PSU Library Special Collections’ spring exhibit features Portland politician and activist Gretchen Kafoury (1942-2015). Through a wide range of materials curated from Kafoury’s papers, the exhibit connects the passion she brought to the causes she fought for to each role she played in Oregon politics, whether organizing local actions or holding elected office.
Highlights include Kafoury’s activism in the women’s rights movement in Portland and in state government; her efforts locally as County and City Commissioner to establish and support social programs for those in need, particularly women and the homeless; and the part she played in legislating equal rights in Oregon. The exhibit offers an inside look into the workings of both official and unofficial politics through Kafoury’s unflagging dedication, principles, and humor.
Corinne Rupp, a PSU Honors College student, curated the exhibit as part of her Honors thesis project, which also includes processing part of the Gretchen Kafoury Papers collection to make it available to researchers. PSU Library Special Collections is proud to present Corinne’s work in honor of Gretchen Kafoury’s life and achievements, and as a collaboration of local leadership, student research, and the Library’s unique collections.
PSU Library Special Collections and University Archives is honored to present its Winter 2016 exhibit, Ever Forward: Forty Years of Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Portland State University. The history of WGSS at PSU is a story of the energy and passion of generations of students and faculty dedicated to the foundation, survival, and growth of feminist and queer scholarship at Portland State. The exhibit celebrates that history through selections from University Archives’ Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies Collection.
Women’s Studies at Portland State originated with the work of students, faculty, and community volunteers. The first feminist-oriented group at PSU, “University Women,” organized in late 1969 to work toward women-centered goals such as free childcare on campus, and by the following year, University Women had formed the Women’s Union (today’s Women’s Resource Center) and were addressing wider issues concerning the status of women. As the Women’s Union evolved to become a community-wide advocacy and resource center, women working with the center and students and faculty that had formed an ad hoc committee known as the Women’s Studies Institute collaborated to create the Women’s Studies Union (WSU) to examine, envision, and enact equitable and inclusive instruction and hiring and to bring feminist academics to Portland State. The WSU founded the office that became the Women’s Studies Department.
During the 1971-72 academic year, over four hundred students enrolled in courses offered through the WSU, which were taught by faculty across academic departments. In April 1973, the Women’s Union hosted a public Hearing on Sexism to call attention to inequity and discrimination in hiring and in the curriculum, and to build a case for an academic program in Women’s Studies. As examples of testimony demonstrate, women from all areas of the campus community put their personal experiences on the record, while academics and students worked together on a program proposal that showed how a university education and administration which perpetuated gender inequality failed to meet the needs of both the institution and society. Women’s Studies at PSU was approved by the Oregon State Board of Higher Education as a certificate program in 1976.
The program and its allies stood up to the slow process of accreditation and to profound funding challenges during its first two decades. In the early 1980s, when the certificate program was threatened by proposed budget cuts, Women’s Studies students mobilized demonstrations and a letter-writing campaign that enlisted support from legislators and community organizations around the state. Their efforts provoked budget revisions that protected the program, but significantly reduced its allotment. To counter these losses, throughout the 1980s students, faculty and community partners held bake sales and fundraising drives to sustain the department until it was slowly refunded by the University as the program continued to expand into the 1990s. Women’s Studies was finally approved as an undergraduate minor in 1987 and a major in 1998, nearly thirty years after the formation of the PSU Women’s Union.
As the program has grown, its students have worked with faculty to ensure that course offerings and curriculum reflect their priorities and are adaptable to evolving academic and political discourses of power and identity. In 2008, after several years of research, curriculum development, proposal drafting, and fundraising conducted by volunteer students and faculty, PSU Women’s Studies offered a minor in Sexuality, Gender and Queer Studies, the first program of its kind in Oregon.
In the spirit of the history of the program, Women’s Studies hosted a series of public conversations with students, faculty, staff, and community members to consider a change in nomenclature which would better reflect the purview and philosophy of the program. In 2010, Women’s Studies at PSU became Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies, and was also approved to become an academic department. Current and upcoming developments in WGSS demonstrate the vibrancy and future of feminist and queer activism and scholarship at PSU.
