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Bioresource Engineering Department Records, 1924-2004

Collection Overview

Title: Bioresource Engineering Department Records, 1924-2004

ID: RG 001

Primary Creator: Oregon State University. Department of Bioresource Engineering

Extent: 19.5 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: Organized into 11 series: I. Monthly Reports; II. Staff Meeting Minutes; III. Correspondence, Robert M. Alexander; IV. Projects and Reports; V. Patents; VI. Agricultural Engineering Personnel; VII. Correspondence; VIII. Radio Talks and Reports; IX. Annual Reports; X. Flax Industry Materials; and XI. Plans and Drawings.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Bioresource Engineering Department Records document the research and extension activities of the department; the design, development, and use of agricultural equipment; and the architectural design of structures primarily for agricultural use. The Records also include extensive materials pertaining to the flax industry in Oregon from 1938 to 1954.

Scope and Content Notes

Series 4 documents the research activities of the department. Series 7 consists primarily of correspondence of faculty member John Wolfe, much of it concerning irrigation. Series 8 consists of reports and short features broadcast over radio station KOAC in the 1930s and 1940s. Series 9, annual reports of research, spans the years 1970 to 1983.

Series 10 consists of materials pertaining to the flax industry in Oregon from 1938 to 1954: references, reports, design specifications, and building and equipment plans and drawings. These materials resulted from state and federal fiber flax processing investigations between the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Agricultural Engineering Department of the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station.

Series 11 consists of plans and drawings for homes; farm structures and equipment; selected campus buildings and structures including buildings at some Branch Experiment Stations; and plans for non-OSU buildings and/or sites designed by Agricultural Engineering Department faculty, primarily H. R. Sinnard. Most of the farm structures and equipment plans and drawings were published and distributed by the Extension Service.

An addition to the collection (Accession 2004:013) consists of materials generated by the Agricultural Engineering Department and includes correspondence, grant proposals, meeting minutes, reports, a publications list, and two videotapes. Primarily relating to research projects, these records also pertain to department accreditation, Gilmore Hall remodels and maintenance, policy/procedure development, and budgetary preparation. The videotapes are entitled: "The Stored Grain Management" and "NFPA Underground Storage Tanks." About one third of these records were generated by the Agricultural Engineering Research Foundation and include annual reports, correspondence, financial records, meeting minutes, research proposals, and various documentation collected in notebooks.

A second addition to the collection (Accession 2007:006) consists of materials generated and collected by the Biological and Ecological Engineering Department (formerly known as Bioresource Engineering) and includes reports, budgetary records, bylaws, correspondence, historical essays, meeting minutes, membership rosters, photographs, tax records, and blueprints of farm structures. Primarily documenting the Agricultural Engineering Research Foundation (AERF), the materials in this transfer also include reports and radio broadcast scripts on rural electrification from the Oregon Committee on Electricity in Agriculture and the Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station. Research project records relating to baled hay drying, fence post treatments, and oxygen free silo storage were also found in this transfer. The photographs (numbering about 120 in total-70 prints and 50 negatives) document AERF meetings and members receiving honors as well as a hay drying research project.

A third addition to the collection (Accession 2007:104) is made up of materials generated by the Agricultural Engineering Department and includes annual reports, an alumni newsletter, a list of publications by department faculty, and course materials for a soil and water conservation class (AE 471).

A fourth addition to the collection (Accession 2014:068) consists of materials generated and collected by the Bioresource Engineering Department (formerly known as the Agricultural Engineering Dept.) which document research published by department faculty, circulars and bulletins collected for distribution to the public, the tracking of alumni, a curriculum review of the department, and the Agricultural Engineering Research Foundation. This transfer includes article reprints, correspondence, event programs, newsletters, photographs, reports, and technical drawings. Published by OSU as well as other university Extension programs and the USDA, the circulars for distribution primarily relate to construction of structures and buildings such as greenhouses, beehives, food dehydrators, manure storage, sheds, smokehouses, cattle corrals, and water wheel hydraulics. The 22 photographs (14 prints and 8 slides) depict agricultural waste treatment facilities and students doing lab research. About half of this transfer is made up of 5x8 index cards containing information compiled by the department on Agricultural Engineering alumni from 1917 to 1984. In addition to date of graduation, employer, and home address, these cards also contain family information and death date. There are also business cards and newspaper clippings attached to some of the cards.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Department of Agricultural Engineering was created in 1916 when the Department of Agronomy was subdivided, and was placed within the School of Agriculture. It was originally housed in the Farm Mechanics Building (now Gilmore Hall). The first department chair was William James Gilmore. In 1947 the department became jointly administered by the Schools of Agriculture and Engineering. The department's name was changed to Bioresource Engineering in 1991.

Fiber flax processing investigations were conducted at Oregon State College from from the late 1930s through mid 1950s through a joint USDA/Oregon Agricultural Experiment Station project. Engineering research led to the development and introduction of improved equipment for pulling, deseeding, scutching, and cleaning flax. Also, improved designs for flax mills were developed and recommendations made for prevention and control of flax mill fires. Researchers involved in this project included W. M. Hurst, L. M. Klein, J. E. Harmond, and M. C. Widger.

Fiber flax had been grown in the Willamette Valley since 1915, but prior to World War II the acreage was small and production and processing methods were based largely on European practices. When European flax supplies were cut off by World War II the acreage of flax and number of mills increased significantly and research results were available so that improved equipment could be installed in all the flax mills.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 6 microfilm reels

Related Materials: Materials related to the Bioresource Engineering Department can be found in the College of Agricultural Sciences Records (RG 158), Agricultural Experiment Station Records (RG 025), Extension Service Records (RG 111), Bioresource Engineering Department Photograph Collection (P 106), and publications in PUB 10-11a.

Preferred Citation: Bioresource Engineering Department Records (RG 001), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 19, 2015.


Oregon State University. Department of Bioresource Engineering
Alexander, Robert M.
Oregon State College. Department of Agricultural Engineering
Oregon State College. Federal Cooperative Extension Service
Oregon State University. Department of Agricultural Engineering
Sinnard, H. R. (Herbert Reeves) (1904-)
Wolfe, John W. (John William) (1917-)

People, Places, and Topics

Agricultural education--Oregon.
Agricultural engineering--Research--Oregon.
Agricultural experiment stations--Oregon.
Agricultural machinery.
Architecture--Oregon--Designs and plans.
College buildings--Oregon--Corvallis.
Farm buildings--Oregon.
Flax--Processing--Oregon--Willamette River Valley.
Flax industry--Oregon.
Harvesting machinery--Research--Oregon.
History of Science
Hops and Brewing
KOAC (Radio station : Corvallis, Or.)
Oregon State Agricultural College. Agricultural Experiment Station
Oregon State University. Department of Bioresource Engineering
Radio programs--Oregon.
University History

Forms of Material

Architectural drawings (visual works)
Radio scripts.
Technical drawings.

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