In 1902, a new tradition began on the Oregon State Normal School campus: the May Day celebration. Touted as “an ardent joyous welcome of springtime” and “the most anticipated social event on campus”, over the years May Day featured a series of events held on a single day early in May, including the winding of the may pole, an evening dance, costumed original drills and pageants, sporting events, a vaudeville stunt program, music, and the procession and crowning of the May Day Queen.
Public celebrations at Oregon Normal School continued through 1930; by this time, enrollment had tripled, which required events to be split into multiple locations. It was also the first year it was advertised as a Homecoming event. From 1931-1947, the May Fete, as it was renamed, was celebrated intermittently on campus, never in the same vein with original costumes and pageantry as the first 30 years. The large celebration on campus evolved into Homecoming during the 1940s, which remains a popular annual fall event.
This digital collection contains a selection of photographs and postcards related to May Day events from 1916-1947. Special areas of interest include the men's vaudeville stunt program, May Queens and the attendants, as well as competitive events such as the winding of the may pole and original drills.
Materials are located in University Archives, including additional photographs and research materials.