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Memorial Union Campaign Records, 1924-1944

By Trevor Sandgathe

Collection Overview

Title: Memorial Union Campaign Records, 1924-1944

Predominant Dates: 1925-1941

ID: RG 281

Primary Creator: Oregon State Agricultural College. Memorial Union

Extent: 8.5 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Memorial Union Campaign Records are comprised of four series: Series 1: Pledge Correspondence, 1925-1944; Series 2: Attorney Correspondence and Legal Files, 1926-1942; Series 3: Campaign Finance, 1924-1937; Series 4: Campaign Scrapbooks and Ephemera, 1924-1929.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Memorial Union Campaign Records document efforts to fund construction of the Oregon Agricultural College Memorial Union. While the campaign took place in the mid-1920s, the bulk of the collection is comprised of correspondence, legal documents, and financial records recording efforts to collect pleged funds after the campaign's end. The collection also contains materials from the initial campaign, including scrapbooks, newsclippings, and ephemera.

Scope and Content Notes

The Memorial Union Campaign Records document efforts to fund construction of the Oregon Agricultural College Memorial Union through a multi-year pledge drive. The vast majority of the materials in this collection reflect the Memorial Union's attempts to collect on pledges generated during the campaign. Much of the collection is comprised of correspondence between representatives of the Memorial Union, attorneys employed by the Memorial Union, various financial institutions, and pledging individuals who detail the financial hardships created by the pledge debts, especially following the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

The collection also includes pledge cards, ledger cards, and other documents representing the financial successes and failures of the campaign. The ledger cards record individual pledges, itemized debits to each pledge account, and in some cases, extenuating circumstances surrounding nonpayment.

Additionally, the collection includes two scrapbooks, photographs, newspaper clippings, mailers, promotional materials, and other ephemera documenting the campaign from 1924-1928.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Proposals for a student activity center on the Oregon Agricultural College (OAC) campus began in 1920. Planning and fundraising for the building was approved by the Student Assembly in May 1921 and by the College administration in October of the same year. The building, named the OAC Memorial Union, was intended to "provide a suitable center for student and alumni activities...and stand as a lasting memorial erected to the honor and memory of the students and alumni who gave their lives in the service of their country...". By the winter of 1923, a governing structure had been established for the Union, which was largely separate from the College administration. The Memorial Union was officially incorporated in 1924. Edward Christopher (E. C.) Allworth, an Oregon Agricultural College alumnus and World War I veteran, was hired by OAC in 1925 to fill the positions of secretary of the Alumni Association, secretary of the Memorial Union Board of Governors, and manager of the Memorial Union.

Beginning in 1922, $3 of each student's term registration fees were committed to the Memorial Union. Early pledge signings began in May 1924 when graduating students were asked to commit $50 to the Memorial Union. The first official Memorial Union pledge drive began in January 1925 and was operated predominately by students organized into teams by class and overseen by a "colonel." The campaign focused on College employees (who were encouraged to donate between $250 and $1000) and students (who were asked to contribute $100). By the spring of 1925, the Memorial Union had collected pledges representing $375,000.

A second drive was held in March 1926. By June 1926, pledges had surpassed $500,000 and the Union had collected approximately $125,000 of the $200,000 cash needed to begin construction. Anticipating forthcoming payments on pledges, the Memorial Union Board of Governors approved excavation of the site, which began on May 5, 1927. In June 1927, despite having not yet reached the $200,000 cash goal, the Board elected to begin construction using a loan (with the unpaid pledges as security) from the Marine National Bank of Seattle. The total cost of the building was estimated at $560,000. A final drive was held in February and March 1928 with a focus on building furnishings, though results fell short of the $120,000 quota. The Union also hosted supplemental drives targeting alumni in Benton County and Portland, Oregon and encouraged pledging individuals to increase or renew their pledges.

Construction of the Memorial Union was completed on June 1, 1928 and the dedication ceremony took place one year later on June 1, 1929. Efforts to collect on pledge debts continued far beyond the building's grand opening. E.C. Allworth, the Memorial Union Manager, oversaw an intensive campaign of by-mail solicitations to those with outstanding pledges using both form and direct letters. These exchanges are well documented within the Memorial Union Campaign Records. Ultimately, the Memorial Union resorted to employing attorneys to act as collection agents and, in a relatively small number of cases, pursued legal action against pledging individuals. Attempts to recover pledged funds continued into 1944.

Author: Trevor Sandgathe

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 23 boxes, including 1 oversize box and 9 photographic prints

Statement on Access: This collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: Materials in the Memorial Union Campaign Records (RG 281) were transferred in multiple accessions to the Oregon State University Archives between 1991 and 2004. The materials were originally part of the Memorial Union Records (RG 099) but now reside independently in the Oregon State University Libraries Special Collections and Archives Research Center.

