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Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album, 1977-1978

By Chris Petersen

Collection Overview

Title: Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album, 1977-1978

ID: P 304

Primary Creator: Muniz, Juan Fermin.

Extent: 0.25 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album is loosely arranged by theme, with images of Hiatt in the laboratory grouped together near the front. Similarly grouped are portraits of laboratory staff, images of staff working in the laboratory, and a series of photos from Hiatt's retirement party. The album's four composite photos are interspersed throughout.

Date Acquired: 00/00/2015

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album was created to celebrate Hiatt's retirement from the position of Chief Chemist at the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Laboratory Services unit. The album primarily consists of images of Hiatt and his colleagues working in the Salem, Oregon-based laboratory, as taken by labmate Juan F. Muniz. Hiatt spent two years as a graduate student in Chemistry at Oregon State College before joining the Department of Agriculture in 1939. He retired in 1977.

Scope and Content Notes

The Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album consists of 160 black and white photographs of Hiatt and his colleagues at the Oregon Department of Agriculture's Laboratory Services unit. The images are chiefly comprised of posed and candid snapshots of laboratory staff working with their equipment, measuring and analyzing samples, and recording data. Portraits of each staffmember are also included, as are exterior images of the Oregon Department of Agriculture building in Salem. Images of Hiatt engaging with members of the laboratory's secretarial staff and photos of Hiatt's retirement party, held in January 1978 (and attended by former Oregon Department of Agriculture director Walter Leth) are likewise found. Of particular note are four composite images of Hiatt and his colleagues that call out specific areas of focus within the laboratory. Juan F. Muniz, a chemist at the lab, is identified as the photographer responsible for creating the photographs.

In addition to the album, the collection includes a press release announcing Hiatt's retirement as well as eight letters of congratulation authored by Oregon Governor Bob Straub, U.S. Senator Mark Hatfield, and OSU professors Arnold Appleby and Virgil Freed, among others.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Virgil Gerald Hiatt was born in 1913 in Buttercreek, Oregon. As a child, he and his family moved to Portland and, a few years later, to Vernonia, Oregon, where Hiatt completed his high school years. After earning a bachelor's degree from Pacific College (now George Fox University) in 1936, Hiatt spent the 1937-38 and 1938-39 academic years working towards a master's degree in Chemistry at Oregon State College. While at Oregon State, Hiatt was employed by the Agricultural Chemistry Experiment Station and also worked as a teaching assistant in Agricultural Biochemistry.

Hiatt left OSC in June 1939 to accept a position with the Oregon Department of Agriculture as a feed chemist.  In 1942 he was granted leave to serve in the United States Army during World War II, and he spent the next four years on active duty, primarily in the European theatre.

Upon his return to Oregon in 1946, Hiatt was named fertilizer chemist and assistant chief chemist within the state Department of Agriculture. He was later appointed economic poison chemist and, eventually, chief chemist within the department's Laboratory Services unit. During his career, Hiatt helped to organize the state's Committee on Synthetic Chemicals in the Environment, administered the Oregon Pesticide Use Clearinghouse, chaired the statewide Pesticide Review Board, and oversaw all Oregon laboratories credentialed to analyze milk shipped between states.

As a researcher, Hiatt made important contributions to the development of methods for determining organic materials in soils as well as ethylene produced as a resperation product by stored fruits. He also helped to develop improved techniques for analyzing copper naphthenate. In 1976, Hiatt was one of eight chemists honored by the Portland Section of the American Chemical Society for contributions made to chemistry in Oregon.

Virgil Hiatt retired from the Oregon Department of Agriculture in 1977. He passed away in Salem in 1993.

Author: Chris Petersen

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 oversize box; 160 photographs

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album was transferred to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center by the Oregon State University Alumni Association in 2015.

Related Materials:

The history of Oregon State University's collaboration with the Oregon Department of Agriculture is documented in the College of Agricultural Sciences Records (RG 158). Additional images of agricultural chemists working in a laboratory setting are contained in the Experiment Station Publications Photographic Collection (P 132).

SCARC collections with a major focus on agricultural chemistry as a subject include the Joseph S. Butts Papers (MSS Butts), the R.H. Robinson Papers (MSS Robinson), and the Agricultural Experiment Station Records (RG 025).

Preferred Citation: Virgil Hiatt Photograph Album (P 304), Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries.


Muniz, Juan Fermin.

People, Places, and Topics

Agricultural chemistry--Oregon.
Hiatt, Virgil G.
Natural Resources
Oregon. State Department of Agriculture

Forms of Material

Photograph albums.

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