Monthly Archives: October 2013

Homecoming Open House: a report from the field by Mike D

The 2013 OSU Homecoming game against Stanford may have not been the biggest success of the season, but SCARC’s open house event certainly was! Saturday, October 26th was a memorable day here in the reading room. Karl McCreary, Trevor Sandgathe, and Mike Dicianna played host to some excited patrons and alumni with a display of OSU Homecoming history in the SCARC reading room.

Throughout the day, visitors spent quality time with ephemera, yearbooks, and OSU Barometers highlighting homecoming history. Early in the day, a couple of OSU alumni from the early 1980s showed interest in our Memorabilia Collection (MC). They asked about our original documents from the Land Grant legislation, and were able to see some original OSU history. In speaking with them, I found they were OSU Marching Band alumni and she spoke of the band playing the alma mater after each game, a tradition that needed to be reborn, she added. I retrieved our original sheet music of “Hail to Old OAC”, written in 1914 by Harold A. Wilkins. This file in the MC contains a number of original copies of the music, probably used by the OAC Cadet Band of the era. I was gratified to see how profoundly moved this patron was to see these artifacts. I do believe her hands were trembling a bit as she handled this original score. This is what the Memorabilia Collection is all about!

The highlight of our day however, was an enthusiastic group of alumni that descended upon the reading room late in the day. The Class of 1959 contingent arrived in full Beaver regalia, and they were enthralled by the display of “their” history. The OSU Barometer bound editions we had on display were a huge hit! The stories from their years at OSC started to flow, and memories rekindled by the yearbooks and Barometer articles, entertained us for the rest of the afternoon.

We learned that the campaign for student body officers during the era was quite a contested affair. The Shamrock Ticket was standing before us! Harlan Smith, Dave Socolofski, and Jane Sailing all ran for ASOSC office for the 1959 year. And there, in the bound version of the Barometer on the table, was the news coverage of the race!
We also learned that the 1959 ASOSC administration was involved in the process to designate Oregon State College as a full University (finalized in 1961). These were the folks that helped make OSC history. Unfortunately, the Shamrock ticket was not elected that spring of 1958. Some interesting stories of the hard fought campaign were shared, involving toilet seats all over campus. Harley Smith served as the ASOSC First Vice President during the 1959 school year.

The alumni from the Class of 1959 were a joy to interact with. They were truly appreciative that SCARC would preserve the history of their college. Dave Socolofsky, Junior Class President of 1958 was especially interested in our collections. He had no idea that we would keep this stuff! Yes, Mr. Beaver Alumni, we do indeed. He took pictures with his I-Phone (cool guy) of the memories before him in the Barometers from 1958.
I have to admit my motives for the day were kind of self-serving. I was fishing for Oral History subjects for my OSU history project. Capturing the campus life stories of students from the different decades is my primary goal. This group of enthusiastic alumni was all interested in contributing! These stories of OSC/OSU are being captured in video interviews and will be part of the university’s 150th anniversary celebration.

All in all, the SCARC Homecoming Open House was a huge success! I can hardly wait until next week’s display for Dad’s Weekend! Maybe we can snag some more subjects for the oral history project!

Friday Feature: a new photo of the finial

Weatherford Hall – New Photo of the Tower Finial! Super student researcher Mike Dicianna has given us another fun post about OSU history.

One of the most iconic buildings on the Oregon State campus is Weatherford Hall. Completed in 1928 as part of a massive building program began by Oregon Agricultural College President William Jasper Kerr, the new dormitory would house 344 male students for the growing institution. The newly completed building cost $460,000 – including furnishings! The university financed the huge project by means of a bond issue that was retired gradually with usage fees paid by the men who lived in the dorm. The residence hall wings were named after Austin T. Buxton, Daniel V. Poling, Thomas J. Cauthorn, and Curtis L. Hawley. From the beginning, the men of these dorms were known as “independents,” that is not affiliated with the fraternities on campus. Watch a video history of this picturesque building on YouTube.

Weatherford Hall served as a dormitory and focal point for the university for many years, but time was not kind to the stately building. Leaks destroyed plaster in the interior, wiring and plumbing became dated and dangerous, and the building was deemed unsafe. The dorm closed at the end of the 1993-94 school year. In 1997, a renovation of the historic dorm was planned, and Weatherford reopened in 2004 as the new home of the Austin Entrepreneurship Program.

Recently, a donor called SCARC with a question about a photograph from her grandfather, Lloyd Bonney’s estate with a possible connection with OSU. Nan Harrison, of Springfield, Oregon described a photograph of her grandfather with the new “copper finial to be placed on the new O.A.C. Dormitory, Corvallis, Ore.” The copper finial was manufactured by Strobel & Miller Metal Works, of Eugene, Oregon. Nan agreed to send SCARC the original photograph and negative to include in our collection.

