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Hans Plambeck Papers, 1900-1995

By Avery Sorensen

Collection Overview

Title: Hans Plambeck Papers, 1900-1995

Predominant Dates: 1940s-1950s

ID: MSS Plambeck

Primary Creator: Plambeck, Hans H.

Extent: 1.4 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Hans Plambeck Papers are arranged into one series: Series 1: Research Files, 1900-1995 (1940s-1950s bulk).

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Hans Plambeck Papers are comprised of materials generated and collected by Sociology Professor Hans Plambeck that primarily reflect his work on a survey of ethnic groups in Oregon. Plambeck taught at Oregon State University from 1946-1976. The bulk of the materials date from the 1940s-1950s.

Scope and Content Notes

The focus of the Plambeck Papers is Plambeck’s survey and research of various ethnic groups in Oregon. The collection contains documentation relating to the survey itself including completed questionnaires, correspondence, contact lists, progress reports, and notes from interviews. The papers also consist of reference materials that include newspaper clippings, event programs, article reprints, circulars, reports, photographs embedded within reports, student papers, and newspapers from various American ethnic communities. Most of the files are arranged by nationality or religious group.

The collection includes Plambeck’s project planning materials which he used to prepare for his ethnic studies research. These materials include lists of research topics, sources to consider when conducting the research, contact information, questionnaires, status of his research, and write ups of his findings and conclusions. Other types of documents within his planning materials include correspondence, notebooks, surveys, newspaper clippings, and pamphlets.

Plambeck’s ethnic groups research materials include student papers, notes, interview notes, personal correspondence, newspaper clippings, photographs embedded within reports, church pamphlets, and his own writings. These materials mainly cover ethnic groups in Oregon, but also other regions of the United States, including Minnesota, South Dakota, New York, and California. Most of the reference materials date from the 1940s through the 1950s, but the whole scope ranges from the 1900s to the 1990s. Several topics addressed in these materials include Japanese incarceration during World War II, discrimination against African Americans, immigration, cultural celebrations, and interracial marriage.

The student papers primarily represent assignments for coursework in "race relations" classes taught by William Smith at Linfield College and Texas Christian University. They discuss personal accounts of being first, second, and third generation immigrants in the United States for ethnic groups such as Irish, Norwegian, Jewish, Russian, Japanese, Hungarian, Mexican, Spanish, Korean, Filipino, French, Scandinavian, Finnish, Italian, Helvetia, etc. These race relations narratives are written by Oregonian students, but the papers pertain to the ethnic experience in the U.S. in general, often mixed with religious identities. The bulk of these papers were written between the 1920s and 1940s and contain several essays written by professor William Smith.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Born in 1911 in Hamburg, Germany, Hans Plambeck moved to Mill City, Oregon, as a teenager. After earning bachelors and masters degrees in sociology from the University of Oregon, Plambeck went on to pursue studies in rural sociology at Cornell University where he received a doctorate in 1941. Plambeck’s first teaching assignment was at Montana State College. Plambeck came to Oregon State College in 1946 to accept a post in the Sociology Department as assistant professor. He worked on a number of projects relating to Oregon populations, including a survey of ethnic groups in the state and a study of the Warms Springs tribal community. As a part of a Rockefeller Project study, Plambeck also wrote the report: “The Population of Oregon: 1940-1970.” In addition to his research on ethnic groups in Oregon, Plambeck received Fulbright grants for sabbatical studies in New Zealand and Iceland. He also served as chairman of the Sociology Department for nearly two decades. Granted Professor Emeritus (status) in 1976, Plambeck died in 2009.

Author: Avery Sorensen and Karl McCreary

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: About two dozen photographs; 2 boxes

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: This collection was donated by the Oregon State University Ethnic Studies Department in 2014.

Related Materials:

This collection is a component of the Oregon Multicultural Archives (OMA).

Plambeck's 1975 report "The population of Oregon, 1940-1970: changes and implications" is available through the Oregon State University Valley Library as well as the OSU Special Collections and Archives Research Center's History of the Pacific Northwest Rare Book Collection (HA596 P6).

