Skip to main content

Hoedads Cooperative Inc. records

Identifier: Coll 322

Scope and Contents

The Hoedads Cooperative Inc. collection contains the working papers, audio and visual records of the cooperative, member and co-op correspondence, original newsletters, minutes and photographs. This material was gathered together from many members to use in writing the Hoedads history book. Consequently this collection documents the democratic character of the Hoedads, the adversity facing a cooperative business, the hardship involved with tree planting and other reforestation work, gender inclusion and exclusion in a heretofore male-only occupation and the surrounding influence the Hoedads had on other Northwest cooperatives and reforestation groups.

Series I: Correspondence, 1973-1987, is divided into three subseries: Incoming, Outgoing and Subject. Incoming and Outgoing correspondence are both organized by date. The subject correspondence is the largest subseries of the three and is organized alphabetically. It includes the bulk of job/contract related communication.

Series II: Meetings and Minutes, 1973-1993, is divided into 4 subseries based on meeting type, and then is organized by date. Minutes, notes and other documents from weekly and/or monthly Council meetings, General meetings and the Board of Directors meetings can be found within their respective Subseries. Researchers can find more meetings, notes, and minutes under Subseries D: Miscellaneous meetings.

Series III: Cooperative Management, 1971-1993, is comprised of many types of documents detailing the work of the cooperative. Subseries A includes records of the day-to-day activities of reforestation work, including member’s personal notebooks, contracts, new member orientation notebooks, resignations, and also some correspondence. Subseries B is comprised of documents that explain the history and structure of the Hoedads Cooperative and includes some legal information. However, the bulk of the legal documents will be found in Subseries C. Subseries D is a subject file listing of many topics of research and personal interest to the Hoedads co-op, from herbicide and pesticides, to Jerry Rust’s political campaign, and scrapbooks and articles about the Hoedads. Financial information for Hoedads Inc. can be found in Series V: Financial Records, 1972-1994.

Series IV: Literary Manuscripts, 1970’s-1990’s, includes the research records, drafts and revisions created to write the Hoedad’s book(s). Records are split between Subseries A and B based on the two working titles of the Hoedads history book: Hands in the Earth (HITE) and Birth of a Cooperative (BOAC). Whenever possible drafts and notes were matched up with the correct title, but often this could not be discerned. Subseries C: covers the research and writing of a book about the Yew tree and Subseries D contains all other writings, poetry and similar documents. Subseries E: Transcripts consists of the numerous oral history interviews conducted to assist in writing the Hoedad’s history book. The corresponding audio and/or video recordings can be found in Series VII – VIII.

Series V: Financial Records, 1972-1994, includes financial statements, contracts and invoices, contributions to Jerry Rust’s commissioner campaign, payroll and tax information among other financial documents.

Series VI: Newsletters includes the original Hoedads Inc. newsletter “Together,” organized by date (1974-1984), and the working papers used to produce the newsletter.

Series VII: Video and Series VIII: Audio both contain numerous recordings of meetings, conferences, and member, officer and crew interviews, recorded during the 1970s-1990s.

Series IX: Photographs includes photos, negatives and slides. Images reflect Hoedads members working, meeting, playing and posing; whenever possible we attached member, crew, and place names to an image (Thanks to former Hoedads President Greg Nagel for his help in identifying these images).


  • Creation: 1971-1994


Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open to the public. Collection must be used in Special Collections and University Archives Reading Room. Collection or parts of collection may be stored offsite. Please contact Special Collections and University Archives in advance of your visit to allow for transportation time. Collection includes sound recordings, moving images, and digital files to which access is restricted. Access to these materials is governed by repository policy and may require the production of listening or viewing copies. Researchers requiring access must notify Special Collections and University Archives in advance and pay fees for reproduction services as necessary.

Conditions Governing Use

Property rights reside with Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries. Copyright resides with the creators of the documents or their heirs. All requests for permission to publish collection materials must be submitted to Special Collections and University Archives. The reader must also obtain permission of the copyright holder.

