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Zoology Department Records, 1895-1997

By Finding aid prepared by Bryce Henry and Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Zoology Department Records, 1895-1997

Predominant Dates: 1938-1958

ID: RG 074

Primary Creator: Oregon State University. Department of Zoology

Extent: 0.1 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Zoology Department Records are arranged in 4 series: I. General Files, 1938-1969; II. Subject Files, 1973-1997; III. Publications, 1895-1989; and IV. Lantern Slides, circa 1920.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Zoology Department Records document undergradate and graduate instruction in zoology at Oregon State University and include correspondence, meeting agendas and minutes, reports, publications, and lantern slides used for ornithology instruction. Courses in zoology have been offered since the founding of Oregon State in 1868; the Zoology and Entomology Department was established in 1889.

Scope and Content Notes

The Zoology Department Records document the administration of the department, primarily under the leadership of Kenneth L. Gordon and Ernst J. Dornfeld, and the activities of faculty, especially in undergraduate and graduate instruction. The records include correspondence, staff meeting agendas and minutes, publications, and lantern slides used in instruction. The bulk of the records are available on microfilm and consist of Reports of Service to the Institution for a 20-year period from 1938 to 1958. These reports were completed by each faculty member for each academic term and listed courses taught and number of students in each section as well as other activities, such as extension, research, or service.

The administrative records also include materials documenting possible war emergency research to be conducted in the early 1950s. Correspondence and reports documenting the cooperative research program between Oregon State College and Kasetsart University in Thailand in the 1950s are part of the General Files (Series I).

The collection includes histories of the department prepared in 1966 (by Ernst J. Dornfeld) and in 1989 (by Dornfeld and Charles E. King). Of special note is an 1895 report from F.L. Washburn to College President John M. Bloss describing the courses taught by the department in 1894-1895. This report also includes drawings and descriptions prepared by students.

The lantern slides were used for ornithology instruction and include maps and photographs of birds, habitats, and skeletons.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Department of Zoology and Entomology was established in 1889 with F.L. Washburn as head. Prior to becoming an official department, zoology had been a part of the physiology program. Instruction in zoology began in 1868 (physiology having begun the previous year) and entomology was added in 1870. In 1895, F.L. Washburn was succeeded by A. B. Cordley, who expanded the department’s staff and instruction to include histology, embryology, systematic zoology, parasitology, evolution, and advanced entomology.

In 1902 the Department of Zoology and Entomology moved to Agriculture Hall (now Education Hall) and then in 1910 to the new Agriculture Hall (now Strand Agriculture Hall). Entomology became a separate department in 1914 and the department was known as Zoology and Physiology in the 1910s and 1920s. The department name was shortened to Zoology in 1927. The first bachelor’s in Zoology was awarded in 1932; in 1935, Alfred Taylor was the first to receive a doctorate in Zoology.

Bolstered by grants from the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health, the department began another period of expansion after World War II. As returning veterans increased the school’s student population the department expanded staff, space, and laboratory equipment. Additional labs and classrooms were placed in Quonset huts, surplus army barracks, and the President’s old residence. By 1962, the growth of the department and the shortage of space reached a crisis point. In 1962 the Department of Zoology obtained permission to proceed with the planning of a new addition to Cordley Hall. This was ultimately delayed until 1965 and was finally completed in the fall of 1967.

Department heads have included F.L. Washburn (1889-1895); A.B. Cordley (1895-1914); George F. Sykes (1914-1921); Nathan Fasten (1921-1944); Kenneth L. Gordon (1945-1952); Ernst J. Dornfeld (1952-1976); Charles E. King (1977-1986); Christopher J. Bayne (1986-1989); Jane Lubchenco (1989-1993); John E. Morris (1993-1996); Stevan J. Arnold (1997-2003); John A. Ruben (2003-2009); and Bruce A. Menge (beginning in 2009).

Administrative Information

Accruals: Additions to the collection are expected.

More Extent Information: 36 photographs; 2 boxes; 2 microfilm reels

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Materials were acquired by the Oregon State University Archives from 1972 to 2006.

Related Materials: Reports and additional materials documenting the Zoology Department are available in the College of Science Records (RG 024). The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holdings include the collections of several zoology faculty including the Ernst J. Dornfeld Papers (MSS Dornfeld), Nathan Fasten Collection (MSS Fasten), and Kenneth L. Gordon Collection (MSS Gordon). Student materials for zoology courses are part of the Kareen Peiffer Laboratory Notes (MSS Peiffer) and the Ronald V. and John G. Hogg Papers (MSS Hogg). The OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC) includes clippings, reports, and ephemeral items documenting the Zoology Department and zoology photographs are part of Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC).

Preferred Citation: Zoology Department Records (RG 074), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Oregon State University. Department of Zoology
Dornfeld, Ernst John (1911-)
Oregon State Agricultural College. Zoological Department
Oregon State College. Department of Zoology
Washburn, F. L. (Frederic Leonard) (1860-1927)

People, Places, and Topics

Natural Resources
Oregon State Agricultural College. Zoological Department
Oregon State College--Faculty.
Oregon State College. Department of Zoology
Oregon State University. Department of Zoology
Ornithology--Study and teaching.
University History
Zoology--Study and teaching (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.

