Mortar Board Scrapbooks, 1938-1982

Overview of the Collection

Mortar Board (Society). Oregon State University Chapter.
Mortar Board Scrapbooks
1938-1982 (inclusive)
3.00 cubic feet, including 314 photographs, (7 boxes, including 6 oversize boxes)
Collection Number
MSS MortarBoard
The Mortar Board Scrapbooks document the members and activities of the Oregon State chapter of this senior women's honorary society.  The scrapbooks include clippings, photographs, ephemera, and some organizational records such as newsletters and minutes.  One artifact, an initiation candlestick, is included in the collection.  Mortar Board was established at Oregon State College in 1933.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis OR
Telephone: 5417372075
Fax: 5417378674
Access Restrictions

Collection is open for research.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

The Mortar Board Honor Society was established at Oregon State College in 1933 as a senior honor society for women that recognizes scholarship, leadership, and service. The Oregon State (Cap and Gown) Chapter has won seven Chapter of Excellent Awards from the national organization. In 1975, Mortar Board began accepting men and by 1978 the Oregon State chapter had three male members. In 1988, the chapter began selling an annual academic planner, which became known on the Oregon State campus as a "mortar board".

Mortar Board was established nationally in 1918 and was the first national organization to honor senior college women.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Mortar Board Scrapbooks consist of 16 scrapbooks documenting the membership and activities of the Mortar Board chapter at Oregon State University. The scrapbooks include newspaper clippings about chapter activities and individual members; photographs; ephemeral items such as programs, invitations, and dance cards; and limited organizational records such as meeting minutes, newsletters, and correspondence. The Mortar Board Ball, or Reversia Ball (where women ask men), was one of their major annual events which often entailed nominating a King and tapping Plasterboard dates.  The organization promoted educational achievements, attended the Associated Womens Students Honors Convocations, and hosted a variety of speakers.  Regional Mortar Board meeting pamphlets and The Mortar Board Forum national newsletter show Mortar Board achievements outside of Oregon State University.

The photographs are primarily b/w prints; the scrapbooks for the 1970s and early 1980s include color snapshots. A high proportion of the images were made by Hise Studio; the remainder are primarily snapshots. The photographs depict groups of initiates, members, and their mothers or parents; chapter meetings; and chapter activities including trips to the Oregon coast, dances and dinners, and service projects.

The collection also includes a candlestick that was used by the chapter in the 1940s-1960s in initiation ceremonies.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Mortar Board Scrapbooks (MSS MortarBoard), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The Mortar Board Scrapbooks are arranged in two series: 1.  Scrapbooks, 1938-1982; 2. Artifact, circa 1945.

Acquisition Information

The scrapbooks were acquired by the Archives in 1999 and prior; the artifact was transferred to the University Archives in 1995 from the office of the Vice Provost for Student Affairs and was incorporated into this collection in 2017.

Processing Note

The 1965-1966 and 1967-1974 scrapbooks were in poor condition (items were no longer affixed to pages).  In 2017, the scrapbooks were disassembled and most items placed in folders.

Related Materials

The Dean of Women's Office Records (RG 057)  include materials pertaining to the relationship between Mortar Board and the student affairs administration. The Blue Key Fraternity Records (MSS BlueKey) document the comparable honor society for men at Oregon State. Additional photographs of Mortar Board members and activities are part of the Mary Louise Armstrong Collection (MSS Armstrong), Student Activities Photograph Collection (P 045), and Harriet's Photograph Collection (P HC).

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1:  Scrapbooks, 1938-1982Return to Top

Series 1 consists of 16 scrapbooks documenting the membership and activities of the Oregon State chapter of Mortar Board from the late 1930s to the early 1980s.  Some of the scrapbooks are identified by numbers (e.g. C-079) that were assigned by the former University Archives.  Loose items within each scrapbook are foldered and stored with the scrapbook.  The 1965-1966 and 1967-1974 scrapbooks were in poor condition (most items were no longer affixed to scrapbook pages).  In 2017, these scrapbooks were disassembled and most items placed in folders.

