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Buena Maris Mockmore Papers, 1916-2010

By Janet Wendt, Elizabeth Nielsen, and Rachel Lilley

Collection Overview

Title: Buena Maris Mockmore Papers, 1916-2010

Predominant Dates: 1939-1969

ID: MSS Mockmore

Primary Creator: Steinmetz, Buena Margason Maris Mockmore (1898-1967)

Extent: 0.7 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Buena Maris Mockmore Papers are arranged in three series: 1. Personal and Biographical Materials, 1939-1969; 2. Oregon State College and Iowa State University, 1916-1967; 3. The Manhattan Project; Hanford, Washington, 1943-2010. Materials within each series are arranged chronologically.

Date Acquired: 00/00/1996

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Buena Maris Mockmore Papers consist of materials created and assembled by Buena Margason Maris Mockmore Steinmetz documenting her life and work, both at Oregon State College (OSC) and Iowa State University, and her work for the Manhattan Project. Mockmore earned a Master of Science degree in Home Economics at OSC in 1939, and taught family relations and child development at Oregon State until 1941, when she became Dean of Women, a position she held until 1948. In 1943, Mockmore was asked to serve as the “Director of Women’s Activities” at the Manhattan Project site in Hanford, Washington, and took a yearlong leave of absence from OSC.

Scope and Content Notes

The Buena Maris Mockmore Papers consist of materials created and assembled by Buena Margason Maris Mockmore Steinmetz documenting her life and work, especially at Oregon State College and Iowa State University. The collection includes personal and biographical information; transcripts and notes for speeches, presentations, and radio and television programs Mockmore delivered; and publications and hand-outs used in her teaching. Series 3 comprises materials documenting Mockmore's work on the Manhattan Project at Hanford, Washington from 1943 to 1944. Included in this series are flyers and memos dating from Mockmore’s time at Hanford, her later reminiscences regarding her work on the project, and news clippings documenting the work at Hanford and the commemoration of the site's 50th anniversary.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Buena Selma Margason was born in Salem, Oregon on August 2, 1898 to Eldridge G. Margason and Margaret L. Hart Margason. In 1900, the Margasons were living in Lacomb, Oregon, a small community about ten miles northeast of Lebanon, where Eldridge taught school (likely in the Lacomb schoolhouse). By 1920, the family had moved to Portland where Eldridge worked as a physician.

Mockmore attended the University of Oregon briefly before her marriage to William Homer Maris in 1920. Maris completed a Master of Science degree in Agriculture at OSC in 1918, authored the OSC alma mater Carry Me Back, and was the brother of long-time OSC Extension Service Director Paul V. Maris. Shortly after they married, Maris – as supervisor of agricultural training for the Rehabilitation Division of the Veterans’ Federal Bureau in Oregon, Washington, and Idaho – was called to Washington, D.C. to “study problems of land settlement for disabled ex-service men.” While there, Mockmore attended George Washington University. Their daughter, Marjorie, was born in 1925 while they were in Washington, D.C.

In September 1926, the family returned to Oregon from Washington D.C., travelling overland by car and finally settling in Oak Harbor, Washington, where they purchased a plot of land. Homer was hired by the College of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington – now the University of Puget Sound – and planned to begin teaching in Fall 1931. In August 1933, however, Maris was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run while bicycling home from an event in town. After Homer’s death, Mockmore herself attended the College of Puget Sound, completing a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1936.

After graduation, Mockmore taught school in Tacoma for a year before coming to Oregon State College. While at OSC, Mockmore taught courses in Household Administration and family relationships, while pursuing a Master of Science degree in Home Economics. She completed her Master’s thesis, “An Analysis of 150 College Students' Attitudes Toward Content of a Course in Family Relationships,” in 1939.

Upon the retirement of Dean of Women Kate W. Jameson in 1941, Maris was selected by the State Board to take up the mantle, serving in that capacity until 1948. From September 1, 1943 to September 1, 1944, however, she took a leave of absence to serve as the de facto "Dean of Women" for female employees of the DuPont Company at the Manhattan Project’s Hanford, Washington site. Maris’s position – alternately referred to as “Dean of Women” and the “Director of Women’s Activities” – supervised all work done by women at the Hanford site; she received a War Department citation for this work.

Mockmore returned to her position as Dean of Women at OSC after her work on the Manhattan Project. In 1946, she married Dr. Charles Mockmore, the head of civil engineering at OSC. When Dr. Mockmore died of a heart attack in 1953, Mockmore again left OSC to join the staff at Iowa State University (ISU), where she worked as an Extension Specialist in child development and family life. In the seven years she spent at ISU, Mockmore developed a two-step program aimed at improving communication and understanding between parents and their teenaged children by speaking to high school assemblies first, followed by parents' meetings. In just one year, she spoke to over 17,000 young people as part of this program.

