the Oregon homefront during World War II.

The interview with Leonard Adolf address his work on farms in eastern Colorado and Washington as a child and young adult; his education and career as a history professor; his research in Asian history; and his participation in protests against the Vietnam War.

Bevens' interview includes information about the role of his tannery in the war effort and the use of emergency farm labor on farms in the Dallas, Oregon, area. Lena Burien describes home and farm life during the Great Depression and war years, gardening, canning, and growing crops for the local canneries; and her own children and grandchildren. The interview with George and June Kalb includes information about work in canneries and mills during World War II, rationing and sources of food during wartime, and their own experiences picking berries and hops as children.

O.E. Mikesell describes his work with the Agricultural Adjustment Administration and as an Extension Agent, especially in food production during the war and the recruitment and assignment of farm workers.

The collection includes audiocassette tapes of the interviews, transcripts, brief biographical information, and interview logs for some of the interviews. There are two tapes each for three of the interviews (Adolf, Bevens, and Kalbs) and one tape for each of the other two interviews (Burien and Mikesell). A CD use copy of the Mikesell interview is also available.

The interviews were conducted during fall term of 1992 by students in the Oral Traditions course (Anthropology 498) taught by Joan Gross. Interviewers were Teré Herrera (interviewed Burien and the Kalbs), Candace Johnston (interviewed Adolf), Dawn A. Stetler (interviewed Bevens), and Daniel Pike (interviewed Mikesell).

Signed permissions forms are included in the transcript folders for interviewees Adolf, Bevens and Mikesell.

The entirety of this collection has been digitized as a preservation measure. Preservation .wav files and access .mp3 files created by this process are available upon consultation with SCARC staff.

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