Archives West Finding Aid
Table of Contents
Underground Newspapers, circa 1965 - 2002
Overview of the Collection
- Black Student Union (Oregon State University)
- Underground Newspapers
- circa 1965 - 2002 (inclusive)19652002
- 0.50 cubic feet, (2 boxes, including 1 oversize box)
- Collection Number
- PUB 013-3
- The Underground Newspapers consist of publications, primarily written and produced by Oregon State University students, that were intended as alternatives to the mainstream press. Most of the publications were issued during the period of student unrest in the 1960s and early 1970s. The predominant topics are civil rights, specifically racial incidents at Oregon State University, and the war in Vietnam. All of the items in this collection are available online in the Oregon State University Student Protest and Underground Publications digital collection.
Oregon State University Libraries, Special Collections and Archives Research Center
Special Collections and Archives Research Center
121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
- Access Restrictions
The collection is open for research.
Historical NoteReturn to Top
The 1960s and early 1970s were turbulent times on many college and university campuses and Oregon State University was no exception. While Oregon State was relatively staid by comparison to other insitutions in Oregon and beyond, protests, sit-ins, and underground publications were present. The war in Vietnam and civil rights were the top issues associated with protests and free speech movements at Oregon State.
The most notable protest was the Black Student Union walkout in spring 1969. In February 1969, the Oregon State University head football coach, Dee Andros, required Fred Milton, a black athlete, to shave his facial hair. This requirement was declared unreasonable by the Black Student Union and brought racial issues at Oregon State University to the forefront of the campus for the remainder of the spring of 1969. The Black Student Union organized protests, class boycotts, and a campus walkout. The Scab Sheet was published by the Black Student Union, as an alternative to the mainstream student newspaper, to communicate to the campus regarding these racial issues and the resulting actions. Many of the other underground publications document these racial issues and the resulting protests as well.
Content DescriptionReturn to Top
The Underground Newspapers consist of publications, primarily by Oregon State University students, that were produced as alternatives to the mainstream press. In keeping with the nature of underground publications, the authors and individuals or organizations responsible for publishing are not identified for many of these materials.
The bulk of the collection is comprised of multiple issues of the Biweekly Daily Planet and the Scab Sheet. These were published in 1969-1971 and address primarily the war in Vietnam and racial issues at Oregon State University. Single issues of several other publications advocating opposition to the war in Vietnam and supporting protests and other actions are also part of the collection. Militarism, nuclear weapons, and the environment are also addressed in these materials. In contrast, an undated one-page publication, The Fact Sheet , was a call to Oregon State University students to stand in opposition to campus protest movements.
The Underground Newspapers also include issues of OSU this Weak -- a spoof of Oregon State's weekly staff newsletter, OSU This Week -- that was written and published by Kevin Ahern in the early 1990s. A 2002 zine, The Underachiever, is the most recent publication in the collection.
All of the items in this collection are available online in the Oregon State University Student Protest and Underground Publications digital collection.
Use of the CollectionReturn to Top
Underground Newspapers (PUB 013-3), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.
Administrative InformationReturn to Top
The Underground Newspapers are arranged in 12 series: 1. Biweekly Daily Planet, 1970-1971; 2. Scab Sheet, 1969-1970; 3. Spark, circa 1970; 4. Élan, 1976; 5. The Fact Sheet, circa 1970; 6. Mutha, undated; 7. Poor Jensen's Almanac, undated; 8. Pensée, 1971; 9. Rye Grass, 1969; 10. The Tin Can, 1968; 11. OSU This Weak, 1990-1993; and 12. The Underachiever, 2002.
These publications were acquired by the University Archives and later the Special Collections and Archives Research Center from the 1970s through 2000s. The Scab Sheet was transferred from the Memorabila Collection in 2017 at the time this guide was prepared. Several of the publications were formerly part of the Student Affairs Records (RG 102) and were also transferred to this collection in 2017.
Further documentation of student protests at Oregon State University is available in the Memorabilia Collection (MC), the Oregon Multicultural Communities Research Collection (MSS OMCRC), and the Associated Students of Oregon State University (ASOSU) Records (RG 011). The Student Publications (PUB 10-22) include other "non-mainstream" student publications, including the Gad-Fly and the Oracle. Another copy of the Biweekly Daily Planet is available in the HistOSU collection. Aditional copies of Elan are available in the Memorabilia Collection and theHistOSU collection. A full run of the Pensee is available in the Libraries' main circulating collection with the call number AP2 .P35.
An oral history interview of Kevin Ahern was conducted in 2015 as part of the Oregon State University Sesquicentennial Oral History Project.
Detailed Description of the CollectionReturn to Top
Series 1: Biweekly Daily Planet, 1970-1971Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 1.1
The Biweekly Daily Planet was a community publication not directly connected with Oregon State University. It lists many campus events and, according to the paper, was sponsored on campus by "A.C.T.S.". In addition to pieces protesting the war in Vietnam and calling out civil rights issues, it includes articles critical of Oregon State University administrators and listings of OSU Experimental College classes. Ten issues were published between November 1970 (no. 1) and May 1971 (no. 10). This collection includes two copies of numbers 1 and 2.