Forms of Material

Lantern slides.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: General Files, 1938-1969
Series I consists of correspondence, meeting minutes, reports, and other materials that document the administration of the Zoology Department and the activities of faculty, especially in undergraduate and graduate instruction. The bulk of the series is comprised of Reports of Service to the Institution for 1938-1958. The report form was completed by each faculty member for each academic term with the courses taught, number of students in each section, and the time spent on each course per week. Faculty also reported time spent on other activities, such as administration, extension, research, or service on this form. The numbers that precede titles in the list below are the folder numbers as they appear on the microfilm.
Reel-Folder 1.1: Barrington Committee Reports for Zoology personnel, 1954-1955
Reel-Folder 1.2: Correspondence with staff, 1963-1969
Reel-Folder 1.3: Gifts, 1951-1956
Reel-Folder 1.4: Graduate certification policies, 1947
Reel-Folder 1.5: Graduate examinations, 1962
Reel-Folder 1.6: Honorary societies, 1951
Sigma Xi, Phi Kappan Phi, Phi Sigma
Reel-Folder 1.7: Kasetsart University, 1953-1959
Sub-Series 8: Letters to the Staff, 1952-1954
Reel-Folder 1.8: 1953-1954
Reel-Folder 1.9: Staff meetings, 1952-1953
Sub-Series 9: Miscellaneous Correspondence, 1945-1957
Reel-Folder 1.10: Meetings, 1945-1950
Reel-Folder 1.11: School of Science, 1951-1957
Reel-Folder 1.12: Publicity, 1951-1954
Sub-Series 11: Report of Service to the Institution, 1938-1958
Reel-Folder 1.13: 1938-1941
Reel-Folder 1.14: 1941-1945
Reel-Folder 1.15: Fall 1945-Spring 1946
Reel-Folder 1.16: Fall 1946-Spring 1947
Reel-Folder 1.17: Fall 1947-Spring 1948
Reel-Folder 1.18: Fall 1948-Spring 1949
Reel-Folder 1.19: 1949-1950
Reel-Folder 1.20: 1951-1952
Reel-Folder 1.21: 1952-1953
Reel-Folder 1.22: 1953-1954
Reel-Folder 1.23: 1954-1955
Reel-Folder 1.24: 1955-1958
Reel-Folder 1.25: Unreasonable requests, 1958-1967
Public inquiries on a variety of topics with responses.
Reel-Folder 1.26: War Emergency research, 1950-1951
Reel-Folder 1.27: Zoology staff meetings agendas and minutes, 1945-1950
Series 2: Subject Files, 1973-1997
Series II consists of materials that document undergraduate and graduate instruction. The records include expanded course descriptions for Biology (Bi) and Zoology (Z) courses in the early 1970s and an announcement of public speakers for a zoology course on environmental controversies (Z 565) in 1997.
Box-Folder 1.1: Course Offerings for Zoology Major Curriculum in 1973-1974, 1973
Box-Folder 1.2: Announcement of Public Lectures in Fall 1997, 1997
Series 3: Publications, 1895-1989
Series III consists of several publications prepared by the Zoology Department. These include histories of the department prepared in 1966 and 1989; a publication of drawings of the anatomy of several animals; and an 1895 report from the Zoological Department that describes courses offered and includes drawing and descriptions by students.
Box-Folder 1.3: Anatomy of Selected Animal Types, 1973
Report by Kathryn Torvik and John E. Morris
Box-Folder 1.4: History of the Department of Zoology, 1966
By Ernst J. Dornfeld.
Box-Folder 1.5: History of the Department of Zoology 1889-1989, 1989
By Ernst J. Dornfeld and Charles E. King.
Box-Folder 1.6: Laboratory Studies, State Agricultural College, Zoology, 1895
A report from F.L. Washburn to College President John M. Bloss on work done in the Zoological Department during fall and winter terms of 1894-1895. The report describes courses in physiology, ornithology, and zoology and includes drawings and descriptions by students W.F. Holman, Lester M. Leland, Louis Leuenberger, Elsie Long, Amelia J. McCune, Kate B. McCune, A.D. Morrison, Dorothea Nash, Lulu C. Thornton, Effie Willis, and Lena Willis. This report is identified as vol. 1, no. 1; no additional reports were published in the series.
Series 4: Lantern Slides, circa 1920
Series IV consists of 36 lantern slides that were likely used for ornithology instruction. They include maps of bird species migration routes; USDA weather maps; and photographs of bird species, habitat, visceral contents, and skeletons. Most of the specimen photos are taxidermy mounts; although several photographs of birds in the wild are included. Some of the bird species photographs are identified. The lantern slides also include several images of mayweed and dog fennel. The items are numbered 980-55-1 thru 980-55-36; a few of the glass mounts are cracked and should be handled with caution.

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