These two vintage Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) pennants were found folded inside a scrapbook kept by an Oregon State student from 1908, which he put together to commemorate the 1908 Civil War football game. However, it’s unlikely the pennants are from 1908, because records in the OSU archives suggest the school was first referred to as the “Beavers” in 1910. Some historians argue the date is later, around 1916.
Since one of these pennants has a Beaver on it, it may have been from one of the student’s last years in school (estate records show he attended from 1908-1912) and just inserted into the scrapbook for safe keeping. Or another possibility is the student could have stayed in Corvallis after graduation or been associated at OSU at a later date when he obtained the pennants, because his estate also had a picture of the OSU student body and faculty from 1923. Either way they are very cool early OAC pennants that likely date sometime between 1908-1923!
For once I can actually date an item with quite a bit of precision! This black and orange reversible wool hat, or beanie as they were called, belonged to an Oregon State student named Gene Winn. A 2009 obituary for Mr. Winn says he was born in Albany in 1930 and attended OSU for a couple years, starting in 1948. He lived and worked in Albany and Corvallis most of his life, eventually retiring from the Fred Meyer in Corvallis. I’m not sure when he retired, but I can’t help but wonder if our paths ever crossed in that store, which I frequented so regularly during my time at OSU!
As you recall from previous posts, the 1942 Rose Bowl game that pitted Oregon State against Duke came at a tumultuous time in our country. Weeks before the game the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor, causing the game being moved from California to Duke’s campus in Raleigh, North Carolina. Within a few days after the bombing, America would be at war with both Japan and Germany, and many of the men on both football teams would soon be in the war themselves, with some making the ultimate sacrifice for our country.
This white pinback is a little larger than a silver dollar and reads in Duke blue writing “BEAT HITLER AND OREGON STATE.” While I’m sure many Duke fans wore that pin proudly back in 1942, this is the only one I have ever seen. I have no idea if there was a “Beat Hitler and Duke” pin created for the OSU side, but if there was, I’m sure if would have been worn proudly too!
This pin is great example of sports and world events bringing a group of fans together and the nationalism that often ensues. While the pin was made for Duke fans, I felt it was just too good to not post on an OSU memorabilia blog!
Here is another vintage Oregon State University pennant from the school’s Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) days (1890-1927). This orange wool pennant is slightly smaller in size (about 24 inches long) than the more modern pennants and the black letters are simple and stitched on. This pennant shows some signs of good use over the years!
Oregon Agricultural College Pennant
I have previously posted some items and info on 1942 Rose Bowl game between Oregon State and Duke, which is most famous for being the only Rose Bowl played outside of California. Due to concerns over WWII, the game was played in Durham, NC, where Oregon State upset a heavily favored Duke team by a score of 20-16.
While some memorabilia from this game can be found, one of the more rare items is the trophy that players and coaches were awarded from that game. All Oregon State coaches and players received the trophies and we know at least the Duke coaches received them as well, because there was a story about a man in NC finding one of these trophies in the trash back in 2014, which had belonged to one of the Duke Coaches!
The pictures below include the trophy that was found in the trash (and later auctioned off), as well as the trophy from Oregon State player Leeland “Lee” Gustafson, who is pictured below (bottom row – far right on the team picture). The trophy stands about 20 inches tall and is a beautiful example of the way trophies looked back when they had true character and style!
While I have been fortunate to come across and obtain many old Oregon State University pennants, there are still several from the school’s Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) days that I have only seen in pictures, old photographs, or even drawings. The pennants in this specific post are not in my personal collection, but I’d obviously love to find! They all range from roughly 1890-1927, before OAC became Oregon State College (OSC). Each is unique and I found them from number of sources, like the Benton County Historical Society, OSU’s Archives, old programs, or old online auctions. Keep your eye out for others as I’d love to add more pennants (or even just pictures of them) to the collection and this site!
Dating to the early 1920’s, this is the oldest OSU (then OAC – Oregon Agricultural College) banner I have come across. The calligraphy style font of the hand-stitched OAC letters is the best way to date it, as this style of letters started to appear around that time. For being around 100 years old, this felt banner has amazingly vibrant colors and its large size (32 1/4 x 16) is unique. Old OAC pennants are rare, but this is the first OAC banner I have come across, making it a neat piece of Oregon State’s history!