My first thought was it possibly could have been the decoration for the first men’s dorm, Cauthorn Hall (now Fairbanks) dating just before the turn of the century. Upon receiving an initial scan of the photo, I could tell it was later than 1892, but where could this finial have been installed? Searching through SCARC’s collection of historic O.A.C. photographs, the huge copper finial revealed itself! The tower of the new dormitory, Weatherford Hall sported the beautiful creation. The date of the photograph was confirmed as 1928!

This one photograph enhances our collection of Weatherford Hall in a special way. There are a few construction images from 1928, and numerous photos throughout Weatherford’s eighty-five year history, but this individual detail shot of the finial is a true find. As a thank you to our donor Nan and her family, I spent some time restoring the old photo digitally. Removing cracks and stains, the original “patina” of the photograph was retained, and a high resolution copy was made available to the family.

Sometimes it is the small things that excite an archivist. This single photograph revealed a part of OSU history that has been undocumented in our collections. Weatherford Hall was built exclusively by Oregon sub-contractors during 1928, something the Architect firm of Bennes & Herzog was proud to feature. And now, through this donation of a single photograph, the firm of Strobel & Miller of Eugene can be documented as part of this achievement. The photograph is available for researchers in Harriet’s Collection (HC), at OSU Special Collections & Archive Research Center.

Friday Feature: new finding aids for student and sports collections

You may not give much thought to the tremendous amount of work that goes into describing collections and putting that information online. Not being the one who works at that end of the archival workflow in SCARC, I can tell you that the staff and students are hard at work!

Participants at Phi Delta Theta barn dance (1950s), from MSS Choate.

You may also not give much thought to the steady stream of materials we are lucky enough to receive each week. We have alumni, department staff, and many others who are looking out for collections that would make great additions as we work to document the history of our university. I wanted to share a sampling of the collection guides that SCARC staff have updated or created over the past couple of months. Though these fall in the “students” and “sports” categories, because that’s what on my mind these days with the new school year and exciting football season, there are many more gems that now have new guides!

One thing to note: you’ll see two links and may wonder why… We have guides on our SCARC site, but also in the Northwest Digital Archives (NWDA), a database of collections from around the northwest. If you are interested in a topic or person, and want to see if there are other research possibilities in our region, NWDA is a great place to explore.

From the Football Photograph Colection

Football Photograph Collection, 1894-2000 (P 004)

This collection consists of approximately 800 photographs of football games, practices, players, and coaches. Images of athletic facilities such as Bell Field and Parker Stadium are also included. An item-level list of the images, with links to those images that are available online, is part of this guide.

Arbuthnot, James G., Photograph Collection, 1909-1915 (P 191)

These photographs document Arbuthnot’s life and activities in and near Corvallis as well as Oregon Agricultural College athletic teams and sporting events. James G. Arbuthnot was Athletic Director from 1906 to 1918 and the coach of the wrestling team in 1911-1917 and 1920. The collection includes 318 photographs.

Smith-Western Co. Photographs of Oregon State College, c. 1955/56 (P 164)

This collection of 89 photographs consists of images (primarily negatives) of Oregon State College campus buildings and sorority and fraternity houses. The negatives were printed as postcards and sold in the College bookstore.

Lepper, Helen, Diary, 1938-1931 (MSS Lepper)

This diary documents the daily activities of Helen Marie Lepper during her student years at Oregon State College. She attended OSC from 1927 until 1930 and studied music.

Choate, Virgil L., Collection, 1953-1957 (MSS Choate)

The Choate Collection consists of ephemera and photographs assembled by Choate during his student years at Oregon State College. Virgil L. Choate earned a BS in Agricultural Education in 1958. The collection includes 25 photographs, primarily depicting activities of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity.

Mason, Donald L., Photographs, 1915-1935 (P 290)

The Mason Photographs depict the Oregon State College foundry facilities, items made in the foundry, and students in foundry classes. Donald L. Mason earned a BS in Industrial Arts from Oregon State College in 1937 and was Foundry Instructor in the Industrial Arts Department until 1943. The collection includes 51 photographs.

Oviatt, May, Collection, 1903-1912 (MSS Oviatt)

This small collection documents Oviatt’s work as a public school teacher in Benton County (Oregon) and includes certificates and contracts. May Oviatt earned a BS in Household Science from Oregon Agricultural College in 1908.

October is Oregon Archives Month — and this year it’s going to be a doozy!

Tis the season to celebrate and highlight the importance of archives and all the ways that historical records enrich our lives. Yes, it’s time to enjoy Oregon Archives Month.

We’ve had good fun in past years, but I think this month will be especially fun. Read all about our events and activities on the SCARC site. All are free and open to the public — and we’d love you to join us!

Click on over to the page for this year or visit Flickr to see what we’ve done in days of yore.