Oregon State University Libraries and Press

Minerva Kiger Reynolds Oral History Interview, October 2, 1979

Oregon State University
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 JL: Why don't we start? I read your book Corvallis in 1900 and your well-documented the history of Corvallis. Now I'd like to hear about you and your experiences at O.A.C. Where and when were you born then?

MR: I was born July the 28th 1892.

JL: And where? In Corvallis?

MR: In Corvallis. I was born and raised in Corvallis.

JL: That's a long time to live here.

MR: Yes, well I've lived there since 1912 when I was married we moved down here to the farm in 1912.

JL: Moved down from where?

MR: From Corvallis. From the town.

JL: I see.

MR: I lived on Fourth and Washington, and then I moved down here when I was married. I'd inherited this farm so we moved down here.

JL: I see. And how many brothers and sisters did you have and what were their names?


MR: I had two brothers. John Kiger and Dick Kiger.

JL: I see. And when were they born?

MR: Well, I can't tell you exactly when they were born. They were much older than I was. Let's see my oldest brother John was 19 years older. You could figure out when he was born.

JL: O.K.

MR: From 1892 and Dick was 17 years older than I was. I was a baby of the family.

JL: They were born in Harney County weren't they?

MR: Well, one of them was. Yes, they both were born in Harney County. How did you know that?

JL: I read your book.

MR: Oh, yes they were born in Harney County.

JL: I...

MR: And the third boy died, a third boy, and he was born in Harney County but he died got killed when he was thrown from a horse when he was 12, 13 years old.


JL: That was in Harney County or in Corvallis?

MR: Well, he was born in Harney County but he was killed here on this farm.

JL: Did your father always regret not moving back to the county, Harney County?

MR: He hated to he always loved Harney County, and he thought great opportunities were there but he had promised my mother, as I told in the book, whenever she said the word, if she would go consent to go with him to this cattle ranch, why, whenever she said the word he would return. Well, she put up with the Indians and the rattlesnakes and inconveniences, lived in a log cabin,' and all those things, but when her last baby was born in the fort, (He, he was born in the fort) and she had to run from the Indians before, and rode 60 00:03:00miles on a running gear of a wagon and the baby was just a fright. When she looked at him she thought he was deformed; he was just skin and bones. Just a little skeleton and the doctor said, (there was a doctor there at the fort, you see,) said that it was due to her experience, that run from the fort and her fear and everything, that she had fled. My father was out on the range, when the boy came through and told her that the Indians were on the warpath. So she just grabbed these two children and ran and she had to carry them. She was expecting to be have another baby in three weeks, you see, and she had to carry two and sit down and rest occasionally, then and carry one and let the other one walk. Alternate them, you know, and it was too much for her. She said this baby had been a plump fat baby, that this had caused him to lose weight and that 00:04:00was the trouble. He did recover entirely from that, but it was a fall from the horse that killed him.

JL: How familiar are you of Harney County?

MR: I've never been to Harney County.

JL: Is that right? (Surprise)

MR: I wrote a story on Harney County and never have been there.

JL: Oh, why is that?

MR: Well, the folks never returned there after I was born, you see. That was a good many years later, and I just never have had an opportunity to go. Now my son declares that he's going to take me back to Harney County, but he hasn't got around to that either.

JL: Kiger Gorge is beautiful.

MR: It's named for my father, you know.

JL: I know that.

MR: Yes, and my mother was the first white woman settler in the vicinity of Burns, here in Oregon that was in Harney County.


JL: She was the first white woman?

MR: Yes.

JL: Hmm. I thought a Smith was a white was the...

MR: Who?

JL: Smith. A Smith.

MR: Oh, the Smiths. No, no my mother came in before the Smiths did, I think.

JL: That's interesting.

MR: Yes, so she might have been, well, the Smiths never lived in...

JL: They lived in [unintelligible] County.

MR: ...in.

JL: Yes, that's true.

MR: Harney County someplace, but I think it was farther out in the valley and so when the folks came, they settled they, well, they were first settlers in there, really, I guess. No, Pete Franks was in there too. He was in there, and I guess the Smiths were over on she wasn't the first settler in Harney County but in the vicinity of Burns.

JL: Oh, I see. O.K. that makes more sense.

MR: That straightens it. Yes.

JL: You didn't ever meet Pete French? He died in 1897, I think.


MR: I don't know. I had a newspaper account of his death, and I gave it to Mr. Jackman so I don't know just what it was a long time ago. But, he was there when my father was there, you see. He came in after Pete French was settled over there and, of course, the Smiths were too. On the other side, you see, but he came in this direction from The Willamette Valley and settled near Burns. That's where they first settled.

JL: Did you ever know any of the people there, yourself? Did you know John Schaff and Jackman and...

MR: No.

JL: ...and Reub Long those people?

MR: Well, I knew Mr. Jackman here...

JL: I see.

MR: ...but, you know, it was a funny experience with [unintelligible] Have you plenty of time?

JL: Sure.

MR: (Chuckle) I wrote this little book The Kiger Gorge Story, and I wanted to 00:07:00have that published, but I didn't know anything about it. The only writing I'd ever done was a theme every week in college. Oh, that just bothered me so to have to write a theme every weekend. I thought if I ever got out of college, I'd just quite writing entirely, and if anybody had ever told me that I'd ever write a book that I didn't have to, I'd have laughed at them. (Chuckle)

JL: Well, how did you happen to write it?

MR: Well, my father was a great hand to tell stories. Now, in my day we didn't even have a library in Corvallis. The only library we had was a little school library, and there were no movies or any entertainment for children, so they would come over to the barn my father had in town. We ran three farms, but we lived in town. He had a trick horse and, always lots of pretty horses and he'd 00:08:00come in and the youngsters would congregate and beg him to tell him Indian stories. So he gathers them up some times in the house, or in nice weather out in the barn. He'd bring in a load of apples in the fall and have boxes of apples there and he'd bring out a box of apples. We'd munch apples and he'd tell Indian stories. Well, he told them over and over and I listened to them all. My niece had heard these stories too, but she was younger than I was, and she kept begging me in later years to write these stories up. Well, I wasn't interested but she kept at me and finally I told her. "Well, I would sometime." One day I just took the notion I got a tablet and a pencil; I sat right down here, and I started in writing that story. I began at the first like he told 00:09:00it and as it went down I got more interested in it. It all came back to me so I just kept writing.

JL: It's very interesting book. I enjoyed it.

MR: Mr. Jackman liked it. He, you know, was a great authority a writer about Eastern Oregon, Harney County stories. You knew that didn't you?

JL: Yes.

MR: And one of the neighbors told me that he liked my story better than he did his own.

JL: (Chuckle) Well.

MR: Well, this was what I was going to tell you-the funny part of it. So, I inquired around but I couldn't find anybody interested in publishing it, and finally a lady that had worked for Mr. Jackman, (I knew her), and she said, "Why don't you ask Mr. Jackman." Well, I'd heard of Mr. Jackman and my husband knew him in college, but I had never met him and I thought, "Well," she says, "That's right along his line. He'll be glad to help you." So, I called up and made an 00:10:00appointment with him. I told him I'd like to talk with him and he told me to come at, say, 2 o'clock. Well, have you ever seen the house they live in?

JL: No.

MR: It's a queer house. It's beautiful inside but there's no windows outside that you can see.

JL: Oh, it's a brick structure. Is it on 36th Street?

MR: Yes, it's out in there someplace...

JL: Right I have seen it.

MR: ...and there's some kind of a thing on one end of it it looks like a silo.

JL: Yes. (Chuckle)

MR: Well, anyway, I went up there, and there was a knocker on the door, but no windows or anything. I parked my car outside and pulled the knocker and the door opened just a little crack and a man, a great tall man (my husband was short) and I looked up this big man. He just stood there and I told him my name. I told him I had called him early in the day and, well, he finally opened the door and says, "Well, come in if you won't stay too long." "Well, my goodness, 00:11:00"I thought "now don't put that down."

JL: O.K. (Chuckle)

MR: (Chuckle) "Don't come in if you won't stay too long, I'm awful busy." Well, I didn't want to go in at all then after that and I told him that I'd written a story of Kiger Gorge and he commenced to perk up his shoulders then. He seemed interested and I told him that I wanted to get it published, and that he'd been recommended to me. He would probably tell me how I could go about it, and he told me to come in and sit down. I didn't want to but he insisted and when I told him that my father was Reuben Kiger of Kiger Gorge he says, "Did you know Dolly Kiger?" I said, "Dolly Kiger was my mother." He grabbed me and kept me two hours there.

