My Latest in Oregon Wine Archive
Linfield Archive: Documenting Oregon wine’s past, present and future
by L.M. Archer
Blame it on a storage problem. In 2008, Willamette Valley pioneer Susan Sokol Blosser turned over the reins of Sokol Blosser Winery to her children, Alex and Alison. But to truly make space for the future, she needed help tidying up the past — namely 35 years of documents cluttering the winery.
“I was a history major in college, and before we started a vineyard, I worked with private manuscripts at the Southern Historical Collection (SHC), in the basement of the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill,” explained Sokol Blosser. “My work at the SHC gave me an appreciation for what the papers (personal letters, account books, diaries, photos, etc.) of ordinary folks, as well as prominent ones, could tell us about how they lived and what they thought. That lesson stayed with me.”
Consequently, in 2011, Sokol Blosser approached Tom Hellie, former president of Linfield University — then called Linfield College — home to a burgeoning wine education program. To Sokol Blosser, falling under the guidance of Linfield promised stability and longevity.
“My pitch was that Linfield had the opportunity to be the main resource, with primary sources for the historians, of Oregon’s growing wine industry,” said Sokol Blosser. “Linfield could do this by collecting all the old records of the industry’s founders.”
Hellie immediately realized the program’s potential. First, he allocated funds for a shelved, temperature-controlled document storage space within the library. Next, he engaged an experienced archivist to work under the umbrella of the Director of Libraries. And so began the Oregon Wine History Archive (OWHA).
Over time, Sokol Blosser enlisted other early winegrowers to donate their documents to OWHA, including industry legend David Adelsheim. “I think that is the clarity that makes OWHA so incredible. That they’re promising to be THE place — not a place, not one of however many people-want-to-collect-stuff places — but THE place to go,” he said. READ FULL ARTICLE HERE.
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