Container(s) Description Dates
Labeled C-079. Contains articles about the installation of Mortar Board at Oregon State College as a local chapter of Cap and Gown to serve as an honor society for senior women. Photos of the initial graduating classes of Mortar Board are included as well as the initial six women of the Mortar Board at Oregon State College. Other photos and articles document dances the club hosted, new members and officers in Mortar Board, and the women's achievements.
Mortar Board events including Dave Longtin and his 12-piece orchestra playing for the annual Mortar Board Reversia Ball (where women ask men). Another article describes how vegetable corsages were used in place of banned flower corsages at all-school formals during World War II. Group photos, "bowing" of new Mortar Board member and tapping, wedding announcements, and the Reversia Ball are recurring materials found in this scrapbook.
A beach trip getaway, conferences, convocations, and wedding announcements are documented in this scrapbook. Articles about Mortar Board's dances from both the women in Mortar Board and men awaiting to be asked are also included.
Labeled C-082. Tapping, Reversia Ball, corsage assembling, wedding announcements, and the Smarty Party for new members of Mortar Board are some of the events mentioned in this scrapbook. Articles about Plaster Board-the women's dates for the Mortar Board Ball, dance cards, and photos of Mortar Board members either with their mothers or new members are also included.
Scrapbook includes Oregon State College (OSC) Turnabout Ball photos that display some of the unusal corsages, brochures of the 32nd and 33rd Annual Women's Honor Assembly, homecoming, and Oregon State College's 87th Charter Day. It also contains dance cards and group photos.
Labeled as C-084. Contains Mortar Board group photos of new and old members, sectional meeting brochure, and initiation and membership history booklet. There are articles on Mary Meier, a Mortar Board member, winning the Pfizer National Scholarship; Prom Queens; Mortar Board Ball Kings;the Associated Women Students (AWS) Honors Convocation; and tapping new members.
Labeled as C-085. Mortar Board group photos, photos of Mortar Board skit to promote Ball, nominated Kings for the Ball, dance cards, and Mortar Board members' scholarship and announcements.
Labeled as C-086. Articles in this scrapbook cover Mortar Board's Late Date Night, Alumna Feast for Homecoming, Reversia Ball details, and Honors. Mortar Board's meeting minutes and group photos of the newly tapped members are included.
Labeled as C-087. This scrapbook contains photos and descriptions of Mortar Board's "kidnap breakfast", retreat to Belknap Springs, Winter term Program, Plasterboard date initiates, King finalists, tapping, and the AWS Honors Convocation.
Labeled as C-088. Mortar Board members in the news, the Mortar Board Ball, serenades, and tapping articles are found in this scrapbook. There are also photos of the 1962-1963 Mortar Board members.
Labeled as C-089. Significant portion of 1963-1964 articles are clippings pertaining to Oregon State University Olympian Jean Saubert's skiing acomplishments. Mortar Board Ball invitations are included as well as scholarship and honors achievements. There are also event and group photos of Homecoming Coffee Hour, Mortar Board graduates, and Bigs and Littles.
Article clippings and photos of the Oregon State University's events, organized by month, from 1965-1966. Most items in the scrapbook had become detached from scrapbook pages and are foldered by month. Events include New Student Week, ASOSU's installation, Mrs. James Jensen (OSU's first lady) becoming an honorary member of Mortar Board, homecoming queen, and Mortar Board's fall schedule for November of 1965. There are also records of the Mortar Board King nominations, dance cards, group photos, and wedding announcements.
Labeled as C-091. Mortar Board members' honors and involvement on campus organized by term (Fall, Winter, and Spring). Some highlights are the Junior Weekend, a show by Bill Cosby, the regional Mortar Board meeting at the University of Puget Sound, and a hymn book that depicts the 1967 initiation ceremony. This scrapbook includes a few color snapshots.
Most items in this scrapbook had become detached from the scrapbook pages and are folder by month. Because of the quantity of materials, the scrapbook is split into two chronological parts that are foldered separately.
Part 1 of scrapbook
The first section of this scrapbook contains the Mortar Board summer newsletter, the Mortar Board Forum, and election information. Homecoming articles, the Mortar Board Ball, Initiation, and members being honored were also found in the documents. Photographs of the King nominations, Mortar Boardmembers, and Professor advisors accompanied the articles and scrapbook. Loose items are foldered with the scrapbook pages. This scrapbook includes color snapshots.
Part 2 of scrapbook
The section part of this scrapbook lists activities and events and includes a variety of photos of 1972-1973 and 1973-1974 Mortar Board members at a Christmas dinner party, meetings, and surprise breakfasts. A 1972 Summer Newsletter and an outline of the end of 1973 Fall term's meetings and events area also included. Loose items are foldered with the scrapbook pages. This scrapbook includes color snapshots.
The Mortar Board Forum from 1979-1980 is included in a folder within this scrapbook. In addition, this scrapbook contains article clippings of events, correspondence, and photographs. Some of the events were OSU Dean Kuipers addressing Mortar Board, a "foreign student buddies" support program, a silent auction for a Wilson basketball signed by the Beaver basketball team, and Finals Week baskets.
This scrapbook shows Mortar Board as a co-ed organization through group photos and membership profiles. Contains articles and fliers of autographed basketballs by the Beaver basketball team, Neil Goldschmidt (former Portland mayor) speaking in Gill Coliseum, scholarships, and members in the news. There are also photos depicting tapping, the orientation meeting, and the Mortar Board/Blue Key Ball. Photographs of Tony Van Vliet making a presentation are included in this scrapbook.

Series 2:  Artifact, circa 1945Return to Top

Container(s): Box 7

Series 2 consists of candlestick that was used in the 1940s-1960s in initiation ceremonies. The candlestick was a gift by Mollie Strand (the wife of Oregon State College President A.L. Strand) to the Cap and Gown Chapter of Mortar Board at Oregon State.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • Clubs--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • College environment--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • College students--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Student activities--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Women--Education (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Women--Oregon--Corvallis--Societies and clubs.

Corporate Names

  • Mortar Board (Society). Oregon State College Chapter.
  • Mortar Board (Society). Oregon State University Chapter.
  • Oregon State College--Societies, etc.
  • Oregon State College--Students.
  • Oregon State University--Societies, etc.
  • Oregon State University--Students.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Photographic prints.
  • Scrapbooks.

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Hise Studio. (creator)
    • Mortar Board (Society). Oregon State College Chapter. (creator)