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Oregon State University
Special Collections and Archives
Research Center

Coed Cottage Records, 1956-1984View associated digital content.

The Coed Cottage Records were created by residents of the Coed Cottage, a women's cooperative established at Oregon State College in 1956. The collection consists predominantly of annual scrapbooks with photographs, newspaper clippings, and ephemera documenting the residents and their activities. The collection also includes correspondence, the cooperative's constitution and house rules, a membership ledger and mailing list, and meeting minutes for the house's Executive Council and house meetings. The Coed Cottage closed in 1984.

Items from this collection have been digitized and are available in Oregon Digital.

ID: MSS Coed
Extent: 4.5 cubic feet
More Extent Information
Scope and Content Notes
Biographical / Historical Notes
Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.
Statement on Description: The majority of the photographs in the scrapbook for 1969/1970 were loose, and were removed to a separate folder in Box 02. Most of these loose photographs had hand-written numbers on the back; these numbers were transcribed into the space where the photograph had been. Numbers were assigned to those photographs without them, and that number was transcribed on the appropriate page of the scrapbook.
Preferred Citation: Coed Cottage Records (MSS Coed), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.
Acquisition Note: The records were transferred to the Archives in 1985.
Acquired: 1985.
Languages of Materials

Container List

Series 1: Organizational Records, 1956-1984 Add to Shelf

The majority of Series 1 is comprised of meeting minutes, dating from the month and year the cooperative was established – September 1956 – all the way to its closure in 1984. The meeting minutes are particularly rich in content, and document everything from the procedures and rules of the house, to the social issues that arise from communal living. The overwhelming majority of the minutes are hand-written, except for the minutes from January 1980 to January 17, 1983, which are typed.

The majority of the meetings were roughly organized into three parts: a closing out of old business, bringing forward of new business, and officer reports. Documented topics of discussion at the meeting include: payment of house fees (e.g. for shared baking supplies or toiletries); upcoming social events and ideas for social events, such as dances and house “exchanges;” fines and demerits (e.g. see October 8, 1956); nominations for, and election of officers; and reminders regarding the observation of house rules (e.g. quiet hours, when and where male visitors could be entertained).

The first meeting ledger - September 24, 1956 - March 8, 1959 - is significant in that it documents the first house meeting of the Co-ed Cottage, and election of its first group of officers. Of additional note are the two meetings regarding the closure of the house, held May 20 and May 21, 1984. The minutes for the meeting on May 20 close with the incredulous exclamation “Closing of the house??!” At the subsequent meeting on May 21, then-Vice President for Student Affairs Jo Anne Trow let residents know that other uses for the Cottage were being considered, explaining that an increasing need for space – and concurrent steady decline in interest in cooperative living – was forcing the University’s hand. The students countered, arguing that Coed was a “good place for students to live,” and that the coop had become a home for many of them, not “just a place to stay.” The University had not yet made the final decision to close the Coed Cottage, Trow cautioned, but would wait to see the numbers from the 1984 application cycle. This is the last house meeting recorded in the collection, and the Cottage was closed shortly thereafter. The College of Oceanography which, at the time, had been 25,000 square feet short of administrative and lab space, moved into the space in late 1984.

Series 1 also includes a flyer for an Open House event at the cooperative, a membership ledger (1956 to1984), a constitution, and materials documenting house rules and procedures. Correspondence includes an undated cooperative newsletter, and a letter requesting more information regarding the facilities available at the house and the responsibilities of the residents. House rules and procedures outlined in the General House Procedures and Rules document visitation hours and procedures, quiet hours, house duties, fines and fees, and the “general courtesies” to be observed while living in the house. The membership ledger lists house residents’ names, by term, presumably beginning in Fall 1956. Most residents have a series of checks or x’s next to their name, but no key is provided to explain their meaning (it could indicate the timely payment of house fees).

Box-Folder 1.1: Correspondence, 1983-1984 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.2: Ephemera, undated Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.3: Constitution, House Procedures and Rules, July 1982 - July 1983 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.4: Membership Ledger, 1956-1984 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.5: Membership mailing list, 1976 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.6: Meeting Minutes: Execuitve Council and House meetings, September 24, 1956 - March 8, 1959 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.7: Meeting Minutes: Execuitve Council and House meetings, March 30, 1959 - October 7, 1962 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.8: Meeting Minutes: House meetings, October 25, 1971 - April 5, 1976 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.9: Meeting Minutes: House meetings, April 19, 1976 - September 20, 1976 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.10: Meeting Minutes: House meetings, April 30, 1978 - March 3, 1980 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 1.11: Meeting Minutes: House meetings, January 19, 1980 - May 21, 1984 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 2.1: Meeting Minutes: Executive Committee meetings, November 30, 1980 - Fall 1983 Add to Shelf
The Executive Committee was formerly known as the Executive Council.
Series 2: Scrapbooks, 1956-1984 Add to Shelf

The scrapbooks, which comprise the bulk of the collection material, are themselves comprised of news clippings, photographs, and ephemera. The news clippings in the scrapbooks primarily serve to document the activities of Coed Cottage residents, and residents’ names are often underlined or otherwise called out in the clippings. The degree to which captions are included in the scrapbooks is variable. The scrapbooks from the late 1970s and early 1980s tend to have fewer captions, while several of the scrapbooks in the late 1960s and early 1970s have very informative captions, complete with names and event titles.

