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The Students Offering, 1869

By Helena Egbert and Elizabeth Nielsen

Collection Overview

Title: The Students Offering, 1869

ID: PUB 490

Primary Creator: Finley, Hugh McNary (-1923)

Extent: 0.02 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Students Offering is a compilation of short writings by Corvallis College students, edited by Hugh McNary Finley and W.R. Privett.  McNary and Privett earned degrees at Corvallis College in 1871.  The Students Offering is considered Oregon State University's earliest student publication.

Scope and Content Notes

The Students Offering consists of short pieces written by Corvallis College students and compiled in December 1869. This compilation is identified as volume 2, number 1.  Hugh McNary Finley as Editor and W.R. Privett served as Assistant Editor.  The motto of the publication was Magus esse quam videre.  The Students Offering  is considered Oregon State University's earliest student publication.

The Students Offering is a handwritten document penned by students.  Each piece appears to have been writtten by a different student.  Most pieces are signed, often with a pseudonym.    The first piece, titled ‘Editorial’, discusses the change in editor, positive hopes for the future of the publication, as well as a few other local publications and their editors with good regard. The two publications mentioned were the Willamette Mercury (Editor J.H. Witon) and The Gazette (Editor W.B. Carter). The end of this editorial indicates the publication was created through a series of exchanges stating: “We will be happy to continue these valuable papers among our list of exchanges.”

The next piece was written by someone who signs as “New Comer”; it discusses the value of education that is not earned within a school setting and stresses the value of different kinds of intelligence. It is dated December 11th 1869 with the location Yaquina Bay.  On page 6, there is a poem about The Agricultural College written by G. Gaylord.

In “Finley on the Electric Telegraph”, the editor discusses, in a piece several pages long, his fascination with electricity and desire to understand it better by looking at the telegraph.

"Facts" (on page 11)  appears to be philosophical ponderings and opinions on issues like wealth, the laws of nature, and how to treat others.

The bottom half of page 12 has a charming poem of “Ten Commandments to the Young Ladies of Corvallis College.” Commands includes those such as ignoring boys, maintaining good grooming, and avoiding useless labor as well as a broken heart. “Aunt Hannah” signs off this poem.

Beginning on page 13, a man tells an amusing (true?) story about courting a girl, and visiting her house to ask her to marry him. Unfortunately, his dear Betsy’s mom is not pleased with the arrangement, and to avoid getting beat up by her, he hides in a barrel of soap. This does not work out, Betsy’s mom finds him and continues to beat him, and with one last embrace, he leaves never to see his beloved Betsy again. He does not  use his real name, instead signing off “Livingood.”

“BuzFly” writes a letter to the editor that begins on page 16.  It is dated December 6, 1869, from Point Lookout. This piece  has noticebly different spelling then the others. Much of it appears to be references to events or issues of the time. The end is  a satirical obituary in the form of a poem to The Temperance Society.

“Second Book of Chronicles”, the continuation of a story from volume 1, begins on page 20.  The story has a distinctly biblical or spiritual style. Phrases such as Sons of Aspiration and Daughters of Emulation have each first letter capitalized; also, a High Priest is mentioned. Most paragraphs begin with the phrase “And it came to pass…” It is clearly a continuation from the first issue of this publication. ‘Ezra the Scribe’ signs off.

Throughout the publication, when a piece ends and there is space at the end of the page there are short jokes such as “Why is Bachelor Square like Central Park New York? Because it is well supplied with fountains.”

“Local Items. The Literary Casket.” starts on page 25.  This appears to be advice to fellow students on how best to maintain a good reputation as a journalist. It is written in the distinctive flowery style of the time.

‘The Teachers Institute", an upcoming event with guest speakers, is promoted in an article on page 27.  Much of this piece is about Professor W. Rayburn.

“Christmas Tree” encourages students to shop at B.R. Biddle’s Drugstore for their gifts.  Following on the same page is “Grand Attraction”, with more encouragement for B.R. Biddle’s Drug store and what it has for kids.

“Stubs Visit to Yale College” (on page 30) is a response to a previously written piece on this writer’s visit to Yale.  Following this piece there are some miscellaneous short pieces and poems.

The Offering ends with a review of Corvallis College’s first session, describing it as the most “Prosperous in the history of the institution yet.”

Biographical / Historical Notes

Hugh McNary Finley received an A.B. degree from Corvallis College in 1871 and was a farmer near Junction City, Oregon, until his death in 1923.  W.R. (William Riley) Privett also graduated from Corvallis College in 1871, with a B.S. degree.  Privett died in 1901.

Author: Elizabeth Nielsen

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 1 box

Statement on Access: The collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The photocopy was made in 1965 from the original held by the Benton County Pioneer Historical Society.  It is not known when the original manuscript was received by the University Archives.

Related Materials: The Board of Trustees Records (RG 033) and William A. Finley Scrapbook (MSS FinleyWA) provide additional information about the early years of Corvallis College during the late 1860s and early 1870s.  The General Catalog for 1869-1870 includes lists of faculty, officers, and students as well as information about academic programs, regulations, and facilities.

Preferred Citation: The Students Offering (PUB 490), Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Oregon State University Libraries, Corvallis, Oregon.

Processing Information: In 2017, these materials were segregated from other student publications to form a discrete collection known as The Students Offering (PUB 490).


Finley, Hugh McNary (-1923)
Privett, W. R. (William Riley) (-1901)

People, Places, and Topics

College students' writings, American--Oregon--Corvallis.
College students--Oregon--Corvallis.
Corvallis College--Students.
University History

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.