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Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection, 1905-1917

By Rachel Lilley and Sabrina Gorney

Collection Overview

Title: Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection, 1905-1917

Predominant Dates: 1913-1916

ID: P 158

Primary Creator: Gilbert, Henry C. (Henry Clark) (1891-1981)

Extent: 0.1 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection is comprised of one series: 1. Photographs, 1905-1917. The photographs are arranged numerically by image number (P158:1-60).

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection consists of scenic postcards and photographs from around the Pacific Northwest and Canada, as well as images of activities taking place on the Oregon Agricultural College campus. The membership and functions of the Oxford Club at OAC are a particular focus of the collection's campus images. Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Gilbert graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1915, and a Master of Science degree in 1917, both from Oregon Agricultural College (OAC).

Scope and Content Notes

The bulk of the Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection consists of postcards - in both color and black and white - depicting scenery, landmarks and agricultural practices throughout the Pacific Northwest and Canada. The collection also includes postcards and prints documenting scenes and activities from around Corvallis and the OAC campus. Many of the postcards are annotated and some were used to send messages - both by and to Gilbert - delivered through the post.

Of particular note are several images, many of them humorous, focusing on the membership, lodging and functions of the college's Oxford Club, predecessor to the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity. Gilbert was a member of the Oxford Club and appears to have taken many of the photographs organized into this component of the collection. Also of interest is a group photograph of Gilbert and other student guides at the Oregon Building during the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California in 1915. Gilbert was one of 38 OAC students selected to serve as guides in the Oregon Building during the Expo.

Images from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Henry Clark Gilbert was born December 1, 1891 in White Bear Lake, Minnesota – a community just north of St. Paul – to Philip G. Gilbert and Alcetta Tinkham Gilbert. Gilbert matriculated at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) in 1912 with a major in Agriculture. While at OAC, Gilbert served in Company L of the OAC Cadet Corps and was a member of the Rifle Club, a recognized student chapter of the National Rifle Association. He was also a member of the Shakopean Society, and served as the Managerial Staff member in charge of subscriptions for the Oregon Countryman, a scientific magazine issued by the Agricultural and Home Economics students at OAC. He was a member-resident of the Oxford Club, which was formally organized as the Oregon Alpha chapter of the Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity in February 1918. By his senior year, Gilbert had been promoted to Captain of Company C in the OAC Cadet Corps, and was selected to serve as Secretary of the OAC Rifle Club. He was also one of 38 students from OAC selected to serve as “guides” in the Oregon Building at the Panama-Pacific Exhibition in San Francisco.

Gilbert was active in faith-based students groups during his time at OAC. He was a member of OAC’s student chapter of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and served as chair of the group’s Religious Meetings Committee, whose activities included bringing speakers to campus, and holding religious meetings, Bible classes, and “uplifting social gatherings.” Gilbert was also a member of YMCA’s Student Volunteer Band, the purpose of which was to develop an “active interest in missions among the students…and [secure] recruits for service in the foreign mission field.”

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree in Agriculture in 1915, Gilbert stayed on at OAC to pursue a Master’s degree in Botany. While pursuing this degree, Gilbert worked as an Instructor in Botany and Plant Pathology, and served as the Faculty Advisor for the Oxford Club. Gilbert graduated in 1917, completing a Master’s thesis entitled Notes on Some of the Weeds of the Willamette Valley.That same year, Gilbert moved to Hilo, Hawaii, where he worked as a teacher of Agriculture and Military Science at the Hilo Boarding School.

From 1918 to 1921, Gilbert worked in South Dakota on the Barberry Eradication campaign out of the United States Department of Agriculture’s Cereal Investigations Office, first as the Assistant State Leader (1918-1919) and then as the State Leader of the project (1919-1920). Sometime prior to 1920, Gilbert married Katherine Mayo Asbahr, herself an OAC graduate in Commerce (Class of 1920). Her brothers Harry (Agriculture, 1910) and Albert Allen (Agriculture, 1911), and sisters Margaret Mary (Domestic Science and Art, 1913) and Estella Marie (Home Economics), also attended OAC.

In 1921, the Gilberts relocated to Minnesota, where both Henry and Katherine began work on advanced degrees at the University of Minnesota (UM). Henry worked as a Botany instructor in the School of Agriculture while pursuing his PhD in Agricultural Botany, with a special focus on “lettuce diseases.” By November 1924, the Gilberts had returned to Oregon, where Gilbert took up farming near Salem, Oregon. The Gilberts had moved south to Liberty, Oregon by 1930; Henry continued his agricultural pursuits as an orchardist, while Katherine taught public school. In September 1931, Henry left for Iowa City, Iowa to teach Botany at the Iowa State University (ISU); Katherine joined him there in 1932. Henry completed his PhD in Plant Pathology in 1933 while teaching at ISU.