Mockmore returned to Oregon after marrying Avery Steinmetz in 1960. She served as the President of the Oregon Home Economics Association for two years, was active in the American Association of University Women, and continued to teach and lecture on topics relating to family life and child development. She passed away in Portland, Oregon on December 18, 1967. Mockmore was survived by her husband, Avery; a daughter from her first marriage, Mrs. Marjorie Maris Peterson; and four stepchildren: Charlotte Mockmore Spring, Regina T. Mockmore, William E. Steinmetz, and Gretchen E. Bunnell.

Author: Janet Wendt and Rachel Lilley

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 2 boxes, including 39 photographs

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Roughly half the materials in the collection were donated to the University Archives by Marjorie Maris Peterson, Mockmore's daughter, in 1996. An addition to the collection, specifically the materials found in Series 3, were donated to the Special Collections and Archives Research Center by Washington State University's Hanford History Project in 2016.

Related Materials:

The Special Collections and Archives Research Center's holdings include numerous and extensive collections pertaining to home economics extension work in Oregon, including the Extension Service Records (RG 111) and the College of Home Economics and Education Records (RG 141). The Dean of Women's Office Records (RG 057) and Dean of Women's Office Photographs (P 097) document the activities and role of the Dean of Women at Oregon State. Additional collections relating specifically to Mockmore include the News and Communication Service Records (RG 203) and Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC).

Additional collections containing material relating to the Hanford site and/or the Manhattan Project include the Hanford Site Forty-Year Environmental Data Collection (MSS Hanford), the Nuclear Science Technical Reports Collection (MSS Reports), the Nuclear Free America Records (MSS NFA), the Paul J. Persiani Papers (MSS Persiani), the E. Dale Trout Papers (MSS Trout), the John C. Ringle Papers (MSS Ringle), and the Theodore Rockwell Papers (MSS Rockwell).

Preferred Citation: Buena Maris Mockmore Papers (MSS Mockmore), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Finding Aid Revision History: A finding aid for this collection was originally prepared in 1997 and was updated in 2016 to bring it into compliance with current descriptive practices and standards. This guide supersedes the 2016 collection-level finding aid and incorporates the major addition to the collection received later in 2016.


Steinmetz, Buena Margason Maris Mockmore (1898-1967)

People, Places, and Topics

Child development.
Deans of women--Oregon--Corvallis.
Groves, Leslie R., 1896-1970
Hanford Site (Wash.)
History of Science
Home economics--Study and teaching--Oregon.
Home economics extension work--Oregon.
Iowa State College. Extension Service
Manhattan Project (U.S.)
Oregon State College. Dean of Women
Oregon State College. Federal Cooperative Extension Service
Steinmetz, Buena Margason Maris Mockmore, 1898-1967
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Personal and Biographical Materials, 1939-1969
The personal and biographical information in this series includes obituaries, certificates, curriculum vitae, poetry, and correspondence. Certificates include an Oregon State College Phi Kappa Phi membership certificate (1939); a Certificate of Appointment to the Iowa Commission on Children and Youth signed by then-Governor Herschel C. Loveless (1958); and a Certificate of Recognition for outstanding extension work in Iowa awarded by the Alpha Mu chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, the National Honorary Extension Fraternity (1958). Obituaries in this series were published in the Corvallis Gazette Times, and the Tri-City Herald, a paper headquartered in Kennewick, Washington (roughly 30 miles south of Hanford). Also included in this series are materials documenting the establishment of the Buena M. Steinmetz Scholarship Fund in 1969, a scholarship awarded to a student majoring in Child Development or Family Relations.
Box-Folder 1.1: Certificates and awards, 1939-1958
Includes a certificate of membership in Phi Kappa Phi, a certificate of recognition for Outstanding Extension Work from the Iowan chapter of Epsilon Sigma Phi, and a certificate of appointment designating Mockmore a member of the Iowa Commission on Children and Youth.
Box-Folder 1.2: Charter Day Convocation program, 1943
Box-Folder 1.3: In memoriam, 1967-1969
Includes obituaries, funeral programs, and materials documenting the establishment of the Buena M. Steinmetz Scholarship fund (correspondence, selection criteria, and fund balances).
Box-Folder 1.4: Love, by Roy Croft, undated
Annotation by Mockmore's daughter Marjorie reads: "A very favorite poem of Buena Maris."
Series 2: Oregon State University and Iowa State University, 1916-1967

