The Resident Scholar program, sponsored by Oregon State University Libraries, awards stipends of up to $2,500 per month to visiting researchers whose proposals detail a compelling potential use of the materials held in the Valley Library’s Special Collections and Archives Research Center. Three scholars have been selected for summer 2016.  

Historians, librarians, graduate, doctoral or post-doctoral students as well as independent scholars are welcome to apply, and the resident scholars do a talk about their research topic at the conclusion of their residency.  

Our next Resident Scholar lecture has been scheduled for July 14. Jason Hogstad recently completed his master’s degree in History at Washington State University, and he will be entering into the doctoral program at Colorado in the fall. He has been poring over microfilm reels for the better part of a month in support of his topic. 

Hogstad’s talk, “War on Rabbits Begins Sunday: Ritual Rabbit Slaughter and the Extension Service in Eastern Oregon, 1900-1925,” will take place on Thursday, July 14 at 2:00 p.m. in the Willamette East Room on the Valley Library’s third floor. Below is Hogstad’s description of his lecture. Please consider joining us if you are available. 


During the early twentieth-century, would-be farmers poured into the arid portions of Oregon east of the Cascade Mountains, eager to transform the so-called “high desert” into an agricultural eden. But their efforts had an unintended consequence: jackrabbits thrived on the newly-planted crops and their numbers soon threatened farmers’ success. Fearing ruin, farmers repeatedly turned to nearby townspeople and distant city dwellers for aid. Regional newspapers publicized the farmers’ plight and encouraged their readers to take part in rabbit drives: cooperative, celebratory pest control activities in which participants chased, corralled, and bludgeoned jackrabbits by the thousands. But, the drives were too isolated and the events themselves too sporadic. Jackrabbit numbers did not decline. 

This stalemate changed with the arrival of county agents and the Oregon Agricultural College’s (OAC) Extension Service in the late 1910s. Armed with strychnine and determined to teach proper pest control methods to Eastern Oregon farmers, representatives from the OAC transformed the ways that Oregonians responded to agricultural crisis. Instead of working together and recruiting outsiders, farmers now reported rabbit infestations to their local county agent, who organized poison campaigns. “‘War on Rabbits Begins Sunday’” explores the social and cultural impact of these two forms of pest control, arguing that the transition from communal rabbit drives to state-directed poisoning reflected a shift in how Eastern Oregonians responded to environmental crisis, understood their relationship with the state, and defined their relationship with the natural world.

Posted - July 13, 2016