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Augustana College Friendship Fair collection

Identifier: MSS 182

Scope and Contents

The Augustana College Friendship Fair collection, 1953-1998 (bulk 1953-1976), has been arranged into the five series. The Publicity series, 1957-1998, contains fliers, press releases, an email, and a letter pertaining to the promotion of the Friendship Fair. The Booklets series, 1958-1965, contains three booklets that explain the history and annual themes of the Friendship Fair. The Newspaper Clippings series, 1954-1971, contains copies of several newspaper and magazine articles about the Friendship Fair. The Scrapbooks series, 1953-1963, contains two scrapbooks that chronicle the organization of the Friendship Fair. The scrapbooks include letters, photographs, and newspaper clippings. The Memorabilia series, 1966-1971, includes a small wooden plaque from the 1966 fair and buttons from the 1969 and 1971 fairs.


  • Creation: 1953-1998
  • Creation: Majority of material found within 1953-1976

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Conditions Governing Use

Unpublished manuscripts are protected by copyright. Permission to publish, quote, or reproduce must be secured from Augustana College Special Collections and the copyright holder.

Historical Note

The Friendship Fair’s origins date back to World War II when an Augustana graduate, Ray Grossman, was stationed in Europe. After the war, Grossman began working with the staff at the University of Vienna to organize student recreational activities. He had the idea to bring two Austrian students back to Augustana’s campus. In 1945, Augustana started hosting a series of fairs to raise funds for the World Student Service Fund (WSSF). While these fairs were successful, the students soon lost interest in fundraising for a cause for which the community could not see the results.

The fair was revamped in 1949, when the first official Friendship Fair took place. The carnival-style festival raised money to bring international students to Augustana, and to send an Augustana student abroad for a year. Each year, the Frienship Fair was conceived around a central theme, and fraternities and sororities built booths representing that theme. The themed booths offered snacks, games, and activities. At the end of the night, there was a large auction open to both Augustana groups and the local community. Another highlight of the Friendship Fair was the Mr. and Mrs. Friendship competition. The winners are said to be "the one person you would like to meet if you were in a foreign country." Votes were cast by placing pennies into the candidate’s jar. All proceeds from the fair went towards the fundraising effort.

The Friendship Fair continued to be a highly lucrative and popular event through the mid 1970s. The last fair was held in 1975, before being replaced by a smaller “Spring Fling” event that was not for charity, but whose purpose was to include many groups on campus, not just the Greek societies. There was a one year revival of the Friendship Fair in 1998.


1.2 Cubic Feet (/ 3 boxes)

Language of Materials



The Friendship Fair had its origins in World War II, with the first official Friendship Fair being held in 1949. The annual carnival-style festival raised money to bring international students to Augustana and to send an Augustana student abroad for a year. The Augustana College Friendship Fair collection, 1953-1998 (bulk 1953-1976), contains publicity materials, publications, news clippings, scrapbooks, and memorabilia related to the annual Friendship Fair.



Immediate Source of Acquisition

Immediate source of acquisition unknown.

Processing Information

Processed by Leslie Nellis, 2011. Revised by Atticus Garrison, April 2016.

Augustana College Friendship Fair collection, 1953-1998 (bulk 1953-1976).
Atticus Garrison
April 2016
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Augustana College Special Collections Repository

639 38th Street
Thomas Tredway Library
Rock Island Illinois 61201 United States