Vintage OSC Benny Beaver Pennant and a Benny Beaver History Lesson!

Here is an early pennant showing Benny Beaver wearing an OSC hat, likely from the 1950’s. This pennant, about 9 inches long, is one of the few pre-OSU pennants showing Benny’s face (most show him wearing an OSU hat, so post-1961) so it is unique in that sense.

Now for a little history lesson (thanks to Wikipedia) on OSU’s use as the Beaver for a mascot, and more specifically, the one and only Benny the Beaver!  The university’s school newspaper in 1908 is the first known organization on campus to adopt the beaver as its namesake. The school yearbook’s long use of the name, known as “The Beaver” starting in 1916, eventually helped solidify the beaver as the university’s official mascot. The popularity of the beaver was also shared by students at University of Oregon. For several early publishings, students at this school also used “The Beaver” as their yearbook’s title.  We all knew that Ducks really want to be Beavers, right?

OSU’s first documented use of “Benny Beaver” was found in a photograph showing students posing next to a statue of a beaver inscribed with the name “Benny Beaver.” The photograph appears in the 1942 edition of the yearbook.  Prior to the beaver, earlier mascots include “Jimmie” the Coyote (1892–1893) and “Bulldog” (1906–1910, unofficial and for specific teams only, such as the Wrestling squad). The beaver mascot’s name, “Benny,” was officially adopted in 1945. Two failed attempts to maintain a live beaver mascot include Bevo Beaver (rescued from Mary’s River in 1921 and later stolen) and Billy Beaver (made mascot in 1935, and later fell ill and died).

The early Benny Beaver “cartoon” icon/logo, seen on this pennant, was created by famous graphic illustrator, and former Disney employee, Arthur C. Evans.  As the art director for Angelus Pacific Company, Evans submitted his design to OSU and it was approved for use in 1951. His logos were used at hundreds of other universities and high schools throughout the nation. Benny has had a few changes over the years, most noticeably in 1998 and again in 2013.  While those were significant departures from the Disney style Benny, that old Benny still remains used by OSU on some shirts and souvenirs.

A couple other interesting facts… In December 2010, Benny Beaver was ranked 13th on a list titled 20 Worst Behaved Mascots Of All Time. Despite the bad press, Benny Beaver won the 2011 Capital One Mascot of the Year write-in campaign, earning the mascot program $1000 and inclusion in the following year’s Capital One All-America Mascot Team.

OSC Pennant

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