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Oregon Agricultural College Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Records, 1889-1940

By Finding aid prepared by Trevor Sandgathe

Collection Overview

Title: Oregon Agricultural College Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Records, 1889-1940

ID: MSS Meteorology

Primary Creator: Oregon State College. Agricultural Experiment Station

Extent: 0.25 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Oregon Agricultural College Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Records are comprised of weather observation data collected on the Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) campus between 1889 and 1940 on behalf of the U.S. Weather Bureau. Included are daily temperature, precipitation, wind direction, evaporation, and wind speed values as well as notes on other meteorological phenomena.

Scope and Content Notes

The Oregon Agricultural College Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Records are comprised of seven bound volumes of meteorological data collected by the Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Agricultural Experiment Station in Corvallis, Oregon on behalf of the U.S. Weather Bureau between 1889 and 1940. Three volumes (1889-1901, 1901-1920, 1921-1940) are comprised of individual comparative tables for temperature, preciptation, wind direction, and cloud cover by calendar month and include monthly and yearly totals. Data from 1889-1900 was copied from records held in Portland, Oregon by W. L. Powers for retention by OAC in 1911. The volumes beginning 1901 and 1921 appear to have been updated as observations were taken.

Four additional volumes (1905-1916, 1917-1927, 1928-1934, 1935-1940) contain one-page observers' logs for each documented month and record daily temperatures, preciptation, wind direction, cloud cover, and other meteorological phenomena. Beginning in 1914, observers also recorded evaporation readings and, beginning in 1923, anemometric data (wind speed). Early records also include notes by observers on the character and impact of the weather, primarily in relation to local agriculture. Observations through July 1920 are handwritten.

Observers responsible for compiling this data include Edgar Grimm (April 1889-March 1890); John Fulton (July 1891-May 1898); Ellsworth P. Erwin (July 1898-October 1909); W. L. Powers (January 1910-August 1918); and Edward F. Torgerson (September 1918-December 1940). Also assisting in the collection of data were C. B. Lampkin (April 1890-July 1890); W. A. Lampkin (August 1890-October 1891); H. J. French (December 1891); Chas Jolmson (July 1892); Percival Nash (July 1894-June 1895); G. L. Plummer (June 1898); W. F. Groves (August 1898); E. J. Lea (September 1898-June 1900); F. W. McGinnis (July 1907); J. H. Edwards (November 1909); Max A. McCall (April 1912-June 1912); John E. Cooter (July 1912-July 1914); Harry A. Schoth (December 1915-February 1916); J. E. Pitman (October 1917-April 1918); C. W. Williams (May 1919-November 1919); W. M. Higby (June 1925-July 1925); and Harold W. C. Larson (June 1927-December 1927).

Biographical / Historical Notes

Regular recording of climate data on the Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) campus first began in October 1889 when Edgar Grimm, Director of the College's first Agricultural Experiment Station, ordered the installation of a weather station. Two years later, in 1891, the U.S. Weather Bureau partnered with OAC to administer the station and appointed John Fulton acting observer. In 1895, Ellsworth P. Erwin replaced Fulton and served until 1910. His successor, W. L. Powers, operated the station for eight years, during which time observation procedures were expanded to include collection of additional meteorological data. E. F. Torgerson assumed responsibility from 1918 to 1946, before returning control to Powers for the years 1946 to 1950. Eugene Dannen, who served until May 1951, was the final observer stationed on the college campus. In May 1952, the station was moved to the Hyslop Agronomy Experimental Farm, located several miles north of Corvallis, Oregon. There, Superintendent Wheeler Calhoun assumed observation duties. Movement of the observation station on the OAC campus prior to 1952 was later found to have resulted in discrepancies within the dataset. Data collected at OAC and Hyslop Farm were transmitted to the U.S. Weather Bureau where they were used to optimize agriculture production.

Weather data is still collected daily at the Hyslop Weather Station, under direction of the Oregon State University College of Agricultural Sciences.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box

Statement on Access: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The original voluntary observation forms were retained by the station observers and submitted to the Oregon State College Library in the mid-1900s. The Oregon Agricultural College Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Records are now housed in the Special Collections & Archives Research Center.

Related Materials: Materials relating to the history of the weather observation program at Oregon Agricultural College can be found in the Agricultural Experiment Station Records (RG 025). Other content relating to meteorological research is located in the Department of Physics Records (RG 037), the Department of Atmospheric Sciences Records (RG 167), and the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences Motion Pictures Films and Videotapes (FV 203). Files on Ellsworth P. Erwin, John Fulton, Edgar Grimm, and W. L. Powers reside in the OSU Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC).

Preferred Citation: Oregon Agricultural College Voluntary Observers' Meteorological Records (MSS Meteorology), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Oregon State College. Agricultural Experiment Station
Erwin, Ellsworth P.
Fulton, John (1868-1953)
Grimm, E. (Edgar)
Powers, W. L. (Wilbur Louis) (1887-)
Torgerson, E. F. (Edward Fritchoff) (1888-)

People, Places, and Topics

Corvallis (Or.)--Climate--Observations.
History of Science
Meteorology, Agricultural--Oregon--Corvallis.
Natural Resources
Oregon Agricultural College. Experiment Station
United States. Weather Bureau
University History

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