Biographical / Historical

Hoedads Cooperative Inc. began as a three member partnership in 1970 (then named Triads) between Jerry Rust, John Sundquist, John Corbin who wished to form a worker-owned cooperative focused on tree planting. By 1974 Triads had become Hoedads and had gained more members. In order to become bonded, the group incorporated but kept their democratically run cooperative structure. The Hoedad mission was to create a self-sustaining cooperative whereby each worker was an equal owner in the business and management was strictly democratic; there was no owner – employee relationship, only equal workers. Hoedads grew to hundreds of members during the late 1970s and 1980s, and they won multi-million dollar reforestation contracts throughout the Northwest.

The Hoedads cooperative required that a prospective worker be accepted onto a crew. By joining a crew a member could attend and vote in meetings and run for officer positions. Jerry Rust was voted the first president, with Ed Whimple as secretary and John Sundquist as treasurer. Molly Scott became the first female Hoedad in the early 1970’s. Hoedads crews picked their own crew name; examples include Cheap Thrills, TNT, Mudsharks, P.F. Flyers, homegrown, Natural Wonders, Different Strokes and Loggrollers.

Hoedads published minutes from each of the General, Council and Board of Director’s meetings and also produced a newsletter called Together. Hoedads Inc. had to deal with many hardships because of their cooperative structure, specifically, when combating with state laws that required worker compensation insurance for employees; a cooperative only has member – owners, not employees. Hoedads Inc was also at the forefront of the pesticide/herbicide debate because of direct worker contact with Thiram and other pesticides while planting trees.

Hoedads Inc. was also involved in aiding the start-up of many cooperative and community projects, including 2G Construction that is still in business today. The cooperative also provided the down payment to develop the WOW Hall in Eugene, Oregon, a community center for the performing arts. Jerry Rust went on to become a long serving Lane County Commissioner. The Hoedads disbanded in 1994 primarily because of the downturn in reforestation projects. Members still get together for Hoedads reunions. The latest reunion was in 2011.


118.5 linear feet (94 containers)

Language of Materials



Hoedads Cooperative Inc. was a member-owned reforestation cooperative based out of Eugene, Oregon. The collection contains the working papers, audio and visual records of the cooperative, member and co-op correspondence, original newsletters, minutes and photographs.

Outline of Arrangement

Series I: Correspondence Sub A: Incoming Sub B: Outgoing Sub C: Subject

Series II: Meetings and Minutes Sub A: Council Meetings Sub B: General Meetings Sub C: Board of Directors Meetings Sub D: Miscellaneous Meetings Series III: Cooperative Management Sub A: Tasks and Activities Sub B: History and Structure Sub C: Legal Sub D: Subject Files

Series IV: Literary Manuscripts Sub A: Hands in the Earth Sub B: Birth of a Cooperative Sub C: Yew Tree Sub D: Poetry, Articles and Other Writings Sub E: Audio Transcriptions

Series V: Financial Records

Series VI: Newsletters Sub A: Together Newsletter Sub B: Working Papers Series VII: Video

Series VIII: Audio Series IX: Photographs Sub A: Negatives Sub B: Slides Sub C: 8x10 Photographs Sub D: 5x7 Photographs Sub E: Small Photographs

Physical Description

55 manuscript boxes, 7 legal manuscript boxes, 10 large flat boxes, 4 clamshell boxes, 14, small flat boxes, and 1 record storage box.

Processing Information

Collection processed by Tanya Parlet, 2010-2011.

This finding aid may be updated periodically to account for new acquisitions to the collection and/or revisions in arrangement and description.


Guide to the Hoedads Cooperative Inc. Records
Revise Description
Tanya Parlet
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English

Repository Details

Part of the University of Oregon Libraries, Special Collections and University Archives Repository

1299 University of Oregon
Eugene OR 97403-1299 USA