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Sammie Morris Reamer Club artifacts

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: MSR 7

Scope and Contents

The Sammie Morris Reamer Club artifacts consist of a Purdue Reamer paddle, marked "Sammie Morris honorary, Fall 2008" and one wooden "R" signed by Reamer Club members and marked "Morris honorary, 08" that were given to Sammie Morris as a token of the club's appreciation for her assistance.


  • 2008


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English.

Access Information

The collection is open for research.

Copyright and Use Information

Copyright held by Purdue University.

Historical Information

The exact circumstances that lead to the organization of the Purdue Reamer Club are not known. The history of the Purdue Reamers before 1922 is uncertain. There are only stories, rumors at best, which tell when the order was initially formed. In the early part of the 20th century, University housing for male students was at a premium. Purdue Hall, built to house those lucky few who were nominated by their home counties to go to Purdue tuition free, was unavailable to the regular students. Ladies Hall, built in 1874, was only for the few women students enrolled at that time. The men had only two other choices for housing.

The first choice was to join one of the fraternities, which was a relatively new idea on campus. However, many of the men considered fraternities to be childish because of the secret ceremonies, handshakes, etc. These men opted for the only other choice available, living off campus. As most of the vacancies for students were across the Wabash River in Lafayette, transportation was a problem. Also, the potential for meeting new friends was limited, due to being isolated. Students would have a few close friends caught in the same situation.

Since the Greeks were more organized, and they knew more people, they easily controlled the extracurricular activities. They were also the major leaders in larger activities, such as the Debris, the Exponent, Prom, and the Military Ball. Even though the student body decided these offices, the independents offered only token resistance. In the spring of 1922, it became apparent that the Greeks were becoming divided among themselves in their quest to get their respective candidates slated on the election tickets. C.C. Reeder, an independent student, saw the potential to get non-Greeks elected, due to the Greek division. He formed a group of off campus students, known as "The Unorganized Student Association." This was an attempt to further divide the Greeks, so as to elect independents. Unfortunately, the group, at best, lived up to its name.

Reeder returned in the fall with a new approach to the same idea, and the Purdue Independent Association (PIA) was formed. The PIA fared better than its ancestor, remaining active until the mid-1950s. With time the PIA became more and more active. Thus, the members' interest became more diversified in the quest to find new ways to help their fellow students and help the University. The Greeks had formed the Gimlets club to increase the school spirit among fraternity men. In September of 1922, a group of sports-minded individuals met to consider the possibility of furthering the interest of non-fraternity men in both varsity and intramural sports. They concluded that an organization similar to the Gimlets would be best.

The group's first constitution called for the formation of the Reamer Club. The name, Reamer, was selected because the PIA felt the "Reamers would smooth out the holes the Gimlets made." In other words, they would finish the tasks that the Gimlets undertook. The Dean of Men refused to recognize the club, because: 1. It was an organization within an organization, the PIA, and 2. He feared that the primary purpose for its existence was to rival the Gimlets. He concluded that the Dean's office needed more control over the proposed club.

The constitution of the club was finally approved in October of 1923, thus establishing the Purdue Reamer Club. The constitution called for a group separate from the PIA, and that the group was to obtain "the good will and cooperation of all groups." It is said that the constitution was drawn up under really difficult circumstances. Even with the revisions to the constitution, the purpose of the club was sketchy.

Because of the relative inactivity of the club, the Reamers were looking for a reason for their existence as an outstanding group of men, instead of "just another honorary society." A new constitution was adopted on June 2, 1926. It was approved by President Pittinger, Vice President O'Meara, and Secretary Payne. Dean M.L. Fisher spoke at the first initiation, conducted after the adoption of the new constitution. The club carried on various spirit raising activities on campus from that point on.

The club was still carrying on its good work in the years from 1932-1937, and it was during these years that the Reamer club started on one of its most outstanding pieces of work for the promulgation of Purdue traditions. In November of 1937, a sophomore pharmacy student, Israel Selkowitz, had an idea. He suggested that Purdue have an official mascot, something symbolic of a school rich in engineering heritage. This idea was developed and carried on until the culmination of efforts took place on September 11, 1940, when the Boilermaker Special I was presented to the university. The Purdue Reamer Club was appointed caretakers of the mascot at that time, and is still carrying out these duties. The superstructure was refitted in 1953, giving BMS II its birth, with a trailer added in 1957. At this time, work was begun to acquire BMS III, which was obtained as a donation from General Motors in October of 1960.


Retrieved March 25, 2020 from


0.20 Cubic Feet (One flat box)

Acquisition Information

Donation received from Sammie Morris, May 5, 2010.

Purdue Reamer Club Information

Processing Information

All materials have been wrapped in tissue and housed in an acid-free box.



Sammie Morris Reamer Club artifacts
Under Review
Mary A. Sego
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Edition statement
Second edition. Collection description first completed 2011-03-17.

Repository Details

Part of the Purdue University Archives and Special Collections Repository

504 Mitch Daniels Boulevard
West Lafayette Indiana 47907 United States