The materials in Series 2 document Mockmore’s extension work at Oregon State College and Iowa State University. The majority of the materials – which include speech and presentation transcripts and notes, and television and radio scripts – date from the 1940s to the 1950s, and address topics relating to family relationships, child development, and rural homemaking. Notes for a television presentation about the White House Conference on the Welfare of Families, Children, and Youth are also included. The publications and teaching aids include an article – "Lasting Values in a Changing World" – published in the Journal of Home Economics (1958) on handouts about family relationships issued by Oregon State College Home Economics Extension from 1938 to 1941, and referred to as "Maris's Mimeos;" and questionnaires and handouts about family relationships, teenagers, and children.

Also included in this series are 28 black and white photographs dating from 1916 to 1967. Roughly half the photographs in this series are studio portraits of Mockmore; the remainder include candid and posed group portraits documenting Mockmore's speaking engagements and teaching. Mockmore is pictured accepting the gavel of office in May 1962 as the new President of the Oregon State Home Economics Association, and her 1916, Jefferson High School graduation photograph is also included. Photographers include Josie Wolfe (Salem, Oregon), Gladys Gilbert Studio (Portland, Oregon), Hill Studio (Ames, Iowa), and Hise Studio (Corvallis, Oregon).

Of special note in Series 2 are questions submitted by teenagers in the 1940s and 1950s at Mockmore's family life meetings (Box-folder 1.27).

Box-Folder 1.5: Photographs, 1916-1967
Box-Folder 1.6: "Maris's Mimeos:" Family relationships, parent education, and child development, 1935-1942
Handouts prepared for Oregon State College Extension Service Home Economics courses presented by Mockmore. Includes reference materials.
Box-Folder 1.7: Correspondence, 1937-1964
Correspondence in this folder is primarily comprised of thank you notes documenting Mockmore's speaking engagements while employed by Oregon State College and Iowa State University.
Box-Folder 1.8: "The Family Plans," "Choosing Family Goals," and "Untying Apron Strings", 1939-1945
Scripts prepared for radio programs presented on KOAC, Corvallis. "Untying Apron Strings" was delivered on air by KOAC staff member Zelta Rodenwold, Director of Women's programming at the station (and OAC Alumnus editor in the 1920s).
Box-Folder 1.9: "Democracy gets start in family, says Mrs. Maris", 1939
Oregon State College News Service press release.
Box-Folder 1.10: "Girls and Mothers", circa 1939
Presented in Myrtle Point, Oregon.
Box-Folder 1.11: "Rural Homemaking and the Children", 1939
Presented for radio station KKX's National Farm and Home Hour.
Box-Folder 1.12: Cooperative Extension Work in Agriculture and Home Economics: Plan of Work, 1940
Includes correspondence between Edna E. Walls, Extension Specialist in Child Development and Parent Education at the University of Illinois, and an outline of the work to be done as part of the Child Development and Parent Education project.
Box-Folder 1.13: News clippings, circa 1940-1965
News clippings in this folder document Mockmore's speeches and presentations in both Iowa and Oregon.
Box-Folder 1.14: Lists of speaking engagements, 1941-1947
The 1941-1942 list includes mileage driven to each engagement; the 1946-1947 list includes the number of attendees present at each engagement.
Box-Folder 1.15: Associated Women Students' Emergency Loan Fund, circa 1945-1948
Includes a brief history of the establishment of the fund, and fund balance sheets.
Box-Folder 1.16: "Leadership Makes the Difference", October 14-16, 1952
Presented at the Leaders' Conference held in Berkeley, California.
Box-Folder 1.17: "Smoke Signals", 1954
"Your Home Hour" television program script.
Box-Folder 1.18: "When Your Children Leave Home", 1955
Script prepared for the Radio Child Study Club, Family Series #10; Iowa State College.
Box-Folder 1.19: "Understanding Teenagers (and Ourselves!)", circa 1956-1957
Includes handouts, notes, and references for a presentation at Iowa State College.
Box-Folder 1.20: "Time for Spring Cleaning", 1957
May have been presented at Elkader, Iowa.
Box-Folder 1.21: "Our Families: Bane or Blessing", 1957
Presented at a conference in Walla Walla, Washington.
Box-Folder 1.22: "Lasting Values in a Changing World", 1958
Includes the draft of an article written for the Journal of Home Economics, and a copy of the issue in which the article was published.
Box-Folder 1.23: White House Conference Report, circa 1960
Box-Folder 1.24: "Who's a Twig Bender?", circa 1960
Box-Folder 1.25: "Women from Around the World on Common Ground", circa 1960
Box-Folder 1.26: "Let's Work with the Grain", 1961
Presented to parents of junior high students at the First Presbyterian Church in Corvallis.
Box-Folder 1.27: "What Do You Want?", 1964
Presented in St. Helens, Oregon.
Box-Folder 2.1: "Building Responsible Personalities" and "Stair Steps to Personality Development", undated
Box-Folder 2.2: "Growing Healthy Personalities: The Young Sprouts," "Growing Healthy Personalities: Not Bent Twigs, Those Deep-rooted Teens," "Putting Down New Roots: The School Child", undated
Box-Folder 2.3: "Launching Youth as Mature Young Adults", undated
Includes notes and outlines.
Box-Folder 2.4: "Understanding Teenagers", undated
Includes question cards submitted by teenage attendees. Questions primarily concern topics such as how to tell if someone is interested in dating you, how and when to ask someone out on a date, and the age at which someone should start dating or get married.
Box-Folder 2.5: "What Do These Teenagers Want?", undated
Box-Folder 2.6: "Who Gets the Lead?", undated
Series 3: The Manhattan Project; Hanford, Washington, 1943-2010

