The OSU Folk Club was organized on October 29, 1908, by twenty women under the leadership of Leonora Kerr, wife of President William Jasper Kerr, to promote friendship among women connected with the Oregon Agricultural College (OAC). Very early, the members became involved in service, donating items to the college. Their first scholarship for $50 was given in 1930. In 2018, 21 scholarship recipients received $55,000 toward tuition at OSU for the 2018-2019 year. In addition to this, grants totaling about $35,000 were given to 28 non-profit organizations serving Benton County. This money comes from the OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop and is managed through the OSU Folk Club Thrift Shop Foundation. Now in its 110th year, our purpose continues to be friendship among faculty women and wives/partners of faculty, as well as service to OSU and the community.
In 1945 the Newcomers were organized with their own officers and bylaws. Elizabeth Rainey and Corrine McKenzie were the first co-chairs. By 1949 there was a need to raise additional funds, and the Thrift Shop was started by then College Folk Club President, Betty Slegel, in the basements of Dot Butts MacGregor and Martha Mumford. The Thrift Shop began giving scholarships in 1958.
After moving six times in 21 years, the Thrift Shop purchased a permanent home at 144 NW 2nd Street. The Retirees' Coffee was held for the first time in 1970 an the name of the club was changed from College Folk Club to the Oregon State University Folk Club in 1972.