JL: (Chuckle)

MR: Wasn't that funny? And, oh, he proved to be the best friend, an awfully 00:12:00good friend and then he'd even come down and pick apples and plums with me, but he had said, "But, you're awfully busy." And "No," he says, "I haven't a thing to do" but he told me when we went in that he was awful busy and not to stay too long."

JL: (Chuckle) That's funny.

MR: Wouldn't that be funny?

JL: Yes.

MR: And you know how you'd feel. You wouldn't feel like going in even.

JL: No, you sure wouldn't.

MR: I was scared. He scared me he was so big and that house was so gruesome looking that...

JL: (Chuckle) was it nice inside?

MR: Oh, it was nice on the inside. It had a patio in the middle and, oh, I didn't know what that was. A patio and windows all around it, you see. You could see all around just like these windows only it went clear around.

JL: Oh.

MR: And they had flowerbeds out there and a fountain and it was awfully pretty but it didn't look pretty to me from the outside and when he told me not to stay too long I. didn't want to go into the place at all.


JL: Ohhh, well, you're glad you did?

MR: Yes.

JL: Well, you mentioned in your book Kiger Gorge that your father was a cattle rancher...

MR: Yes.

JL: ...and he also had a peach farm in Corvallis is that right?

MR: You know where Kiger Island is?

JL: Right. I do.

MR: He owned that.

JL: He owned Kiger Island.

MR: Yes.

JL: I see. So that's how he made his living? By selling peaches then?

MR: Oh, he had three farms. He had this farm, there are 1,400 acres here and he had a farm up by Bell Fountain with 800 acres and then another in Iowa. All told he had about 3,000 acres he farmed here in the valley.

JL: He's a very successful man.

MR: Yes, he was. A man without any education what so ever.

JL: He must have been exceptional.

MR: Yes, well, he was born in Illinois and a long ways from a school and he didn't have an opportunity to go to school so he was self-educated though.


JL: He had a good business sense then.

MR: Yes. Yes, he made money out in Harney County. He made about $100,000.00 out there. Don't tell that either.

JL: I think you wrote that in your book.

MR: Maybe I did. He sold out to Pete French for $80,000.00 and he sold cattle for $20,000.00 before that so he had that when he rode back horseback to recover his money.

JL: Yes. That's right.

MR: And he had $20,000.00 buried back there so he came out with in eight years back there he made $100,000.00. $100,000.00 that would be about equivalent to half a million dollars here now.

JL: Very wealthy and then he came out here and bought property?

MR: Yes, he bought. Now this right here, this 160 acres where I live, was my grandmother's donation land claim and father bought up all the land around it 00:15:00you see, until he had 1,400 acres here.

JL: Ohhh, did you know your grandparents at all?

MR: Oh, no. I was born long after they, [unintelligible] well, I knew my grandmother Kiger; she was 92 when she died and I was only three or four years old.

JL: So, you don't remember much about her?

MR: No, not much about them.

JL: Did your mother have a formal education?

MR: Yes, well, no she just went to country school is all. In fact, she taught school over here to Lewisburg, a little while. She wasn't much of a teacher but they didn't have anybody to fill in, and she filled in for them over to school. They walked across this way over here. In the winter it was flooded, and they had to walk on the fence around over the water to school. You know 00:16:00where Lewisburg is?

JL: Right.

MR: Well, that's a long ways from here in a straight line.

JL: I can imagine.

MR: and they walked there were no roads. They couldn't drive a horse. No roads no cross roads then.

JL: Hmmm. How times have changed.

MR: Yes. Changed terribly and the college has changed greatly too. They didn't have fraternities then or sororities.

JL: Well, I'd like to talk about those changes with you. What occupation did your mother and father want you to pursue?

MR: My father wanted me to be a doctor.

JL: (Chuckle) Is that right?

MR: I studied pharmacy two years and gave it up.

JL: Why did he want you to be a doctor?

MR: He just felt they needed a woman doctor.

JL: He was very liberal minded.

MR: Yes. Yes.

JL: Tell me about that.

MR: Well, he felt that there was a need for a woman, you know, in childbirth and 00:17:00all the lot of things he thought it would be good to have a woman, doctor, and he thought that I would make one. Well, I didn't have the nerve to make a doctor. I wouldn't have the nerve to become a doctor so I studied pharmacy. I was going to take pharmacy a four year course in pharmacy here and then go to some medical school to study medicine. But, I didn't make it. I decided to get married and come to the farm. I was more of a farmer than I was a doctor.

JL: What did your father think of that?

MR: He was dead.

JL: Oh, I see.

MR: He was dead.

JL: What did your mother want you to pursue?

MR: Well, she didn't really care very much. She just thought to get the education she figured I'd move to the farm. She'd been born on the farm. She 00:18:00was born here in 1850.

JL: So, she really didn't have any specific occupation that she...

MR: No, no, she just raised her family. She was married when she was 16. In those days they married pretty young, you know, and she was married at 16. They moved here to the farm.

JL: When you were a young person in Corvallis growing up how much contact did you or your family have with the college?

MR: Well, I don't know that citizens took a great interest in the college. They bought a farm, bought the college farm where it's located now. Maybe not all of it but they bought, I think, there were 35 acres. I told that in my story too. They bought that and donated it to the college to help, and the college you know where the old college was in Corvallis don't you?

JL: Yes, downtown you mean?

MR: Yes. There on, let's see, it was Madison and Seventh and Madison. No, it was 00:19:00Sixth and Madison, I think. Sixth and Madison, on the corner there and father donated a 100 cords of wood to the college.

JL: How did he happen to do that?

MR: Well, he was clearing land here, and he had the wood and they burned wood for heat so he donated that. That's where my brother was injured so badly. My two brothers were hauling wood to the college from down in the bottom here and the team ran off and threw my brother off of the high wood rack and broke his leg and crippled him for life. When he was thrown off and broke his leg the bone one point of ran into the ground. So, the doctors didn't know what to do 00:20:00with that. Now, it's kind of funny that the doctors didn't know anymore than they did. This point, well, now they just sawed it off. Sawed it off and then they could slip it back but it made a made him limp, you see. It was that leg was shorter.

JL: That must have been very painful?

MR: Oh, yes, and no anesthetics or anything! They did and his leg didn't heal at first. That's why they cut that off. It didn't heal so they cut it off so it would make a straighter line there, you see to heal.

JL: How old was he then?

MR: Well, he was about, oh, I imagine about 20 years. No, I tell you that happened he was in bed with that leg when I was born 1892.


JL: Hmmm. 19 then, yes?

MR: When I was born.

JL: I see.

MR: And...

JL: Well, did you have much contact with the students at the college when you were growing up? Did you or your family?

MR: Well, not like, you might imagine, but the students they didn't have dormitories, you know, for them. Waldo Hall was built in about, [unintelligible]. When father was sick (he died in 1907), mother would drive him up there so he could watch the construction of Waldo Hall.

JL: Why is that? Why was he so interested in the construction of Waldo Hall?

MR: Well, he just was interested in the college and the town, and he was sick. He had cancer, well, we thought it was cancer but it really wasn't. It was an ulcer he died with a bleeding ulcer...


JL: Ohhh.

MR: ...and he wanted to go up and see how they were getting along and the horse needed the exercise so mother would drive him up there and drive him around the college a little bit, you see, how it was. But there was Hawthorne Hall for the boys. You knew that?

JL: Yes.

MR: And Waldo Hall for the girls.

JL: I see.

MR: And lots of the boys roomed around in private homes.

JL: Did you have students in your home then?

MR: No, we didn't, but there were students all around us in the block below us. In fact I met my husband. He came in from La Grande and his grandparents came over to Corvallis to put the boys- the two boys- he and his brother through college. They rented a house just a block below us and that's how I got acquainted with him.

JL: Oh, I see. Well, before we get to that was there any research or did any 00:23:00students come and work on your farm? Your fathers farms to learn to...

MR: Well, once in a while...

JL: ...to help him out or learn something?

MR: ...once in a while. Most of those students were away from here, you see. If they lived here in town they attended college. But, most of those came from other counties and they would go home for summer work so they weren't in looking for work too much but if they could put in a little wood or mow some lawns or something through the winter they would do it to make a few dollars. For 50₡ was quite a bit to them then.

JL: Yes, well, before you were a student what kind of activities did you do on campus?

