c. 1914 Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Pennant

This slightly smaller than normal OAC (Oregon Agricultural College) pennant came from the same estate as the Class of 1914 OAC pennant that I posted about earlier, so I’m assuming it’s from roughly the same year.  For being 100+ years old, this particular pennant has the truest orange and black colors on the felt and hand-stitched letters that I have ever seen!  The styling of the OAC letters are also unique.  This is one of my favorite old Oregon State pennants that I’ve come across.

1914 Pennant

Oregon State (OAC) “Class of 1914” Pennant

Oregon State must have been quite the scene back in 1914, when this large wool hand stitched pennant hung on the wall of a graduating senior at Oregon Agricultural College!

While I’m sure it was a memorable year for this particular senior, unfortunately the Beavers sports teams probably didn’t create too much excitement around campus!  The Beavers football team, under direction of coach E.J. Stewart, would have just finished up the 1913 season by going 3-2-3, including a 10-10 tie in the Civil War game.  The 1914 men’s basketball team, also coached by E.J. Stewart, went 10-8.  They played the Ducks six times during the season, winning four of those.  Lastly, the Beavers baseball team had a disappointing 7-9 season, including a 1-7 record in league play, which could be the reason Coach Wilkie Clark only lasted one season!

This pennant came from an estate along with this old OAC pennant.

1914 Class Pennant

Oregon State College Mini-Pennants (pre-1961)

School pennants have come in all shapes and sizes over the years, including mini-pennants that range from just a few inches to around 12 inches long.  The really small pennants were probably given out as promotional items by the school or maybe came with something bought at the store.  The slightly bigger ones were probably bought at OSU’s bookstore, or at other stores around town.

Below are a few examples of small pennants from Oregon State University.  These are all from 1961 or earlier, when OSU was still known as Oregon State College.  The top three pennants are the smallest, with the first black one only being only about 3 inches long!

Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) Pennant & WWI Pins – c. 1918

This black felt O.A.C. pennant, with hand stitched orange felt letters, dates from c. 1918, at a time when America and Oregon Agricultural College (then OAC – now OSU) were in the last year of our country’s first great war, World War I.

Helping date this pennant, it came with five small pinbacks from WWI affixed to it.  The pins include a “Third Liberty Loan” pin, a Salvation Army War Service Fund pin, and three small Red Cross pins.

These pins were probably collected by a student at OAC during the War (1914-1918), when Oregon State University was a thriving training grounds for countless men and women who would go on to serve our country in one capacity or another.

During 1917, OAC was the center of military life for the entire state of Oregon. 66 faculty left to aid in the war effort. The US War Service called an additional 105 staff members to active service in 1918, and nearly 2,000 students, alumni, and faculty members were enlisted. In addition, more than 2,000 men were in training at OAC in the Students’ Army Training Corps and other military and naval training units.  Sadly, 51 OAC students, faculty, and alumni lost their lives during the War.  Below are two pictures of campus during 1918.  The first shows OAC’s President Kerr addressing the Student Army Training Corps, and the second shows Army students doing radio training. For the early part of OSU’s history every physically fit male was required to take the first two years of ROTC instruction.

Today, OSU Army ROTC continues the tradition of “The West Point of the West,” the nickname earned during World War II when the OSU Corps produced more officers than any other non-military academy in the nation.

The “Third Liberty Loan” pin refers to part of the larger effort by the U.S. government to sell war bonds (also known as Liberty Bonds) during WWI, to defray the expense of war. They were primarily sold by the boy and girl scouts, and the Third Liberty Loan Act was enacted in April of 1918, giving the best evidence of the age of this pin and pennant.

The Salvation Army War Service Fund was a fund raising effort to help provide assistance to the troops during the war. And the Red Cross, which started the war as a small organization, by war’s end had nearly one-third of the U.S. population who were either Red Cross donors or serving as a volunteer. In all, 20 million adults and 11 million youth claimed membership in the American Red Cross during the war and more than 8 million adults were volunteer workers.

Undoubtedly, many of these organizations were found on the campus of OSU during this time, and this pennant and accompanying pins provide a unique snapshot into a student’s life during that time in the school’s history… nearly 100 years ago!

3 salvation army pins 1 loberty loan and one salvation army war service fund

1918 OSU



John Biancone Trophy from Oregon State College (1934)

Despite standing a mere 5 foot 6 inches tall and 165 pounds, John “Johnny” Biancone was a highly decorated quarterback  and halfback for the Oregon State College Beavers from 1931-1934.  This trophy, I’m assuming, was given to Biancone his senior year by Oregon State to commemorate his playing days at OSC.

John graduated from Portland’s Benson High School in 1930, where he lettered three times in five different sports.  He was a member of the 1928  City Championship Team, captain of a soccer team that was undefeated all four years, and he was also a State Wrestling Champion in 1929.  He is a member of the Portland Interscholastic League (PIL) Hall of Fame.