Related Materials: Additional materials documenting the Memorial Union campaign can be found in the Oregon State University Memorabilia Collection (MSS MC). The Memorial Union Records (RG 099), Memorial Union Photographs (P 198), Memorial Union Videotapes (FV 198), and the Facilities Services Records (RG 193) document the organization, activities, usage, and facilities maintenance of the Memorial Union. Information about the first manager of the Union can be found in the Edward C. Allworth Papers (MSS Allworth) and the Edward C. Allworth Photograph Collection (P 072).

Preferred Citation: Memorial Union Campaign Records (RG 281), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Oregon State Agricultural College. Memorial Union
Allworth, Edward C. (1895-1966)
Oregon Agricultural College. Memorial Union
Oregon State College. Memorial Union

People, Places, and Topics

Allworth, Edward C., 1895-1966.
Collecting of accounts.
Fund raising--Oregon.
Oregon Agricultural College. Memorial Union
Oregon State College. Memorial Union
Student unions--Oregon--Corvallis.
University History

Forms of Material

Photographic prints.

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Pledge Correspondence, 1925-1944

Series 1 is comprised of correspondence to and from individuals with Memorial Union pledges. The series includes correspondence from representatives of the Memorial Union (predominately the Manager, Edward C. Allworth), firms contracted by the Memorial Union to collect on outstanding debts, and individuals with pledges to the Memorial Union. The series includes "Paid in Full" and "Unpaid" accounts, as identified and organized by Memorial Union personnel. While the majority of the correspondence documents the efforts of the Memorial Union to collect on outstanding pledges, some correspondence does acknowledge full payment of pledges.

Many of the letters in this series are from individuals giving reasons for non-payment or asking to be excused from their debt to the Memorial Union. Many detail personal and financial hardships including unemployment, illness, and family obligations. As one individual noted, "Times were pretty tough for those of us just getting out of college in 1929 which didn’t help matters any of course... $14.00 is still $14.00 and John still has to have new shoes." Others express frustration or anger, arguing that the Memorial Union had no authority to demand payment, or request to have their pledges cancelled due to misgivings about the College, the Memorial Union organization, or the building itself. Another individual with an unpaid pledge claimed, "That pledge is not binding to me since the plans were altered since that pledge was made and the auditorium--which was the only worthwhile feature of the building--was taken out."

The correspondence in this series appears in approximately alphabetical order by last name assigned to the pledge account, as organized by Memorial Union personnel.

