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Bill Wilkins Papers, 1912-2006

By Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Bill Wilkins Papers, 1912-2006

Predominant Dates: 1961-1994

ID: MSS Wilkins

Primary Creator: Wilkins, Billy Hughel (1931-)

Extent: 13.8 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Bill Wilkins Papers consist of materials generated and assembled by Wilkins that document his research, teaching, and administrative career at Oregon State University as well as his posts with the Federal Aviation Administration and U.S. House of Representatives. Wilkins was a Professor of Economics from 1961 until his retirement in 1994; he served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1982 to 1994.

Scope and Content Notes

The Bill Wilkins Papers consists of materials generated and collected by Economics Professor Bill Wilkins that document his research, teaching, and administrative career at OSU as well as his posts as administrator with the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and as a staff economist with the U.S. House of Representatives. The bulk of the materials were assembled by Wilkins in the process of his research and writing and include certificates, conference papers, correspondence, nametags, newspaper clippings, manuscript drafts, meeting minutes, photographs, plaques, posters, publications, speech transcripts, and studies. The Papers also document Wilkins' participation in professional and aviation-oriented organizations and political campaigns. The photographs are primarily portrait images of Wilkins and also include a photograph album documenting Wilkins' visit to Russia in 1980 for the FAA.

An addition to the Wilkins Papers (Accession 2009:099) is made up of books, business cards, certificates, correspondence, a DVD, military medals, name badges, newsletters, newspaper clippings, photographs, plaques, a poster, speeches, and a sign from Wilkins' office at the Federal Aviation Administration. Documenting Wilkins' involvement on the State Aviation Board and other organizations, about half of this transfer pertains to Wilkins' military service in the U.S. Air Force and his work in organizing reunion gatherings of Ellington Air Force Base Navigator Training School graduates (52-09) and book reviews for the Air Force Navigators and Observers Association newsletter. Also reflected in these records is Wilkins' involvement in the OSU Retirement Association and co-sponsorship of the event "Celebrating Three Decades of Enlightened Leadership." The speeches address the 2000 presidential election, classical economic theories, and the book "The Post-American World." The three images depict Wilkins in portrait poses with one that includes his wife Caroline. The DVD contains recordings from retirement seminar presentations.

A second addition to the Wilkins Papers (Accession 2009:094) primarily reflects Wilkins' service in the U.S. Air Force and is made up of correspondence, a doctoral dissertation, DVDs, military records, photographs, and a scrapbook. Documenting Wilkins' service in the Air Force and his family life in Texas, the scrapbook contains photographs, letters, coins, newspaper clippings, event programs, patches, swizzle sticks, a silk painting, receipts, and a map outlining the global routes traveled by Wilkins during his military service. In the correspondence, Wilkins describes his tour of service during the Korean War as a member of the Air Force Tactical Reconnaissance Wing to his parents and sister. In addition to portrait shots, the photographs (numbering 48 prints in total) depict Wilkins in the military and as a young man hanging out with neighborhood friends. The dissertation, "Effects on the Economy of Venezuela of Actions by the International Petroleum Industry and United States Regulating Agencies" reflects Wilkins' doctoral work at the University of Texas. The two DVDs feature Wilkins talking about the Oregon State Flying Club and his own passion for flying.

A third addition to the Wilkins Papers (Accession 2010:012) is made up of two autobiographical narratives, two passports, certificates, diplomas, a transcript of a speech delivered to an aerospace education workshop, and a presentation given by Wilkins on the implications of the 1944 U.S.–Mexico water treaty. Wilkins wrote one of the narratives in response to a request for biographical details from a fellow high school classmate who organized reunions. The certificates honor Wilkins' service in the U.S. Air Force, membership in the Omicron Chi Epsilon Honor Society, support of the National Federation of Democratic Women, and service to OSU (25-Year Club.) The diplomas reflect Wilkins' education from high school through graduate school.

A fourth addition to the Wilkins Papers (Accession 2011:063) is made up of a book review, certificates, identification cards, navigational instruments, an owner's manual, a photograph, and a pilot logbook. These materials pertain to Wilkins' certification and record as an aircraft pilot and includes references to the OSU Flying Club, of which Wilkins was a member and advisor. The photographic print dates from 1955 and depicts an SA-16 rescue plane in flight taken from another plane in mid-air (a MATS C-54 piloted by Wilkins). Wilkins' review of the book "Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption" was featured in DR Ahead, the newsletter of the Air Force Navigators Association.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Bill Wilkins was a faculty member and administrator at Oregon State University from 1961 until his retirement in 1994. He was appointed an Assistant Professor in the Economics Department in 1961 and served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1982 to 1994.

A native of Texas, Wilkins earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Texas A & I University and his Ph.D. from the University of Texas. His college education was interrupted by four years of active duty in the Air Force, including a combat tour in Korea. He remained in the Air Force Reserve until his retirement in 1982 as a colonel.

Wilkins was active in politics and served as chair of the Benton County Democratic Party and co-chair of the 1968 Robert Kennedy presidential campaign in Benton County.

During several leaves from OSU, he worked as a staff economist for the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee and as an associate administrator for policy and international aviation affairs with the Federal Aviation Administration. He served as president of Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 200 photographs and 3 DVDs; 17 boxes, including 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Related Materials: The College of Liberal Arts Records (RG 143) include materials pertaining to the Economics Department as well as the administration of the college. The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holds several collections pertaining to agricultural and resource economics including the Agricultural and Resource Economics Department Records (RG 128), Emery N. Castle Papers (MSS Castle), D. Curtis Mumford Papers (MSS Mumford), Fred W. Obermiller Papers (MSS Obermiller), and the Western Agricultural Economics Research Council Records (MSS WAERC).

Preferred Citation: Bill Wilkins Papers (MSS Wilkins), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: This collection is not fully processed; this guide is preliminary.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 14, 2014.


Wilkins, Billy Hughel (1931-)
Oregon State University. College of Liberal Arts
United States. Congress. House. Committee on Ways and Means
United States. Federal Aviation Administration

People, Places, and Topics

Aeronautics and state--Oregon.
Aeronautics and state--United States.
Benton County (Or.)--Politics and government.
Economics--History--United States.
Economics--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.
Electioneering--Oregon--Benton County.
Kennedy, Robert F., 1925-1968
Oregon State University--Faculty.
Oregon State University. Department of Economics
Universities and colleges--Oregon--Corvallis--Administration.
University History
Wilkins, Billy Hughel, 1931-

Forms of Material

Photograph albums.
Photographic prints.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.