Dr. Booker T Washington Lecture at OAC, March 19, 1913

One hundred and one years ago, Dr. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an African-American educator, author, and activist, came to speak at Oregon Agricultural College (O.A.C.) on March 19, 1913.

The appearance of Dr. Washington at O.A.C. was the last of a series by the Citizen’s Lyceum Course, run by the Corvallis Lyceum Committee. The Citizen’s Lyceum was open to any Corvallis resident, though it appears that it may have been geared toward students. Although the course was primarily for entertainment, lectures were also included in the line-up and were a big draw.

The Lyceum Club met in the Presbyterian Church and had five scheduled “entertainments” for the 1912-1913 academic year:

October 31 – Fellow’s Grand Opera Company

December 4 – William Sterling Battis (“Dickens Interpreter”) in “An Evening with Dickens”

January 30 – Neil Litchfield Trio, Music and Comedy

February 4 – Carmen Italian Orchestra

February 20 – Lecture “The South, It’s Destruction and Reconstruction” by former-Gov. Robert B. Glenn of North Carolina

The Lyceum had three bonus “entertainments”:

Date unknown, content unknown

February 26 – Byron Troubadours, a Hawaiian music group

March 19 – Dr. Booker T. Washington

For Dr. Washington’s lecture, he spoke on the condition that admittance would be at no cost to students. Due to the popularity of the speaker, the venue switched from the Presbyterian church, home to the other Lyceum events, to the college’s gymnasium. 1500 spectators crowded into the 1300-seat gymnasium to hear him speak.

The research process to learn more about this event included viewing every page in The O.A.C. Barometer from September 25, 1912 through March 21 1913. Articles for Dr. Washington’s lecture included an advertisement and a follow-up story in the Barometer.

Below are 5 articles from the Barometer about Lyceum Course events, including Dr. Washington’s lecture:

October 9, 1912 ~ Article describing the Lyceum Course Events for 1912-1913

Barometer, October 9, 1912

January 25, 1913 ~ Advertisement regarding the Neil Litchfield Trio performance

Barometer, January 25, 1913

February 21, 1913 ~ Advertisement regarding the Byron Troubadours concert

Barometer, February 21, 1913

March 18, 1913 ~ Advertisement for Dr. Washington lecture

Barometer, March 18, 1913

March 21, 1913 ~ Follow-up article regarding Dr. Washington’s lecture

March 21, 1913, part 1


March 21, 1913, part 2

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Women’s History Month 2014!

OSU Women’s History Timeline

In honor of Women’s History Month, the OMA was delighted to attend the OSU Women’s Center Women’s History Month Reception that featured OSU women’s stories!

The first part of the event was a fun history lesson via a crossword puzzle. Event attendees viewed four timelines pertaining to women’s history at OSU, in Oregon, in the United States, and on the global level.



The USA and Global Timelines (on right)





The OSU and Oregon Timelines (on left)




For the second part of the event, Roni Sue, of the Office of Equity and Inclusion, facilitated a discussion asking the questions “Where have we (women) been? and Where are we going?” As a group we analyzed the timelines to think about how far we’ve come and yet also, what was missing and how much work towards equality lies ahead.

The group brainstormed a lot of ideas for actions that the OSU community can begin to take towards achieving equity:

- Seek out others who are different from ourselves to gain new perspectives
- Explore ways to highlight women’s contributions to the campus
- Build collaborations between all six CRCs as well as campus departments

- Create more leadership opportunities for young women and create a support system
- Invite men to learn and participate in events regarding women’s issues and actions toward equity for all
- Identify barriers and develop solutions for women to be successful professionals
- And these were just a few of the many great ideas developed; we look forward to the continued conversation!

The OSU Women’s Center “serves as a resource and information clearinghouse and offers advocacy, support, and other services to women and men, regardless of age, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, or socioeconomic status.”

~ OSU Women’s Center Website 

And, if you are interested in learning more about the history of the Women’s Center, be sure to check out the archival collection: RG 243 Women’s Center Records, 1971-2011

Also, check out our Women’s History Month displays from 2011 and 2012

Women of OSU

Women of the OMA

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Marie Norris Papers

The OMA has a new collection: the Marie Norris Papers! The collection consists of materials documenting Norris’ life as a Native American activist and is made up of a letter, newspaper clippings, publications, a sound recording, and two copies of the manuscript “Along Klamath Waters.”