Ever Forward was curated by Rhiannon Cates, PSU Library Special Collections staff and WGSS alumna. The exhibit will be on display through Winter 2016 in the first floor elevator lobby of the PSU Library.
“The Portland State Strike of 1970” exhibits tell the history of Vietnam War protests that took place in the PSU Park Blocks from the perspectives of student activists, Portland citizens, university faculty, city officials, and the police, using original photos, letters, newspapers, police reports, and other documents from the Portland State University Archives and the City of Portland Archives.
Two unique displays are open on the PSU campus in two locations: the fifth floor of the Campus Rec building at the Portland Archives and Records Center (PARC), and on the first floor of the Library in the elevator lobby.
The scene of the strike, the PSU Park Blocks, lies between the two exhibit locations. As you travel between the two, take a self-guided walking tour to the sites where the action happened on campus in May 1970. Click the map to download a PDF of the tour.
On May 6, 1970, Portland State students, with the support of many faculty members, walked out of classes in solidarity with demonstrators nationwide after the killings at Kent State University on May 4. The anti-war movement, protests against military recruiting on campus, actions against the transport and storage of nerve gas in Oregon, and the Free Speech Movement all added momentum to the strike, which lasted several days.
PSU President Gregory Wolfe authorized the closure of campus against the urging of counter-protesters who organized to keep classes open, stating, “Business as usual is no longer tenable.” Protesters barricaded the campus Park Blocks, which were then open to vehicle traffic, to hold speeches and demonstrations.
The strike ended violently on May 11 when a Portland Police riot control squad pushed through lines of seated protesters, beating them with batons. The following day, thousands of Portlanders reacted against the use of force by marching from PSU to City Hall, a presence that belied the degree of community support for the city’s action to clear the barricades.
These events are remembered by many in Portland and at PSU as powerful moments in the history of the university and the city.
The exhibits were researched and conceived by PSU Honors College students in a Spring 2015 junior seminar, “Activism in the Archives,” led by PSU faculty and PARC artist-in-residence Kaia Sand. The seminar students investigated original archival sources with the goal of telling the story of the Portland State strike from multiple perspectives, inspired by their own scholarly and creative interests. Their research examined the context and significance of political and local issues in 1970 and the various organizations and institutions involved in the strike. In addition to having access to original documents from the 1970s, the seminar students also had opportunities to hear from former Portland State students who had participated in the demonstrations.
Their projects opened up the archives and proposed new views on historic events through physical exhibits, video and visual art presentations, a digital exhibit and an interpretive website, public events, and the walking tour through the Park Blocks. Images from the class presentations include: Kuba Grzeda demonstrating a digital exhibit using the Library’s Omeka platform; a prototype tour brochure designed by Cody Layton, Corinne Rupp, and Taya Welter; a website created by Christopher Anderson; and a timeline of national and international events leading up to the Vietnam War and anti-war protest actions on college campuses in 1970, compiled by Kaylee Brink and Anna Murphy.
Honors student intern Corinne Rupp worked with the PARC and PSU Archives’ collections this summer to continue her colleagues’ research and curate the current documentary exhibits, which describe the buildup to and aftermath of the heated and finally violent conflict between protesters and police in the Park Blocks from both sides of the barricades.
“The PSU Strike of 1970” exhibit will be on view at PARC (fifth floor, ASRC) and in the PSU Library first floor elevator lobby through December 2015.
Honors students researched the collections in the City of Portland Archives and PSU Archives to interpret the events of the student strike of May 1970, which began in response to the killings at Kent State University on May 4, and ended in violence as Portland police attempted to remove demonstrators from the Park Blocks. Corinne Rupp, an Honors College student intern, used the seminar’s findings and her own original research in the city and university archives this summer to create the two exhibits on display this Fall term.
The City’s exhibit opens Saturday, October 3. On Saturday, October 3rd, get a guided tour of that exhibit with one of the students. The tours are being offered as part of the Oregon Archives Month Celebration and will start at at 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30. Meet your guide at the display on the fifth floor of ASRC.