MR: Well, I didn't really go to the campus until I went to school there. I was quite a mile from the campus, you see. I walked to and from college. There 00:24:00were very few automobiles. Few automobiles at that time, but I walked five miles a day to college. It was a mile to the campus; I walked up at 8 o'clock and back at 12 and the cadets drilled from 12 to 1 and then college took up again at 2. So at 2 I was back and walked home whenever I was out at 5 or 6 o'clock at night. I walked I figured it was a mile between buildings, you see. Walked a mile going from building to building my goodness and that made 4 miles to home I walked 5 miles a day.

JL: That's quite a long ways. So the college sort of shut down while the cadets were drilling then?

MR: Well, the classes were over. Once in a while there would be a history class. Now, for instance, a professor, Professor Horner of Horner Museum, you 00:25:00know, taught history out there. There were a lot of us that needed the credits in history we hadn't had. I'd taken pharmacy and chemistry and so I was short in history, and there were quite a few of them others short in history, too, so the only way he could accommodate us was to form a class at the noon hour while the boys were drilling. Those boys were excused if they needed the class, they were excused for it, but most of them were girls that were short in history. He wouldn't keep us, he'd call the roll and, "Have you got your notebooks written up?" "Yes, we have our notebooks written up." He said, "My wife's baked 00:26:00a lemon pie. I'm hungry. Are you?" "Yes, we're hungry." "All right, excused."

JL: So he never held class?

MR: Oh, once in a while (Chuckle) but he always found some excuse to excuse us. He didn't hold us there. He just looked if we had our book full and I remember to a funny thing happened. He was having an examination that day. We had so much to read in our books at home and notes to write up on them, and that's what he judged us on. Well, he never looked at the notebooks either. He'd look through them and if you'd written plenty he graded you accordingly. If you had it half full, he'd give you 50%. If you had it clear full he'd give you 100%. There was one boy who was a football player and he was on the back row and he was just stumped. "He couldn't," he whispered to me. He said, "I can't answer one question here." And I said, "Well, he never looks at the notebook." 00:27:00I said, "Just write up the last football game but write a lot in it." You aren't recording this are you?

JL: Sure.

MR: Oh, you are!

JL: It's O.K.

MR: No. No, you mustn't. I can't tell things like that.

JL: Well, if you don't want it in there then you can edit it out when it gets typed? How about that?

MR: Well, you must not put in I thought you hadn't started that yet. My I'm sorry my telling about Horner never looking at his class or excusing us. Can you take that out?

JL: Sure I can. I think that's interesting.

MR: No. No, no, no, that would be a discredit to him. I wouldn't put that in for anything.

JL: O.K. I won't. I'll I will take it out then.

MR: Every bit of it.

JL: I will. I will.

MR: Well, now I don't know where I started in that I...

JL: Football player that was going to write up as much as he could about the 00:28:00football game.

MR: Well, that's what I want taken off.

JL: I will take it off.

MR: Well, I won't tell you the rest about it. So start me off on something else. Something decent.

JL: O.K. What did your parents think of education for their children?

MR: Oh, they wanted them to go to school. My brothers wouldn't go to school.

JL: They wouldn't?

MR: No, oh. They got about-through public school, but they wouldn't go to college. They liked to fish and hunt and farm.

JL: What did your parents think of that?

MR: Well, they didn't approve of it exactly but there wasn't much you could do with them. They just weren't studious. They farmed and, I guess, they got along without it.

JL: But your parents wanted you to go; they encouraged you the most to go to 00:29:00college. You were inclined?

MR: Yes. Yes, they encouraged me in college, all the time to go to college.

JL: I see. Well, when you first entered the college here whom did you talk with? Who were you in contact with? You said you went into pharmacy.

MR: Well, I didn't get into the pharmacy part early. I studied in chemistry, you see, and all I had the first two years was chemistry, and I studied under Johnny Fulton and...

JL: John Fulton.

MR: John Fulton was here.

JL: Yes. What years did you start college here?

MR: I started in 1908 and finished in 1912.

JL: And you started in pharmacy then?


MR: Yes, started in pharmacy.

JL: What was John Fulton like?

MR: He was about the best chemist in Oregon, I think.

JL: Why do you say that?

MR: Well, because he studied chemistry and been with the college so many years. He just knew chemistry that was all.

JL: How did he teach the students? How was he as a teacher?

MR: Well, personally he wasn't such a good teacher. He talked over our heads. He knew too much about chemistry and just supposed we should know the other details about it but we didn't.

JL: So that made it tough.

MR: He didn't explain the small little things. He thought we all ought to know that, you see, but he certainly was a fine chemist.

JL: Any kind of prejudice against you because you were a woman?


MR: Not in that was the only instance I had of it. The others treated me very well.

JL: So can you tell me again about that. About your experience without mentioning any names?

MR: Well, let me see if I could. I might say that I had registered in pharmacy, and I was in a class of 45 engineering students and the only woman. The only woman in the class, but that's all I would want to say. Wouldn't that be enough?

JL: And then what happened?

MR: Well, I...

JL: Did the teacher treat you differently from the other students?

MR: Well, just that one teacher is the only instance I had of it, and he didn't treat anybody else that way. It wasn't a habit of his so I don't think you should even mention it.


JL: The reason why I ask is because I have heard of another woman having the same experience with some other teachers and it was more apt to happen in the more male dominated subjects. Why would this attitude be so prevalent?

MR: Well, have you got that on?

JL: Yes. Yes, I do.

MR: Well, with all this silly conversation of ours?

JL: No, it's not silly. It's important.

MR: Well, anyway John Fulton's daughter majored in chemistry and taught it all her life.

JL: Oh, goodness. (Chuckle) Well, that doesn't make much sense.

MR: Yes, you say it doesn't.

JL: No.

MR: No, but of course, she was younger than I was. That was afterwards that his own daughter made it in chemistry and taught it all her life.


JL: Hmmm. Well, why do you think that women were discouraged during the time that you were a student? From entering engineering, chemistry, and other male dominated courses?

MR: Well, I don't know that any of the professors discouraged them entering any kind of field, but it just was the custom for women to take home ec. or something of that kind or something that they could handle rather than going into strange field like they do now. Now, they'll take agricultural anything. There have been a few woman that graduated in agriculture. Mrs. Whitney did in early days in Oregon Oregon State. She graduated in agriculture. Then s...


JL: Now who is Mrs. Whitney?

MR: You say who is she?

JL: Yes.

MR: Well, she's just an old timer here. Old farm pioneer you might say.

JL: Was it was unusual for a woman to enter the field of agriculture?

MR: Yes, she's the only one I ever knew that studied agriculture here up until my time, and she had two grown sons in college when I was here so you see she had studied years before.

JL: Why do you think women wouldn't go into those fields very much?

MR: Well, I don't know. It was always considered farming was a man's job. But, now with the machinery and all that they have I suppose a woman could succeed in it.


JL: So you really didn't feel you were in it. You were in the field of pharmacy, and it was accepted that women would study pharmacy then?

MR: Oh, yes, women could study pharmacy. That wasn't unusual. There were several of them studying pharmacy. In fact Gertrude Lilly Flannigan studied pharmacy when I started and she graduated and she had a drug store in Springfield all these years until lately, I guess.

JL: I understood that you had graduated from domestic science.

MR: I did. I didn't graduate from pharmacy. I changed my course.

JL: Now, tell me about that. Why did you enter the department of domestic science?

MR: Well, I didn't really like pharmacy very well although I studied it four years. After I was changed to home domestic science and art I was short in the 00:36:00chemistry of foods. So I kept on with my pharmacy because I had so much. Dean Milam came in that year, and she said that the seniors were all supposed to write a thesis. She said that we weren't capable of writing a thesis and we could substitute a two credit subject for it with her approval.

JL: Why did she think that you weren't capable of writing a thesis?

MR: I don't know. She said that was just for people with master degrees to write thesis. Well, anyway I decided that I would study chemistry of foods and so I went up to see her and ask her if that would be satisfactory. She said, 00:37:00"Miss Kiger, that's a very difficult subject." I said, "I know it is. I've studied it three years already." So she was glad for me to take that up for my credits instead of my thesis so that completed my four years of chemistry.

JL: I see. Was she encouraging women going into fields that weren't characteristic?

MR: I don't know. I never knew her to be. She was new here. That was her first year, you see, and she'd probably wasn't trying to dictate to anybody at that time. She just getting started in her career as dean of home ec, you see, or domestic science.

JL: Why didn't most women go into domestic science?

MR: Why did they?

JL: Yes.

