Augustana College Friendship Fair records

1953-1998, bulk 1953-1976

MSS 182
approximately 3.21 linear feet (1 box and 2 oversized boxes)

Name of Creator(s):

Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.) Friendship Fair.




There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Access points:

Augustana College (Rock Island, Ill.)--students.
Foreign study.
Educational fund raising.

Finding aid prepared by:

Leslie Nellis, 2011.


Augustana College Special Collections
Thomas Tredway Library
639 38th Street
Rock Island, Illinois 61201

Custodial History
Administrative History/Biographical Sketch
Scope and Content
System of Arrangement
Related Materials
Container List


Little is known about the provenance of this collection.  Some materials have been assembled by Special Collections Staff over the years.


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, and was in charge of student recreational activities.  He had that idea of bringing 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 Friendship Fair took place.  It raised money to bring foreign students to Augustana, and to send an Augustana student abroad for a year.  Each year the Friendship Fair picked a theme and fraternities and sororities built booths representing that theme.  The themed booths held snacks, games, and activities.  At the end of the night there was a large auction that both Augustana groups and the local community contributed to.  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.




The Augustana College Friendship Fair records date from 1953-1998, bulk 1953-1976, and measures approximately 3.21 linear feet (1 box and 2 oversized boxes).  The materials are arranged into the following series:

The Publicityseries, 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 which explain the history and yearly theme of the Friendship Fair.
The Newspaper Clippings series, 1954-1971, contains copies of several newspaper and magazine articles about the Friendship Fair.

The Scrapbook series, 1953-1963, is made up of two scrapbooks which chronicle the organizing of the Friendship Fair.  The scrapbooks include letters, photographs, and newspaper clippings.

The Memorabilia series, 1964-1971, includes a small wooden plaque from the 1966 fair, as well as buttons from the 1969 and 1971 Friendship Fairs.



The scrapbooks are in original order by chronology; however, the other materials have not maintained original order.  They have been arranged by chronologically by type in each series.




       Publicity, 1957-1998
       Booklets, 1958-1965
       Newspaper Clippings, 1954-1971
       Memorabilia, 1966
       Memorabilia, 1969-1971

       Scrapbook, 1953-1959

       Scrapbook, 1960-1963

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