While at Oregon State, John lettered three years in football and baseball (back then they could not play on Varsity as a Freshman so they couldn’t earn letters for that year).  On the gridiron, John played both halfback and quarterback under coaches Paul Schissler and then Lon Stiner.  It appears he switched between HB and QB during games, depending on what was working.  A 1932 news article from a rival team city said John was “a dashing, tricky open field runner.”  While he played football during 1933, it doesn’t appear he was on the field during the Beavers famous “Ironmen” game, where only 11 players played every minute on both offense and defense in a 0-0 tie against a two time National Champion USC team that suited up 80 men for the game.  While I haven’t done the research, I’m assuming Biancone was injured for that game.

After college John spent one year in 1936 playing quarterback in the NFL for the Brooklyn Dodgers, where records indicate he played in 5 games (they played far fewer games back then).  The following preseason he broke his leg and was released by the Dodgers, ending up with the Paterson (NJ) Panthers of the American Association (more of a minor league team) for a couple years.

Fast forward to 1942, and Biancone, like many men his age, found himself in the Army stationed at the Santa Ana Army Air Base in California.  At this base, Captain Biancone was the manager of the its football and baseball teams.  It seems he was the Athletic Director for the entire base, which at the time, had many former college and pro athletes in the army stationed there.  The large army bases would put together athletic teams to compete against other military bases, college teams, and even professional teams.  Biancone’s 1943 baseball team compiled an impressive record, including a winning streak of 20 straight games behind the stellar hitting of their star centerfielder who you may have heard of… Joe DiMaggio!

This neat trophy stands about 7 inches tall and the football player and plaque are silver or silver plated.  Is I said, I presume this was given to Biancone by OSU at the end of his senior season, either because he was a team Captain, MVP, or they could have given these to all the seniors.  A cool piece of 80+ year old Oregon State history!

In the last picture below from 1932, John Biancone (far right) is standing next to his coach at OSU, Paul Schissler (center), and teammate Harold Moe (far left).



“Oregon Aggies” Green and Yellow Pin, c. 1920

This “Oregon Aggies” pinback is somewhat of a mystery to me for one simple reason… the colors are green and yellow instead of black and orange!  I have seen two of these pins and both appeared to have been originally printed in these colors, as opposed to maybe the orange fading to a yellow and/or the black fading to a green tint.  Very disturbing for an Oregon State fan!

As far as I know, Oregon State, or Oregon Agricultural College as it was known in the early 1900’s, was the only group/organization in Oregon to be referred to as the Oregon Aggies.  I haven’t found reference to any other sports group or organizations who may have also been called the Oregon Aggies.  I also know Oregon State was still referred to as the Aggies until at least 1926.  While the school’s animal mascot had become the Beaver during the prior decade (at least on some pennants and in the yearbooks), I’m guessing the official “Aggies” name may have been dropped and the Beaver officially took over when the school changed names from Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) to Oregon State College (OSC) in 1927.  These facts would seem to put the age of this pin, which is slightly smaller than normal pin – about the size of a half dollar, sometime in the late-teens-to-mid-1920’s.

Now as for the colors, Oregon State had officially adopted Orange and Black as its school colors by 1893.  And their rivals to the south, the University of Oregon, had adopted green and yellow as their colors in 1894.  So why would an Oregon State pin have been printed in green and yellow?  Was it an early prank by the Ducks on their Beaver neighbors?  Or was this perhaps tied to a topic I posted about earlier, where back in 1917, the “Rooks” (aka freshman) on campus were forced to wear green caps so they could be identified?  After all, the 1917 “Rooks” poster was printed with green text, the caps were green… so I wonder if they could only wear green pins too?  However, the letter on the green cap back then was orange and not yellow!  So why the yellow?  Because if there’s two colors we know Oregon State alumni and fans despise… it’s green and yellow!  This may go down as one of OSU’s great mysteries!

Oregon Aggies Pin


Oregon State Vintage Letterman Sweaters

In an earlier post I had some examples of felt letters that came off early sweaters or letterman jackets, usually worn by athletes at Oregon State.  History has it that letterman sweaters were first worn by the 1865 Harvard basketball team.  Typically the stripes indicated the number of years on the varsity team, while a star would indicate the player was a team captain.  If you look through archives or yearbook pictures of athletes in the early ears of Oregon State, you can see many different sweaters being worn.  However, I’m not sure when the formal “letterman sweater” became the norm at OSU.

The earliest Oregon State sweater I have dates to the late 1930’s.  It is heavy wool and the sleeve has an orange stripe but no actual letter.  I’m not sure if this sweater ever had a letter, but it doesn’t appear that it did.  Made by HL Whiting out of Seattle, here is a picture of the sweater, the tag with the player’s name, and an original advertisement from 1938.

Here are three other letterman sweaters that date from the 1940’s-1960’s which have the letters in addition to the stripe on the sleeve.  The third picture with two stripes is actually a child’s letterman sweater, made by Dehen, probably available from the team store back in the day.

Here is an example of a white OSU letterman’s sweater from 1943.



And lastly, we can’t forget the rally squad, who also wore sweaters with letters on them!  This picture is the rally squad for the 1942 Rose Bowl bound team with “OSC” across the front.  The second sweater with a beaver on the front and “Rally” on the back is circa 1940’s-1950’s.