MR: Well, I don't know why. They just wanted to learn to cook and sew and art 00:38:00work and things of that kind so they took it up. They didn't think of entering farm or farming or agricultural or anything like that in those days. Women mostly were married and raised families and just took care of their homes. Now they have business opportunities that they go into and they teach. They want to teach or do something outside of the home, so they hire a babysitter and go to work.

JL: How do you think you would have been regarded if you had wanted to major in farming or forestry or engineering?

MR: Well, I would never have thought of such a thing, because the men folks had 00:39:00always done the farming at my place. The women cooked for the men and things and maybe raised a little garden or something of that kind but that's about the limit of their farming.

JL: Times have changed.

MR: Times sure have. (Chuckle)

JL: Why did you choose to go to O.A.C. and not someplace else?

MR: Well, this my hometown and the college was here. Why shoudn't I go here?

JL: Did you live at home?

MR: Yes, I lived at home.

JL: I see.

MR: Yes. Well, all the girls that had a home in Corvallis lived there. They wouldn't go to the dormitory. That was just for those that were away from here, you see. They filled it up pretty well and girls that had a home, why came from their homes and the same with the boys.


JL: I see. What do you remember about Margaret Snell?

MR: Margaret Snell? She introduced home ec. or cooking into Oregon State. I attended one of her first or real early classes. A cousin lived with us and went to college. She was a few years older than I was, and she didn't like to walk up there at night. The class was held in a private home at night and she didn't like to make the walk so she asked me to go with her. I went with her and we met at a private home there on the campus. I thought that I was anxious to go I thought, "My, we'll just have a lot of cooking or something," but it was just in the form of a lecture, and there was so many there that we sat on the floor. 00:41:00Chairs were filled up and the lounges and so we sat on the floor to listen to her and it was just a lecture.

JL: Why was she so popular?

MR: Well, there were so many interested in cookery. They wanted to learn to cook, you see, and they didn't have that in the school yet.

JL: Why was it in a private home and at night?

MR: Well, there was no other place to hold it.

JL: Oh. Well, can you remember that first class? What it was like?

MR: No, I don't really. I was so young. I don't really remember what they just lectured about cookery, you know, and things of that kind that would interest them.

JL: Miss Snell did?

MR: Miss Snell did.

JL: Was Miss Snell's philosophy of teaching people how to keep well rather than curing a disease still prevalent when you were a student?


MR: I didn't understand.

JL: (Cough) Excuse me. Well, apparently Dr. Snell's philosophy was preventive medicine. Knowing how to keep well rather than curing the disease that's already happened. Was that still a prevalent philosophy when you were a student?

MR: Well, really I don't know much about her philosophy. I just knew her when I saw her and we had a Margaret Snell Club at Oregon State. I belonged to that and we would meet at Waldo Hall and have that meeting then but that was a several years after this first one. That's the only class of Margaret Snell's that I was ever in.

JL: Would she ever come back and lecture or participate with the students at all?

MR: Well, she lived here in Corvallis. She lived here. Yes, she would come as long as she was able I guess and hold meetings with them but I never attended 00:43:00any of those.

JL: What kind of person was she?

MR: Well, she never married and she was a large lady. I can't tell you much more about her. Everybody liked Margaret Snell and she liked the girls, helped them all she could.

JL: She had gone into a field that was male dominated certainly being a doctor.

MR: Yes. Well, was she a doctor?

JL: Yes.

MR: Was she a doctor? Well, that's something I didn't know.

JL: Oh, yes, she was. Yes.

MR: I see. Well, I say that she was never married. I'm pretty sure she was never married. Maybe I'm mistaken there, but she wasn't married when she was here. She didn't have a husband.


JL: What did most of the girls want to be when they graduated?

MR: Well, most of them just intended to get married and go to housekeeping but a lot of them taught. Most of them could find positions pretty easily in those days because there weren't too many to teach. Usually when they taught they quit teaching when they got married. Now, they go right on teaching.

JL: Were there any courses that were closed to women?

MR: Not that I know of. I think you could. In latter years, I know, one girl entered engineering from eastern Oregon. I don't know whether she ever graduated in it or not, but she was taking engineering up here at college and I thought it was strange that she would.


JL: I wonder what the other students in engineering thought of that?

MR: Well, I don't know. Maybe it was just like Fulton thought of me in the engineering class but I wasn't taking engineering. (Chuckle)

JL: I wish that you would tell that story on the tape because I think that's interesting.

MR: Oh, no, I don't want to do that. I don't want to get involved.

JL: Not mentioning any names. Just say [unintelligible].

MR: I know but everybody knew who he was.

JL: No, I don't think so; it was so long ago.

MR: Well, I've neglected to tell you that after I left Fulton's class I entered Professor Doughtery's class and he was a wonderful teacher. He had so much patience with me.

JL: He was a chemistry teacher also?

MR: Chemistry teacher.

JL: And he felt no prejudice against you as being a female?

MR: Oh, no he just encouraged us.

JL: Were there other women in your class?


MR: Oh, yes, in later days. Now that's just the beginning that I had for general chemistry and there weren't very many taking that. They had to have, two years of chemistry. They had to have chemistry of food and and a year general chemistry and a year of chemistry of food. But, that was just second year of chemistry and then they quit teaching chemistry of food for a year or so and when they brought it in again it was an advanced course, you see.

JL: What did you find interesting about the chemistry of food?

MR: Well, chemistry is interesting always, I think, and you knew more about the what you were using in your food. What your food consisted of. Things of that 00:47:00kind, you'd like a little more able to handle it. Composition of salt and sugar and all those things.

JL: Did you have a particular goal in mind after graduating?

MR: No. No, after graduating I was going to get married and move down here to the farm.

JL: But, you thought chemistry of food was a practical...

MR: No, I didn't. Really I studied chemistry of food for four years, and it really didn't do me any particular good. It's a hard subject too; chemistry is a hard subject.

JL: You just liked it though?

MR: No, I didn't like it, but when I signed up for pharmacy needed it, you see. I was going to have a four-year course in pharmacy and the real pharmacy part was just in the last two years. So, I quit before I reached that.


JL: Now, why did you quit pharmacy?

MR: Because I was going to get married.

JL: Ohh. How did you meet your husband?

MR: Well, I met him when he came here to school. He came from La Grande.

JL: How did you meet him?

MR: Well, they lived a block below us. His grandparents came to put their two grandsons through college. They rented a house, a block below us, and we naturally got acquainted with them. When the boys came up, they saw father with his horses coming in out of the barn. They liked horses, so they came up and got acquainted with my father, got acquainted with the rest of us too and they would go out to the farm occasionally with us or with my father out to the peach orchard or someplace.

JL: What was your husband studying?

MR: He took agriculture and animal husbandry. He studied animal husbandry.


JL: He wanted to be a farmer then?

MR: Oh, yes he farmed in La Grande all his life.

JL: Back to you. What department were you in? Domestic science or domestic art?

MR: Domestic science and art.

JL: Oh. Was that common?

MR: Yes. That was what it was called. Domestic science and art.

JL: Oh, it wasn't two separate departments then?

MR: No, it was just we had the art. It was all one it was just a really domestic science that we joined in but we had domestic science and art. At that time there weren't many buildings on the campus. We had our cooking class in the first floor of Waldo Hall, basement of Waldo Hall really, and we had our sewing and our domestic art in the agronomy building. Now the first ELL of the 00:50:00Agricultural Hall was called the Agronomy Building then and we had our sewing there and our art.

JL: What tell me how they taught cooking?

MR: What?

JL: Can you remember how your cooking class was taught?

MR: Was taught?

JL: Yes.

MR: Oh, we just went there. We made bread. We begin by making bread and then we made cakes and all different things. We served a luncheon a time or two for the faculty members and different people.

JL: What kind of facilities did they have for the cooking class in Waldo basement?


MR: Well, they just cooked with gas there then gas ranges and just ordinary kitchen utensils.

JL: There's more how to do it then?

MR: Yes

JL: Rather than the chemistry of how bread is made?

MR: Oh, yes, we didn't go into that. We just did the baking. We were given a recipe and filled it.

JL: I see. What about sewing class? What did that consist of?

MR: Well, Mrs. Brooks was head of the sewing, and it sort of disrupted my work when I changed to domestic science and art. They had sewing four years. Four years, you see, so I will have spent two of my years without any sewing, and I 00:52:00wanted to go right on. She said that I couldn't go on without the chemistry a and b or without sewing in a and b and I told her that I had sewed all my life. My mother was a fine seamstress and I was pretty sure that I could pick it up, you see...

