WSU Fight Song Papers, 1919-2019

Overview of the Collection

WSU Fight Song Papers
1919-2019 (inclusive)
.25 linear feet of shelf space, (1 box)
Collection Number
Cage 929 (collection)
Documents and images related to the 1919 creation of the Washington State University Fight Song by Phyllis Sayles and Zella Melcher.
Washington State University Libraries' Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections (MASC)
Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections
Terrell Library Suite 12
Pullman, WA
Telephone: 509-335-6691
Access Restrictions

This collection is open and available for research use.


Historical NoteReturn to Top

In early 1919, Washington State College music seniors Zella Melcher (1896-1938) and Phyllis “Phil” Sayles (1896-1971) were asked to create a new college fight song as part of a senior class project. Their song, initially simply titled “New Washington State Fight Song,” successfully debuted at an ASSCW meeting on February 20th, 1919.

Content DescriptionReturn to Top

The collection consists of physical and digital files created or collected as part of a 2019 centennial celebration of The Fight Song. While some of the Phyllis Sayles documents are originals, most of the remaining materials are reproductions gathered from various sources. Some original summary or exhibit documents are included. It includes stories about the two women as collected from their families.

Use of the CollectionReturn to Top

Restrictions on Use

Copyright restrictions may apply.

Preferred Citation

[Item Description] WSU Fight Song Papers, 1919-2019

Manuscripts, Archives, and Special Collections, Washington State University Libraries, Pullman, WA.

Administrative InformationReturn to Top


The collection is organized into three basic series, one for Phyllis Sayles, one for Zella Melcher, and one for the fight song in general. Within those, materials are ordered on an alphabetical subject basis.

Acquisition Information

The materials in this collection come from three sources. One is material about Zella Melcher, received in February of 2012 from her son Craig McMicken and retained as UPC 2012-01. Another is material about Phyllis Sayles received in December 2018 (with some additional items sent in early 2019) from her granddaughter Gail Davis and retained as UPC 2018-05. Third is research materials collected and created by University Archivist Mark O’English, compiled in May 2019.

Future Additions

While few to no additional materials are expected, it is anticipated that some of the originals may eventually be permanently gifted by the donors.

Processing Note

Digital scans of the Sayles/Davis items were created at MASC from loaned originals as 600 dpi tiffs, printed onto archival paper, and most originals returned to Ms. Davis. Digital scans of the Melcher/McMicken materials were received from that family as digital files; the MASC has never seen the originals. Digital files of the majority of the collection are retained in the MASC’s digital archives. The collection was processed in May 2019 by University Archivist Mark O’English.

Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top

Series 1: Phyllis Sayles documentationReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 1
Correspondence with Alpha Chi Omega, 2018. Includes reprints of 1910s materials.
1 2
Correspondence with family, 2018-2019
1 3
Northwestern University Song Book, from family, 1917
1 4
Original documents from family, 1937-1949. Includes reprints of 1896-1922 materials.
1 5
Original WSC documents from family, 1919-1971.
1 6
Prints of scanned images from family, 2019. Reproductions from 1910s-1970s materials.
1 7
Research and documents, 2018-2019. Includes reprints of 1910s-1940s materials.

Series 2: Zella Melcher documentationReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 8
Correspondence with family, 2012-2018
1 9
Prints of digital images from family, 2012. Reproductions from 1910s materials.
1 10
Research and documents, 2012-2018. Includes reprints of 1910s-2010s materials.

Series 3: Fight Song documentationReturn to Top

Container(s) Description
Box Folder
1 11
Centennial articles, 2019
1 12
Collected article reprints, 2018-2019. Reproductions from 1919-1997 materials.
1 13
Audio files & associated images (digital only), 2018-2019. Includes reproductions of 1934-2017 materials.

Names and SubjectsReturn to Top

Personal Names

  • Sayles, Phyllis E.