Series 3 documents Mockmore’s work on the Manhattan Project at Hanford, Washington. Included in this series are flyers and memos dating from Mockmore’s time at Hanford, and her later reminiscences regarding her work on the project. Correspondence with Lieutenant General Leslie Groves regarding his plans to write a book on the project, and his requests for Mockmore’s input and insight, is also included. Two black and white studio portraits of Mockmore are included in the folder commemorating the Hanford's site 50th anniversary.

Also included in this series are materials documenting the life and work of Glenn Seaborg, an American chemist involved in the synthesis, discovery, and investigation of ten transuranium elements. Seaborg’s work with the Metallurgical Laboratory University of Chicago in 1942 informed the processes used to produce plutonium at the Hanford site. Nine color photographs of Seaborg and Mockmore’s daughter, Marjorie Maris Peterson, are included in this series. The photographs were taken at a book signing for Seaborg’s book, Adventures in the Atomic Age: From Watts to Washington.

Box-Folder 2.7: Correspondence, 1943-1944
Includes memos and informational flyers from T.E. Weissinger and R.E. Burton, and salary tables for Hanford employees.
Box-Folder 2.8: 50th Anniversary, 1944-1994
Includes Marjorie Maris Peterson's reminiscences of life at Hanford; programs for the Hanford 50th anniversary celebration; a letter of thanks from Under-Secretary of War, Robert P. Patterson; and a certificate of appreciation from the War Department, Manhattan District. Two black and white studio portraits of Mockmore are also included.
Box-Folder 2.9: News clippings, 1945
News clippings in this folder document the dropping of the atomic bomb on Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and the work at Hanford that preceded it. Also included are clippings documenting the 50th anniversary of the Manhattan Project at Hanford.
Box-Folder 2.10: Lieutenant General Leslie R. Groves, 1960-1962
Includes correspondence between Groves and Mockmore regarding Groves' intention to write a history of the Manhattan Project at Hanford. Also includes Mockmore's reminiscences of her work on the project, and several autobiographical sheets.
Box-Folder 2.11: "Hanford in Retrospect," by Buena Maris Mockmore, 1963
Also included is The Hanford Site: An Anthology of Early Histories, prepared by the U.S. Department of Energy, Office of Environmental Restoration and Waste Management.
Box-Folder 2.12: Photographs, 1998
The 9 color photographs in this folder document a book signing attended by Glenn Seaborg and Marjorie Maris Mockmore. Two of the images include captions. The caption on the first image reads: "After Dr. Seaborg signed both his book and General Groves' -- with Dr. S's comment about Groves' book that was signed -- 'Now that's an important signature.'" The caption on the third image reads: "When books unavailable, people brought copies of the periodic table of elements and Dr. Groves signed them" (presumably, "Dr. Groves" should be "Dr. Seaborg").
Box-Folder 2.13: News clippings, 1998-2010
The loose news clippings in this folder were removed from The Plutonium Story.
Box-Item 2.14: The Plutonium Story: The Journals of Professor Glenn T. Seaborg, 1939-1946, 1994
A copy of this title is also held in SCARC's Atomic Energy collection, and in the Valley Library's Main Collection (QC773.3 .U5 S424 1994).

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