Oregon State UniversitySpecial Collections & Archives Research Center

Gerald W. Williams Collection, 1855-2007

Scope and Content Note

The Gerald W. Williams Collection consists of Williams' personal papers; the historic photograph collection that he assembled; photographs taken by Williams and his family; oral histories; maps; moving images and sound recordings; and posters, ephemera, and artifacts pertaining to forestry, environmental history, Native Americans, and geography of the Pacific Northwest.

Williams' personal papers include 35 years of his research notes, manuscripts, and final publications. Included in this component of the collection are copies of more than 6000 documents from the papers of Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the U.S. Forest Service, which are held at the Library of Congress. The papers also include materials pertaining to Judge John B. Waldo, the first 100 years of the U.S. Forest Service, the geography and place names of the McKenzie River region, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and the U.S. Army Spruce Production Division.

The historic photographs collected by Williams include thousands of postcards from the 1900s through 1940s, documenting watersheds, forests, and communities throughout the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on Oregon. Other historic photographs include a large collection of Oregon and California postcards made by photographer Frank Patterson, a Medford photographer and northwest Oregon and southwest Washington logging scenes taken by John Fletcher Ford (circa 1900-1915). There are also photographs documenting the U.S. Army Spruce Production Division in Oregon and Washington during World War I, large format prints of early 20th century forestry scenes in Washington and Oregon made by renowned photographers Darius and Clark Kinsey, and images depicting Native Americans. A variety of formats are represented including photographic prints, postcards, sterographic images, and glass lantern slides.

The photographs taken by Williams consist primarily of color slides, photographic prints, and film negatives. These include images of national parks and forests in Oregon and Washington, the McKenzie River region of Oregon, and vacation photos. Of particular note are slides of Celilo Falls taken by Williams' father, Jack Williams, in September 1956, a few months before the falls were inundated by The Dalles Dam.

The oral histories include sound recordings and transcripts of interviews of U.S. Forest Service employees in preparation for the Forest Service centennial as well as with residents of the McKenzie River region. Several publications of forestry-related oral histories are included.

The maps consist of items assembled by Williams for his research and for their historic value. They include maps and brochures for national forests throughout the United States; framed historic maps; topographic maps; and maps of Civilian Conservation Corps structures.

The moving images include films, VHS videotapes, and DVDs commemorating the centennial of the U.S. Forest Service and pertaining to the Civilian Conservation Corps in Oregon and Washington, heritage resource management, and national forest roads. The sound recordings include cassette tapes of speeches, special events, and radio interviews. A CD of a production on the sounds of the forest is also included.

The collection also includes political posters, a scrapbook documenting the Smoky the Bear anniversary traveling exhibit, and ephemera and artifacts of the Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps.

An addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2008:070) consists of photographic materials, maps, publications, lithographic prints, and newspaper clippings. Documenting logging operations in Oregon, U.S. Forest Service history, the Spruce Production Division, the Bitteroot River forest fire of 2000, and the Civilian Conservation Corps, the photographic images number 16 prints in all. 35mm negative strips of film Williams shot from May 1978 to July 1984 were also included in this transfer. Prints from these negatives are featured in the collection. Both dating from about 1910-1915, the two maps show national forests in Oregon and national forest reserves in the U.S. The clippings pertain to the Modoc Indian War (1873) and the introduction of the electric chainsaw for logging. Originally featured in the book "Picturesque America" and the Illustrated London News, the seven lithographic prints depict Oregon landscapes and a bison herd near the Missouri River. In addition to two copies of "Sierra Ranger" magazine (Sierra National Forest) the publications include informational pamphlets for the National Interagency Fire Center.

A second addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2008:099) is made up of materials collected by Williams that reflects U.S. Forest Service and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) history and includes cds, DVDs, maps, photographs, posters, signage, a sound recording, and a newspaper. Other than three images of CCC camps, the photographs all originated from an album assembled by the Forest Ranger of the Santiam National Forest, C. C. Hall. Spanning the period from 1908 to 1919, the Hall images depict Forest Service rangers and stations at various national forests, including rare shots of Aldo Leopold. Containing conference presentations, historic reports, images, and recorded interviews, the cds include proceedings from the Forest Service Centennial Congress, accounts from women employed by the Forest Service, a history of the Fort Valley Experimental Forest, a Northwest Forest Plan report, and images of the Grey Towers historic landmark. The sound recording is a cassette tape featuring a lecture by environmental historian Donald Worster recorded for Oregon Public Radio.The DVDs contain films produced by the Forest Service pertaining to topics such as: wilderness ranger orientation training, fire shelter design, national grasslands, backcountry site restoration, and Pacific Northwest Cooperative Programs. The newspaper is a copy of the "Farmer's Cabinet" (Amherst, Mass.) dated April 12, 1833, and contains a story about a delegation of Flathead Indians who traveled to St. Louis to learn more about Christianity. The various posters and signage in this transfer were produced by the Forest Service. In addition to national forests, the maps depict land survey and historic boundaries locations in the U.S.

