UO Women’s Softball — Part I: Becky Sisley and Women’s Athletics

(photo courtesy Becky Sisley)

(photo courtesy Becky Sisley)

UO Special Collections and University Archives, in collaboration with Oregon Softball and the Women In Flight program, presents a three-part series this week detailing the early history of Oregon women’s softball in celebration of the last regular season games this weekend at Howe Field (1936-2015). Part I focuses on the career of Becky Sisley, former women’s athletic director at the University of Oregon, and her contributions to the growth of women’s athletics on campus; Wednesday’s post will feature a look at the rise of softball in the 1970s in the wake of Title IX legislation; and Thursday’s post will detail the development of UO’s first dedicated softball field in 1979.


Becky Sisley was the driving force behind the development and expansion of women’s varsity sports programs at the University of Oregon. Born on May 10, 1939 in Seattle, Sisley graduated with a B.A. in Physical Education from the University of Washington in 1961. After finishing her undergraduate degree, Sisley worked as a P.E. teacher at Lake Washington High School in Kirkland during the 1961-1962 school year before moving across the country. The next year, Sisley earned her M.S. in Physical Education at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro while also working as a graduate teaching assistant. Read more ›

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Posted in Collection Highlight, Documenting UO History Project, New Collections, University History

Remembering the Tall Firs and Oregon’s First National Championship


(University Archives Photographs)

Oregon will not be among the semifinalists this season when March Madness concludes in Indianapolis this weekend, but the Ducks remain an integral part of the tournament’s history. Last week marked the 76th anniversary of the inaugural NCAA men’s basketball championship, which was won by Oregon in a 46-33 victory over Ohio State on March 27, 1939. The “Tall Firs,” the nickname for the team originally coined by Oregonian sports columnist L.H. Gregory in March 1938, used a distinct size advantage to overpower their tournament opposition to claim both the Pacific Coast Conference and NCAA titles. Read more ›

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Posted in Documenting UO History Project, University History

UO Says Goodbye to Dave Frohnmayer

_frohnmayer_001Education, when engaged with mind and spirit, is a lifelong journey. The library is an essential partner in this process–feeding our imagination, nurturing our intellect, and helping us realize our aspirations.

–Dave Frohnmayer, 1940-2015


The University of Oregon was saddened by the news that Dave Frohnmayer, the university’s 15th president from 1995 to 2009, passed away on March 9 in Eugene after a long battle with prostate cancer. Frohnmayer, who served in various capacities at UO for the better part of four decades, was 74 years old.

To commemorate his distinguished record of academic and political service in his home state,

Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon's retiring president, and Richard Lariviere, the University's newly selected president - 2009 USATF National Championships, Hayward Field, University of Oregon.

Dave Frohnmayer, University of Oregon’s retiring president, and Richard Lariviere, the University’s newly selected president – 2009 USATF National Championships, Hayward Field, University of Oregon.

we have aggregated various remembrances of Frohnmayer’s life from the University of Oregon community, state and national media outlets, and some of our own memories from the staff at Knight Library along with pictures selected from the collection of his presidential and personal papers located in the University Archives and Special Collections. A memorial service for Frohnmayer will be held at Matthew Knight Arena on Saturday, March 21. Doors open at 1:00 pm, with the celebration of life commencing an hour later at 2:00 pm. A reception will follow the celebration.









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Posted in News, University History

Andy Warhol at UO, 1968

Artist and experimental filmmaker Andy Warhol (1928-1987) was invited to the University of Oregon campus in October 1967 to give a talk and show some of his films. Warhol sent an actor named Alan Midgett instead, and no one realized he was an imposter until four months later. Warhol and Midgett perpetrated the hoax on at least five other colleges. The colleges paid “Warhol” $2,600, which Midgett kept and used to fund a trip to Europe. “I never thought of getting away with anything,” Warhol explained. “I actually thought Alan would do a better job and people would enjoy him much better.”

