The Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project

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Tom Allen Oral History Interview. September 1, 2015

Tom Allen Oral History Interview

Life history interview conducted by Chris Petersen and Karl McCreary.

September 1, 2015

Location:  Valley Library, Oregon State University.

Tom Allen (b. 1931) was a Botany professor at OSU from 1962 to his retirement in 1991. Shortly after arriving on campus, Allen acquired the university's first electron microscope and used it to study viruses in lilies, among many other plants. Allen is also an artist of regional consequence who is especially well-known for his watercolor paintings. While at OSU, Allen helped to found both the Corvallis Art Center as well as the Watercolor Society of Oregon. He also led the annual Art About Agriculture juried competition and traveling exhibit for more than twenty years. In his interview, Allen discusses his evolution as a scientist and artist; shares his institutional memories of Botany and agriculture at OSU; and reflects on his important involvement in the art community in Corvallis and across Oregon.