Born in 1920 in Modoc Point, Oregon, Marie Norris pursued a life of active service for her Klamath community. In addition to founding the Organization of Forgotten Americans in 1969 to address the effects of tribal termination, Norris also served on the Klamath Tribal Executive Committee on Claims, the Klamath Indian Game Commission, the state Civil Rights Committee, the Klamath County Juvenile Advisory Council, and the Committee of Oregon Rural Opportunities. Norris spoke frequently about Native American culture and was one of the last people able to speak the Klamath language. Oregon Governor Vic Atiyeh declared Norris as one of the most outstanding women in Oregon history. She died in 1981.

Roger Weaver, an OSU professor who taught English literature and poetry from 1962 to 1996, met Norris in 1974 during a storytelling event and was inspired by Norris to develop a course on Native American literature in which he featured some of her stories as part of the curriculum. Weaver, in turn, inspired Norris to compile and write her stories as a book.

Prepared for publication as a book, the manuscript “Along Klamath Waters” is an autobiographical narrative written by Norris. Describing her life as a member of the Klamath tribe in Southern Oregon, Norris interweaves stories reflecting Klamath culture and history throughout the narrative. One of the major subjects in the manuscript is the government’s termination of the Klamath tribe in the 1950s and its impact upon the culture, economy, and lands of the Klamaths. One of the manuscript drafts is an abridged version edited for submission to a publisher while the other is unabridged. The letter is from Norris to Roger Weaver. Published materials include a journal article by Weaver about Norris’s interpretation of Klamath chants and a biographical sketch about Norris in the publication “Notable Women in the History of Oregon.” The sound recording is a cassette tape of an interview between Roger Weaver and Norris in 1974.

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OSU Football Desegregation Event

In honor of Black History Month 2014, the OMA collaborated with the Oregon Historical Society (OHS) and OSU Athletics to host an event regarding the desegregation of college football and specifically the story of the OSU football team!

Check out the recording of the event that is available online!

The event featured various speakers including: football historian Dr. Michael Oriard, author Herman Brame, OSU Sociology Professor Dr. Dwaine Plaza, and OSU student athlete Evan Bany, along with featured guests Earnel Durden, OSU football player 1956-1958 and Ken Simonton, OSU football player 1998-2001.

The evening began with Dr. Oriard and Mr. Brame sharing the national and Oregonian history of collegiate football desegregation and Dr. Plaza and Bany telling the OSU story. Then Mr. Durden and Mr. Simonton shared their specific experiences of their time as student athletes here at OSU.

Brief Outline of the Event:

  • Introduction of each of the event and panelists [00:00:00 - 00:06:15]
  • Panelists Dr. Oriard [00:06:15-00:28:15]; Mr. Brame [00:28:15-00:49:30]; Dr. Plaza and Mr. Bany [00:49:30-01:09:00]
  • Guest Speakers Earnel Durden [01:09:00-01:35:20] and Ken Simonton [01:35:20-02:00:15]
  • Question and Answer Session [02:00:15-02:10:07]

We are very excited to share that Dr. Plaza conducted an oral history with Mr. Durden and it is now available online; here is the information:

Earnel Durden Interview Audio and Interview Transcript

Date: February 18, 2014
Place: Corvallis, OR
Length: 01:20:00
Interviewee: Earnel Durden
Interviewer: Dwaine Plaza
Transcriber: Desireé Gorham

Earnel Durden (b. circa 1937) attended OSU from 1955-1959 as a football player and a student studying physical education and science for a teaching degree. He played on the 1957 Rose Bowl team under Coach Tommy Prothro, and in his sophomore year, Durden was selected as “Joe College.” He was one of the few, first African American students to attend OSU—prior to OSU having their first African American female student. Due to this, Durden had many experiences dealing with cultural differences in Corvallis regarding a lack of knowledge and interaction with African American people.

In the interview Durden discusses his high school years in Los Angeles as an African American and rising football player; recruitment and experiences as a student, African American, and athlete at Oregon State University; his relationship with Tommy Prothro as a player and assistant coach; his various coaching experiences at Compton Junior College, Long Beach State University, UCLA, and for the Rams; and a brief description of his children’s sports careers.

