Coed Cottage Records, 1956-1984

Overview of the Collection

Coed Cottage (Oregon State College)
Coed Cottage Records
1956-1984 (inclusive)
4.50 cubic feet, including 2300 photographs and 165 color negatives, (10 boxes, including 08 oversize boxes)
Collection Number
MSS Coed
The Coed Cottage Records were created by residents of the Coed Cottage, a women's cooperative established at Oregon State College in 1956. The collection consists predominantly of annual scrapbooks with photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera documenting the residents and their activities. The collection also includes correspondence, the cooperative's constitution and house rules, a membership ledger and mailing list, and meeting minutes for the house's Executive Council and house meetings. The Coed Cottage closed in 1984.
Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.
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

In 1924, Dean of Women Kate Jameson called for a “cooperative cottage for self-supporting girls who wish to live cheaper than they could in a sorority or even in a hall.” It should have come as little surprise, given that while at the University of Montana, Jameson had established just such a cooperative cottage; similar cooperatives were also in place at larger universities such as the Universities of Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota. In operation, cooperative cottages were run “similarly to the O.A.C. practice house,” with a house mother responsible for the “welfare of the girls.” However, because no cook was employed, at least in early cooperative, expenses were lower; additionally, it was argued, girls living on farms could bring to the cottage excess fruits and vegetables not needed at home, “at no great expense to their parents.”

According to a Barometer article published on January 5, 1949, the first women’s cooperative was organized by five women in 1935. This initial co-op was so successful that by 1936 there were three girls’ cooperative houses at OAC. Early cooperative houses were furnished with what little funds could be raised with the assistance of mother’s clubs and “interested faculty members;” in one of the early houses girls slept on mattresses on the floor until they could raise money for bed frames. Thankfully, in 1937, Jameson secured a $2000 loan from the State Board of Higher Education to improve living conditions in women’s cooperative houses.

By 1942, there were eight women’s cooperatives on campus, with a total membership of 207 women, and in 1943, the cooperative houses were incorporated as business name Co-Resident Women, Inc. This allowed for ownership of the properties that had previously been rented by the cooperatives. The Co-Resident Women purchased their first property in 1944, and by 1949 they owned three: Heather Rae, Collamore, and the KVK cooperative house on SW 10th.

By 1949, cooperative houses had full time cooks on staff, and each home had a hostess-manager in charge of collecting fees, determining menus, buying supplies, and acting as a house mother. Co-op residents were required to do a certain amount of manual labor around the house each day, with each girl assigned a task that would take between 30 and 45 minutes. Each house individually elected its own officers and house managers. The Co-op Council, comprised of three members from each cooperative, determined policies for all houses incorporated under Co-Resident Women Inc.

In 1956, Oregon State University purchased the vacant residence at 33 NW 26th; the Co-op Cottage was established at that location in September of that year. Constructed in 1926, the building had formerly housed the Alpha Chi Omega sorority, and very little construction was necessary to make it a fit living space for the 40 women who resided there. At its establishment, the following officers were elected: Donna Font (President), Dee Pannel (Vice President), Janet Peansall (Secretary/Treasurer), Alice Schanno and Ellen Kan (Study Proctors). Additional officials elected that year included a Work Manager (Florence Endo), Inter-Hall Council Representative (Linda Mallory), Scholarship Chair (Jean Holsnagel, Intramural Chair (Dee Campbell), Song Leader (Judy Dalton), Social Chair (Irene Bringmann), and Fire Chief (Martha Files). In 1957, the name was changed to the Coed Cottage.

In 1984, due to “falling interest in cooperative living and the need for additional office space,” the Coed Cottage was officially closed and the building was converted into administrative offices for the College of Oceanography. As a tribute to its former residents, President John Byrne and Dean Caldwell of the College of Oceanography dedicated the neighboring azalea garden as a memorial. One former resident of note was Darlene Olson Hooley, a resident of the co-op in the early 1960s, who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from the 5th district of Oregon from 1997-2009.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The Coed Cottage Records document the residents and activities of the Coed Cottage women's cooperative at Oregon State University. The Records consist predominantly of 24 scrapbooks for individual academic years from 1956-1957 through 1983-1984; the only years not represented by a scrapbook are 1976-1977, 1977-1978, and 1979-1980. The scrapbooks include photographs, clippings, and ephemera. The photographs include formal group portraits and many snapshots of the residents as well as the organization’s programs and activities. The records also include a membership book; house meeting minutes; a constitution, procedures, and house rules; and additional photographs, primarily film negatives.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Preferred Citation

Coed Cottage Records (MSS Coed), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The records are organized into two series: 1. Organizational Records, 1956-1984;  2. Scrapbooks, 1956-1984.