The Gilberts returned to Oregon in late 1942, settling in the Hillsboro area. Henry Clark Gilbert died March 30, 1981 in Hillsboro, Oregon. Upon his death, Gilbert’s botanical specimens were donated to the Oregon State University Herbarium; as of January 2021, they are still there.

Author: Rachel Lilley and Sabrina Gorney

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box containing 60 photographs

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: This collection was received by the former University Archives in the 1960s or 1970s.

Related Materials:

The OSU Special Collections and Archives Researcher Center's holdings contain numerous collections documenting the student experience at Oregon Agricultural College in the 1910s, including the Irwin Betzel Papers (MSS Betzel), the May Oviatt Collection (MSS Oviatt), the Ellis Samuel Dement Photograph Collection (P 224), and the Student Handbooks (PUB 010-23a). Collections documenting the Oxford Club more specifically including the Charles Leon Robinson Photograph Album (P 215) and the J. Llewellyn Spriggs Photograph Album (P 285), in addition to the aforementioned Irwin Betzel Papers (MSS Betzel).

Collections which document OSU's connections to the Panama-Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco, California in 1915 include the E. E. Wilson Photographic Collection (P 101) and the Margaret Alden Biddle Scrapbook (MSS Biddle).

Additional materials relating to the first World War can be found in the Cooke Family Letters (MSS CookeFamily), the Ulysses Grant McAlexander Collection (MSS McAlexander), the Roy Philippi and Beth Miller Philippi Scrapbooks (MSS Philippi), and the Gerald W. Williams Collection on the Army Spruce Production Division (MSS Spruce).

Preferred Citation: Henry C. Gilbert Photograph Collection (P 158), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Finding Aid Revision History: This finding aid replaces information about the collection that was placed online in 2012.


Gilbert, Henry C. (Henry Clark) (1891-1981)

People, Places, and Topics

College students--Oregon--Corvallis--Social life and customs.
Gilbert, Henry C. (Henry Clark), 1891-1981
Marys Peak (Or.)
Men--Oregon--Corvallis--Societies and clubs.
Oxford Club (Oregon Agricultural College)
Panama-Pacific International Exposition (1915 : San Francisco, Calif.)
University History
World War, 1914-1918.