A third addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2009:013) consists of materials collected by Williams in the course of researching and writing a history of the U.S. Forest Service in Region 6 (Pacific Northwest). Mostly made up of reference materials such as articles, newspaper clippings, notes, oral history recordings and transcripts, press releases, publications, reports, and theses, this accession also includes correspondence, maps, photographs, signage, and a photograph album. The oral histories and narratives document the lives of Forest Service employees and include four sound recordings on cassette tape of interviews with Richard Costley. In addition to histories of National Forests in the Pacific Northwest, other subjects relating to the Forest Service among the reference materials include forest fire control, Native American reservation lands, forest management policies, and timber harvested from Forest Service lands. Official Forest Service issued procedural guides, form booklets, and notebooks were also found in this transfer. Consisting of 7 prints in all, the photos pertain to milling activity at Toledo and Newport, Oregon and Vancouver, Washington for the U.S. Army Spruce Production Division. The photograph album contains images taken for the Forest Service Equipment Development Center by J. Malcolm Greaney that depict Forest Service smokejumpers and other personnel engaged in forest fire control, the development center building in Missoula, trail work, and examples of equipment developed by the center. Photocopies of covers from the Equipment Development Center newsletter that feature some of Greney's images were included with the album.

A fourth addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2009:050) is made up of photographic images collected by Williams that include postcards, tintypes, stereographs, and photographic prints. Numbering about 500 images in total, the views in this transfer primarily document natural landscapes throughout Oregon and Washington, but also include town streetscapes, logging/fishing activities, hot springs resort areas, bridges, and wildlife. Among the Oregon geographical sites featured in these images include the Siltez River, Crater Lake, the Oregon Caves, and the Columbia Gorge. Other subjects of interest among these images include depictions of U.S. Army Spruce Production Division logging camps, a CCC camp near Mist, Oregon, sites relating to U.S. presidents, and a series of views commemorating Ezra Meeker and Oregon Trail Monuments across the country. Some of the postcards are images taken by Medford photographer Frank Patterson.The eight tintypes are portraits of unidentified people. This transfer also includes a film and 3 ticket stubs for U.S. presidential inaugural events. The film reel is an episode of the TV show "Lassie" entitled "Cry of the Wild."

A fifth addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2010:022) is made up of correspondence, books, magazines, a photograph album, photographs, publications, reports, and a sign. Totaling about 208 images in all (200 prints/postcards and 8 glass plate negatives), about half of these are postcard views depicting various Native American peoples, art, and architecture throughout the U.S. In addition to portrait shots of Native Americans, there are depictions of structures and art that include petroglyphs, cliff dwellings, totem poles, tepees, Celilo Falls, and historical markers/monuments.The other half of the photographs mostly document landscapes in various national parks and natural scenic areas in Oregon, Washington, and California. Diamond Lake, Mount Shasta, the McKenzie River area, and the Oregon coast. The publications and other printed materials in this transfer contain articles and information on Gifford Pinchot, national park histories, the Civilian Conservation Corps, Oregon history, the Mazamas Hiking Club, and the U.S. Forest Service. The photograph album contains images of unidentified men camping in the vicinity of Estacada (Oregon) and appear to be surveying forested areas near Mount Hood.

A sixth addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2011:015) consists of board games, maps, photographs, posters, publications, reports, and a laser disc. About half of this transfer is made up of reference materials documenting various directors, rangers, and other staff who worked in the Forest Service throughout the agency's history. In addition to biographical sketches, these materials include newspaper clippings, oral history projects, press releases, publications, reports, speeches, and memoranda. Forest Service publications include annual reports of land area in the national forest system and an official procedures handbook (ca. 1920-30s). The photographs mostly depict Oregon scenic landscapes and members of the Army Spruce Production Division in Oregon during World War I. Among the places featured in the scenic shots include Mount Hood, the Klamath Lake area, Vida, Crater Lake, and the Portland waterfront. The two board games relate to forest management and Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) Camps. The maps document national forest lands and reserves in the Pacific Northwest and most are reproductions of early "proclamation" maps dating from 1892 to 1910. The laser disc contains photographs taken by the Forest Service.

