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Cassette Tape Collection 19
Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma (Washington State University) Oral History, 1982

The Washington State University Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma oral history interviews conducted by Margot Knight in 1980 were transferred to the Archives by Ms. Knight in 1981. (MS 81-24). They consist of two cassette tapes. They were abstracted in 1985 by Carmen E. Petersen.

ARRANGEMENT AND DESCRIPTION

The tapes comprise two interviews of Murray Bundy, conducted one week apart. They comprise an oral history of Phi Beta Kappa, Gamma of Washington Chapter at Washington State University.

INTERVIEW ABSTRACTS

	1	Murray Bunday, January 8, 1980.
	2	Murray Bunday, January 15, 1980.


Interview Identification Number: 19/1
Interviewee: Murray Bundy, Ph.D. 1928-56 WSU English professor, English Dept. Head. Three time Phi Beta Kappa President
Birthdate of Interviewee: 1891
Geographical Areas Covered: Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID

Interviewer: Margot H. Knight
Location of Interview: Pullman, WA for Phi Beta Kappa
Date of Interview: January 8, 1980
Length of Interview: 65 minutes

Abstractor: Carmen E. Petersen
Date of Abstraction: 19 Feb. 1985

Release: Yes
Restrictions: No

INTERVIEW ABSTRACT
Tape sideEstimated time on tapePrincipal subjects covered
 
Side A0 – 1He first came to WSU in 1928--he came just too late to become a charter member of the Gamma Chapter although he was associated with them.
1 - 7There were some problems associated with the forming of the chapter. University of Idaho and the University of Washington were sponsors for WSU. The University of Idaho opposed WSU's chapter and were not invited to WSU's first PBK Banquet. His story of speaking at a recent U of I PBK Banquet. Story of a meeting with George Vernon Miller in later years.
7 - 14He gets a copy of Oscar Voorhees' letter about U of I not receiving an invitation. Bundy says that Oscar Voorhees wrote a letter after he returned from Washington, D.C. on Washington, D.C. st even though it is dated April 6. Story of secretary being ill and hence unable to issue invitations was not true. Bundy tells the story of his late-night argument over the phone with President E. O. Holland over issuing an invitation to someone at the U of I. Bundy assured Holland that a person friendly to WSU would be asked to give the greeting. He personally went to U of I to ask Dean Eldridge to speak at the WSU banquet.
14 - 17There are discrepancies in Voorhees' letter. Bundy thinks they are due to honest errors on Voorhees' part.
17 - 18Problems getting a charter because the State College of Washington was an agricultural school.
18 - 23Story of how he saved the WSU PBK charter from being lifted. During the 30s he visited Dr. Northrop, the President of the National PBK and found out that they were considering lifting WSU's charter because of misuse of honorary memberships. He assured Northrop that it would not happen. It was fortunate that he was there. He spoke to a few members when he returned to insure that, indeed, misuse of honorary memberships would not become a problem.
23 - 25Does not know about the problems with California and Whitman over candidate selection in 1927. Talks a bit more about the later problems with U of I and Voorhees.
25 - 28Reminiscences of the first banquet. "A pretty speech for a cow college."
28 - 29He declined the Vice-Presidency in 1928. He also declined to be Secretary in 1929. He later became President three times. He didn't particularly like his work on the committee to choose alumni members.
29 - 30He is opposed to the notion that, "election is almost exclusively based on a record of high scholarship." He thinks this is not in keeping with the original criteria for membership.
Side B0 - 1A bit about the early history of PBK--early records in Williamsburg.
1 - 10Shimer, the National Secretary visited WSU in 1936. Shimer visited during the Student Strike--Bundy talks about the origins of the Strike. Students objected to Administration interference in their out-of-class lives. The conception of "alma mater." PBK was untouched by the strike. He doesn't remember any concern about Shimer visiting during that time.
10 - 15He gets a book which shows pictures of Shimer and Voorhees. (The History of Phi Beta Kappa by Oscar Voorhees) Story of meeting Hastings and Gould at the Minneapolis Triennial.
15 - 20He served on the committee for the F. F. Potter Scholarship Fund. Talks about Potter, a teacher of philosophy and Greek. Doesn't recall exact beginning of Potter Fund. He could always "joyfully disagree" with Potter.
20 - 22The American Scholar, the National PBK magazine. Does not recall anything about the PBK Defense Fund in 1940.
22 - 25Does not recall the controversy over the PBK Keys being confused with the President's Keys. Tells the history of the PBK Key.
25 - 30He feels there has been an indifference to PBK on the WSU campus unlike the attitude at his alma mater, Cornell. PBK used to mean more when there were less students elected. Nobody stands out anymore. The further East one goes, the more prestige attached to PBK.
30 - 35The Bundy Report--this concerned the 2/3 or 3/4 liberal arts requirement for PBK candidacy. The difficulty determining what is or is not a liberal arts course. He has always been "strenuously for the 3/4 law." The controversy is still going on.