The College of Liberal Arts Records (RG 143), include a subgroup of materials pertaining to Oregon State University's Sociology Department, 1976-2008. The collection Oregon Community Surveys (MSS ORCommSurveys), consists of data and narrative summaries documenting the schools, churches, social organizations, and economic status of the rural communities of Clatskanie, Condon, Cottage Grove, and Riddle, Oregon.

Preferred Citation: Hans Plambeck Papers (MSS Plambeck), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Plambeck, Hans H.

People, Places, and Topics

Oregon--Race relations.
Oregon Multicultural Archives
Plambeck, Hans H.
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Research Files, 1900-1995 (1940s-1950s bulk)
Plambeck’s research focus was a survey of ethnic groups in Oregon. His research files contain documentation relating to the survey itself and reference materials including student papers. Most of the files are arranged by nationality or religious group.
Box-Folder 1.1: Blank Surveys, undated
Box-Folder 1.2: Project Outline, 1949
Box-Folder 1.3: Bibliography, 1937-1952
Box-Folder 1.4: Contacts, 1951-1955
Box-Folder 1.5: Completed Questionnaires, 1951
Box-Folder 1.6: Survey Conclusions, undated
Box-Folder 1.7: Progress Report, 1951-1952
Box-Folder 1.8: Completed Write-ups, undated
Box-Folder 1.9: African Americans, 1943
Box-Folder 1.10: Amish, 1944-1993
1944-1958 (bulk), 1944-1993 (inclusive)
Box-Folder 1.11: Armenians, 1926-1943
Box-Folder 1.12: Austrians, 1952
Box-Folder 1.13: Basque, 1948-1966
Box-Folder 1.14: Baptists, 1943
Box-Folder 1.15: Chinese-Americans, 1924-1942
Box-Folder 1.16: Croatian, 1951-1952
Box-Folder 1.17: Czechs, 1951-1959
Box-Folder 1.18: Danes, 1900-1951
Box-Folder 1.19: Estonians, 1951
Box-Folder 1.20: Filipinos, 1939
Box-Folder 1.21: Finns, 1942-1988
1942-1958 (bulk), 1942-1988 (inclusive)
Box-Folder 1.22: French, 1950-1971
Box-Folder 1.23: Germans, 1941-1983
Box-Folder 1.24: German-Jewish, 1925-1952
Box-Folder 1.25: Gypsies, 1956-1967
Box-Folder 1.26: Greeks, 1951-1974
Box-Folder 1.27: Hollanders, 1950-1972
Box-Folder 1.28: Hungarians, 1925-1966
Box-Folder 1.29: Hutterites, 1947
Box-Folder 1.30: Indians, 1938-1972
Box-Folder 1.31: Irish, 1951-1995
1951-1956 (bulk), 1951-1995 (inclusive)
Box-Folder 1.32: Italian, 1933-1972
Box-Folder 1.33: Japanese-Americans, 1925-1950
Box-Folder 1.34: Jewish, 1926
Box-Folder 1.35: Koreans, undated
Box-Folder 1.36: Latvians, 1951-1987
Box-Folder 1.37: Lithuanian, 1952-1957
Box-Folder 1.38: Mexican Immigrants, 1929
Box-Folder 1.39: Norwegians, 1951-1959
Box-Folder 1.40: Russians, 1931-1978
Box-Folder 2.1: Scandinavians, 1949
Box-Folder 2.2: Scotch, 1951-1957
Box-Folder 2.3: Sephardic-Jewish, 1951
Box-Folder 2.4: Swedes, 1948
Box-Folder 2.5: Swiss, 1942-1959
Box-Folder 2.6: Syrians, 1941-1954
Box-Folder 2.7: Ukrainians, 1951-1957
Box-Folder 2.8: Welsh, 1951
Box-Folder 2.9: Mennonites, 1941-1949
(Folder 1 of 2)
Box-Folder 2.10: Mennonites, 1941-1949
(Folder 2 of 2)
Box-Folder 2.11: General Race Relations, 1944
Box-Folder 2.12: Immigrant and minority materials, 1939-1975
Box-Folder 2.13: Interracial marriage, 1927

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