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Samuel H. Graf Collection, 1903-1964

By Finding aid prepared by Lawrence A. Landis; updated by Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Samuel H. Graf Collection, 1903-1964

ID: MSS Graf

Primary Creator: Graf, S. H. (Samuel Herman) (1887-1966)

Extent: 0.65 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Organized into 5 series: I. Family Letters, 1903-1920; II. A Course in Mechanical Drawing, 1909; III. Typescript, 50 Years of Mechanical Engineering at OSC, circa 1945; IV. Ephemera, 1933-1961; and V. Scrapbook, 1954-1964.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Samuel H. Graf Collection includes letters to family members, a 1909 text co-written by Graf, and a scrapbook of notes and letters sent by Graf's former students and colleagues on the occasion of his retirement in 1954. Graf earned undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering from Oregon Agricultural College in 1907-1909 and was a faculty member in engineering at Oregon State from 1909 until 1954.

Scope and Content Notes

The Samuel H. Graf Collection consists of materials created and assembled by Graf during the course of his years as a student and faculty member at Oregon State College. The materials include letters written to his family during his student years and early years on the faculty from 1903 to 1918; a text in mechanical drawing co-written by Graf; a history of mechanical engineering at Oregon State; and a scrapbook. The scrapbook consists primarily of notes and letters written to Graf by former students and colleagues on the occasion of his retirement in 1954. The collection also includes two photographic prints of Graf receiving an honorary degree from Linfield College in 1959. Also of note is a reprint of a 1933 article in The Architect and Engineer on Graf's recently constructed home in Corvallis.

An addtion to the Graf Collection (Accession 2011:048) is made up of technical drawings and notes generated and collected by mechanical engineering Professor Samuel Graf. Primarily consisting of machinery blueprints produced off campus by the Tennessee Valley Authority (General Engineering Division Hydraulic Laboratory), South Bend Lathe Works, and the Case School of Applied Science, the drawings were found together with handwritten notes on parts completed for a "shear apparatus" and a consolidometer. Some of the notes also contain "material from Horning" on them. Depicted on the hand rendered drawings are designs for a "bell-mouthed orifice" and a consolidometer. The drawings and notes were housed in an envelope addressed to Graf.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Born at Portland, Oregon, in August 1887, Samuel H. Graf entered Oregon Agricultural College in 1903 to study engineering. He received five engineering degrees from the college - B.S., Electrical Engineering (1907); E.E., Electrical Engineering (1908); B.S., Mechanical Engineering (1908); M.E., Mechanical Engineering (1909); and M.S., Electrical Engineering (1909). Between 1909 and 1954 Graf held several faculty appointments in engineering at Oregon State. From 1909-1912 he was an instructor in mechanical engineering; from 1912-1920 he was the head of experimental engineering; head of the Department of Mechanics and Materials (1920-1934) and of the Department of Mechanical Engineering (1934-1954); director of engineering research (1928-1944); and director of the Engineering Experiment Station (1944-1954).

Graf participated in several professional organizations, including the State Board of Engineering Examiners, the American Society for Metals, the American Society for Testing Materials, and the American Society of Mechanical Engineers. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Linfield College from 1954 to 1966 and was a member of several honorary societies, including Phi Kappa Phi, Sigma Xi (General Science), Eta Kappa Nu (Electrical Engineering), Sigma Tau (General Engineering), and Tau Beta Pi (General Engineering). Among his publications were Gas Appliance Testing Code, the Gas Engineers' Handbook, and several Engineering Experiment Station research bulletins.