Interview Identification Number: 19/2
Interviewee: Murray Bundy, Ph.D. 1928-56 WSU English professor, English Dept. Head. Three time Phi Beta Kappa President
Birthdate of Interviewee: 1891
Geographical Areas Covered: Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID

Interviewer: Margot H. Knight
Location of Interview: Pullman, WA for Phi Beta Kappa
Date of Interview: January 15, 1980
Length of Interview: 58 minutes

Abstractor: Carmen E. Petersen
Date of Abstraction: 19 Feb. 1985

Release: Yes
Restrictions: No

INTERVIEW ABSTRACT
Tape sideEstimated time on tapePrincipal subjects covered
 
Side A0 - 4More about the 2/3, 3/4 controversy. He says he did not propose the PBK Lectureships. Does not recall any of the speakers that came.
4 - 7More about the Minneapolis Triennial in 1955. He attended another Triennial in Burlington but he paid his own way. Was appointed second delegate. The relationship of the events at the Triennial and the day-to-day operations at the various chapters. The Williamsburg Triennial and the Bicentennial coincided. The Triennials were a reminder of the identity of PBK. "The greatest aggregation of men to be found in Who's Who." He shows me a copy of the article in the N. Y. Times about the Williamsburg Triennial which featured him. We look at some pictures.
7 - 15There were always problems in getting a quorum for PBK meetings. There is a problem now in getting faculty members to participate in PBK because many feel that WSU elects too many to membership. His own feelings about membership numbers. Berkeley has elected 1400 over 3 years which he feels is too many. Grade inflation has contributed to the problem.
15 - 21He talks about the job of preparing the lists of eligible candidates. The problem of seeking courses to get high grades. Now it is necessary to get permission in order to examine students' transcripts.
21 - 23In the 70s several candidates publicly refused membership during award ceremonies. This had happened once in the 40s when a man was proud of the fact that he had turned down membership. This prompted a resolution that the members would not be announced until written acceptances had been received.
23 - 24Generally a handful of faculty members have kept the Gamma Chapter alive.
24 - 30They always arranged their banquet at a time when the National PBK Scholars were coming here to lecture.
Side B0 - 10Story of getting John Trevor, an oriental Archaeologist for a speaker a few years ago. Another speech by a man named Jones on philosophy was fascinating. Names other good speakers. The history of the PBK Oration. "The American Scholar" speech. He has attended all the banquets. Years ago they gave up wearing tuxedos.
10 - 15Differences between attitude towards PBK in the East and the West. Names the early PBK Chapters in western United States. He thinks students think of it as just another honorary opinion. He feels that more advertising on the campus would improve the opinion of PBK.
15 - 17Edward R. Murrow was made an honorary member. At the time Murrow was here, PBK did not take Speech Majors.
17 - 23He thinks that more universities in the West should be urged to form PBK Chapters. Would like to see the wearing of the vest and key return to restore interest and prestige to WSU PBK.
23 - 28He regards PBK as the, "outstanding honor he received as a student." Ella Clark, a former professor, made a great contribution to the Gamma Chapter.