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Ralph O. Coleman Papers, 1910-1991

Collection Overview

Title: Ralph O. Coleman Papers, 1910-1991

ID: MSS Coleman

Primary Creator: Coleman, Ralph O.

Extent: 2.7 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Coleman Papers consist of materials generated and collected by alumnus and baseball coach Ralph O. Coleman that reflect his career with OSU athletics, his military training and service, honors that he received, and his work for the U.S. Army leading baseball and basketball coaching clinics in Europe and Japan.

Scope and Content Notes

Numbering about 250 photographs in total, the images contained in the Ralph O. Coleman Papers depict Coleman in portrait shots, in group shots with other OSU Athletics faculty, attending American Baseball Coaches Association meetings, with his wife and friends at his Woodburn home, being honored at award ceremonies, and with other members of the Corvallis Country Club. The images also depict OSU athletics and include portrait shots of players and teams as well as game shots. Primarily pertaining to baseball, these photographs also depict basketball, cross country and track, football, hockey, and wrestling. The views date mostly from the 1910s and 1920s with a few shots of Coleman as a student on the track team.

In addition to photographs, the collection includes an architectural drawing, a calendar notebook, certificates, correspondence, diplomas, a drawing, employment records, military medals/service pins, military records, newspaper clippings, plaques, publications, speeches, and trophies.

Of special interest in the correspondence are letters relating to Coleman's experiences with fellow Delta Upsilon brother and roommate Linus Pauling. Included is a letter from Pauling to Coleman. The calendar notebook contains notations made by Coleman during his work as a coach for the Army in 1945.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Born in Canby, Oregon, Ralph O. Coleman came to Oregon Agricultural College in 1914. Pursuing a degree in agriculture with an emphasis on dairy husbandry, Coleman distinguished himself as a student athlete in track and field, going on to serve as team captain in his senior year. Although he played only one season on the college baseball team, Coleman played professionally at the AAA level with the Portland Beavers in 1923.

Coleman graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1918 and taught at Corvallis High School before returning to campus in 1919 to work for the Physical Education Department. In a longtime association with OSU athletics that lasted until his retirement in 1966, Coleman coached the baseball team and the freshman track team, officiated football and basketball games, served as director of Intramural Sports, and was director of the summer session recreational program.

Coleman is best remembered for a very long and successful career coaching Oregon State baseball. In 36 years, Coleman led the Beavers to seven Northern Division championship titles and an overall record of 560 wins versus 317 defeats. Married to fellow alumna Eleanor in 1922, the Colemans together raised two children: Ralph Jr. and Carolyn. Coleman died in 1990.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 250 photographs; 2 archives boxes, 1 16x20 oversize box, and 1 map folder

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Related Materials: Biographical information related to Ralph O. Coleman and an interview with Ralph O. Coleman, Jr. can be found in the Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Collection (OH 026). Additional material related to OSU baseball can be found in the online exhibit Oregon State Baseball: 100 Years to a National Championship, 1907–2006. Collections related to Coleman's career at OSU include the Intercollegiate Athletics Records (RG 007), the Intercollegiate Athletics Photographic Collection (P 031), theSports Media Guides (PUB 054), College of Health and Human Performance Records (RG 031), and the OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC).

Preferred Citation: Ralph O. Coleman Papers (MSS Coleman), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: This collection is not fully processed and a complete finding aid is not available at this time.

Other URL: A preliminary container list was created for this collection on or before November 14, 2014.


Coleman, Ralph O.

People, Places, and Topics

Coleman, Ralph O.
University History

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