The Robert D. Graham Papers consist of research project files created and assembled by Graham in his work in wood preservation studies with the Oregon Forest Products Laboratory and Forest Research Laboratory and materials pertaining to wood preservation assembled by Graham, which are identified as the Wood Preservation Collection.
The research project files are primarily arranged by project and include correspondence, reports, research data, Graham's daily log of activities, and photographic prints and negatives of equipment and wood samples. The projects address a wide range of topics including the use of wood products and by-products for a variety of uses; development and testing of equipment; testing of laminates; treatment with creosote and creosote coal tar; pressure treating; improved mill burner and stack performance to reduce air pollution; and studies of power poles and other wood products, especially for the Bonneville Power Administration. The photographs consist of both 4x5 camera negatives and prints.
The Wood Preservation Collection component of the papers consists of materials assembled by Graham pertaining to wood preservation research and the wood preservation industry. These materials include photographs, reports, and publications. Many of the photographs document creosoting, especially of railroad ties, and the development of wood products for the housing and construction industry, especially pre-fabricated structures. Some of the photographs may have been assembled by Richard (Dick) Alpen. Most of the photographs in this component of the collection are prints; many were taken by commercial or industry photographers.
Also of note in the Wood Preservation Collection are a report of experimental charges treated by the reuping process at the St. Helens (Oregon) Creosoting Company in 1912-1913 and a 1911 booklet, Wood Preservation and Creosoting by the Reuping Process, published in 1911 by Hulsberg and Company in Berlin.