The Students Offering is the first known OSU publication, published in 1869 the first year of OSU. It is hand written by multiple students, and is over 30 pages long. Many of the students who wrote in it used pseudonyms.
It has a wide range of material in it, some of it more serious reflections on the time, however with close observation it becomes apparent that much of it is meant to be comedic. Each ‘section’ has a title and is usually 1-2 pages long.
One of the more serious sections is titled “Finley and the Electric Telegraph.” It documents Hugh McNary Finley, the editor of The Students Offering’s fascination with electricity, and his hopes to better understand it through looking at the telegraph.
On page 13 there is an entertaining three-page story about a ‘young man’ attempting to marry a young lady named Betsy. Unfortunately Betsy’s mom is not as enthusiastic about the arrangement and ends up beating and chasing him, so he hides in a barrel of soap in the laundry room of Betsy and her parent’s house. After being found by Betsy and her mom, he has one last embrace with Betsy and in his words: “was torn from the arms of my Betsy never to see her again.” The writer signs off as “Sur Livingood.”
Throughout the publication, when a piece ends and there is space at the end of the page there are short poems or jokes such as “Why is Bachelor Square like Central Park New York? Because it is well supplied with fountains.” In one such longer page break, there is a charming rhyming paragraph entitled “The Ten Commandments to the young ladies of Corvallis College” with some advice.
“The Ten Commandments, to the young ladies of Corvallis College.
Though shalt have no thoughts of the boys, cast no sheep eyes to such human boys; Abstain from rough hair; dress unclean, lest to the world uncomely you seem, take not of the pretty boys names in vain, nor dare be absent Wednesday again, be not jealous of thy neighbor, nor spend thine time in useless labor, take heed no heart to break asunder, or the faculty will give you thunder.” ~ Aunt Hannah
Looking at this publication was incredibly entertaining and offered a fun look into some of the thoughts and humor of the time when OSU first began. I’d highly recommend taking the time to look at it, I think it is one of the hidden treasures that this internship helped resurface.