Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Covering Dallas, Monmouth, Independence, Falls City and surrounding areas since 1868

Western archives brings Monmouth history to life

Video highlights the early years in city, on campus

Erin Passehl-Stoddart, Western Oregon University archivist, uses historic documents and photos to help bring history alive in a video available online or at the bookstore.

Photo by Emily Mentzer

Erin Passehl-Stoddart, Western Oregon University archivist, uses historic documents and photos to help bring history alive in a video available online or at the bookstore.

January 21, 2014

MONMOUTH — Erin Passehl-Stoddart, Western Oregon University archivist, has always had an appreciation for history.

"I think it's good to be aware of what's happened in the past," she said. "It keeps coming up."

She teamed with Deborah Rezell, digital production services, to bring some of the university archives and history of Monmouth to life in the first installment of "Living History: The Early Years (Monmouth and Western Oregon University)."

The video debuted last September during New Student Week, but, as with most archival news, it's timeless, Passehl-Stoddart said.

She wanted to tell the story of both Monmouth and the university. She and Rezell recruited local historian and author Scott McArthur and Monmouth Mayor John Oberst to help narrate the short film.

"It had to have elements of both," Passehl-Stoddart said. "Some of our goals were for people associated with the university to understand the true commitment the city had toward the rise of the university, and for people in the community to understand that the university had a lot to do with the growth of Monmouth."

The video covers from 1853 to 1911, when the university had to close for two years because of financial struggles, including not receiving money from the state.

It's been nearly 100 years, and Western is again receiving only a small percentage of its money from the state, Passehl-Stoddart said.

"To me, it's interesting to look back," she said. "Nothing's new."

A grant from the Polk County Cultural Coalition was used to make the video. Right now, there isn't money set aside to make a second one, Passehl-Stoddart said.

The university archives have a lot more materials to share, though, and she said future videos would most likely cover fewer years per video.

"We could get more in-depth for the future," Passehl-Stoddart said. "There are literally people who are still alive. There can be a lot more possibilities with it."

Check It Out

• To view the video “Living History:?The Early Years (Monmouth and Western Oregon University),“ go to http://digitalcommons.wou.edu/campusvideos/2. For more information on the university's archives or to make an appointment: Erin Passehl-Stoddart, 503-838-8893 or passehle@wou.edu.

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