Acquisition Information

The records were transferred to the Archives in 1985.

Processing Note

The majority of the photographs in the scrapbook for 1969/1970 were loose, and were removed to a separate folder in Box 02. Most of these loose photographs had hand-written numbers on the back; these numbers were transcribed into the space where the photograph had been. Numbers were assigned to those photographs without them, and that number was transcribed on the appropriate page of the scrapbook.

Related Materials

The University Housing and Dining Services Records (RG 145) document the administration of housing and residence life programs at OSU. The Special Collections and Archives Research Center also holds materials documenting several OSU cooperative houses including the Azalea House Records (MSS Azalea), the Avery Lodge Records (MSS Avery), the Campus Club Alumni Collection (MSS CampusClub), the Dixon Lodge Records (MSS Dixon), the Kupono Cooperative House Scrapbook (MSS Kupono), the Oxford House Records (MSS Oxford), and the Maple Manor Cooperative House Records (MSS MapleManor).

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1:  Organizational Records, 1956-1984Return to Top

The majority of Series 1 is comprised of meeting minutes, dating from the month and year the cooperative was established – September 1956 – all the way to its closure in 1984. The meeting minutes are particularly rich in content, and document everything from the procedures and rules of the house, to the social issues that arise from communal living. The overwhelming majority of the minutes are hand-written, except for the minutes from January 1980 to January 17, 1983, which are typed.

The majority of the meetings were roughly organized into three parts: a closing out of old business, bringing forward of new business, and officer reports. Documented topics of discussion at the meeting include: payment of house fees (e.g. for shared baking supplies or toiletries); upcoming social events and ideas for social events, such as dances and house “exchanges;” fines and demerits (e.g. see October 8, 1956); nominations for, and election of officers; and reminders regarding the observation of house rules (e.g. quiet hours, when and where male visitors could be entertained).

The first meeting ledger - September 24, 1956 - March 8, 1959 - is significant in that it documents the first house meeting of the Co-ed Cottage, and election of its first group of officers. Of additional note are the two meetings regarding the closure of the house, held May 20 and May 21, 1984. The minutes for the meeting on May 20 close with the incredulous exclamation “Closing of the house??!” At the subsequent meeting on May 21, then-Vice President for Student Affairs Jo Anne Trow let residents know that other uses for the Cottage were being considered, explaining that an increasing need for space – and concurrent steady decline in interest in cooperative living – was forcing the University’s hand. The students countered, arguing that Coed was a “good place for students to live,” and that the coop had become a home for many of them, not “just a place to stay.” The University had not yet made the final decision to close the Coed Cottage, Trow cautioned, but would wait to see the numbers from the 1984 application cycle. This is the last house meeting recorded in the collection, and the Cottage was closed shortly thereafter. The College of Oceanography which, at the time, had been 25,000 square feet short of administrative and lab space, moved into the space in late 1984.

Series 1 also includes a flyer for an Open House event at the cooperative, a membership ledger (1956 to1984), a constitution, and materials documenting house rules and procedures. Correspondence includes an undated cooperative newsletter, and a letter requesting more information regarding the facilities available at the house and the responsibilities of the residents. House rules and procedures outlined in the General House Procedures and Rules document visitation hours and procedures, quiet hours, house duties, fines and fees, and the “general courtesies” to be observed while living in the house. The membership ledger lists house residents’ names, by term, presumably beginning in Fall 1956. Most residents have a series of checks or x’s next to their name, but no key is provided to explain their meaning (it could indicate the timely payment of house fees).

Container(s) Description Dates
Constitution, House Procedures and Rules
July 1982 - July 1983
Membership Ledger
Membership mailing list
Meeting Minutes: Execuitve Council and House meetings
September 24, 1956 - March 8, 1959
Meeting Minutes: Execuitve Council and House meetings
March 30, 1959 - October 7, 1962
Meeting Minutes: House meetings
October 25, 1971 - April 5, 1976
Meeting Minutes: House meetings
April 19, 1976 - September 20, 1976
Meeting Minutes: House meetings
April 30, 1978 - March 3, 1980
Meeting Minutes: House meetings
January 19, 1980 - May 21, 1984
Meeting Minutes: Executive Committee meetings
The Executive Committee was formerly known as the Executive Council.
November 30, 1980 - Fall 1983

Series 2:  Scrapbooks, 1956-1984Return to Top

The scrapbooks, which comprise the bulk of the collection material, are themselves comprised of news clippings, photographs, and ephemera. The news clippings in the scrapbooks primarily serve to document the activities of Coed Cottage residents, and residents’ names are often underlined or otherwise called out in the clippings. The degree to which captions are included in the scrapbooks is variable. The scrapbooks from the late 1970s and early 1980s tend to have fewer captions, while several of the scrapbooks in the late 1960s and early 1970s have very informative captions, complete with names and event titles.

