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"The Gem of the Mountains marks the beginning of what we hope will be a series of profitable publications for our beloved institution ... [If] it adds the least beauty to the crown of history that rests upon the fair head of our Alma Mater ... then we feel that it bears its name well. "
-Foreword to the first Gem, 1903

The Gem of the Mountains

The Gem of the Mountains was the official yearbook of the University of Idaho from 1903 to 2004. During this time, the Gem recorded the traditions, triumphs, controversies, histories, and achievements of the University, documenting both the curricular and extra-curricular lives of its students, faculty, and administrators.

From a school of just 23 faculty members and four buildings to 2004's thoroughly modern university, the University has undergone a tremendous evolution, and the yearbooks bear witness to these changes. Two aspects remain constant, however, among the many physical, cultural, and stylistic changes documented: the beauty of the campus and the resilience of the Idaho spirit.

The Collection

The Gem of the Mountains Digital Yearbook Collection was digitized and processed for online viewing during the academic year 2011-2012 by staff and librarians in the digital initiatives department of the University of Idaho Library.

Over 100 volumes — constituting more than 33,000 pages and 3 terabytes worth of image files — were broken apart, sliced at their bindings and fed through a feed scanner to produce the collection of PDFs, images, and selections here before you.

Famous Vandals can be found within the collection (see feature at right), as well as family members, former students, and beloved professors. To do so, one can use the search box above, which searches the entire collection, or the search box in the middle of each year's page, which searches just that year.

The Coloring Book

In honor of #ColorOurCollections Digital Initiatives created a free downloadable coloring book featuring illustrations from the Gem. To download and learn more, please visit the Coloring page.


Editor: Devin Becker

Digital Production Managers: Kevin Dobbins and Estelle Sertich

Student Assistants: Sierra Magnusson, Jordan Proctor, Keila Dubois, Lynette Andersen, Andrew Rowe, Kendra Chilbert

Ordering Information

To order high resolution, digital scans of photos or pages from the yearbook, please contact dbecker@uidaho.edu.

Famous Vandals

Carol Ryrie Brink (1917), Author of Caddie Woodlawn

Malcolm MacKenzie Renfrew (1931), Chemist, Inventor, UI Professor

W. Mark Felt (1933), "Deep Throat," Former Associate Director of the FBI

Philip Habib (1942), Decorated United States Diplomat

Dirk Kempthorne (1975), Former Governor of Idaho, US Senator, and Secretary of the Interior

William Mark "Bill" Fagerbakke (1976), Actor, starred in Coach

Sarah (Heath) Palin (1987), Former Governor of Alaska

The Gem of the Mountains Digital Collection - Copyright 2012, University of Idaho Library