Graf was married three times and had four children. He died in July 1966; Graf Hall on the OSU campus and Graf Hall at Linfield College are named for him.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 2 photographs; 2 boxes, including 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Related Materials: Additional biographical information on Graf can be found in the OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC) file MC-Graf, Samuel H. and in the biographical files of the News and Communication Services Records (RG 203). Photographs of Graf are located in Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC), the Oregon State University Historical Photograph Collection (P 025), the Faculty and Staff Photograph Collection (P 046); and the John Garman Photograph Collection (P 095). The Engineering Experiment Station Records (RG 100) and the Mechanical Engineering Department Records (RG 213) include materials from Graf's tenure with those programs. The Engineering Experiment Station Bulletins (PUB 8-34a) include several reports written by Graf. The Beulah Gilkey Collection (MSS GilkeyB) includes correspondence between Graf and others regarding opportunities for engineering faculty with universities in India.

Preferred Citation: Samuel H. Graf Collection (MSS Graf), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Graf, S. H. (Samuel Herman) (1887-1966)
American Society of Mechanical Engineers
Phillips, Mark Clyde (1877-1965)

People, Places, and Topics

College environment--Oregon--Corvallis.
College sports--Oregon--Corvallis.
College students' writings, American--Oregon--Corvallis.
College students--Oregon--Corvallis--Economic conditions.
College students--Oregon--Corvallis--Social conditions.
Engineering--Study and teaching--Oregon--Corvallis.
Engineering students--Oregon--Corvallis.
Graf, S. H. (Samuel Herman), 1887-1966
History of Science
Oregon Agricultural College--Students.
Oregon Agricultural College. School of Engineering
Oregon State College--Alumni and alumnae.
Oregon State College--Faculty.
Oregon State College. Department of Mechanical Engineering--History.
University History

Forms of Material

Mechanical drawings (tool-aided drawings)
Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Family Letters, 1903-1920
The Family Letters consist of letters that Graf wrote to his family between 1903 and 1918 while a student at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) and later a faculty member. The letters provide a detailed account of student life at OAC. Graf discusses faculty members; his classes; fellow students; athletics; and costs, such as his cadet uniform and room and board. They also provide insight into OAC faculty life in the 1910s. The series also includes an invitation to Graf's 1920 marriage to Blanche Edlefsen. The letters are arranged chronologically.
Box-Folder 1.1: Transcripts of letters
Box-Folder 1.2: Original letters, 1903-1904
Box-Folder 1.3: Original letters, 1905-1907
Box-Folder 1.4: Original letters, 1908-1909
Box-Folder 1.5: Original letters and Wedding invitation, 1910-1918, 1920
Series 2: A Course in Mechanical Drawing, 1909
Series II is a text and supplemental drawings written by Graf and fellow faculty member M. Clyde Phillips in 1909.
Box-Folder 1.6: Text and drawings
Box-Folder 1.7: Texts only
Extent: 2 copies

Series 3: Typescript, 50 Years of Mechanical Engineering at O.S.C., circa 1945
Series III consists of a summary of the development of mechanical engineering at Oregon State prepared by Graf in the mid 1940s. It describes department facilities, faculty, curriculum, and degrees awarded.
Extent: 2 copies

Box-Folder 1.8: Typescript, circa 1945
Series 4: Ephemera, 1933-1961
Series IV consists of a reprint from the January 1933 issue of The Architect and Engineer about the Graf's recently completed residence in Corvallis that includes exterior and interior photographs and an award certificate from the American Society for Testing Materials.
Box-Folder 1.9: Graf home, 1933
Box-Folder 1.10: Award Certificate, American Society for Testing Materials, June 28, 1961
Series 5: Scrapbook, 1954-1964
The scrapbook consists predominantly of notes and letters from former students and colleagues presented to Graf at the banquet given in his honor by the Oregon Section of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers in 1954 at the time of Graf's retirement. The scrapbook also includes clippings, brochures, and memorabilia from the dinner as well several items from the late 1950s and early 1960s. These later materials include clippings, correspondence, and photographs pertaining to Linfield College's award of an honorary degree to Graf in 1959.
Box-Folder 1.11: Loose materials removed from scrapbook
Box-Folder 1.12: Photographs of Linfield College honorary degree, 1959
Box-Folder 2.1: Scrapbook

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