Box-Folder 1.1: Paid in Full (A), 1925-1936
Box-Folder 1.2: Paid in Full (A), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 1.3: Paid in Full (B), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 1.4: Paid in Full (B), 1926-1940
Box-Folder 1.5: Paid in Full (D), 1925-1942
Box-Folder 1.6: Paid in Full (D), 1925-1936
Box-Folder 1.7: Paid in Full (E), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 1.8: Paid in Full (G), 1926-1937
Box-Folder 1.9: Paid in Full (G), 1926-1939
Box-Folder 1.10: Paid in Full (H), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 1.11: Paid in Full (I), 1927-1939
Box-Folder 1.12: Paid in Full (J), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 1.13: Paid in Full (J), 1926-1936
Box-Folder 1.14: Paid in Full (K), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 1.15: Paid in Full (K), 1925-1942
Box-Folder 1.16: Paid in Full (L), 1925-1940
Box-Folder 1.17: Paid in Full (L), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 1.18: Paid in Full (M), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 1.19: Paid in Full (M), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 1.20: Paid in Full (M), 1926-1938
Box-Folder 1.21: Paid in Full (N), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 1.22: Paid in Full (O), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 2.1: Paid in Full (P), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.2: Paid in Full (P), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 2.3: Paid in Full (Q), 1927-1937
Box-Folder 2.4: Paid in Full (R), 1925-1942
Box-Folder 2.5: Paid in Full (R), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.6: Paid in Full (S), 1925-1936
Box-Folder 2.7: Paid in Full (S), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.8: Unpaid (A), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 2.9: Unpaid (A), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.10: Unpaid (B), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.11: Unpaid (B), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.12: Unpaid (B), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.13: Unpaid (B), 1925-1940
Box-Folder 2.14: Unpaid (B), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 2.15: Unpaid (B), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 2.17: Unpaid (C), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 2.18: Unpaid (C), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 3.1: Unpaid (C), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.2: Unpaid (C), 1925-1936
Box-Folder 3.3: Unpaid (C), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.4: Unpaid (D), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 3.5: Unpaid (D), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 3.6: Unpaid (E), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.7: Unpaid (F), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.8: Unpaid (F), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.9: Unpaid (F), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 3.10: Unpaid (G), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.11: Unpaid (G), 1926-1939
Box-Folder 3.12: Unpaid (H), 1925-1944
Box-Folder 3.13: Unpaid (H), 1925-1944
Box-Folder 3.14: Unpaid (H), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.15: Unpaid (H), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 3.16: Unpaid (H), 1925-1941
Box-Folder 3.17: Unpaid (H), 1925-1940
Box-Folder 4.1: Unpaid (H), 1926-1942
Box-Folder 4.2: Unpaid (I), 1929-1937
Box-Folder 4.3: Unpaid (J), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.4: Unpaid (K), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 4.5: Unpaid (K), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 4.6: Unpaid (L), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 4.7: Unpaid (L), 1926-1938
Box-Folder 4.8: Unpaid (M), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.9: Unpaid (M), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.10: Unpaid (M), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.11: Unpaid (N), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.12: Unpaid (O), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 4.13: Unpaid (P), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 4.14: Unpaid (P), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 4.15: Unpaid (P), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.16: Unpaid (R), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 4.17: Unpaid (R), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 4.18: Unpaid (R), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 5.1: Unpaid (S), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 5.2: Unpaid (S), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 5.3: Unpaid (S), 1925-1938
Box-Folder 5.4: Unpaid (S), 1926-1939
Box-Folder 5.5: Unpaid (S), 1929-1938
Box-Folder 5.6: Unpaid (T), 1926-1939
Box-Folder 5.7: Unpaid (T), 1926-1937
Box-Folder 5.8: Unpaid (U), 1925-1930
Box-Folder 5.9: Unpaid (V), 1926-1933
Box-Folder 5.10: Unpaid (W), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 5.11: Unpaid (W), 1925-1939
Box-Folder 5.12: Unpaid (W), 1925-1937
Box-Folder 5.13: Unpaid (Y), 1926-1937
Box-Folder 5.14: Unpaid (Z), 1926-1936
Box-Folder 5.15: Assorted Correspondence, 1925-1944
Series 2: Attorney Correspondence and Legal Files, 1926-1942
Series 2 is comprised of correspondence and documents describing legal action taken by the Memorial Union against individuals with oustanding pledge balances. Files include correspondence with pledging individuals, contracted law firms, and various legal bodies including courts and law enforcement offices. Account cards and court documents are also present. A portion of these materials are organized by the law office or attorney's name. The remainder of the series is organized alphabetically by the defendant's last name.
Box-Folder 5.16: Keith Caldwell, 1930-1932
Box-Folder 5.17: Harvey E. Dixon, 1930-1931
Box-Folder 5.18: Bernal Dobell, 1933
Box-Folder 5.19: Mark H. Edwards, 1932
Box-Folder 5.20: Robert L. Faucett, 1930-1942
Box-Folder 5.21: First National Bank, 1932-1933
Box-Folder 5.22: Barnett H. Goldstein, 1930-1931
Box-Folder 5.23: Elmer R. Goudy, 1930-1936
Box-Folder 5.24: Elmer R. Goudy, 1930-1931
Box-Folder 5.25: Fred R. Harlocker, 1930
Box-Folder 5.26: William M. McAllister, 1931-1933
Box-Folder 5.27: A. C. McIntyre, 1930
Box-Folder 5.28: Middlekauff & Huddleston, 1930-1937
Box-Folder 5.29: Woodson L. Patterson, 1930
Box-Folder 5.30: Carl T. Pope, 1930
Box-Folder 5.31: John W. Shuler, 1929-1933
Box-Folder 5.32: United States Credit Bureau, 1937
Box-Folder 6.1: Legal Files (A), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.2: Legal Files (B), 1930-1942
Box-Folder 6.3: Legal Files (B), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.4: Legal Files (C), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.5: Legal Files (D), 1931-1934
Box-Folder 6.6: Legal Files (E), 1930-1931
Box-Folder 6.7: Legal Files (F), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.8: Legal Files (G), 1926-1933
Box-Folder 6.9: Legal Files (G), 1931-1932
Box-Folder 6.10: Legal Files (H), 1930-1942
Box-Folder 6.11: Legal Files (I), 1930-1931
Box-Folder 6.12: Legal Files (J), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.13: Legal Files (K), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.14: Legal Files (L), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.15: Legal files (M), 1927-1932
Box-Folder 6.16: Legal Files (P), 1931
Box-Folder 6.17: Legal Files (R), 1930-1931
Box-Folder 6.18: Legal Files (S), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.19: Legal Files (S), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.20: Legal Files (T), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.21: Legal Files (V), 1929-1931
Box-Folder 6.22: Legal Files (W), 1930-1932
Box-Folder 6.23: Closed Accounts, 1930-1931
Box-Folder 6.24: Closed Accounts, 1930-1931
Box-Folder 7.1: Closed Accounts, 1930-1931
Box-Folder 7.2: Closed Accounts, 1931-1942
Series 3: Campaign Finances, 1924-1937

