Hops and Flax: Pride of the Willamette Valley

As many an Oregonian and beyond knows, hops are a key ingredient in beer. Hops have roots here in Oregon as far back as 1867, and by 1880, more than a million pounds of hops were harvested in-state. By 1905, Oregon was the leading producer of hops in the U.S., providing hops for nearly 1 in every 10 pints of beer worldwide. Today, Oregon is the second leading producer of hops in the U.S., behind Washington state.

Flax was first grown by Oregon settlers as early as 1844. In addition to being an important source of fiber for textiles (linen), twine, fishing nets, etc., flax seed was processed into linseed oil and cattle feed. Harvesting and processing the flax plant was complicated, and many of the publications and photographs in this online collection highlight these complex processes, demonstrating the eventual waning of flax farming across the state. The last fiber plant in Oregon closed in the 1960s.

This collection looks at the importance of these two specialty crops to Oregon's economy past and present. Included here are photos taken during the 1930s by noted photographer, Dorothea Lange, and many others from the Trover Studio Collection that document life in the Willamette Valley from the late 1800s through the mid-1900s. In addition to the photos, there are many reports and pamphlets celebrating these two commercial crops.

This online collection debuted in February 2019. It complements our current physical exhibit on display on the second floor across from the State Librarian's office.

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1939 Oregon Flax Festival
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes.
Child
There are two views of the same child. The first view is of the child sitting on a box covered with cloth. The child has a bobbed hair cut and is wearing a checkered dress with a bow around the collar. The next view is of the same child standing on the box. The child is wearing the same outfit., Courtesy of Oregon State Library
Child labor in fruit and hop growing districts of the northern Pacific coast
At head of title: U.S. Department of labor. James J. Davis, secretary. Children's bureau. Grace Abbott, chief., "The seventh of a series of studies of rural child labor made by the Children's bureau and the fourth of these dealing specifically with the employment of children on truck and small-fruit farms.", "The investigation upon which the report was based was planned and carried out under the general supervision of Ellen Nathalie Matthews ... The field work was directed by Mary E. Skinner and the report written by Alice Channing."--Letter of transmittal., "Appendix - Work of mothers in fruit and hop growing districts": pages 50-52., This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Cost and efficiency in fiber flax production in the Willamette Valley, Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Cost and efficiency in producing hops in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
culture and manufacture of flax for fibre and seed, with special reference to the industry in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Decorated parade vehicle
Vehicle decorated for a parade, from the "State Flax Industry", decorations are made from flax, Courtesy of Oregon State Library
Decorated trucks in Salem parade
Decorated trucks for the "State Flax Industry" and another behind it, Courtesy of Oregon State Library
economic study of the hop industry in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Fiber Flax Field Day 1952
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes.
Fiber flax in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Fiber flax industry in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Fiber flax industry in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Fiber-flax in Oregon
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Fiber-flax machinery and processing operations in Oregon
Caption title., This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Field worker, probably a hop picker
A teenage boy is posing for a photo. The background scene is out in a field next to the woods. He is dressed in nice pants with a belt and shirt. His hair is slicked back., Courtesy of Oregon State Library
Fifth Annual Oregon Flax Festival Program
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes.
Fire control in Oregon flax mills
This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Flax fibre in Oregon, U.S.A
Caption title., This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.
Flax in Oregon
"Revised and reprinted in June, 1939.", This archived document is maintained by the State Library of Oregon as part of the Oregon Documents Depository Program. It is for informational purposes and may not be suitable for legal purposes., Mode of access: Internet from the Oregon Government Publications Collection., Text in English.

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