A seventh addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2011:051) is made up of correspondence, newspaper clippings, maps, photographs, publications, reports, and signage collected by Williams that primarily document the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), but also the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and Native Americans. Most of the publications in this transfer are newsletters generated by the Forest Service and related organizations for distribution to current USFS staff, retired USFS employees, and enthusiasts of USFS history. One of the publications, published by the U.S. government, documents CCC camps for Native Americans. Among the reports are studies of the potential impact of the administrative transfer of the USFS to the Department of the Interior, USFS American Recovery and Reinvestment Act projects, and a history of the Northern Rocky Mountain Region of the USFS. The correspondence is a combination of e-mailed messages and news releases printed from the web about USFS, periodic listserv announcements from "Old Smokeys" (Pacific Northwest Forest Service Association), and Gerald's review of the draft manuscript for "Memoirs of David B. Marshall." Numbering about 112 images in total (100 postcards/prints; 12 negatives), the photographs depict natural landscapes throughout Oregon and Washington, CCC camps, members of the Warm Springs tribe, the U.S. Army Spruce Production Division, USFS employees, Oregon dams, and internees of a war objector camp during World War II. One of the three maps in this accession is a World War II era view of the Phillipine Islands.

An eighth addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2012:024) consists of materials pertaining to various types of trees that were collected and generated by Ross as a part of the research and writing of the OSU Extension publication "Trees to Know in Oregon." Made up of drawings, newspaper clippings, notes, and publications, these files include chapter drafts and correspondence with researchers, U.S. Forest Service staff, and others for assistance with editorial review and information. Ross worked as an Extension Forestry Specialist for OSU from 1946 until 1970.

A ninth addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2012:086) consists of artifacts, a book, a cd, newspaper clippings, photographs, a poster, publications, and sound recordings. Primarily documenting the U.S. Forest Service, these materials also pertain to salmon fishing, logging, and mountain landscapes in Oregon. Among the items reflecting Forest Service history is an applicataion for homesteading in the Sequoia National Forest dated from 1909. Numbering 19 images in total (15 stereographic prints and 4 regular prints) the photographs depict early logging operations, salmon harvesting on the Columbia River, Mount Hood, Columbia Gorge views, and a Forest Service firefighter parachutist. The cd contains 11 digital images of glaciers from the Sisters Mountains near Bend, Oregon, taken in 1920 by F.W. Cleator. The book is "The U.S. Forest Service in the Pacific Northwest" by Williams. The publications are mostly newsletters generated by the U.S. Forest Service and the Civilian Conservation Corps Legacy organization. In addition to political cartoons, the clippings pertain to the recent establishment of new national monuments and FDR's visit to Timberline Lodge. Consisting of three cassette tapes, the sound recordings contain interviews between Williams and Forest Service employees Dave Alexander and Ted Stubblefield. The artifacts depict Smoky the Bear and Woodsy Owl and include a decal, bag clip, wooden shield, and a lanyard clip.

A tenth addition to the Williams Collection (Accession 2014:059) is made up of materials collected and generated by Williams that document the U.S. Forest Service, Oregon history, the Civilian Conservation Corps, the logging industry in the Pacific Northwest, and Native Americans in Oregon. About half of this transfer consists of publications and reports issued by the Forest Service that include histories of regional units within the agency, ranger districts, and accounts from Forest Service employees. There are also various Forest Service newsletters as well as handbooks/guides for timber management. Other materials include articles, correspondence, maps, newspaper clippings, photographs, a poster, and a sound recording. Williams' writing is reflected in a series of articles on Oregon history for the "Lane County Living" magazine and in reviews of manuscripts for the Oregon Historical Society and OSU Press. The photographs are a combination of postcards, prints, and stereographic images that primarily depict views of landscapes, logging operations, towns, and fish harvesting in Oregon and Washington. Numbering 200 photographs in total (114 prints, 71 stereographs, and 15 negatives) the images include views of the Columbia Gorge, McKenzie River, Mount Rainier, Seattle, and several national forests. Among the items related to Native Americans include an early print of "caches at Celilo" and a report on the Celilo Park Confluence Project. The two maps illustrate forest reserves and national parks in the Western U.S. (1898) and the Cascade National Forest (1911). They are stored in a map folder. Consisting of one cassette tape, the sound recording contains an oral history interview with Michael Kerrick, Willamette National Forest supervisor.


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