You can see the exhibits at these two locations:
The City of Portland Archives & Records Center 1800 SW 6th Ave, Suite 550 (on the PSU campus in the Academic and Student Recreation Center Building)
The Portland State University Archives Library, First Floor Elevator Lobby
Colorful, humorous, emphatic, sassy, serious, right to the point: a slogan on a pin sometimes sums it up perfectly. Oregon politician Gretchen Kafoury saved thousands of political and campaign buttons during her two decades in public office, her work with the National Organization for Women and the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus, her career as an educator, and a lifetime of volunteer activism.
PSU Library’s Special Collections has gathered part of Kafoury’s pin collection in a display which shows some of the causes and events with which she was engaged. We also feel that many of these pins’ up-front statements reveal the unflagging energy, enthusiasm, values, and leadership for which Kafoury herself is remembered.
See the collection this summer in the display cases nearest to Special Collections in the first floor elevator lobby (south end), starting August 26, 2015.
Gretchen Kafoury (1942-2015) was a politician, activist, and educator. She served in the Oregon state legislature from 1977 until 1982, on the Multnomah County Commission from 1985-1991, and as Portland City Commissioner from 1991-1998. Her political record and her life before and after public office show her dedication to economic and social justice, community development, women’s rights, health care, and education. She co-founded the state chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) and the Oregon Women’s Political Caucus (OWPC) in the early 1970s. Key issues for her as a legislator and commissioner included hospital care, aid for victims of domestic violence, job and credit assistance for low-income women, and affordable housing.
After her retirement in 2008, Kafoury donated a collection of documents from her time with NOW and the OWPC to Portland State University Library Special Collections. In 2015, her daughter Katharine made a second gift to Special Collections of documents and ephemera from Gretchen Kafoury’s political career.
Please note: the Book of Hours manuscript will be on display Monday to Friday from 9:30 am to 4:30 pm. The accompanying materials are on display whenever the Library is open.
With support from the Gordon Hunter Fund, Portland State University Library Special Collections recently acquired a late 15th century French Book of Hours, the first intact medieval manuscript owned by the Library. The Book of Hours was the most popular text during the late Medieval period.
A Book of Hours consisted of prayers and meditations that guided readers through the eight liturgical hours of the day celebrated by medieval Christians in Western Europe. These manuscripts were usually small enough to be carried around and sometimes decorated with colorful miniature paintings and gold leaf. A Book of Hours was an essential companion to a devout reader. Royal and wealthy patrons often owned several, lavishly decorated Books of Hours, but for a family of lesser rank, it was often the only book they owned.
Books of Hours were a compact version of the prayers recited at monasteries. They included calendars highlighting feast days, Gospel prayers, prayers to saints, and most importantly, prayers to the Virgin Mary. The prayers were divided into sections to be read from Matins to Compline with illuminations and decorative flourishes throughout. Books of Hours were highly personalized in their original design and later additions to the text made by their owners. Many Books of Hours were given as gifts and remained in families for generations. The Book of Hours presents a wealth of information about daily life and culture in medieval Europe.
Professor Anne McClanan’s art history seminar in winter 2015 prepared a digital and physical exhibit of the Portland State University Library Book of Hours. The physical exhibit is on display in the Library’s First Floor Exhibit Space from May 4 – July 17. The digital exhibit is available online.
January 12, 2015 – May 1, 2015 First Floor, Elevator Lobby
Dark Horse Comics was founded by Portland State alumnus Mike Richardson in 1986 and has grown to become the third-largest comics publisher in the United States, with mutual ties to the film and television industries. In 1998, the company originated the Dark Horse Deluxe brand of merchandise, which includes models, toys, and collectibles from Dark Horse and other lines. Dark Horse also has developed a strong manga program through collaboration with Japanese manga creators since the 1980s.
The Portland State University Library Dark Horse Comic Collection contains a browsing collection of all Dark Horse publications as well as a research collection of print materials and realia. The exhibit from PSU Library Special Collections presents just a few examples from the wide variety of genres and formats represented in the complete Dark Horse Comics catalog, including original comic series, licensed projects, manga, and collectibles.
