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Dona Dinsdale Papers, 1943-2013

By Finding aid prepared by Elizabeth Nielsen.

Collection Overview

Title: Dona Dinsdale Papers, 1943-2013

ID: MSS Dinsdale

Primary Creator: Dinsdale, Dona

Extent: 1.0 cubic feet. More info below.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Dona Dinsdale Papers consist of materials created and assembled by Dinsdale during her student years at Oregon State College, during and immediately following World War II. The collection consists predomininantly of course materials and also includes letters written by Dinsdale to her parents. Dona Dinsdale enrolled at Oregon State College in 1943 and earned a BS in Secretarial Science in 1947.

Scope and Content Notes

The Dona Dinsdale Papers document Dinsdale's student years at Oregon State College from 1943 to 1947, during and immediately following World War II. The collection includes course materials, correspondence, publications, ephemera and photographs. Course materials -- including course outlines, class notes, term papers, book reports, and examinations --- comprise the bulk of the collection. Materials from courses on modern Russia, clothing selection, house furnishings, European literature, Latin American relations, psychology, secretarial science, and business law are represented in the collection. The Office Procedure Laboratory Guide, published by the Oregon State College Secretarial Science Department for use in Secretarial Science 311 and 312, is available in the collection.

Of special note are Dinsdale's materials for a Clothing Selection course (CT 217) that include drawings by Dinsdale as well as a scrapbook that Dinsdale assembled for a House Furnishings class (CT 331). The scrapbook includes examples of housing styles and a proposed plan with recommended furnishings for a family home; Dinsdale used illustrations clipped from magazines and fabric samples in the scrapbook. A personal portfolio prepared by Dinsdale for job applications includes a handwriting sample, a summary of her activities and academic record, a skills rating, letters of recommendation, and a portrait photograph.

The correspondence consists of letters written by Dinsdale to her parents from 1943 to 1947. In these letters, Dinsdale describes her daily life at Oregon State including sorority pledging and events, travelling on the bus to and from Corvallis, college expenses, tickets for the graduation ceremony, campus events, clothes needed for various occassions, receiving guests, letter writing, and class assignments.

The Papers include several issues of the Oregon Stater alumni magazine, the Beaver Snuffer monthly magazine for November 1946 and February 1947, the annual college fashion previews published by the Meier and Frank Company, and Preview for Fall 1945. A summer newsletter from the secretarial science program, event programs, newspaper clippings, a decal and pennant, grade reports, receipts, and student identification cards are part of the collection. Dinsdale's Oregon State diploma is also included.

The photographs consist of one portrait photograph in her portfolio; a graduation portrait photograph of Dinsdale in her cap and gown, made by Hise Studio; and a group photograph of the senior graduating class of the Upsilon Chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority taken in front of the chapter house on graduation day, June 8, 1947.

An addition to the Dinsdale Papers (Accession 2013:080) is made up of letters received by alumna Dinsdale as a student at Oregon State College from her parents. Among the topics covered include: the receipt of letters from Dona, sending clothes back home for laundering, suffering from colds, gas rationing, money for board, and social activities.

A second addition to the Dinsdale Papers (Accession 2013:096) is made up of biographical narratives, a book, employment records, identification cards, membership cards, letters, passports, and photographs. Other than photographs of alumna Dinsdale with her sorority sisters on Sadie Hawkins Day, these materials primarily document Dinsdale's careers after graduation with the U.S. government overseas in Paris, France. Other jobs reflected among these materials include a summer stint at the Albina Shipyards (where her mother also worked) during World War II. In the recently written biographical narratives, Dinsdale describes her childhood life until entering Oregon State College and then details her post-college employment. Numbering 9 prints and 1 slide, the images include a portrait shot of Dinsdale in her Paris office as a part of the U.S. Delegation to NATO. The book is a copy of "By Sea and By Stealth" inscribed by the author Burke Wilkinson to Dinsdale with a note of thanks for her help with the NATO Information Conference.

Biographical / Historical Notes

Dona Shirley Dinsdale earned a BS in Secretarial Science from Oregon State College in 1947. Dinsdale graduated from Washington High School in Portland, Oregon, in June 1943 and enrolled at Oregon State in the fall of that year. She was a member of the Sigma Kappa sorority.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 12 photographs; 3 boxes, including 1 oversize box

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The Dinsdale Papers were donated to the Special Collections & Archives Research Center by Dona Dinsdale in 2012 and 2013.

Related Materials: The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holds many collections documenting student life and experiences at Oregon State. The Jaquelin F. Holland Papers (MSS Holland) depict college life of another student in Secretarial Science during the mid-late 1940s. Several collections documenting instruction, research, and outreach activities in clothing, furnishings, and textiles are available, including the Apparel, Interiors, Housing and Merchandising Department Records (RG 028) and the Ardis W. Koester Papers (MSS Koester).

Preferred Citation: Dona Dinsdale Papers (MSS Dinsdale), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Dinsdale, Dona
Hise Studio
Oregon State College. Department of Secretarial Science

People, Places, and Topics

Business education--Oregon--Corvallis.
College environment--Oregon--Corvallis.
College students--Oregon--Corvallis.
Dinsdale, Dona
Greek letter societies--Oregon--Corvallis.
Oregon State College--Students.
Student activities--Oregon--Corvallis.
University History
Women--Education (Higher)--Oregon--Corvallis.

Forms of Material

Ephemera (general object genre)
Photographic prints.

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