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Order of the Spoon Records, 1928-1939

By Finding aid prepared by Megan Guerre.

Collection Overview

Title: Order of the Spoon Records, 1928-1939

ID: MSS OrderSpoon

Primary Creator: Order of the Spoon (Oregon State College)

Extent: 0.35 cubic feet. More info below.

Arrangement: The Order of the Spoon Records are arranged in 6 series: I. Articles of Organization and Membership, 1930-1939; II. Meeting Notices, 1928-1939; III. Programs for Ceremonies, 1936-1937; IV. Correspondence, 1934-1938; V. Financial Reports, 1935-1938; and VI. Artifacts, circa 1935.

Languages of Materials: English [eng]


The Order of the Spoon Records document the policies and activities of this faculty club at Oregon State College. The collection contains materials pertaining to the establishment and organization of the Order, meetings and banquets it held, and membership.

Scope and Content Notes

The Order of the Spoon Records contain materials pertaining to the establishment, organization, and proceedings of the group; membership eligibility and lists; and meetings and banquets held by the Order. Of special note is a large spoon, the presumed emblem of the Order.

Biographical / Historical Notes

The Order of the Spoon, or Ordo Cochlearis, was an organization founded to foster sound scholarship and promote graduate study, including teaching, writing, and research, among doctoral degree holders on the faculty at Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). Established by the Triad Club in 1927, the organization became a separate and independent entity in May of 1929 and the majority of the Ph.D faculty were members. The Order took its name from the history of scholarship; it was derived from the custom of medieval scholars to wear a wooden spoon as the insignia of their calling. The group's committee officers held titles of Chief Spoon Bearer, Assistant Chief Spoon Bearer, and Ladler.

On the day of an Order meeting, members often met at one campus location, dressed in hoods and gowns (academic regalia), each carrying a spoon that was their totem. The group then paraded with much fanfair and frivolity to the location of their meeting, at which members took part in a banquet while speakers gave presentations on the state of scholarship at the College. New members -- new Doctors residing within the "realm" of Oregon Agricultural College -- were inducted into the Order at these meetings.

Notable individuals associated with the organization were Othniel R. Chambers, George W. Peavy, William Edmund Milne, Francois A. Gilfillan, Willibald Weniger, and Clair V. Langton.

Administrative Information

More Extent Information: 2 boxes

Statement on Access: Collection is open for research.

Acquisition Note: The materials were transferred to the University Archives before 1974.

Related Materials: Additional materials pertaining to the Order of the Spoon are part of the Mathematics Department Records (RG 136) and the M. Ellwood Smith Papers (MSS SmithME). The Special Collections and Archives Research Center holds the personal papers of many of the members of the Order of the Spoon, including the Othniel R. Chambers Papers (MSS Chambers), George W. Peavy Papers (MSS Peavy), William E. Milne Collection (MSS Milne), F. A. Gilfillan Papers (MSS Gilfillan), Willibald Weniger Papers (MSS Weniger), and Clair V. Langton Papers (MSS Langton) as well as the Triad Club Records (MSS TriadClub). Materials of other faculty and staff clubs and organizations are also available, including the Faculty Men's Club Records (MSS FacultyMens) and the Steak and Chop Club Records (MSS Steak).

Preferred Citation: Order of the Spoon Records (MSS OrderSpoon), Oregon State University Special Collections and Archives Research Center, Corvallis, Oregon.


Order of the Spoon (Oregon State College)

People, Places, and Topics

Order of the Spoon (Oregon State College)
Oregon Agricultural College--Faculty.
Oregon State College--Faculty.
University History

Forms of Material

Ephemera (general object genre)

Box and Folder Listing

Series 1: Articles of Organization and Membership, 1930-1939
Series I contains the Articles of Organization describing the function of the Order of the Spoon as well as membership eligibility. The Articles also establish that the emblem of the organization be a "good sized spoon (shape and size to be determined)" and that the officers of the Order be referred to as "the chief spoon bearer, an assistant chief spoon bearer, and a ladler." Also included within this series are lists of charter and other members who joined the Order throughout the 1930s.
Box-Folder 1.1: Articles of Organization and Membership
Series 2: Meeting Notices, 1928-1939
Series II contains meeting notices sent to the members of the Order as well as detailed summaries of those meetings. This series also contains information about the establishment of the Order of the Spoon, from its humble beginnings within the Triad Club, to its position as an organization of which the majority of doctoral degree holding faculty were a part.
Box-Folder 1.1: Meeting Notices
Series 3: Programs for Ceremonies, 1936-1937
Series III consists of programs for banquets and ceremonies held by the Order of the Spoon. Programs contain invocations, detailed descriptions of orders of events as well as accompanying scripts, responsibilities of each member of the Order's committee, lists of candidates, and "Questions for Examination" which were asked of candidates as part of the ceremony of their entrance into the ranks of the Order. This series also includes a statement which was recited in chorus by all the new members of the Order of the Spoon.
Box-Folder 1.1: Programs for Ceremonies
Series 4: Correspondence, 1934-1938
Series IV consists of correspondence produced by the Order with topics of discussion including membership invitations and responses; invitations to speakers to present at Order meetings (and responses); reports about finances (mainly concerning the purchase of spoons with membership fees); and other activities of the organization, such as officer elections and recruitment of new members.
Box-Folder 1.2: Correspondence
Series 5: Financial Reports, 1935-1938
Series V consists of financial reports documenting fees collected and the ways in which they were spent -- mainly on spoons and banquets. The member of the Order's committee responsible for these tabulations was the Ladler.
Box-Folder 1.2: Financial Reports
Series 6: Artifacts, circa 1935
Series VI consists of table place cards labeled with names of Order members as well as a number of spare decorative spoons that are a part of the place cards. The series also contains a large spoon, presumably the emblem of the Order.
Box-Folder 1.3: Decorative Spoons and Place Cards
Box-Item 2.1: Oversize Spoon

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