Education, 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.
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.
Sources: 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.
Humanities Librarian & Curator of Moving Images
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.
In 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.
“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
The 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.
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.
Protestors 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.
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 ›
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.
At the beginning of December, the UO Libraries and Cinema Studies presented a public screening of the holiday classic, It’s a Wonderful Life (1946), along with a small complementary exhibit. It’s a Wonderful Life has an important connection to UO: included in Special Collections and University Archives are the papers of the author who wrote the short story that became the basis for the movie’s screenplay. Read more ›
We received an interesting research question recently that we wanted to highlight based upon the impending Rose Bowl game. A local astrologer in Eugene wanted to know the exact date and time when Oregon football was “born”. Hoping to utilize this information to predict the outcome of the upcoming Rose Bowl and the College Football Playoff fate of the Ducks, she was seeking the time of the opening kickoff in Oregon’s first football game. The intriguing question sent us into the stacks to find out more about this historic event that had great significance for the future of campus life in Eugene.