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.
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.
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
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