Guide to the Board of Trustees Records

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Overview of the Collection

Creator: Corvallis College. Board of Trustees.
Title: Board of Trustees Records
Dates: 1868-1891 ( inclusive )
Quantity: 0.25 cubic ft.
1 microfilm reel
Collection Number: RG 033
Summary: The Board of Trustees Records document the early years of Corvallis College (now known as Oregon State University)and contain meeting minutes, financial records, and a resolution and circular.
Repository: Oregon State University
University Archives

121 The Valley Library
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331-4501
Phone: 541-737-2165

Languages: Materials in English. 
Sponsor: Funding for encoding this finding aid was provided through a grant awarded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Historical Note

In 1861, Corvallis College was sold to a group of Corvallis residents who were all members of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. This group became the board of the college. Classes were probably first held in 1865. By 1866, the newly formed Columbia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, had gained ownership and control of the college. In 1868, Corvallis College was reincorporated as a degree granting institution of higher education. That same year, the College's Board of Trustees accepted the Oregon Legislative Assembly's designation of Corvallis College as the state's land-grant institution. The Columbia Conference appointed Board of Trustees continued to oversee the college until the mid- 1880s.

In February 1885, the Oregon Legislative Assembly passed legislation that resulted in the state assuming control of the college and placing its management in the hands of a nine-member Board of Regents appointed by the Governor. The Methodist Episcopal Church, South, filed suit against the state in 1887 seeking to retain control of the college.

Ultimately, the church was forced to cede control of the college to the state. During this time, the State constructed a new college building on the grounds of the college farm, as mandated by the Legislative Assembly.

Although the Board of Regents first met in 1886, the Board of Trustees continued to meet until at least 1891, likely overseeing the operations of a school at the original campus site in downtown Corvallis which they called Corvallis College.

Content Description

Series 1 includes two journals containing the minutes of the Board's meetings from 1868-1891 and documents its administration of Corvallis College. Series 2 is a journal of minutes of the Board's Financial and Auditing Committee, 1869-1888. It documents the actions of the committee in overseeing the finances of Corvallis College, and includes lists of warrants approved for payment. Series 3 is a set of notes and a draft of a resolution on John R. N. Bell's favoring the transfer of control of the college to a State Board of Regents. It is dated either 1884 or 1885. Series 4 is an 1873 circular listing names of local citizens who pledged money toward the purchase of the college farm and the farm's expansion.

Series 1 and 2 are in both paper and microfilm form. Series 3 and 4 are paper only.

Use of the Collection

Preferred Citation :  

Board of Trustees (Rg 33), Oregon State University Archives, Corvallis, Oregon.

Administrative Information

Arrangement :

Records are organized into four series: 1. Minutes; 2. Financial & Auditing Committee Records; 3. Notes and Draft of Resolution; and 4. Circular.

Related Materials :  

Board of Regents Records (RG 8); President's Office Records (RG 13); Columbia Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, Collection; William A. Finley Scrapbook; MC - Corvallis College-History.


  • Personal Names :
  • Bell, J. R. N.(John Richard Newton), 1846-1928.
  • Corporate Names :
  • Corvallis College--Administration.
  • Corvallis College--Benefactors.
  • Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
  • Subject Terms :
  • College trustees--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Methodist universities and colleges--Oregon--Corvallis.
  • Universities and colleges--Administration.

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