Some in the audience complained about Midgett’s lackluster performance and walked out, but enrollment in a UO class on underground film jumped from 63 to 350 after the phony appearance, according to Eduardo Reyes, who booked the October event.

The real Andy Warhol came to campus on February 21, 1968, accompanied by his manager Paul Morrissey and actress Viva!. In front of an audience of 1,000 people, Warhol showed excerpts of his 25-hour long film “* * * *”. According to the Eugene Register-Guard, “The hour-long segment of the film…consisted of two films projected simultaneously. The first twenty minutes or so were overlapping scenes of a girl dressed in a John Philip Sousa band coat, playing with one of those revolving reflecting ballroom globes and talking. The latter part of the film involved a shaggy-haired youth lecturing against the Vietnam War while a woman scrubbed an American flag in the background. Superimposed over him were films of a couple apparently romping on a bed.”

Morrissey explained to one reporter that Midgett had acted in some of Warhol’s films without getting paid, so they let him keep the tour money.


Oregana, 1968, p. 21

Midgett (who now goes by “Allen Midgette”) continued to work intermittently as an actor and as an Andy Warhol impersonator. He currently lives in Woodstock, New York, where he is a fine artist. A recent interview with him can be found at the online magazine Chronogram.

Archival footage from KEZI-TV, Chambers Communications Corp., Coll 427, FV34. Special Collections & University Archives, University of Oregon Libraries.

Bishoff, Don. “No, Uh, Andy Warhol Wasn’t Always Andy Warhol.” Eugene Register-Guard, 24 Feb. 1987: C1.
Bishoff, Don. “Real, Ah, Andy, Hasn’t, Ah, Much to Say.” Eugene Register-Guard, 22 Feb. 1968: B1.
Raines, Howell. “Slated at UA, But…Will the Real Andy Warhol Show Up?” The Tuscaloosa News, 17 Feb. 1968: 20.


Elizabeth Peterson
Humanities Librarian & Curator of Moving Images

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Posted in Collection Highlight, Documenting UO History Project, University History

Willis Scott Duniway: A Life in the News


(1932 Oregana, p. 132)

While working through our backlog of unprocessed materials, Special Collection and University Archives staff recently uncovered a scrapbook of press clippings and materials compiled over the years about Willis Scott Duniway. An undergraduate from 1928 to 1932, Duniway earned his Bachelor’s in journalism and enjoyed a rich academic and extracurricular career on campus before enjoying nearly five decades in the news industry.

From a prominent pioneering Oregon family, Duniway was a notable figure during his time on the University of Oregon campus. His matriculation was merely a prelude for a distinguished career. To celebrate this find in our collection, we have assembled a brief history about the life and career of Willis Scott Duniway.


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Posted in Documenting UO History Project, New Collections, University Archives, University History

Untold Stories: Black History at the University of Oregon

logo_final_lowresIn honor of Black History Month, Special Collections and University Archives is highlighting some historic figures and events in the century-long history of African Americans at the University of Oregon. These often untold stories represent the determination and strength of the black community at the university as they fought state and institutional challenges. From the era of Oregon’s exclusion laws to the present, African American students and faculty have persevered under often difficult circumstances. What follows below are the stories of several notable people in the UO campus community as well as those events that have shaped the course of African American history at the University of Oregon.

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Posted in Documenting UO History Project, National Celebrations, University Archives, University History

World War II and the National Japanese American Student Relocation Council

“I just can’t find sufficient words to describe my gratitude for all that your office has done for me and other Niseis. In our darkest hour you brought forth your loving hands and gave us new hopes and inspiration. Surely Democracy can not and will not die as long as such groups like yours and Colleges that uphold the true ideals of Democracy exist…”

– anonymous words of a Japanese-American student upon receiving clearance to continue university study in 1942


ua9_box2_folder14_Page_02The entry of the United States into World War II after the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, had serious impacts on approximately 110,000 Nisei (American citizens of Japanese descent) living in Oregon and throughout the west coast. After the creation of the War Relocation Administration on March 18, 1942, families from California, Washington, Oregon, and Arizona were uprooted to internment camps for the duration of the war. The evacuations and internment disrupted the normal rhythms of life for all 70,000 Japanese-American citizens and the 40,000 resident aliens on American soil. In addition to removing Japanese-Americans from the workforce and shuttering businesses, the evacuation orders also impacted students of Japanese descent at colleges and universities throughout the Pacific region, who were left with uncertainties about the potential for continuing their education.

