About the Montanan Yearbooks Collection
The Montanan Yearbooks Collection
What is it?
The Montanan Yearbooks Collection is found in the Montana State University Archives and Special Collections. . The Montanan Yearbooks Collection scope encompasses nearly eight decades of what life was like on the Montana State University campus between 1906 and 1991. Each volume follows one school year and features photos, names and descriptions of that year’s students, clubs, sports, faculty, administration, as well as written works, artwork, current news stories and advertisements gathered by the Montanan editorial staff. The first yearbook, entitled The Blue and The Gold MAC Junior Annual was dedicated to “The Business and Professional Men and all Those Who Have so Generously Aided and Encouraged Us and Made This Work a Possibility.”
For the first years of the annual’s history, it was the job of the Junior class to create and assemble the yearbook, because of course the Seniors were graduating. Often the yearbook wasn’t finished until the following school year. Which explains why the year noted on the cover doesn’t match to content within. This changes in the 1921 Montanan, when the Class of ’21 took two years to edit the 1919-1920 school yearbook. There was no yearbook produced for the 1920-1921 school year that we can ascertain. Starting in 1922, the Montanan was published by the Associated Students of Montana State College, now ASMSU. Also, in 1922, the date on the covers started to reflect the actual school year captured within.
A total of 85 volumes of the yearbooks were printed, including the popular spoof yearbook of 1933. Student Dave Rivenes and two co-conspirators secretly created the annual which featured prank photos of clubs and organizations. They also introduced a fake student named Clarence Mjork, who was inserted into many images by combining prints together. By the time then-president Atkinson discovered the plan, it was too late to turn it into a traditional yearbook. Although the prank was not appreciated by the faculty or administration, the National Association of College Annuals declared it "most original" of the year, and it won additional awards.
The 1991 Montanan was the last yearbook to be produced by the ASMSU, the editor gives this poignant statement as the reason: “Hello and welcome to the 1991 ASMSU Montanan. This has been quite an eventful year. The yearbook program has been officially killed, axed, ended, or any other euphemism that you can think of due to lack of interest from the student body at Montana State. I, of course, realize that if you are reading this introduction, you must be interested, but 250 interested people out of 8,500 is a rather small group.” With larger graduating classes and fewer people interested in purchasing the annual, the program was not sustainable. But thanks to the efforts of previous editorial staffs, their hard work can be seen in each Montanan giving everyone a glimpse into past years at Montana State University. Please enjoy the institutional history captured within this digital collection.
This collection was a collaborative project between the MSU Alumni Foundation and the MSU Library to provide online archival access to the Montanan.
[Identification of item], [Item permalink or DOI], Montanan Yearbooks Collection, Montana State University (MSU) Library, Bozeman, MT
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