JL: Yes.

MR: ...but she didn't encourage me at it and her assistant was Miss Saline and when we assembled there for work, it was too big a class. So she had to transfer some of them over to Miss Saline's class and the very first one she named was Miss Kiger. She thought I'd be a problem to her so she put me over in Miss Saline's class. Well, I explained to Miss Saline what it was and she was very sympathetic with me. She thought I could get along fine. In fact, she bragged on my work because my mother had been teaching me all my life how to sew 00:53:00and so she didn't have any trouble with me at all.

JL: What kind of projects did you do?

MR: Well, the first thing they made in sewing was a cookery costume. We had a costume in cookery, you see. So they made so, well, that wasn't exactly the first. They had some stitching and things of that kind, but when they were ready to go to work they made the cooking class, er, costume. And they then we went right on. We made dresses and Kimonos and different things for class work.

JL: Did you study style or fitting or...

MR: Well, we fitted, and we made our own we drafted our own patterns, too.


JL: Gee.

MR: That was quite a little problem.

JL: I can imagine.

MR: Yes, we didn't draft then. That was about the third year's work. They didn't do drafting right off the bat. They learned to stitch and make simple things before that.

JL: What kind of facilities did they have for the sewing class?

MR: Well, they just had ordinary sewing machines; that's about all, tables and...

JL: What kind of sewing machine? What type?

MR: Well, I believe they were Singers but I wouldn't say for sure.

JL: Electric then?

MR: No, no pedals.

JL: That must have made it more difficult then?

MR: Well, yes, the electric machines didn't come in that early. That is we didn't have any.

JL: Well, I understand that the goal of the domestic science department was to 00:55:00make the woman who graduates a woman of culture and broad interests able to cope successfully with life's problems, particularly those distinctly her own. Do you feel like you were prepared for that?

MR: Well, yes, I think so. I've got along pretty well.

JL: I wonder how they went about doing that?

MR: Well, I don't know.

JL: What courses do you particularly remember when you were a student besides chemistry?

MR: What courses do you mean?

JL: Outside of domestic science courses.

MR: Well, I didn't pay much attention to those outside of domestic science after I entered domestic science. Before it was the pharmacy but I looked forward to 00:56:00going to my cookery classes and sewing. I liked that kind of work better than I did the chemistry labs, and things of that kind.

JL: Oh, no. That's too bad.

MR: Yes, when I had to go off to the old smelly chemistry lab the rest of the girls went into the cooking class I felt kind of left out.

JL: Oh, no. Were there any projects were there any community projects in domestic science that the girls did?

MR: No, no they didn't do anything. They just stayed with their school work.

JL: There was no, say, cooking for a community or...?

MR: Oh, no.

JL: . . . organization...

MR: No, they didn't step out for that kind of work.

JL: Was there any kind of research being done on domestic science activities at all?

MR: Well, I don't think there was much being done and we didn't have anything of 00:57:00that kind. If it was it was professors and other people working on things that we didn't know anything about.

JL: O.K. How was marriage regarded?

MR: How...

JL: How was marriage regarded?

MR: Well, do you mean by the students?

JL: By the students. By your classmates.

MR: Well, I think, most of them intended to get married as soon as they finished college. I graduated in June and was married the 18th of September. Just as soon as I could get ready to go to the farm, we moved down here. My husband finished in 1910. He was finished two years before I did and he was running a plumbing shop in Salem for those years.


JL: I see. Well, today there are a great many women who have decided not to marry. How...

MR: What?

JL: There are a great many women today that have decided not to get married.

MR: Oh, I think most of them planned to get married in those days.

JL: How does that compare to then?

MR: Well, I don't know much about it now. Seems like most of them get married; but they go out to work for a while before they marry. Maybe some of them never intend to marry I don't know. Of course, there were always some of them that didn't marry anyhow. A few of them, but the majority of them got married and raised a family. Devoted their time to that.

JL: It's interesting to compare then and now.

MR: Yes. Yes. You know women just all raised their family. Now they hire a 00:59:00baby sitter and go off to work. We didn't know what a baby sitter was in those days. Sometimes you leave your baby with your mother or something for a while if you wanted to go someplace, but that was about the extent of it or you might hire a babysitter to I know a woman that worked in a bakery near us and she would hire me to take care of her little baby while she worked at the store most of the day. She paid me about 25₡ a day.

JL: Oh, my goodness. That's not very high pay! What activities did you participate with on campus?

MR: What?

JL: What activities?


MR: Well, I didn't have any particular activity either. I was busy with my class work and then by the time I walked a mile home and got my evening work done, I had a lot of notes. I didn't type I had it all to do in longhand. By the time I had written my notes up I was ready for bed. Then had to be up for class at 8 o'clock the next morning, and then I had to get up about 6:30 in order to get my breakfast and get ready for school.

JL: So, you didn't have much time for activities.

MR: The girls did have a track meet a time or two. It was all kind of hush-hush. The went over to the Armory and the girls had a track meet but I didn't enter that.

JL: Why was it hush-hush?

MR: Well, I don't know. They didn't want the boys coming in and watching them.


JL: Well, who was it against?

MR: Oh...

JL: Who was...

MR: ...just among themselves. They just got out. No they didn't have any competition that way. It was just to go up there and jump hurdles or run races or something among themselves.

JL: What kind of athletic activities were there for women?

MR: Well, not much of anything. I guess some of them played a little tennis and we did a have a girl's basketball team and it was a good one too.

JL: Did the student population watch the play?

MR: Oh, yes, they came but the population wasn't very large in those days.

JL: How were they regarded as women athletes?

MR: Oh, everybody admired the basketball team. That's all the others were just among themselves. They didn't pay any attention. People didn't pay any attention to that but everybody went to the basketball game.


JL: You mentioned that you belonged to The Margaret Snell Club.

MR: Yes.

JL: What kind of activities did you do in the club?

MR: Oh, we usually just had a lecture. Maybe somebody would come and lecture to us and it was just a kind of a get-together of domestic science girls.

JL: What kind of lectures would you have? On what subjects?

MR: Oh, it was usually on cookery or something of that kind.

JL: There was nobody from in the community that came and talked to you about...

MR: No, we didn't have anybody like that. It's usually some of the teachers and we just get together and had a little get-together. Good time.

JL: Why was it called The Margaret Snell Club?


MR: Well, she had originated it. She was the one that first introduced it so it was named for her.

JL: I see and what was the purpose of the club then?

MR: Well, it was just to keep the girls interested in the class and let them know about Margaret Snell, things of that kind.

JL: What kind| of things did you learn about Margaret Snell then?

MR: What did I what?

JL: What kind of things did you learn about Margaret Snell?

MR: Well, we could give her the credit for a class in home, er, domestic science. She's the one that started that really. Otherwise, they might never have introduced it. I don't know. I suppose in time they would but she got it started pretty early. Let's see, now, it was around about 1904 or '05 that 01:04:00I attended that first class with my cousin, so, you see, that was many years ago.

JL: Yes. It is. A long time ago. I want to ask a difficult question but how were morals upheld at Oregon Agricultural College?

MR: Well, the morals were good. If they weren't they got in trouble. I remember that some boys got some beer and drank it. They had a little party and they were arrested expelled from school.

JL: That was when you were a student?


MR: Yes. Now, I guess, beer parties are common. I don't know.

JL: Well, how were they upheld for you and your classmates? I mean now were you taught what was right and wrong?

MR: Well, just good morals. That's all. Smoking was out for girls. The boys I don't know if they smoked on the campus or not. I never noticed that. Cadets used to drill on the campus. You knew that didn't you?

JL: Yes, that's what you said. Hmmm. Where and what did you do on dates? Where did you go on dates and what did you do?

MR: Oh, we just they had all the entertainment was done in the Armory.


JL: Yes.

MR: We had basketball games there, and, of course, the boys it was really their Armory. The cadets drilled there in the basement. But, they had lectures there and they had plays and parties and dances and many things there in the Armory and basketball games. They would move the chairs in and move them out and make room for dancing or a party and we even had examinations there and graduations there. Everything else. Everything happened at the Armory. It's the only public meeting place and they didn't have that for many years up until, oh, about'75, I think, it was. They met, no, I guess, I won't say when it was, but they met at the opera house in Corvallis where all the college entertainment too place. There was no place to meet on the campus, so they met 01:07:00there until they built the Armory. Then everything was transferred to it, you see. Well, until that time they met in an old Opera House in Corvallis.

JL: Hmmm. That's interesting. Your beaus would take you there on dates and so forth?

