Friday, March 13, 2009

Rally for the Oregon Historical Society

It's a rare and lovely sunny March Friday here in Portland. And what better way to get some vitamin D and kickoff the weekend than with a little archival activism?

OHS Rally
On Friday, March 13, 2009, the last day of work for the staff of the Oregon Historical Society Research Library, the Northwest History Network, invites the public to join them in showing their support for the staff and holdings of this superb Oregon institution. From 4-5:30 in the park block opposite the Library (1200 S.W. Park Ave. in Portland, Ore.), historians, archivists, librarians, library lovers, and other supporters of the Oregon Historical Society's research library will stand on a soapbox and give powerful, personal testimonials about the materials that they have produced using the unique and amazing materials of the OHS library. And, as the library’s staff leaves work for the last time, they will be personally thanked and given a small token of appreciation for their amazing work over the years in preserving Oregon’s history and making it accessible.

Some of Oregon’s most well-known authors and historians are scheduled to speak on behalf of the library and its staff. Presenters include Portland writer Martha Gies, author of Up all Night, Michael Munk, historian and author of The Portland Red Guide, Harry Stein, author of Gus J Solomon: Liberal Politics, Jews, and the Federal Courts and co-author of Merchants, Money, and Power, and Sandy Polishuk, historian and author of Sticking to the Union: An Oral History of the Life and Times of Julia Ruuttila, and Good Work, Sister! Women Shipyard Workers of World War II (DVD).

The public is encouraged to share their stories about how the staff at the OHS library has assisted them in their research, the history they have learned and taught to others, and the importance of continued broad access to the collections held at OHS. Contact Jan Dilg with questions: dilg[at], 503-735-5911.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Clothes horses!

Our collection of costumes expanded yet again yesterday with the donation of Nancy Zimmerly Biehn's nursing school uniform and other memorabilia. A December 1959 graduate of the University of Oregon School of Nursing, Nancy was a student during the school's period of transition from a department of nursing education with the Medical School to a full-fledged school within the University of Oregon.

Included in the collection is the basic gray uniform with bibs (still heavily starched from their last washing), the cap with black band denoting senior status, and the gray wool cape with red lining. You can see Nancy showing off her new outfit outside of the nurses dormitory, Gaines Hall, in the series of four images from a scrapbook she compiled. We also received several original photos, including this group portrait of psychiatric nursing students at their rotation in Salem, and miscellaneous documents and news clippings related to Nancy's schooling.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Boots and boots and more good boots

(Isn't it amazing how a good jingle can stay with you for years after a store has closed?)

At long last, we have attained the trifecta: with the Native American headdress and peace pipe presented to School of Nursing Dean Carol A. Lindeman, we now have a pair of her boots!

These beauties were included in the latest shipment from SON, four boxes of souvenirs and gifts collected by deans Lindeman and Kate Potempa during their tenures. It feels a bit like a presidential library in here!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Closing the gap: interview recap

Well, yesterday's oral history interview with Jim Huntzicker, Ph.D., did not disappoint: we recorded two full hours of Huntzicker's nearly non-stop commentary on the history of the Oregon Graduate Center/Oregon Graduate Institute/OHSU OGI School of Science & Engineering and his role in it.

From anecdotes about his early years in Michigan, to stories of his years at Berkeley in the 1960s, to tales from his visiting professorship at the Indian Institute of Technology at Kanpur, Huntzicker captured the (small) audience's attention before we even got to Oregon. Having seen a brochure for OGC in the library at Cal Tech during a stint as a postdoc, Huntzicker formed an impression of the school as a "utopian thing" where faculty could essentially do what they wanted and not have to worry about money. Of course, that sounded pretty good to him, and he joined the group in August of 1974.

For the next thirty years, Huntzicker witnessed the rapid oscillations from boom to bust at the small institute (at one point, the student body numbered exactly one). He recounted stories of palace coups and expansion plans that overreached, trustees that remained committed enough to provide nearly annual bailouts, and stellar faculty who nevertheless were unable to bridge the budget gap with grants alone. The acquisition of OGI by OHSU in 2001 was seen by some as the school's "shot at greatness", but after seven years, it remained financially challenged. Huntzicker talked a little about the process that has begun to integrate elements of OGI within the OHSU School of Medicine, and plans for the future of the Division of Management and its healthcare administration programs.

At the end, we were left wanting more--and it's clear that Huntzicker has more to contribute, to OHSU and to healthcare education in Oregon. We're already thinking about a Part Two....

Monday, March 09, 2009

Last is a first

Today, we wrap up this year's round of oral history interviews with a first: an interview with a long time faculty member from the former Oregon Graduate Institute (OGI). In 2001, OGI became OHSU's newest school; in 2008 it became the School of Medicine's newest department. A history that moves that quickly cries out to be captured, and Jim Huntzicker, PhD, is the man who'll start us out.

Huntzicker started at OGI in 1974, just over a decade after the school had been chartered as the Oregon Graduate Center for Study and Research. As professor in the Dept. of Environmental and Biomolecular Systems with an interest in air pollution research, Huntzicker quickly moved up the ranks of the administration. He was named Executive Director of the Center for Professional Development, Associate Dean for Industry Relations (2002), and chair of the Dept. of Management in Science & Technology (2004). He now heads the Division of Management within the Dept. of Science & Engineering in OHSU's School of Medicine.

We hope to hear from Jim on the history of OGI in the "pre-OHSU" era; how the merger with OHSU affected the school and its programs; how the move into the School of Medicine is proceeding; the growth of the Silicon Forest and the boom days of the 1990s; the rise of the medical-industrial complex; and how technology companies are (or should be) responding to the current economy. That's if we don't wear him out with questions about what it was like to be at Berkeley in the late 1960s!

As always, stay tuned for full details.