Also, as a special component to the event, OHS collaborated with Dr. Darrell Miller to curate a traveling exhibit to showcase the histories of the U of O, PSU, and OSU football teams in an exhibit titled “Black Power Disrupting White Supremacy” and hosted by the OSU Valley Library.

All four panels are available as PDFs via the OHS Website: Exhibit Panels


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Additions to the Miracle Theatre Collection

Back in December the first 1/3 of the Miracle Theatre Group (MTG) Collection arrived at the OMA and recently, another portion of the collection, mostly made up of photos and posters is now here!

Katrina, the MTG intern up in Portland, drove down to deliver the materials herself. The photos include images of Bialadores, Board Members, Artists, and of course, the Productions. And, additional materials include blueprints of productions and the building structure, posters,  and original artwork.


Over the past couple of weeks since the drop off, Katrina has been working hard to continue processing the collection, especially the A/V materials:

The last 1/3 of the collection is set to arrive in March so be sure to check back for an update! As always, be sure to check out Katrina’s blog for weekly updates.

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“Books for Birmingham” Drive – The 50th Anniversary

OSU Barometer Article, Feb 8, 1964

Fifty years ago, the city of Birmingham became a focus for the civil rights movement.  A small minority college in Alabama became the focus of Oregon State University students, with a goal to do something significant. 1964 is a pivotal year in the United States in the struggle for civil rights.  What could a school in Oregon do that could make an impact on the other side of the nation?

In a November 8, 1964 article in Times magazine, the plight of a small Black college in Birmingham, Alabama was chronicled.  The article stated that:

“Miles College is the only four-year college available to most of the 2,000             youngsters who graduate each year from the area’s 17 Negro high schools.  It           produces 60% of the city’s Negro school teachers.”

Students at Yale University collected 6,000 books for the Miles College library and delivered them personally.  The school was still in need, risking accreditation due to an inadequate library.  The Beavers could do better than this, and a goal was set to collect 10,000 books for Miles College.  The “Books for Birmingham” project was born!

The OSU YMCA-YWCA Round Table planned the project through the newly built Kerr Library (another golden anniversary…).  Student volunteers conducted the drive from January 20th through February 2nd, 1964.  John Wooster, the YMCA Round Table student chairman is quoted, “This project has been undertaken as a way for OSU students and faculty to express their concerned interest in the struggle for human dignity and equal opportunity for all.”

Miles College President, Lucius Pitts travelled to OSU to speak on January 22, 1964.  He expressed gratitude to OSU students and explained the tenuous position that the small college was experiencing.  Pitts stood before the student body and said, “God Bless your efforts to bless us here in Birmingham and thus bless our whole world.”

The Books for Birmingham project was an overwhelming success, OSU collected over 14,000 books for Miles College.  The student’s goals were exceeded, and a significant contribution to a struggling school was achieved.  This project challenged other institutions across the nation to get involved, and make a difference in some substantial way in the struggle over civil rights.

Books for Birmingham Brochure

The next problem to tackle would be: how do we get them there? A delegation of nine OSU Students and advisors traveled at their own expense across the US to personally deliver the donation to Birmingham.  Two vehicles packed with books, arrived during spring break 1964. The Corvallis Gazette Times reported on April 20th that,

“All 800 students at Miles College, Birmingham, Ala., gave an emotional   standing ovation to Oregon State University when the 14,000 books collected on this campus were presented formally to the southern school at a general assembly.”

OSU Students who made this epic journey were, Mike Koch, Linda Driskill, Carol Anderson, Nikki Kephart, Robert McDermott, Carlton Olson, Jeanne Fryer and John Wooster (who remained at Miles to teach on their staff). Also on the trip was a young Kerr library student worker, Alice Elle, without whom this story would have never been retold, some fifty years later.

Alice Elle, 1966 OSU Yearbook

Alice Elle Raden, class of 1967, lives in Pennsylvania, but receives the OSU Valley Library newsletter, The Messenger, by mail.  She noticed an article about student workers in the current issue and it reminded her about her time as a student worker and her involvement in the Books for Birmingham project. She contacted us with this story, and this important historical event lives again. There is a small file in SCARC’s  Memorabilia Collection (MC), folder “Miles College – Book Drive. 1963-1964″ with some newspaper articles and correspondence.