Common news clipping topics include the Pins and Rings section from the Barometer; clippings relating to student GPAs (honor roll lists, etc.); social events on campus (e.g. concerts, Homecoming); and sports. Of special note in the news clippings is an article in the 1961/1962 scrapbook regarding the adoption of a foster child from China by that year’s Junior class; an article in the 1964/1965 scrapbook regarding the approval by the Oregon State Board of Education of two new cooperative on campus, Dixon and Avery; an article from the 1978/1979 scrapbook about Volleyball player, and Coed Cottage resident, Gail Yamamoto; and an article in the 1968/1969 scrapbook regarding a “survey of coop life at OSU.” By 1969, fewer and fewer news clippings are included in the scrapbooks; the scrapbooks for 1978 through 1985 include one or no clippings.

The majority of the photographs in the scrapbooks document: social events such as Christmas and other holiday parties, house dances (including “Nickel hops”), and “firesides” and serenades; traditions such as officer and new member initiations (both “formal” and “informal”), pins and rings, and candle passing ceremonies, and “ponding,” which may have been part of the pinning or candle passing ceremony; campus-wide events such as Mom’s and Dad’s Weekends and IFC Sings; and candid shots of residents – including the house cat, Bobby (1983/1984) – going about their daily lives. Group photographs of cottage residents are included in some of the scrapbooks, but not for every year and/or term.

Photographs of particular interest include an image of several house residents in “brown face” for the Halloween dance (1962/1963), images from the “Sophomore Skip” trip to Cape Lookout (1965/1966). Several students – Florence Endo, a Home Economics major from Hawaii (1957/1958), and Cathy Wangui, a foreign exchange student from Kenya (1964/1965) – have individual portraits included.

Ephemera included in the scrapbooks primarily documents the activities of house residents, and events that took place inside the house. Ephemeral materials include dance cards, holiday cards and thank you notes, campus theater and music programs, wedding invitations and announcements, blank postcards, event flyers (e.g. Mom’s Weekend, Turtle Derby), poems and songs / chants (e.g. the Coed Cottage Theme Song in 1983/1984), and guest lists for house dances.

There are several additional items of note in the scrapbooks. The scrapbook for 1958/1959 includes a list of Coed Cottage charter members. The 1961/1962 scrapbook includes a copy of the Fall 1961 issue of Spindrift, a journal published by OSU to “encourage and recognize the literary and artistic effort among the students of Oregon State University.” Both the 1968/1969 and the 1970/1971 scrapbooks begin each term with a brief narrative of the events of the quarter, and include a list of residents in the house and their room numbers. The 1968/1969 scrapbook is particularly noteworthy for the quality of its captions, which often include names, and irreverent rejoinders. Also of note, particularly in the 1968/1969 scrapbook, is the shift in attitude towards the tradition of pinning. Pinning can be thought of as a sort of engagement to be engaged; traditionally, a man gives his partner his college or fraternity pin as a symbol of his intent to remain in a long-term relationship leading to marriage). Though pinning ceremonies were still being conducted in the late 1960s, it was clearly being taken less seriously, as some girls had begun to poke fun at the tradition by ‘faking’ part of the ceremony (e.g. offering a candle to another girl in the house, or refusing to drink from the pinning bowl).

A survey of the 24 scrapbooks contained in the collection is included in Box 02.

Box-Folder 2.2: Scrapbook inventory, 2019 Add to Shelf
Created by the archivist processor in the course of reviewing the collection.
Box-Folder 2.3: 35mm color negatives, circa 1970-1984 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 3.1: 1956-1957 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 3.2: 1957-1958 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 3.3: 1958-1959 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 4.1: 1959-1960 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 4.2: 1960-1961 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 4.3: 1961-1962 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 5.1: 1962-1963 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 5.2: 1963-1964 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 5.3: 1964-1965 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 6.1: 1965-1966 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 6.2: 1966-1967 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 6.3: 1967-1968 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 7.1: 1968-1969 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 7.2: 1969-1970 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 2.4: 1969-1970: Images 1 - 35 Add to Shelf
The majority of the photographs in this scrapbook had come loose from their pages and are stored separately in Box 02, folders 4 and 5.
Box-Folder 2.5: 1969-1970: Images 35a - 69 Add to Shelf
The majority of the photographs in this scrapbook had come loose from their pages and are stored separately in Box 02, folders 4 and 5.
Box-Folder 7.3: 1970-1971 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 8.1: 1971-1972 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 8.2: 1972-1973 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 8.3: 1973-1974 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 8.4: 1974-1975 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 9.1: 1975-1976 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 9.2: 1978-1979 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 9.3: 1980-1981 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 10.1: 1983-1984 Add to Shelf
Box-Folder 10.2: circa 1984-1985 Add to Shelf