View the exhibit on the Library’s first floor, and then check out your favorite Dark Horse titles from the browsing collections on the Library’s third, fourth, and fifth floors.
Above: “Dark Horse, working with Big Tent Entertainment and the NHK broadcasting corporation, brought Domo-kun, a popular Japanese cult-icon character, to the United States, with a series of products ranging from Qee figurines to journals and stationery sets. Dark Horse now sells over thirty-five different Domo-themed products” (via Dark Horse Company History).
Above: In 2007, in conjunction with series creator Joss Whedon, Dark Horse launched Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8, which continued the story from the television series. Merchandise included Buffy mugs, pint glasses, a “Conversations with Dead People” Board (also known as a ouija board), a vial of “holy water,” and a cross necklace for fending off vampires.
Dark Horse has released collectible lines for Tim Burton’s Tragic Toys for Girls and Boys and The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy; Roman Dirge’s Lenore; Rob Reger’s Emily the Strange; and classic comic strips including Charles Schulz’s Peanuts, Ernie Bushmiller’s Nancy, and Harvey Comics Casper the Friendly Ghost.
Above: Dark Horse launched Star Wars comics in 1990. “While licensed projects had been around for decades, most publishers devoted few resources to titles they did not own. Dark Horse took a different tack by plotting stories and using top talent to create comics series that were essentially sequels to popular films” (Dark Horse Company History).
The exhibit will be on display through May 1, 2015. The research collection, which contains one copy of every Dark Horse comic book, graphic novel, collected edition, book, print, poster, statue, figure, and all other products, is available by appointment in PSU Library Special Collections for scholarly use.
September 22, 2014 – January 3, 2015 First Floor, Elevator Lobby
The PSU Library’s fall term exhibit highlights 104 years of contributions to the local community by the Junior League of Portland. The Junior League, a member of the Association of Junior Leagues International, is an organization of women committed to promoting voluntarism, developing the potential of women, and improving communities through the effective action and leadership of trained volunteers.
The exhibit illustrates JLP’s origins, fundraising endeavors, historic preservation initiatives, community arts programs, and family service programs, many of which are still thriving with the work of community volunteers. PSU Library Special Collections is home to records documenting the JLP’s administrative and public service activities from the 1920s through 2010.
See the exhibit in the Library first floor elevator lobby, from September 22, 2014 to January 3, 2015.
Many thanks to members of the Junior League of Portland Archives Committee, Joanne Carlson, Sarah Munro, Karen Wheeler, and PSU librarian Kris Kern, for their work curating this exhibit. Thanks to Carolee Harrison for assistance with images and for installing the exhibit.
An Exhibit by the PSU Archives of Capital Projects and Construction
Since 1975, Oregon state law mandates that at least 1% of construction funds for new or remodeled buildings with a budget over $100,000 be used for the acquisition of public art. Building Art shows how construction has generated public art at Portland State through examples of Percent for Art exhibitions on campus, with behind-the-scenes looks at the selection, design, and installation processes. Discover public art at Portland State, how it was created, chosen, and placed, and how new artists can get involved with the Percent for Art program.
Building Art is created by the Portland State University Archives of Capital Projects and Construction. The exhibit can be viewed during Summer 2014 in the PSU Library first floor elevator lobby.
The exhibit featured books and documents from the archive of Dr. Joel Walker Hedgpeth (1911-2006).
Dr. Hedgpeth was a key figure in marine biology and oceanography, first along the inter-tidal coast of California and Oregon, the gulf coast of Texas, and then across the world. He was a skilled illustrator and editor, and authored many publications. With a distinctive voice, he lectured widely and influenced many students of marine and estuarine biology.
Hedgpeth’s primary field was taxonomy, and he specialized in Pycnogonida, a group of marine arthropods known as “sea spiders.” However, his life and work included many friendships and relationships with key people in biology and other fields, including John Steinbeck, Ed Ricketts, Aldo Leopold, C. S. Lewis and Joseph Campbell. He was a supporter of women in science including Olga Hartman, Libbie Henrietta Hyman and S. M. Manton.
Exhibit courtesy of the Estate of Joel W. Hedgpeth Curated by Randall W. Smith and Gretta Siegel