Common news clipping topics include the Pins and Rings section from the Barometer; clippings relating to student GPAs (honor roll lists, etc.); social events on campus (e.g. concerts, Homecoming); and sports. Of special note in the news clippings is an article in the 1961/1962 scrapbook regarding the adoption of a foster child from China by that year’s Junior class; an article in the 1964/1965 scrapbook regarding the approval by the Oregon State Board of Education of two new cooperative on campus, Dixon and Avery; an article from the 1978/1979 scrapbook about Volleyball player, and Coed Cottage resident, Gail Yamamoto; and an article in the 1968/1969 scrapbook regarding a “survey of coop life at OSU.” By 1969, fewer and fewer news clippings are included in the scrapbooks; the scrapbooks for 1978 through 1985 include one or no clippings.

The majority of the photographs in the scrapbooks document: social events such as Christmas and other holiday parties, house dances (including “Nickel hops”), and “firesides” and serenades; traditions such as officer and new member initiations (both “formal” and “informal”), pins and rings, and candle passing ceremonies, and “ponding,” which may have been part of the pinning or candle passing ceremony; campus-wide events such as Mom’s and Dad’s Weekends and IFC Sings; and candid shots of residents – including the house cat, Bobby (1983/1984) – going about their daily lives. Group photographs of cottage residents are included in some of the scrapbooks, but not for every year and/or term.

Photographs of particular interest include an image of several house residents in “brown face” for the Halloween dance (1962/1963), images from the “Sophomore Skip” trip to Cape Lookout (1965/1966). Several students – Florence Endo, a Home Economics major from Hawaii (1957/1958), and Cathy Wangui, a foreign exchange student from Kenya (1964/1965) – have individual portraits included.

Ephemera included in the scrapbooks primarily documents the activities of house residents, and events that took place inside the house. Ephemeral materials include dance cards, holiday cards and thank you notes, campus theater and music programs, wedding invitations and announcements, blank postcards, event flyers (e.g. Mom’s Weekend, Turtle Derby), poems and songs / chants (e.g. the Coed Cottage Theme Song in 1983/1984), and guest lists for house dances.

There are several additional items of note in the scrapbooks. The scrapbook for 1958/1959 includes a list of Coed Cottage charter members. The 1961/1962 scrapbook includes a copy of the Fall 1961 issue of Spindrift, a journal published by OSU to “encourage and recognize the literary and artistic effort among the students of Oregon State University.” Both the 1968/1969 and the 1970/1971 scrapbooks begin each term with a brief narrative of the events of the quarter, and include a list of residents in the house and their room numbers. The 1968/1969 scrapbook is particularly noteworthy for the quality of its captions, which often include names, and irreverent rejoinders. Also of note, particularly in the 1968/1969 scrapbook, is the shift in attitude towards the tradition of pinning. Pinning can be thought of as a sort of engagement to be engaged; traditionally, a man gives his partner his college or fraternity pin as a symbol of his intent to remain in a long-term relationship leading to marriage). Though pinning ceremonies were still being conducted in the late 1960s, it was clearly being taken less seriously, as some girls had begun to poke fun at the tradition by ‘faking’ part of the ceremony (e.g. offering a candle to another girl in the house, or refusing to drink from the pinning bowl).

A survey of the 24 scrapbooks contained in the collection is included in Box 02.

Container(s) Description Dates
Scrapbook inventory
Created by the archivist processor in the course of reviewing the collection.
35mm color negatives
circa 1970-1984
1969-1970: Images 1 - 35
The majority of the photographs in this scrapbook had come loose from their pages and are stored separately in Box 02, folders 4 and 5.
1969-1970: Images 35a - 69
The majority of the photographs in this scrapbook had come loose from their pages and are stored separately in Box 02, folders 4 and 5.
circa 1984-1985

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Subject Terms

  • College students--Oregon--Corvallis--Social life and customs.
  • Housing, Cooperative--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Student activities--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Women--Oregon--Corvallis--Societies and clubs.

Corporate Names

  • Coed Cottage (Oregon State College)
  • Coed Cottage (Oregon State University)
  • Oregon State College--Student housing.
  • Oregon State College--Students.
  • Oregon State University--Student housing.

Form or Genre Terms

  • Film negatives.
  • Photographic prints.
  • Scrapbooks.

Other Creators

  • Corporate Names
    • Coed Cottage (Oregon State University) (creator)