MR: Yes. Yes.

JL: I see. MR: Oh, I never went there. That was before my time that they met at the Opera House in Corvallis. They had the Armory when I went to school, and so we met there but up until that time they would come down there. It was on the Fourth and, let's see, Madison. Fourth and Madison. The old Opera House was. That's been gone a good many years.

JL: I understand there were excursions to the coast.

MR: Yes, they had a senior excursion every year to the coast.


JL: Did you go on that?

MR: Oh, yes, I've been on that.

JL: Can you tell me about it?

MR: Well, you just go over there. Maybe some of them would have excursions from the town over there. They'd go over for clambakes and things but the college had the senior excursion. We'd go over there, probably take a lunch and go down on NYE. Beach or walk on the beach and come back. The boys would? The train which burned wood, cord wood, you know, and when they'd get to the summit they had to take on more fuel and the boys would get out and fill the coal, er, the wood car up in order to save time so we'd have more time at the coast. It took them too long if the company did it. The boys got out and helped fill haul wood, er, carry wood and fill the wood car up the coal car you might say and so 01:09:00we'd get going [unintelligible] quicker.

JL: Hmmm. Well, that's interesting. And the senior excursion was set up by the university by the college then?

MR: Well, I suppose so, yes it would be. Every year we had a senior excursion, and it was the only excursion for the college through the year, was the senior excursion. But, there were other excursions on which the citizens would go, you know. Of course, some of the students would go on those maybe but we just had the one college senior excursion.

JL: Hmmm. What other things did you do as a students on dates or with girl friends or...

MR: Well, we had a movie there then. We could go to a movie. We could go to a dance and sometimes they had street dances there. When we got a little 01:10:00pavement put in. That was 1908, I think; they paved a few streets and then they had street dances.

JL: Where were they?

MR: Well, that was on Second, oh, I think it went up a block or so on Madison.

JL: Oh, this was the students and the community then?

MR: Well, the students could go but it really wasn't a student affair. Those dances were for the citizens, you see. Everybody could go, but the students went too.

JL: Were any activities carried on in the community through domestic science?

MR: No, I don't think so. Just the college.

JL: Well, did the community members participate with the college? Come to the college and go to these these...


MR: No, no they didn't. It was just all college students.

JL: Who were some of your favorite teachers and why?

MR: Well, I liked this Miss Saline, sewing teacher, and then there was a Miss Tobin and Miss Ewing.

JL: Who was Miss Tobin?

MR: Well, she taught sewing and art. Miss Ewing had an art class and I don't know and this Professor Doughters...

JL: Why did you like that?

MR: ...I liked him awfully well.

JL: What did tell me about Professor Horner since I'm from the Horner Museum. Tell me about Professor Horner.

MR: Well, he was a historian. He was always interested in history here and around the community and in the neighborhood. I know one day I went to class 01:12:00and and I was a little late. I had to go from Waldo Hall. I had to change my costume and get back to this special history class he was holding and it would take...

JL: Special history class?

MR: ...for those who were short in history. I told you he had a noon class for them.

JL: Oh, that's right.

MR: And so I was a little late and he'd called the role when I got in there. He said, "Well, Miss Kiger you're a little late." I said, "Yes, I was detained." And he said, "Well, I'll have to forgive you." He said, "I recall an incidence one time." He said, "I was walking from Corvallis to Albany from Albany to Corvallis because I didn't have money enough to pay the fare on the train and" and he said, "A man came up behind me driving a fine high stepping team, and he stopped and he says, 'Young man would you like to ride?' "And he 01:13:00says "He took me right into Corvallis." And he says, "That was Reuben Kiger. Miss Kiger's father and I'll have to forgive you for being late."

JL: From what you say though it didn't make much difference whether you came or not because he didn't hold class.

MR: No, he didn't, but he'd call the role every day if you weren't there...

JL: Just call...

MR: ...why you'd be counted absent.

JL: ...so he'd just call the role and then dismiss the...

MR: ...well, yes, and he'd ask us if we had our notes written up. He'd give us so much to read, you know, and we had to write notes. Yes, we had our notes, well, then he'd dismiss us probably.

JL: That's funny. So would people get in the habit of just writing anything in their notebooks then?

MR: Oh, no, they didn't. No, they didn't. They stayed pretty well with their work.

JL: What did the football player finally do when he filled his book up with 01:14:00things? With football plays?

MR: Now you're to take that out too.

JL: Oh, yes.

MR: Well, he next morning or next time we met there he held up he got his examination paper back. He got an "A" on that, I think.

JL: Oh, Professor Horner, that's terrible. (Chuckle)

MR: Oh, dear, he laughed, and just showed me the book.

JL: And it was your idea too?

MR: It was my idea writing up the football game.

JL: Did you ever go on any field trips with Professor Horner?

MR: Go where?

JL: Field trips?

MR: Field trips? No. No, they didn't have as many field trips in those days as they do now.

JL: Did you ever go on any field trips in any of your classes?

MR: Well, we had to collect our botany. Me went over the campus, a botany class, a time or two. Studied the growth on the campus.


JL: Just around the campus area?

MR: Yes, just on the campus.

JL: Where...Go ahead.

MR: And then we had to go and collect our specimens sometimes. We'd go down Mary's River that was about the limit of it.

JL: What would you do with the specimens once you got them?

MR: Well, we had to take them to class. Probably draw a picture of them. Write them up with botany. We had a botany book. We had to draw a wild flower. She'd name the flower, wildflower, we had to get and if the weather was bad or things so we couldn't get out why then they would have somebody collect specimens for us.

JL: Why were you taking botany when you...

MR: That was in our course.

JL: In domestic science courses?

MR: Yes, yes, yes.

JL: I see.

MR: Well, they still teach botany. It's bothered my grandson quite a bit.


JL: Oh, oh. (Chuckle) What courses in home ec. in domestic science did men take?

MR: I don't remember a single man in domestic science. Now they turn out good cooks, you know, but they must take a special course someplace, I don't know.

JL: There wasn't a single man in any of the courses, yes?

MR: Not that I remember.

JL: Hmmm.

MR: That is to study in it.

JL: He'd never take a sewing course or a cooking course in his day?

MR: No, no. No man in them. They have men in them now, I guess. Well...

JL: Go ahead.

MR: A man makes a good cook. He can cook a lot faster and a lot better than women I think. He's stronger. He holds up better with the hard work.

JL: Hmmm. You think that's true?


MR: Yes, I think so.

JL: Hmmm.

MR: That is in restaurants and places like that, and I know a lot of married men that are awfully good cooks, too.

JL: So I wonder why they didn't ever take courses when you were a student?

MR: Well, I don't know. There wasn't any opening for men, I guess, in those days for cookery.

JL: Just for their own general knowledge.

MR: Well, they turned to engineering and things of that kind, I think, more.

JL: Were there any fairs sponsored by domestic science when you were a student?

MR: Well, they had agricultural fairs up here at the college I know that. Not in domestic science. We didn't have any fairs there but they had stock displayed at the fairs.


JL: On campus?

MR: Yes. Agricultural Fair they called it.

JL: And who would attend these fairs?

MR: Well, the citizens would go out to a lot of those fairs. They are interested in the animals and anybody that wanted to go could go attend them.

JL: What were they like?

MR: Well, to be frank with you I never went to one.

JL: Ohhh. (Chuckle)

MR: I know Professor Potter called up. We had some registered shorthorn cattle and we had one little white bull that was a nice little animal Prof. Potter came down, he and my husband were good friends and he often came down to the farm. He saw this little bull and he asked us to bring him up to the Agricultural Fair. Well, my husband was sort of elated to think they'd want to 01:19:00show some of his stock so he agreed to bring him. Well, the only means we had of taking him up there was a wooden wagon. It had sides on it and a wood rack. And so we went out and we washed that little bull, cleaned him all up, carried warm water from the house mover to the barn and gave him a good bath. Then we curled his hair by running a comb along the sides, and my husband polished his horns and his hoofs. We had him just looking real pretty and we went to put him in that. We put him in a scale house and it was a step up to into the wood rack, you see. He had to step up a step. Well, we tried to make him step up into that rack. He shook his head and pulled loose. My husband held onto the rope and he took out across the barnyard and ran through edge of a straw pile 01:20:00and left my husband in the straw. He went on down in to a lake. There was just a little bit of hill just below the barn he ran down there but the gate was closed. He tried to go around the fence and he ran out into the slough and he got into the mud and he got tangled up in the rope on his halter. My husband had to run in and cut the rope in order to keep him from drowning and he crawled out. He was the muddiest, dirtiest, little bull you ever saw in your life.

