Back in the day, freshmen at the University of Montana had to wear a green beanie – or risk getting paddled.
This month, the felt beanie with short brim, wooden paddle with scrawled Griz decal, a scrapbook from the early 20th century, and a host of other historic items and artwork are all on display at the Maureen and Mike Mansfield Library of the University of Montana.
October is "Archives Month," and the photographs, handwritten minutes about Missoula architect A.J. Gibson, national and local political buttons, and significant correspondence are part of a free and first "20 in 20 Tour," or 20 items in 20 minutes in the Archives and Special Collections section of the library.
"We're going to respect your time by getting you around the tables in 20 minutes," said Donna McCrea, head of Archives and Special Collections, to the first group on tour Tuesday.
Naturally, the visit ended with an invitation that guests spend more time with the treasures, but additional "20 in 20 Tour" presentations with archivists will take place on Tuesday, Oct. 18, at both 12:15 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.
Among the historic pieces is a book with handwritten meeting minutes of the campus building commission. In an entry for May 18, 1897, the minute-taker noted that A.J. Gibson had proposed to receive $47,500 to design Main Hall and $12,000 to design a science building.
A 1956 letter from Lyndon B. Johnson when he was Senate majority leader to Sen. Mike Mansfield thanked the Montana senator for his support during the session – and it opened casually, with Johnson admitting he'd been "sleeping and relaxing."
"The cattle and sheep on the LBJ Ranch are in good enough shape that they could get by in Montana," Johnson wrote.
Photographs of Native Americans by Edward Curtis are also on display as part of a series of volumes called "The North American Indian." Mark Fritch, a photography specialist, said the series went unnoticed when it was first published in the early 1900s, but it's a comprehensive look at tribes west of the Mississippi and north of Mexico.
"The fact we have the entire set is really something special," Fritch said.
The library collects the materials to support scholarship, but also for the good of the community, McCrea said.
"It belongs to everybody in the state," McCrea said.