Forms of Material

Aerial photographs.
Photographic postcards.
Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Photographs, 1905-1917
Item P158:01: Group photograph of the Bert Willard family, 1914
The names of individual family members are annotated on the back of the photograph. Family members pictured include: Laura, Lucille, Lana, Genevieve, Bob, Arthur, Willard, Donald, Ida, Elwyn, Mama, and Papa. Additional captions clarify that Arthur, Lucille, Genevieve and Donald are Bert's children and that Elwyn is Willard's baby.
Item P158:02: Men and women gardening during World War I, 1917
Image depicts corner of Sixth Street in Corvallis.
Item P158:03: A male student seated and reading in a room in a fraternity, 1916
Pennants decorate the wall behind the student.
Item P158:04: The Lady of the Fountain sculpture, OAC, 1916
The Lady of the Fountain was a gift of the class of 1902 and was constructed in 1902 or 1903. It was located just to the west of the intersection where Madison Street crosses 9th Street.
Item P158:05: Benton Hall [Community Hall] and the Women's Study Center Building, 1916
Image depicts a male figure seated on a boulder beneath the Trysting Tree. Benton Hall (Community Hall) is visible in the background and a group of people can be seen lying on the grass near what has been the Women's Center since 1973.
Item P158:06: Group photograph of student guides - including Henry C. Gilbert - at the Oregon Building, San Francisco. Panama-Pacific International Exposition, 1915., 1915
Caption reads: "These are the guides on duty during March and April. They are on duty 4 weeks - 4 changing every 2 weeks. They are, from left to right, Fleishman (U of O), Bowen (U of O), Gilbert (OAC), Breeding (U of O), Doerner (OAC), Coe (OAC), Hayes (OAC), Hunter (U of O), Currey (OAC)." The men in the image stand on the porch of the Oregon Building at the Panama Pacific International Exposition, San Francisco.
Item P158:07: Group photograph of students on a summer outing to Marys Peak, 1916
Item P158:07a: Group photograph of students on a summer outing to Marys Peak, 1916
Item P158:08: Group photograph of students on a summer outing to Marys Peak, 1916
Item P158:09: Group photograph of students on a summer outing to Marys Peak., 1916
Item P158:10: Group photograph of students on a summer outing to Marys Peak. Student are shown eating snow., 1916
Students are shown eating snow.
Item P158:11: Group photograph at a student outing, December, 1916
Item P158:12: Group photograph at a student outing, December, 1916
Item P158:13: Group photograph at a student outing, December, 1916
Item P158:14: A student group posing with a large OAC pennant, 1916
Item P158:15: An unidentified student group posing together, 1916
Item P158:16: The Oxford Club house, circa 1900s
Item P158:17: The Oxford Club house, circa 1900s
The caption on the reverse of the photograph reads: "Oxford Club House - The house faces south."
Item P158:18: Oxford Club members posing, having piled on top of one another, 1913
Item P158:19: Oxford Club members posing, having formed a human pyramid, 1913
Item P158:20: Oxford Club members posing in formal dress, 1913
Caption reads: "Oxford Club, 1913-14. Front to rear: Smith (Soph.); Edwards, Homer; Scudder; Edwards, Connor; McCollum, Edgar; Taylor; Norton; Cook; Wright; Harvey; Gilbert; Roberts; Kehrli; McCollom, Chas; Robinson. Betzel took picture." The full names of the club members are, respectively, Clifton F. [?] Smith, J. Homer Edwards, Joy W. Scudder, Conner W. Edwards, J. Edgar McCollom, Frank J. [?] Taylor, James E. Norton, Mortimer P. Cook, Ralph V. Wright, Paul A. Harvey, H.C. Gilbert, Glen H. Roberts, Frank W. Kehrli, Charles A. McCollom, Charles L. Robinson. Betzel refers to Irwin L. Betzel. Club members stand in a row with each man placing a hand on the shoulder of the man in front of him in the line.
Item P158:21: Oxford Club members posing while squatting in a semicircle, 1913
Image depicts members physically supporting one another in an elaborate group pose.
Item P158:22: Oxford Club members posing in mock football formation, 1913
Item P158:23: Oxford Club members posing while bent over and peering through their own legs, 1913
Irwin L. Betzel most likely took the photograph since his last name is inscribed in the lower left corner of the image. He is specifically cited as the photographer in a caption on the back of a previous image in this collection.
Item P158:24: Oxford Club members posing, arms over one another's shoulders, 1913
Item P158:25: Two unidentified individuals, a female and a male, posing outdoors in formal dress, 1916
Sent to H.C. Gilbert in Corvallis, Oregon. Caption reads, "Am on car, so note writing. Please seal and mail my two letters on my table, Monday. Cliff, c/o Oxford club."
Item P158:26: Three unidentified males [Oxford Club members?] posing together outdoors in formal dress, 1913
Item P158:27: Five unidentified males in military dress [Oxford Club members?] standing at attention, circa 1913
Item P158:28: Group photograph of several males [Oxford Club members?] posing together at a campsite, circa 1913
Caption reads: "What do you think of this bunch of wild aboridgenes [sic]"
Item P158:29: A staged boxing match featuring Oxford Club members, 1913
Caption reads: "Kehrli and Chas McC. in ring. Betzel and Taylor timing. Edgar McC." Kehrli refers to Frank Walter Kehrli and Chas McC is Charles McCollom. Betzel and Taylor are Irwin Leonard Betzel and Frank J. Taylor [?]. Edgar McC is Edgar McCollom.