In 2016, one of the editors of the Daily Planet identified himself (Mike Warwick) and the other editors -- Daniel Bergsvik, Carl Stomsens, and Linda Bays. The editors are pictured on page 2 of issue no. 4 (left to right: Bergsvik, Warwick, Stomsens, and Bays).
Series 2: Scab Sheet, 1969-1970Return to Top
The Black Student Union printed and circulated this mimeographed underground newspaper during the Black Student Union protests and walkout in spring 1969. The publication was in response to "biased coverage of events" by the mainstream student newspaper, The Barometer. Publication was sponsored by the Student Action Committee; authors remained anonymous to prevent retaliation citing a "fear of harassment and repressive action".
Fourteen issues of the Scab Sheet were published -- eleven in March-May of 1969 (volume I) and three in the spring of 1970 (volume II). This collection includes multiple copies of all issues.The issues of volume I are focussed on racial issues at Oregon State University, specifically the Fred Milton incident and the resulting Black Student Union walk-out over racial controversies in the Oregon State University athletic department. The issues of volume II address the Vietnam War and American military action in Cambodia.
A 2012 blog post about The Scab Sheet describes the publication and its digitization.
Issues for March 4 - May 3
Final two issues in May
Series 3: Spark, circa 1970Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 1.5
Series 3 consists of 2 issues of Spark, a mimeographed publication that describes anti-war protests and events on campus in the spring of 1970 and includes announcements of upcoming events. These two issues are undated and no authors are identified.
Series 4: Élan, 1976Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.1
Series 4 consists of one issue of Élan issued in May 1976 by the Literary Magazine Production Class of the OSU Experimental College. The 48-page publication includes original unpublished poems, short stories, and drawings.
Series 5: The Fact Sheet, circa 1970Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.2
Series 5 consists of a one-page mimeographed publication, The Fact Sheet. The Fact Sheet is not dated, but appears to be from the early 1970s. It appeals to Oregon State University students to stand in opposition to protest movements on the Oregon State campus.
Series 6: Mutha, undatedReturn to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.3
Series 6 consists of one issue of Mutha -- a 2-page dittoed copy publication produced on a spirit duplicator. The issue is undated; it includes references to the Black Bag, Oregon State University President Jensen, and LBJ suggesting it was published in the mid-late 1960s.
Series 7: Poor Jensen's Almanac, undatedReturn to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.4
Series 7 consists of 2 copies of a one-page publication, Poor Jensen's Almanac. This publication is a dittoed copy produced on a spirit duplicator. With the sub-title, The Uppercrust of the Undergound, the sheet mentions other recent underground student newspapers (Mutha, The Predawn Leftist, and Gadfly). This publication is undated; the title's reference to Oregon State University President Jensen suggests it was published in the mid-late 1960s.
Series 8: Pensée, 1971Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.5
Series 8 consists of 3 of the first 4 issues of Pensée, published in February, March, and June 1971. Pensée was initiated as "an alternative to prevailing campus journalism" and was distributed free to students on all major Oregon campuses. Editorial work was based in Portland, Oregon. The magazine was published by Now Publications, based in Bellevue, Washington. Beginning with the October 1971 issue, the magazine was published by the Student Academic Freedom Forum in Portland, Oregon.
Series 9: Rye Grass, 1969Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.6
Series 9 consists of the spring 1969 issue of Rye Grass: The Magazine of Agrarian Reform. The 50-page magazine includes essays, satire, poetry, photographs, and drawings that address racism, student protests, the military draft, local and national politics, and campus life and regulations. Submissions were accepted from students and faculty.
Series 10: The Tin Can, 1968Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.7
Series 10 consists of one issue of The Tin Can, published in February 1968. The 4-page publication includes poetry and drawings. This issue indicates that submissions for future issues were to be submitted to the English Department.
Series 11: OSU This Weak, 1990-1993Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 1.6
Series 11 consists of 7 issues of OSU This Weak which satirizes the Oregon State University administration, especially President John Byrne and Provost Graham Spanier. OSU This Weak was published irregularly by Kevin Ahern, an Oregon State University employee, as a spoof of the weekly staff newsletter, OSU This Week. During this time, Ahern was Business Manager and Research Coordinator for the OSU Biochemistry and Biophysics Department.
Series 12: The Underachiever, 2002Return to Top
Container(s): Box-folder 2.8
Series 12 consists of 4 issues of The Underachiever, a zine lampooning Oregon State University as well as Corvallis and Oregon. It includes references to Tonya Harding, Oregon State University President Paul Risser, the Portland Trailblazers, and Steve Fenk in OSU athletics.
Names and SubjectsReturn to Top
- African Americans--Civil Rights--Oregon.
- College students' writings, American--Oregon--Corvallis.
- Student movements--Oregon.
- Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Protest movements--Oregon.
- Ahern, Kevin G.
- Black Student Union (Oregon State University)
- Oregon State University--Student strike, 1969.
- Oregon State University. Experimental College.
- Ahern, Kevin G. (creator)
- Oregon State University. Experimental College. (creator)