JL: Oh, no. (Chuckle)

MR: And then we were so disgusted with him, that we didn't try to carry warm water to him to wash him again. We just turned the hose on on him and we scrubbed him good. My husband finally got him in the wagon and took him up to the fair.

JL: Ohhh. (Chuckle) When was this?


MR: Oh, that was about 1915, '16, somewhere along there.

JL: Oh, no.

MR: Oh, disgusted. There we polished him up so nice and he got so muddy and so dirty.

JL: Was it common for community members to bring their animals up to the campus?

MR: No, no it was mostly the college had all that stock on display, you see. It was mostly the [unintelligible]. But, since my husband and Professor Potter were good friends he asked to bring this little bull up. If he'd known the trouble it had put us to he wouldn't have asked us.

JL: That's funny.

MR: But, that's the kind of experience we went through so many times on the farm.

JL: What was Juliet Greer like?

MR: Hmmm?

JL: Juliet Greer?

MR: Oh, Dean Greer?

JL: Yes.

MR: Yes, I knew her too.

JL: Tell me about her.

MR: Well, she was I can't tell you much about her. Miss Milam, took her place, 01:22:00you see?

JL: Yes.

MR: And she was a good little dean. She stayed there at Waldo Hall pretty close. That was her job, and she and one of the professors went out a little together, but I don't know much personally about her.

JL: You didn't ever have her as a teacher then?

MR: Not as a teacher, no.

JL: So most of you were students under Dean Milam then?

MR: Yes, yes Dean Milam. She came in the year that I was a senior. That's 1912. Well, '11 that she came.

JL: What kind of a dean was she? Was she...

MR: Well, I guess, she was a very good dean. President Kerr liked her very well. She was a good person for the job. She was a person that, oh, I don't 01:23:00know she sort of was good advertisement for the school, you see. She got around. She'd been in the east and around. She had experience that way among people.

JL: What do you mean by good advertisement?

MR: Well, she had contact with eastern schools and things of that kind. She always kept the college forward.

JL: How did they publicize the department of domestic science for example?

MR: How what?

JL: How was it publicized around the state?

MR: Well, it wasn't advertised. They put out a catalog every year for the 01:24:00college and that's about all. I don't think they did much advertising.

JL: Individuals didn't go out into the communities and talk?

MR: No, not that I know of. At least they didn't here in Corvallis. Maybe a few went around among different communities. But not in Corvallis. College advertised itself here, you see. Everybody mingled.

JL: Hmmm. What is your opinion? Did the community and the college at the time you were a student have a good rapport or interchange between the community and the college?

MR: Oh, yes, yes. Yes, I think the community tried to help the college in any way they could but really they weren't in a position to do much help, you see. People, in those days, didn't have cars. Most people had a horse and buggy. 01:25:00There were barns all over the town. Probably one or two barns on every block outside of the city streets. But, they didn't go far with horses, you know.

JL: That's true. But, they could on trains?

MR: Yes, the trains. At that time, we had a train running from Corvallis to Albany one hour and back the next, so that made a round trip in every two hours. Well, they didn't. They began early in the morning, maybe seven or eight o'clock and ran to about nine at night, but people transmuted there, you see, on the train. You could go to Albany for 50₡ I think the fare was.

JL: Gosh.

MR: But, it's been a good many years since they had a passenger train to Albany 01:26:00since the cars came in vogue.

JL: Speaking of cars you mentioned that you drove a car. Tell me about that. Tell me about your first experience with a car.

MR: Well, why would you want to hear that? (Chuckle)

JL: I think it would be interesting.

MR: Well, we had a Cadillac Roadster and it had a self-starter. Very few cars in those days had a self-starter but it did and when we would go to town often I'd drive home. My husband would get the car started and everything. He said, "Now you drive it home." I'd just drive it up here to the front of the house, and my husband would take over and put it in the barn. Well, that had gone on for quite a while. One day my husband came in and he said he had bought a band of sheep up by Monroe and he said, "In the morning I want you to take me with the dog up to get the sheep." He had them in a corral up there, and they 01:27:00had to walk and drive sheep by foot. Some of them had a horse but most of them walked and took their dog, and drove the stock. Well, the stock had the right away on the highway. It was no pavement or anything, just a rough rocky, gravely road, and, oh, I thought I said, "Alone? All alone?" And he said, "Yes," he says, "If you're ever going to learn to drive that car, you'll have to drive it alone sometime and this is an opportune time." Well, I didn't sleep very well that night. It rained all night and that made the roads muddy and slick and they just had a little gravel strip down the middle of the road that was safe for a Car. So next morning we got up and after breakfast we put the dog in the car and we drove up to where the sheep were and he said, "Now, I'll start, I'll turn the car around, and I'll stand on the running board until you 01:28:00get the gear shifted." It was a gearshift you had to pull.

JL: Yes.

MR: So, I was just trembling like a leaf and he said, "Now, stay in the middle of the road. Don't get off for anything. Make everything go around you." And I said, "Well, supposing they won't do it." He says, "Oh, they'll do it all right." And he laughed. Well, I couldn't understand that laugh. Kind of a sarcastic laugh, and anyway he stood on the running board and I pulled a gear and I waited and he said, "Oh, look out, you'll throw a gear." And I didn't know what that meant because I'd shifted quite a good many times before and I'd never had any trouble. Well, the minute he dropped off that car I was just as cool as a cucumber. I thought, now if I strip a gear he'll never know it. 01:29:00That's all I knew about it. I thought I'd go on just the same and then I thought, "Oh, just don't meet anything on the road to go around." Well, I hadn't gone half a mile until a farmer opened a gate and drove a dozen head of cattle right out in front of me on that highway, and I thought how many will I hit? Well, believe it or not, those cows looked at me and this frightened them, so they turned and ran and tried to get back through the gate.

JL: Oh, no.

MR: Now that sounds kind of funny but that's the truth. Those cows weren't used to automobiles. They're frightened of them. Well, they got out of my way and then I went on until I got close to town, oh, a mile or so from Corvallis and I overtook a band of sheep. Now a band of sheep is the most difficult thing to pass in a car, and they trotted along ahead of me. Then I 01:30:00remembered I had a horn so I sounded the horn and they scattered. They scattered and I went through them tooting that horn and I looked back in the mirror when I got through and the driver of those sheep were was just shaking his fist at me. He was so mad at me for scaring the sheep, you see.

JL: Oh, no.

MR: Well, I got through and didn't hit any and then I thought if I just don't met anybody on Mary's River Bridge. There is just room for two people two vehicles to pass on the bridge and I went up the approach, there was no trouble there, but right in the middle of the bridge was a load of wood in a wood rack, a high wood rack. Right in the middle of the bridge, and I thought I can't get past that, I'll hit it sure and the horses got so scared they jumped over, yanked that wagon over, tried to jump over the rail of the bridge. Well, I got 01:31:00past them without hitting them, and then when I got into town I thought, now if I don't meet anybody on the intersections I'll get home. I was familiar with the road going home, and we had high wood walks in town, maybe six or eight inches high. People looked up and saw me coming in that car, they scared them so they ran and jumped up on the walk and turned and looked at me. They thought I was going to hit them.

JL: Oh, no.

MR: Well, then after that I had only met a buggy or two going on the road home and there wasn't much traffic in those days, and when I got in front of the barn where we kept the car. We put a cement floor in there and made a garage and my husband said, "Just leave the car in front of the house and I'll put it away 01:32:00when I come home." Well, I thought and thought I was doing so well I'll just do it up right. So, I got out of the car, opened the barn door, drove the car in and shut the garage door and then from then on I was a real efficient driver.

JL: Oh, no, oh that's great. Well, when was this? When was the first time that you drove?

MR: Well, we got that car in about 1914 and we'd had it, maybe, pretty near a year.

JL: How did you happen to be one of the first women to drive? You said you were one of the first women to drive?

MR: Yes, well, my sister-in-law drove. They lived on Kiger Island and a lady by the name of Brown over on the north of us and they both drove cars. My sister-in-law said, "Now, you must learn to drive a car." And she kept urging 01:33:00me. "Learn." So that's how I come to do it and then I'd always had my horse and buggy. We sold the horse and buggy. Well, I really made a riding horse out of her and got rid of her buggy. The car was nicer and quicker and more convenient.

JL: Hmmm. But, you were one of the first families to own a car then in this community?

