The collection primarily consists of photographic prints mounted onto 8" x 5.5" card stock. The images document scenes of student and community life and include several group portraits of students as well as images of the Administration Building (current Benton Hall) and the Benton County Courthouse.
The item-level scope and content notes included with this finding aid were written for use in a photographic essay; their original author is unknown.
- Series 1: Betty Kerr Photographs, 1890-1893 Add to Shelf
- Item 1: A grist mill on the Willamette River. The city of Corvallis can be seen in the background Add to Shelf
- Item 2: A photographer (perhaps John Fulton) and his assistant [?] posing with their equipment adjacent to the Marys River, ca. 1892 Add to Shelf
- This photograph was probably taken close to where the Marys flows into the Willamette River. It is likely the Emile Pernot and John Fulton were photographing each other.
- Item 3: Professor George Coote tending to plants in an OAC greenhouse, ca. 1890 Add to Shelf
The 1891-92 catalog, in which this photograph is published, described the greenhouse as "large and well supplied with many varieties of choice plants." Students were required to work five hours per week without pay; additional labor was paid at the rate of fifteen cents per hour.
George Coote was born in Kent County, England in 1842 and (according to Lucy Skjelstad) worked as the gardener for Charles Darwin before emigrating to America. He arrived in Corvallis in 1877 via the Isthmus of Panama and farmed in an area west of Corvallis and near Yaquina Bay until his appointment to the College faculty in 1888. He laid out the college grounds, erected and supervised the greenhouses, and taught in the Horticulture Department until 1908 when failing health forced him to take a leave of absence. He died several months later in November 1908. One of his daughters was married to Emil Pernot, the college photographer.
- Item 4: A portion of the OAC junior class posing under the Trysting Tree, 1892 Add to Shelf
The Trysting Tree, a large Grey Poplar located to the southeast of Benton Hall, was a popular gathering spot on campus. According to one story, the tree was planted between 1880 and 1885 by George Coote. An early alumnus claimed that the Trysting Tree was so named because of its "magical effects on students, especially in the spring time." The tree's popularity was such that the Board of Regents felt obliged to place two arc lights on the cupola of Benton Hall (then the Administration Building) "to keep the tree from being overworked." On September 27, 1987, the Trysting Tree was cut down because of advanced disease in its trunk and limbs.
This particular photo was taken with a Kodak No. 2 camera, one of the earliest cameras developed for amateur photographers.
- Item 5: An OAC chemistry class posing at the foot of the Chemistry Building, 1892 Add to Shelf
- This chemistry class is shown on the steps of the new Chemistry Building (also known at the time as the Laboratory or Station Building; now known as the Women's Center) soon after its completion in early 1892. According to the 1891-92 catalog, the new building had "thirty students' working desks, each of which is supplied with water, gas, and drawers with shelves for the necessary re-agents and apparatus." All students at the college were required to take chemistry during their first and second years - four terms for Agriculture and Mechanics students and three terms for Home Economics students. G. W. Shaw (with large mustache at far left in top row wearing dark suit and tie) joined the college faculty as a Professor of Chemistry and Physics in the 1891-1892 academic year and taught at OAC until 1900.
- Item 6: Female residents of Alpha Hall posing on the front steps of their residence, 1893 Add to Shelf
Identified are: Anna Hannah ('95); Effie Willis ('95); Mollie C. Voorhees ('93); Jennie Thornbury; Carrie Abernethy; Orla Robbins; Kittie Emmett ('95); Lois Stewart ('92); Mrs. Casto's mother; Amy Vaughn; Mrs. I. A. L. Casto (matron); Lena Willis ('95); Adda Davenport; Dorothea Nash ('95); Inez Cooley ('95); G. Casto; Lillian Thornbury.
Alpha Hall, built in 1889, was the second building on the OAC campus. It served as the men's boarding house until 1892 when Cauthorn Hall (now Fairbanks Hall) was constructed, and from 1892 to 1907 served as a women's boarding house. Mrs. I. A. L. Casto was elected by the Board of Regents as matron of the hall in June 1892.
Most of the women depicted in this photograph were first-year students in home economics. Also depicted is one post-graduate, one third-year, one second-year, and three students in the preparatory department. Several of the women obtained degrees from OAC.
- Item 7: OAC students assembled in a horse-drawn wagon for a picnic party at Oak Creek, 1892 Add to Shelf
- This outing was typical for college students in the 1890s and included plenty of chaperons. Among them in this photo are Prof. Moses Craig, who taught botany; Emile Pernot, instructor in photography and photogravure (and the photographer of the picnic); and Mr. Brown, the wagon driver. Included in the wagon are: Mr. Brown; James W. Storms ('92); Marvin Chandler; Henry Andrews ('93); Delia Gellatly ('94); Nellie Davidson ('93); Ida Ray ('92); Walter Palmer ('93); Hattie Bronson ('93); Edith Coote; Altha Leach ('93); Charlie Johnson ('92); Anna Haugh; Mollie Voorhees ('93); Nellie Hogue ('92); Lois Stewart ('92); Ed Emmett ('94); and Lulu Chandler ('92). In front of the wagon are John Fulton ('92) and Prof. Craig.
- Item 8: OAC students dining at the Oak Creek picnic party, 1892 Add to Shelf
- Item 9: The OAC Administration Building [current Benton Hall], ca. 1890 Add to Shelf
- Item 10: The OAC Administration Building [current Benton Hall], ca. 1890 Add to Shelf
- Item 11: The Benton County Courthouse, ca. 1890 Add to Shelf
- The Benton County Courthouse is the oldest courthouse in Oregon still being used for its original purpose. Designed by Portland architect Delos D. Neer, construction began in 1888 - the cornerstone is dated July 4, 1888 - and was completed the next year. The cost of the building was $66,689. The foundation was made from basalt and sandstone likely quarried at Witham Hill; the walls were made of locally produced brick. The courthouse was renovated in 1977-78. The building to the left of the courthouse was the county jail, also designed by Neer and built in 1888-89. It was used until 1929, when a new jail was built.