Institutionalizing science in Oregon : the role of the Oregon State Academy of Sciences, 1905-1914 Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/ks65hj01n

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  • In February 1905 the Oregon State Academy of Sciences formed in Portland to promote scientific research and diffusion of scientific knowledge in Oregon. The founders also planned to assist in the discovery and development of the state's natural resources. The Academy was the first scientific society in Oregon with professional statewide involvement and leadership. Representatives from all important colleges and universities in the state attempted to create a solid, cooperative scientific institution. The Academy of Sciences emerged during a period in Portland's history when its cultural demeanor matured and various social institutions were established. The Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition in 1905 acted as a catalyst for the Academy's founding through the efforts of Edmund P. Sheldon, the fair's Superintendent of Forestry. Sheldon was the prime mover of the Academy and served as its president for the first three years. During the span of its existence the Academy of Sciences held migratory annual meetings in the Willamette Valley. It also had a temporary, yet significant association with the City Free Museum in Portland between 1905-1909. In 1910 the Academy became legally incorporated, but by 1914 its activity had ceased. When the Academy organized, it satisfied the institutional needs of a substantial number of recently arrived professional scientists. These professionals, coming from the midwestern and northeastern Unites States primarily, intended to duplicate the scientific societies they were familiar with. The Academy's membership--about 90 active participants--was a mixture of college-based professionals and amateur naturalists, however, and this caused resentment within the society. The conflict between the two factions was partly responsible for its decline. Because of its short life and position in the sequence of state academies of science, the Oregon State Academy of Sciences is interpreted as a transitional organization, functioning after the amateur-led Oregon Academy of Sciences (1892-1897?) and before the professionally oriented Oregon Academy of Science (1943-present). The Academy's previous obscurity resulted from confusion with these other societies.
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