As a special added bonus, Alice will be visiting her library once again in late March.  We will have the opportunity to get her story about the trip and the book drive first hand, in an oral history interview. Look for more about the Books for Birmingham project in the coming months!

~ Mike Dicianna, OMA Student Worker

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The OMA at the OWHE Conference

The OMA attended and presented at the Oregon Women in Higher Education (OWHE) conference on January 24th!

The conference theme was THRIVE and it was a day of incredibly inspiring presentations that began with the keynote address by Dr. Avel Gordly (check out her book Remembering the Power of Words published by the OSU press) and continued with women from higher education institutions across the state sharing their research and experiences.

The OMA was very excited to present with Jean Moule – we not only have her collection and oral histories, we have co-taught the class “Sundown Towns in Oregon” two years in a row and hope to continue our wonderful relationship with her.

Our poster was all about Jean’s journey after her retirement. Jean has continued to teach, write, and attend conferences, but she had also spent more and more time traveling and creating her art. The poster shows this change over time from 2009-the present:

A PDF of the poster is available online!

We had a wonderful time talking with conference attendees and were thrilled to share our collaborative efforts with our colleagues, check out the photos below:

OWHE Poster and Table

Jean sharing her journey

Conference attendees browsing Jean’s publications

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MLK Jr. Celebration Events 2014

This year’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. celebration events at OSU showcase Dr. King’s values, vision, and legacy and act as a call to action to us all to unite our powerful voices.

One of the goals of these two weeks is for us to reflect on the past and to look toward the future to think about the impact that we can have in our own communities. The OMA was honored to be a part of the reflection to the past by participating in two celebration events. On Monday the 20th the annual Peace Breakfast featured the OMA’s newly published campus tour guidebook “Histories of Students of Color at OSU” and on Tuesday the 21st the Special Collections & Archives Research Center hosted the event “50th Anniversary of MLK Jr.’s Nobel Peace Prize Lecture: “The Quest for Peace and Justice.” Various OSU community members read the lecture in which his words linked racial injustice, poverty, and war.

And, we had archival materials on display for attendees to see the connections between Dr. King and Linus Pauling as well as to feature the campus tour guidebook.

Speech Readers:



MLK Jr. Celebration Events 2014 Poster

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It’s Official! The Miracle Theatre Collection Has Arrived!

The first 1/2 of the collection in the OMA stacks!

We are so excited to share that the first half of the Miracle Theatre Group archival collection is now at the OMA! These past few weeks Katrina has been working extra hard to have 9 boxes ready for pick up; the boxes include the following types of records:

    • Administrative
    • Board
    • Building
    • Company
    • Events
    • Organizations
    • Outreach and Education
    • Projects
    • People
    • Productions

Although the materials will not be available to the public until the Spring, we will keep you updated on the process of getting the collection ready for use. And, the second half of the collection will arrive sometime in January, and that portion will include records such as grants, financials, and audio/visual materials.

To read all the details about Katrina’s process and see more photos, be sure to check out Katrina’s ”Pick Up Day!” post on her blog.

The OMA is very excited for the new year because it means that we will soon host an exhibit of the Miracle Theatre collection, so be sure to check back for more blog posts!

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“Histories of Students of Color at OSU” Campus Tour Guidebook

This Fall Term the OMA collaborated with the U-Engage class ALS 199 “Untold Stories: Histories of People of Color in Oregon” to create a campus tour regarding the histories of OSU’s students of color, and the tour guidebook is now available!

There are two versions of the tour guidebook: one is the version to view digitally and the other is the version that when printed and folded in half becomes a booklet. Both are available through OSU’s ScholarsArchive.

Click Here for the Online Version of the Booklet

For the print version of the booklet, click here and select the print file. Then follow the instructions listed in the abstract.

The stories selected for this booklet showcase the impact and contributions that students of color have had on the OSU campus. The stories range from celebrating the lives of OSU’s first female and male African Americans to graduate from OSU, to documenting student led protests in an effort to raise awareness of important issues, to recounting the establishment of four of the campus cultural centers, to detailing the desegregation of the men’s basketball team, and finally, to honoring the Japanese American students who were forced to leave their studies during World War II.

Here is the map with the 10 tour sites; the self-guided tour lasts about 1 hour:

On behalf of the ALS 199 class and the OMA, we hope you enjoy the tour!

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