Item P158:30: A staged boxing match featuring Oxford Club members, 1913
Item P158:31: Several Oxford Club members posing while piled onto a bed, 1913
Caption reads: "This is the best way to get more than two in a bed."
Item P158:32: Several Oxford Club members posing while piled onto a bed, 1913
Item P158:33: Oxford Club members seated together with one stretched across their legs, 1913
Caption reads: "One man lifting seven."
Item P158:34: Oxford Club members dunking one of their own in a bath tub, 1913
Caption reads: "The punishment of a 'Rook' for insubordination."
Item P158:35: Oxford Club members posing in costumes and masks, 1913
Caption reads: "The Oxford Club bunch just home from the masquerade."
Item P158:36: Group photograph of YMCA Student Conference Leaders, 1913
Item P158:37: Aerial view of Harrisburg, Oregon, 1913
Image shows the organization of a Harrisburg neighborhood and provides insight into the spacing, size, and external appearance of homes in the area in 1913. Image was sent to H.C. Gilbert from Harrisburg, Oregon. Caption reads: "July 25, 1913. Have certainly been following your advice as to the good time. this is one view of the big 'city.' Told G. of my promise so suppose shall have to make it good. Was the lecture good. Wrote to E today. Shall be home Wed. Hope you'll have a good time tomorrow. A friend, L .B. H."
Item P158:38: Shepard Hall, Oregon Agricultural College, 1916
Item P158:39: Benton County Courthouse, Corvallis, 1916
Item P158:40: Presbyterian Church, Corvallis, 1916
The Presbyterian Church, completed in 1910, still stands and is located at 114 SW 8th St, Corvallis, OR, near Central Park.
Item P158:41: Willamette River with ferry, Corvallis, circa 1913
Image shows a manned ferry transporting a horse-drawn conveyance (most likely a buggy) across the Willamette River. Trees, a road, and several buildings are visible in the background.
Item P158:42: Willamette River with ferry, Corvallis, circa 1913
Image shows a ferry resting on the Willamette River. Trees and one building are visible in the background.
Item P158:43: Color postcard depicting a scene from Salem, Oregon - Marion County Court House, post office, Methodist Church, circa 1916
The Methodist Church still stands and is located at 600 State Street; Salem, OR. It was completed in 1878.
Item P158:44: Color postcard depicting Marion County Court House State Capitol building, Post Office and Methodist Church in distance, Salem Oregon, 1916
Item P158:45: Color postcard featuring the State Capital building, 1916
Item P158:46: Color postcard titled "Combined Harvester Scene," Eastern Washington, 1916
Item P158:47: Color postcard titled "Log chute on the St. Joe River near Spokane, Washington", 1916
Item P158:48: Color postcard featuring The Hotel Frye, Seattle, Washington, circa 1916
Item P158:49: Color postcard featuring the Northern Pacific train depot and park, North Yakima, Washington, circa 1916
Item P158:50: Color postcard titled "Mt. Adams from Sunnyside Canal, Yakima Valley, Washington", 1916
Item P158:51: Color postcard titled depicting two girls at a fruit display, North Yakima, Washington, 1916
Item P158:52: Color postcard of the Silah Moxee flume, North Yakima, Washington, 1916
Item P158:53: Color postcard of an irrigation syphon flume, Natches Gap, North Yakima, Washington, 1916
Item P158:54: Color postcard of Sullivan Lake, Stevens County, Washington, 1916
Item P158:55: Color postcard titled "Trout fishing on 'Swiftwater,' St. Joe River, Idaho", 1916
Item P158:56: Color postcard titled "Steamer 'Georgie Oakes' on the shadowy St. Joe River, Idaho", 1916
Item P158:57: Color postcard of the wheat fields of Saskatchewan province, Canada, 1909
Addressed to Henry Gilbert at Salem, Oregon. Caption reads: "Thanks very much for the pictures you sent some time ago. They brought back pleasant memories to me. How are spending the spring? Are you glad that you are thru school? This is fine country out here. I like it first rate. I am in town for the summer. The homestead is rather a lonesome place. An Aggie Fried, Hazel [Stum?]. Gull Lake, Saskatchewan, Box 136."
Item P158:58: Color postcard of the Teton Mountains, Wyoming, 1912
Addressed to Henry C. Gilbert at Oregon Agricultural College, Alpha Hall. Caption is mostly intelligible. It reads: "Oct. 4, 1913. Friend Gilbert: - I was somewhat surprised to hear from you but am glad you remembered your promise. Yes that address is alright so just send the penant. How do you like going to school this winter and what studies or branch you are taking. I am working in a doctor's office this winter, so that accounts for my delay in answering your card. Yours truly, Miss Iva Bluhm, 414 Wald Amette St., Oregon City, Oregon."
Item P158:59: Color postcard of a burro pack team, 1905
Addressed to Henry C. Gilbert at White Bear Lake in Minnesota. Caption reads: "This is where the conductor truthfully shouts all aboard. Phoenix, Arizona, 1/27/1905."
Item P158:60: Image of Lincoln J. Beachey departing on his final airplane flight. Panaman-Pacific International Expedition, San Francisco, March 14, 1915, 1915
Obverse caption reads: "Beachey starting on his last flight from P.P.I.E. Grounds, March 14. Cardinell-Vincent Co. official photographers." Reverse caption reads: "Beachey had been using a Biplane up till this flight. This day when he tried his 'dip for life' at about 3000 ft. elevation the single planes were not strong enough and collapsed. He fell into the bay and was killed."

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