Other Student Publications
Over the past century, the longevity and stature of the Maroon as a student publication has been matched only by the Cap and Gown. Established in 1895 as an annual in honor of the University's first graduating class, the Cap and Gown broke from the traditional yearbook format by creating separate sections for different University organizations, a style it retained for most of its issues. The Cap and Gown volumes were produced consistently until 1942, when a combination of the war and the sharply reduced student population led to a twelve-year hiatus in publication. Between 1953 and 1968 the Cap and Gown returned to its former annual status, and the yearbook has continued to be issued intermittently in recent years.
It took a little over a month for students to create the University's first literary publication, the University Arena. Unlike the University of Chicago Weekly, which blended news with literary issues, the staff chose to devote the University Arena entirely to the literary efforts of students. Unfortunately the monthly publication never made it past the third issue. The University Arena staff might have been consoled, however, to know that it opened the way for an extraordinary number of student publications. Although it was the first, it was by no means the last publication to enjoy only a brief existence. In the past one hundred years numerous student publications have focused on a wide range of topics from the serious and scholarly to the humorous and bawdy. Some magazines even managed to contain a little of each. But only a handful survived their infancy.the durable characteristics of student life. Through printed and illustrated material, University of Chicago students have expressed their literary and comic talents, as well as their frustrations and desires. The inspiration behind student publications will also endure, for it is replenished each quarter by new students who have something to say.
Chicago Review, founded by J. Radcliffe Squires (AM 1946) and Carolyn Dillard (SSA 1946), managed to avoid these cycles and became a durable student publication. The longevity of Chicago Review can be attributed to a succession of strong staffs and a reliance on contributions from professional writers.
Poetry and literary criticism have inspired the greatest number of student publications. The appearance of new poetry and literary journals suggested that a niche existed in student life for such creative efforts. Comment (1933-36, 1956-57), Circle (1922-25), and The Forge (1924-27) can be considered among the more important of these efforts. Their brief life spans are indicators perhaps of the creative energy involved in their production, and the tenuous nature of a student body constantly in a state of flux.
There has also been a vigorous attempt to make current events relevant to students. The socialist journal the Student Partisan (1937, 1947-50) advanced a particular student perspective on important national and international news. Pulse (1937-48) was active during the same period, but its style was less political and its subject matter more varied. Similar to the literary publications, most current events magazines were short-lived, unable to maintain a consistent following or a stable staff.
The same pattern characterized student humor publications. With the exception of the resilient Phoenix (1920-37, 1958-67), a life span of one or two years was the rule rather than the exception. From the Daily Granite (1923-24) and Gambolier (1946) to Midway Moron (1979) and the comic book Breakdown (1989), student humor publications have been more numerous than permanent.Despite their fragile existence, student publications are one of the durable characteristics of student life. Through printed and illustrated material, University of Chicago students have expressed their literary and comic talents, as well as their frustrations and desires. The inspiration behind student publications will also endure, for it is replenished each quarter by new students who have something to say.