Happy 150th, Oregon — sorry about the history


The state of Oregon turned 150 on Valentine’s Day, and it looks like the honeymoon’s over.

A friend sent along a copy of this message from  the Oregon Historical Society, an organization that’s been dealing with tough financial times for several years. (It was once funded largely by the state, but those days are long gone.) For most people, the society’s research library is being shut down.

A lot of Oregonians will never notice, of course. But for writers, researchers, historians, people searching their family roots, this is a blow. Here’s an excerpt from a message sent to insiders. Read it and weep.

Conversation: Closure of OHS Research Library
Subject: Closure of OHS Research Library

Dear friends and colleagues,

It is with great sadness that I write to share the news with you that, due to severe budget reductions, the Oregon Historical Society will be closing its Research Library beginning this Saturday, February 28th. The collections will no longer be open to the public, and all library positions will be eliminated beginning March 13th. A few positions will remain to handle orders for photo and film reproduction. It is not known at this time if or when the library will re-open and at what capacity.

As many of you know, the OHS Research Library has the largest collection of archival documents relating to the history of Oregon, including its nationally-renowed photograph collection containing over 2.5 million historical photographs, more than 32,000 books, 25,000 maps, 12,000 linear feet of manuscripts, 3,000 serials titles, 16,000 reels of newspaper microfilm, 8.5 million feet of film and videotape, and 10,000 oral history tapes. I feel this not only as a very personal loss but as a great loss to all Oregonians.

If you have questions or concerns about the OHS Research Library closure, I strongly recommend that you contact our Executive Director, George Vogt, at george.vogt@ohs.org or 503-306-5203. Please continue to check our website at http://www.ohs.org for any future news about the status of the library. …