Series 3 is comprised of records documenting funds generated by the Memorial Union campaign. The series includes pledge cards, which took the form of legally binding promissory notes and include basic information about the pledging individual and the terms of the pledge; ledger cards which document the payment history of each pledge, basic information about the pledging individual, and special circumstances or changes to the pledge's status; and aggregate financial records including a cash journal, a ledger, and three undated lists with names, addresses, and pledge amounts for pledging individuals.

The pledge and ledger cards are arranged approximately alphabetically by the pledging individual's last name and the status of the pledge. Status assigned to pledges, repetition in alphabetical ordering, and inconsistent organization are reflective of the original order imposed by Memorial Union personnel.

Box-Folder 8.1: Building Fund Cash Journal, 1924-1937
Box-Folder 7.3: Campaign Ledger, circa 1925
Box-Folder 7.4: Assorted Financial Records, 1925-1928
Box-Folder 7.5: Pledge Subscriber Lists, circa 1926
Box-Folder 9.1: Pledge Cards: A-Ka
Box-Folder 10.1: Pledge Cards: Ki-U
Box-Folder 11.1: Pledge Cards: V-Z
Box-Folder 11.2: Pledge Cards: A-M
Box-Folder 12.1: Pledge Cards: N-Z
Box-Folder 13.1: Ledger Cards: A-M (active students)
Box-Folder 14.1: Ledger Cards: N-Z (active students)
Box-Folder 14.2: Ledger Cards: A-S
Box-Folder 15.1: Ledger Cards: T-Z
Box-Folder 15.2: Ledger Cards: A-Ly (graduates - no pledges)
Box-Folder 16.1: Ledger Cards: McA-Y (graduates - no pledges)
Box-Folder 16.2: Ledger Cards: Aa-Cn
Box-Folder 17.1: Ledger Cards: Coa-Z
Box-Folder 18.1: Ledger Cards: Aa-Gh
Box-Folder 19.1: Ledger Cards: Gi-Oz
Box-Folder 20.1: Ledger Cards: Pa-Z
Box-Folder 21.1: Ledger Cards: A-Z
Box-Folder 21.2: Ledger Cards: A-Z
Box-Folder 21.3: Ledger Cards: A-Z
Box-Folder 21.4: Ledger Cards: A-T
Box-Folder 21.5: Ledger Cards: Miscellaneous
Box-Folder 21.6: Pledge Cards: A-I (paid in full)
Box-Folder 22.1: Ledger Cards: A-Z (paid in full)
Box-Folder 22.2: Ledger Cards: A-Z (paid in full)
Box-Folder 22.3: Ledger Cards: A-T (paid in full)
Box-Folder 23.1: Ledger Cards: U-Z (paid in full)
Box-Folder 23.2: Ledger Cards: A-Z (life membership file)
Box-Folder 23.3: Ledger Cards: Deceased
Series 4: Campaign Scrapbooks and Ephemera, 1924-1929
Series 4 is comprised of two scrapbooks and several files documenting the genesis and progress of the Memorial Union Campaign. The scrapbooks contain materials from the 1924-1925 and 1925-1926 legs of the campaign and include promotional materials, campaign documents, newsclippings, and photographs. The series also includes newspaper clippings reporting on the 1928 drive; "Bulletins of Progress" issued by the Memorial Union chronicling the construction of the building; copies of the Memorial Union Constitution; and other ephemera including promotional mailers, pledge cards, and membership cards.
Box-Folder 8.2: Campaign Scrapbook, 1924-1925
This scrapbook includes the campaign schedule; packets for pledge drive workers including pledge cards, envelopes, workers' agreements, and instructions; pamphlets, brochures, and flyers; form letters sent to potential donors; and stationary.
Box-Folder 8.3: Campaign Scrapbook, 1925-1926
This scrapbook includes 9 photographs of the Memorial Union site and personnel; pledge cards; promotional flyers and event announcements; pages from the OAC Alumnus; and numerous clippings from newspapers throughout the Pacific Northwest. The newsclippings document the progress of the campaign throughout 1925 and 1926, with emphasis on the success of the funding drives.
Box-Folder 5.33: Newsclippings, 1925-1929
Box-Folder 5.34: Newsclippings, 1928
Box-Folder 5.35: Ephemera, 1926-1928

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