MR: Oh, no, no there were other families but not very many owned cars. No, we weren't only one's. There were more than three people with cars. There were a good many cars around.

JL: Well, cars were very expensive at that time were they not?

MR: Well, you could call them expensive. No, they weren't compared now. Cars sold for, oh, about $1,200.00, $1,400.00

JL: How did your husband happen to have bought a car then?


MR: How'd he what?

JL: Happened to have bought a car if they were just in they weren't that prevalent?

MR: Well, his father had a car in La Grande. He was used to a car so he had a Ford and we got this Cadillac.

JL: Hmmm. What did you do during the summers when you were a student?

MR: Well, I didn't really work. I just sort of rested up. I worked hard through the winter and, er, rested up through the summer. I helped mother with the housework and we had a horse and buggy and we could go to the farm if we wanted to or go down with my brothers or something of that kind, but we didn't travel around. People didn't travel much in those days. Maybe we'd go over to Albany or do a little shopping or something but that was about all.

JL: Well, as a student, what administrators did you know?


MR: You mean there at school?

JL: Yes.

MR: Oh, you just get acquainted with most of them, you see, around. I can't recall just who.

JL: Did you know President Kerr?

MR: Oh, yes. President Kerr's daughter married my husband's brother.

JL: Oh.

MR: His oldest daughter.

JL: What is her name?

MR: Vesta.

JL: Oh.

MR: And she married Ralph Reynolds. He was a year ahead of my husband, in college.

JL: So you knew the family very well?

MR: Yes. I knew the Kerr family quite well.

JL: What were the Kerr's like?

MR: They were awfully nice. Mrs. Kerr was a lovely lady. Leona was in my class in school and then they had a younger girl Jeanette and Genève and a son, 01:36:00Robert, and they had Vesta, and they had an older brother, Horace older than we were.

JL: Did President Kerr do things with his family?

MR: They had Lenette, too. I forgot to name her. She was younger than I was.

JL: I see.

MR: Jeanette and Lenette and Geneive and Robert they were the younger children.

JL: I see. What kind of things did they do as a family? Did you know? What kinds of things did they do as a family? Activities.

MR: Oh, I don't know. The girls had a horse awhile. They had a horse they rode but not a great deal. They just went to entertainments at the college and 01:37:00things of that kind. Of course, Mrs. Kerr had a home to care for. The girls helped and they usually had a hired help. Mrs. Kerr did most of the work.

JL: Were they religious at all?

MR: Well, they all went to church but just average religion, I suppose...

JL: You can remember things that...

MR: Hmmm?

JL: ...do you remember much over five years old at all? That's...

MR: I have a good memory.

JL: You do! What were some of the more memorable experiences on campus that you can remember as a student?

MR: Well, I don't know just exactly. We always went to the Oregon football game. That was a big occasion for us. We'd have an excursion to Eugene when 01:38:00game was at Eugene. And then we had a bonfire the night before.

JL: Tell me about that.

MR: Well, the boys would collect all the rubbish they could that is burnable things around the town, and the citizens would give them, merchants, you know would give them boxes and things that would burn and they'd pile up a huge bonfire and the Oregon bunch would attempt to come over and set it off before we were ready to have it set it off. We'd set it off the night before, you know, and keep building it up. The college boys had to guard it all the time to keep the the Oregon students from coming down and setting their fire off before they wanted it off. (That was a big time, so we'd go up to the). Once-in-awhile, as I remember, I think they did set it a time or two. Then we had the fountain 01:39:00there on the campus the Oregon gang would always come, and try to steal the lady of the fountain. I think they did steal her a time or two. They'd go after that. Things of that kind, the Rivalry between the two teams, you know.

JL: Yes, well then the O.A.C. students would go down to the U. of O. then?

MR: Yes, they'd go down there. I don't know what damage they did down there. I think they most they ever did was, I don't think the Eugene students had the bonfire. I'm not sure about that, but they would write on chalk on the walks and things of that kind, but that's about all they did. They were the ones that came over to Corvallis often though.

JL: How would you get down to the U of O?

MR: Well, they had an excursion on the train.

JL: Oh, it was on the train?

MR: Yes.


JL: I see.

MR: Oh, that was a memorable time.

JL: Can you think of any other experiences that were memorable?

MR: I don't know that that football game at Eugene was the big game. Of course, we would go to other games but there was always a rivalry between Eugene and Corvallis. They won't have institutions there, you know. That's why there was such rivalry between the two. Each one tried to outdo the other.

JL: How else was it manifested?

MR: Well, I don't know how to tell you that it was manifest other ways than just the ballgames. Usually that was when the trouble started. Try to burn our 01:41:00bonfire. They'd come down to the game. We'd go there.

JL: Had you ever heard of Abagail Scott Dunaway?

MR: (Pause)

JL: Have you ever heard of her?

MR: I don't. It seems like I should remember about her, but I don't.

JL: She was a suffragette.

MR: Oh, suffragette, yes.

JL: Yes, yes. You never had heard of her during that period of time?

MR: Well, I don't know. I remember one suffragette. Now Election Day used to be a big day in Corvallis.

JL: Yes.

MR: They had the parade about like the fourth of July. They had floats and banners and everything and my brother that lived down here, the youngest one, Dick, he had a lovely team and buggy and he trained them to drive tandem. Do 01:42:00you know what tandem is?

JL: Tell me.

MR: One behind the other. One horse behind the other.

JL: Oh, yes.

MR: Well, he was already for the election, now the men didn't approve of the suffragettes very much here. They thought they were out of place trying to vote, so they didn't have much patience with them, but my brother had this these horses, tandem, and he had a banner on each side of them with the motto (let's see) Roosevelt and McKinley were running for that were Roosevelt was running for vice-president and McKinley. They were the ones running at this time and he had Roosevelt's picture on one side and McKinley's on the other of each of the horse, you know. Then he had a big banner on back of the buggy with Roosevelt and McKinley's pictures on it and it was on a pole. My other brother 01:43:00walked behind the buggy and held the held the banner from tipping, you see. He held it steady. The pole rested in the buggy, but he kept it straight and they were already to go. The streets were lined with crowds, and just as the band started up it would be my brother's turn next or soon to start out too. I think he was right behind the band, a suffragette ran out and got in the buggy with my brother. She sat down beside him. She had jumped in the buggy. (I guess the buggy didn't have any doors in it.) She just stepped up into the buggy, just as he was ready to start, and he was humiliated to death to think a suffragette would come and sit down. Well, she waved to the crowd. She threw kisses to 01:44:00them. She just took on, and he just kept crouching lower and lower in the buggy trying to get out of sight.

JL: Oh, no.

MR: But, she stayed right in that buggy the whole trip and threw kisses and waved to the crowd and, oh, it made my brother mad.

JL: Did he know the woman personally?

MR: NO, he never saw her before. He didn't even see her approaching. She just ran out of the crowd and got in the buggy with him. She sat down beside him and it's time the band started he's couldn't stop the parade. He had to go on; he couldn't put her off so she rode with him.

JL: How did he know she was a suffragette?

MR: Well, she had to be. Banner across her bosom-SUFFRAGETTE. VOTE FOR WOMEN'S SUFFRAGE.

JL: Oh, no?

MR: Oh, yes, she was...

JL: Was there much support for that?

MR: Oh, the women supported it.

JL: I mean in Corvallis?

MR: Oh, no, none of the men that I know of approved of the women voting.


JL: What did your mother think?

MR: Oh, she didn't she just laughed about it. She didn't care.

JL: Oh, no, did you ever happen to have political discussions at the college about suffragette or...

MR: No, no, no, never that I remember of. I don't think the college would have let them hold a meeting there for political reasons. If they had something that was really of benefit to the college, they could probably get that Armory but I don't think they did it for political reasons.

JL: Women at the college supported that?

MR: Well, I don't know about that either.

JL: That's a funny story. That's good.

MR: Seems like I'm full of funny stories.

JL: I like your stories. I wish you'd tell me more.

MR: (Chuckle)

JL: I wish I knew how to tap them.

MR: What?

JL: How to tap them.


MR: Oh.

JL: How to stimulate you to tell me stories about you.

MR: Well, something you say reminds me of a story. Now my father was a great storyteller.

JL: I can see you take after him.

MR: And he had a story for almost every occasion that might come up; he'd have a funny story.

JL: That's terrific.

MR: And I remember them. If you'll turn off the machine I'll tell you one that story they used to tell.

JL: About what?

MR: Oh, just it wouldn't concern you and your story. Just turn it off and I'll tell you.