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Posted in Collections, Documenting UO History Project, University Archives, University History

Student Protests on the UO Campus: Demonstrations of the Late 1960s

A new exhibit, “Dissent and Defiance: Pacifists, Student Protesters, and Advocates for Economic Justice,” is now on display in the Paulson Reading Room in Special Collections and University Archives, on the second floor of Knight Library, through the winter term. In addition to conscientious objectors during World War II and the Occupy Eugene movement, the exhibit includes a look at student protests on the University of Oregon campus during the first year of Robert D. Clark’s tenure as president of the university. In conjunction with the exhibit, we dove into the archives to learn more about the tumultuous period of protest on the Eugene campus during the 1969-1970 academic year.

1969_ROTC_protest_President_ClarkProtestors primarily focused on what they perceived to be the university’s capitulation to American involvement in the Vietnam War. At a time when universities were dealing with the turbulence of student bodies that were becoming increasingly activist, students in Eugene increasingly focused their ire on one particular campus institution as the embodiment of Oregon’s acquiescence to the war effort – the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps, or ROTC, which had been established five decades earlier as a means of preparing an Oregon Battalion for World War I. As protestors homed in on the ROTC as the local representative of American policy in Southeast Asia, tensions heightened at the university. The charged atmosphere in Eugene set the scene for both non-violent protest events, as well as escalating violence. The University of Oregon witnessed sit-ins, arson, vandalism, and National Guard intervention during this period.

By drafting procedures that afforded students their Constitutional rights and narrowly defined the rules of engagement for police intervention in campus affairs, President Clark and the UO administration limited violent actions on campus. Though arson and instances of vandalism also occurred during this turbulent year, and the National Guard appeared that spring on the Eugene campus, no fatalities or serious injuries resulted from protests on the UO campus. Clark’s willingness to engage in discussion with and protect the rights of student protestors thus kept the situation in Eugene from escalating to the point of another Kent State.

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Posted in Documenting UO History Project, Exhibitions, University Archives, University History

The Oregon Mascot, Part 2: Becoming the Ducks


This two-part series utilizes archival sources in the UO Special Collections and University Archives to show the long and contentious history of athletic mascots on the Eugene campus. Read more about the Webfoot era in Part 1.


It wasn’t a far leap for the Webfooter to become a Duck, yet the adoption of the latter as the University of Oregon mascot was a contentious part of Eugene history. As former Emerald sports editor Harold Mangum noted about the Webfoot mascot in 1926, “The name has been changed to Ducks in most instances, and if similarity to a duck is anything to be proud of, the world’s wrong and water runs uphill…. there is nothing brave, glorious, or inspiring about [a duck’s] presence.” Read more ›

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Posted in Documenting UO History Project, University Archives, University History

The Oregon Mascot, Part 1: The Webfooter Years


This two-part series utilizes archival sources in the UO Special Collections and University Archives to show the long and contentious history of athletic mascots on the Eugene campus.



When the University of Oregon played its first football game in the spring of 1894, there was not a mascot patrolling the sideline and inciting crowd participation. The UO team that played Albany College was known only as the “lemon yellow,” referring to the accent color of their uniforms. When the team returned to the field for three games in the fall, there was still no defining mascot for the team. For three decades after that first season, the school would have no official representative for its sports teams, and it would take another half-century before Oregon became the Oregon Ducks. Instead UO would come to be known by an obscure east-coast reference turned pejorative turned source of pride — the Webfoot.

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Posted in Documenting UO History Project, University Archives, University History