Hello archive enthusiasts,
My name is Samantha Hilton, one of the newest members of the Archive staff here at Linfield College. I am an English Literature major and Music minor who is in denial about her upcoming senior year in college. Here in the Archives, tucked away in the back corner of the library under layers of scarves and blankets, I have the privilege of working with our recently-acquired Jane Claire Dirks-Edmunds collection.
Jane Claire was an inspiring woman. A Linfield alumna (class of 1937) and professor emerita, Jane Claire is significant to the history of our college. More than that, however, she is (an unfortunately often-overlooked) major player in the field of ecology. Jane Claire was a passionate and dedicated scientist who successfully carved her own path in what was a male-dominated field of study. She helped discover new insects, she published and presented several writings calling for the protection of our ecosystems, and she (most notably) took note of forest regrowth patterns in a once-logged area of Saddleback Mountain, an area which she studied for nearly forty years before it was destroyed by clear-cutting in the 1980s.
At this point I have only spent a limited amount of time with the JCDE collection, but it is populated with some very interesting finds. Among the boxes of research publications, correspondences, and Doctoral thesis drafts are unused crayons, oil pastels, art paper, rusty nails, and a mysterious key. It is a fun, sometimes random, collection to sort and something exciting catches my attention every day. Thus far, Jane Claire’s hand-drawn maps, charts, and graphs are my favorite pieces in the collection. They are incredibly detailed and so meticulously done; reminders of the world pre-SPSS.
I will share exciting documents as I find them, but until then, I cannot recommend Jane Claire’s book Not Just Trees: The Legacy of a Douglas-fir Forest enough. You should read it if you are interested in Jane Claire, appreciate trees or nature or ecology, or have some free time. The text is moving, eye-opening, and quietly profound; Jane Claire does a fantastic job of portraying her love for her forest.
Samantha Hilton, class of 2015
English Literature major, Music minor
JCDE Collection, Linfield Archives