Graduate Thesis Or Dissertation

 

Oral histories concerning early electric lighting in Oregon communities Public Deposited

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https://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/2j62s9368

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  • One of the greatest technological breakthroughs of humanity was the ability to construct a device and eventually a system which would provide a more efficient, safe, clean, convenient and relatively inexpensive form of illumination than ever used previously electric light. The introduction of this new technology into Oregon communities in the early years of this century was a remarkable accomplishment. Along with memories of the light itself, important and intriguing recollections of "life lived yesterday" are often associated with these early days of electric lighting. Because these "yesterdays" are becoming more distant from the present, persons holding those memories are reaching ages where such information becomes difficult to recall, vague, distorted and often forgotten altogether. In this study, memories of how electric light affected people were recalled differently in some aspect by informants, whether it was used for the purpose of lighting streets and buildings or on personal properties within the home and on farms. Published information describing the effects of electric lighting on society is relatively scarce. Consequently, persons with important previous experiences are in many instances the only source of insight on how our predecessors lived before electric light was in use and especially how this technological breakthrough may or may not have affected their lives. Those published descriptions of pre-electric life that do exist are most commonly found in obscure publications, often originating in small or private electric company newsletters and annual reports. Very few of these reports were compiled in a systematic scheme later to be interpreted quantitatively and in light of previous research. My own interest in this subject was piqued when I realized that both oral histories and technical data on how electricity affected individuals of the Pacific Northwest region is profoundly poor in comparison to material available on other parts of the country. With this understanding, 32 individuals representing a span of 30 years, five states and 15 different communities throughout Oregon, were interviewed over the course of four months. The informants were asked questions pertaining to their lifestyle and memories before, during and after the introduction of electricity, and more specifically about the advent of electric light into their communities and homes. Because the study utilized a minuscule sample size in comparison to the state population, generalizations were not appropriate. Nevertheless, the oral histories provided a greater insight into how the introduction of electric light and electric power affected the life of an Oregonian.
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-12-13T21:40:15Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 HardyChanningC1994.pdf: 4942518 bytes, checksum: ff95c3278c5ebf82b3499ada26ea6d4c (MD5)
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  • description.provenance : Approved for entry into archive by Patricia Black(patricia.black@oregonstate.edu) on 2012-12-20T16:31:51Z (GMT) No. of bitstreams: 1 HardyChanningC1994.pdf: 4942518 bytes, checksum: ff95c3278c5ebf82b3499ada26ea6d4c (MD5)
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  • Best scan available for figures. Original is a black and white photocopy.

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