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Mortar Board

Diverse Collections

This week’s edition of Diverse Collections features our collection of Mortar Board Records. Mortar Board, Inc., is a national honor society of college seniors, which recognizes in its membership the qualities of superior scholastic ability, outstanding and continual leadership, and dedicated service to the college or university community.

The University of Idaho chapter was organized in 1921, and chartered by the national organization in 1923, although no records exist until 1929. Among their activities were selling mums for homecoming, serving as hostesses for campus functions, sponsoring the Spinster Skip dance and the Narthex table, a tea which honored outstanding junior women, and overseeing the May Fete during which plaques were awarded to outstanding freshmen and sophomores. The group remained active on campus until the mid 1970’s when apathy set in. In recent years attempts have been made to revitalize the group.

Mortar Board women at table
Mortar Board women at table

The first recorded meeting of the University of Idaho chapter of Mortar Board was held at the Blue Bucket, October 1, 1929; its officers were President, Laura Clark; Treasurer, Ruth Newhouse; and Secretary, Marylou Craven. Minutes for all subsequent meetings through 1956 were originally contained in a three ring notebook, but were transferred to folders during processing. Many years are missing, suggesting either that regular meetings were not held or that no minutes were kept.

Other records, mostly dating from the 1960s, include chapter reports, historian’s correspondence from the national organization, plans for the May fete, membership lists, correspondence from the national organization, and the national membership directory for 1979-1982. An index to the Quarterly, the publication of Mortarboard, is also part of the collection.

Several scrapbooks of activities and two plaques awarded to outstanding sophomores conclude the records.


MG 371, scrapbook 4

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