The Oregon State University Libraries & Press has digitized a rich source of OSU history - almost every OSU yearbook - and made them freely available online.
The collection is available at http://oregondigital.org/sets/osu-yearbooks
The website begins with the first yearbook produced in 1894, titled The Hayseed. All of the 109 yearbooks published from then to the 2012 edition are now accessible, and the 2013 and 2014 Beaver yearbooks will be added soon.
Each yearbook provides a unique glimpse into the academic and social life of OSU students through the decades, including such details as students taking train rides to Newport for a beach picnic around 1900, or the fact that tuition was $15 a year in 1909. Even the paid advertisements in the yearbooks have been digitized, giving a unique look at businesses around Corvallis and the mid-valley over the last century.
“The digitization of OSU’s yearbooks has long been a goal for the Special Collections & Archives Research Center,” said Larry Landis, director of the center. “They are one of the most used sources of OSU history, and now students and other researchers have access to them 24/7 via the web. As we move toward OSU’s sesquicentennial in 2018, all sources of OSU history will gain in importance.”
A goal, Landis said, is to have all major OSU publications available online. So far the OSU catalogs dating back to 1867 and all of the Extension and Experiment Station bulletins, circulars, and special reports are available online. Archival versions of the Oregon State alumni magazine and the Barometer student newspaper should be available by 2018.
“The yearbooks are important in that they provide a perspective of OSU from the students’ point of view,” Landis said. “In that sense they almost serve as the students’ annual report of the university.”
The collection will be a major resource for scholarly investigations into the OSU undergraduate experience, helping to chronicle student life, the campus climate, and the evolution of cultural trends, attitudes, and fashions.
The full text of this digital collection is keyword searchable, both across the collection and within an individual volume; online viewing of given volumes is user-friendly; and users can zoom into a page for easy reading.
All of this has been accomplished through the implementation of a new digital collections platform, called Hydra, through a collaboration of three divisions of OSU Libraries & Press staff.
The school yearbook has variously been titled The Hayseed, The Orange and, since 1917, The Beaver. Two yearbooks were also published, in 1900 and 1905, as souvenir editions of The Barometer. The last-ever edition of the Beaver yearbook was published in 2014.