A banner flown at “Campo Benito Juarez,” a farmworker camp at Zielinski Farms in Brooks, Oregon, from which PCUN organized their campaign against the Norpac produce company in the 1990s. Signatures from strikers at the camp appear in Spanish and the indigenous Mexican language Triqui, spoken in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. PCUN records, Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.
Started in Woodburn in 1985 by WVIP leaders Cipriano Ferrel, Ramón Ramírez, and Larry Kleinman, the Pineros y Campesinos Unidos del Noroeste (Northwest Tree-Planters and Farmworkers United, PCUN) has pursued a multipronged approach to serving Oregon’s Latinx community from its inception. In addition to labor organizing, PCUN has been an engine for environmental and immigration reform, labor rights, farmworker housing, and bilingual education, and has been a strong ally to anti-racist, LGBT rights, and environmental movements in addition to other progressive causes. PCUN has been instrumental in founding organizations including the Farmworker Housing Development Corporation, CAUSA (Oregon’s largest Latinx civil rights organization), the Mujeres Luchadoras Progresistas (an organization for Latina rights), the CAPACES Leadership Institute (a youth organizing and leadership training institute), and the low-power FM radio station KPCN. Today PCUN is the largest Latinx organization in the state of Oregon.
We are the principal repository for the University of Oregon’s historical research collections in all formats including manuscripts, printed books, maps, photographs, and prints. The archives of the University of Oregon, including historic administrative records and personal papers of many faculty members, comprise a substantial part of the collections. Overall, the department’s holdings include more than 20 thousand linear feet of manuscript collections. Located in the north wing of the Knight Library, the Department is open to scholars and researchers regardless of institutional affiliation. Each year we see thousands of researchers who come to consult our resources.
The archivists and librarians welcome the opportunity to help you with your research.
Because many of the Department’s holdings are unique and irreplaceable, researchers are asked to follow some simple guidelines designed to protect the materials for future generations. When you do research in other archives or special collections repositories, you will encounter similar regulations.
All of our collections are non-circulating, which means that you must use them in our reading room. We request that researchers place all personal belongs except those necessary for research (such as paper, pencils, and laptop computers) in lockers. We require the use of pencils or laptop computers when working with materials; pens are not allowed. Staff members are always pleased to explain procedures and assist researchers.
Researchers are also asked to complete a registration process prior to beginning research. This helps us keep track of researchers and provides information about research trends and use of materials in the Department.
Because our collections are non-circulating and are kept in locked stacks, all requests for materials must be placed in advance. We ask researchers to handle material carefully and to take care in keeping manuscripts in order in the folders, and folders in order in the boxes. The first time you use the collections, staff will explain proper handling of material.
In general, you will have more contact with the manuscripts librarian or archivist than with the reference librarian, depending on the length of your research visit. There are several reasons for this. In the library setting, the reference tools (indexes, abstracts, guides, and online services) are carefully designed for easy access and independent patron use. In the archival setting, the reference tools used for access to manuscript material (finding aids such as record group listings, and inventories to collections) can be used effectively by the researcher only after an interview with the archivist. In such a setting, a preliminary interview with the archivist is mandatory. In other words, you need to discuss your research topic with the archivist before gaining access to original materials.
If you plan to do research at another repository, a letter or phone call to the archivist at that repository will initiate a dialogue and will prepare you and the archivist for your upcoming visit. Remember to write far in advance of your proposed visit (1 - 2 months). Give the archivist some time to think about the variety of sources that may be useful to you. The archivist may also be aware of other collections in other repositories that you may want to know about. It would also be helpful for you to know that a collection may be unavailable for any number of reasons: microfilming, preservation work, reprocessing, etc. The archivist will alert you to these possibilities.
Several catalogs have been created to provide access to the resources of the Department. These include the UO Libraries’ online public access catalog, and a variety of in-house guides to print and non-print collections. The UO “LibrarySearch” will bring up collections in SCUA that have been cataloged and are available for research. Always log in to bring up a catalog record that includes a link “Request UO Item.” We have also created specific subject guides to help researchers look at a variety of primary source collections clustered by topic:
A finding aid is a guide to a particular collection, like a table of contents for a book. Although the contents of finding aids often vary from one collection to another, most are quite detailed and provide more information than the collection-level record given in the UO Libraries’ online catalog. Most finding aids include a title page, biographical sketch or brief history of the organization, a scope and content note, an outline of the arrangement of the collection (this is very helpful for large collections whose arrangement may appear complex) and a box and folder listing. The box and folder listing is the most important element of the inventory. It tells you the file name of each folder.
Arrangement of the collections varies. Sometimes an arrangement is determined by the original order of the personal papers or records (especially records of an organization). Sometimes collections are completely re-organized by archivists if no logical order is apparent when the collection arrives in the archives.
There is no single, central guide to materials in repositories in Oregon or nationally. Instead, there are a number of printed guides and online resources that you can consult to locate collections.
There are many different types of guides to manuscript collections. Some are based on geographic areas (i.e., Oregon, Pacific Northwest, the West, nationally, etc.); some are focused on topics (women’s history, music, science and technology, etc.); and others are guides to specific repositories (such as the Catalogue of Manuscripts in the University of Oregon Library, the Women’s Studies Manuscript Collections from the Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe College).