Below is a column written by the very first Editor-in-Chief of the Buff and Blue:
The Beginning of The Buff and Blue
By James M. Stewart, ’93
didn’t realize, when I sat down in Room No. 10 at Gallaudet College in the Fall of 1892 to write the “Salutatory” for The Buff and Blue, that forty long years afterwards I would be called upon to contribute something appropriate for the fortieth anniversary number of this magazine.
Forty years in the lifetime of a magazine, as well as in that of an individual, is quite a long time. The credit of keeping The Buff and Blue successfully sailing the sea of college journalism for so long a time is due mostly to each of the editorial boards the magazine has had, to all of those who have contributed literary or advertising matter, and to the many who have been on its subscription lists. And it is well that the present editor is asking some of those who have played a part in keeping the magazine going all these years to contribute something for this anniversary number.
The students at Gallaudet before my time had expressed a wish to have a college magazine but the Faculty had deemed the time not ripe for such a venture.
In the later eighties a small print shop was opened in the laboratory to do the printing work of the College and Mr. Harry Van Allen, ’89, placed in charge. This shop was equipped with a 10×15 Golding Jobber, an imposing stone, several cases of 8-point body type, and some job type, which was used mostly for headings. When Mr. Van Allen left college Dr. Gallaudet placed me in charge, for he had learned that I was a printer. The printing work of the College then was not as much as varied as it is today, and throughout my Freshman, Sophomore, and Junior years I had very little work to do in this shop.
This little used printing plant in the laboratory led the students during my Junior year, 1891-92, to think their opportunity of having a college magazine had arrived, and it had! Early in the spring of 1892 they held a mass meeting in the Lyceum and appointed a committee to petition the Faculty for permission to start a college paper. This committee was made up of Oliver J. Whildin (chairman), Martin M. Taylor and Paul Lange, ’92, and William I. Tilton and the writer, ’93. Shortly after the committee into his private office and asked them why they wished to have a college magazine. He was told of the opportunity it would give the printer-students to keep up their practice in printing, of the opportunity it would give other students to edit and manage a paper and of the student body to train themselves in the art of writing and in developing whatever literary ability they possessed.
He was also told of how the magazine could be financially supported. The good Doctor undoubtedly saw the value of such training and consented to the founding at Gallaudet of a college magazine.
The next thing for the students to do then was to appoint a committee to sound the alumni and friends of the College. This committee had a circular letter printed outlying the size and of issues during the college year and the subscription price. These letters together with subscription pledge blanks were sent out. The responses were prompt and generous. Enough subscription pledges were received to make the students feel the venture would be a financial success the first year.
Then came the election in the Lyceum of the first editorial board, which was limited to an editor-in-chief, three associate editors, an editor of the alumni and college news, an editor to make comments on the exchanges and write up the athletic news, and a business manager to look after the subscriptions and advertisements. Harvey D. DeLong, ’93, Agatha M. A. Tiegel, ’93, and Louis A. Divine, ’94, were elected associate editors; John A. McIlvaine, ’93, alumni and locals; Jay C. Howard, ’95, athletics and exchanges, and Charles D. Seaton, ’93, business manager. I had the honor of being elected editor-in-chief, not because I was the ablest writer in the college then, but because I was a printer and had had some experience in newspaper work. This board organized and fixed the duties each was to assume when work on the magazine started in the fall of 1892. It also decided on a name for the new magazine–the one suggested by Dr. J. C. Gordon, of the Faculty, The Buff and Blue.
Soon after my appointment as editor-in-chief Dr. Gallaudet commissioned me to purchase $200 worth of type and other things needed to start the printing work. I had been spending my summer vacations working in a printing establishment in Cleveland, Ohio, and knew of the Cleveland Type Foundry but no other type foundry-not even the Great American Type Founders Co., founded by Benjamin Franklin.
It was the first purchase of type I had ever made. It was the first purchase of type I had ever made. I didn’t know then that, when ordering type, the proper thing to do was to several different point founts of a series so as to get good printing work done. I selected whatever meets my fancy and a look at the advertisements in Volume I of The Buff and Blue will reveal the selection I made.
When college opened in the fall of 1892, copy for the new magazine began to come in and the work of printing was started–the old way of setting type by hand, for linotypes had not then come into general use. There were many printers among the students then and they were called to the colors of The Buff and Blue. The Business Manager didn’t have much cash on printer-students gave their services gratis. This is how, at the end of the year, we were able to turn over to our successors in office a handsome sum of money.
All of the matter intended for publication in the new magazine was set up in the little print shop of the College. The pages were made up there also and the forms sent to the printing establishment of Byron S. Adams on Eleventh Street, N.W., where the presswork, folding, and binding were done.
Long may The Buff and Blue continue to be, as it has in the past forty years, a valuable educational factor of the college we all hold dear!
Vol. 41 no. 2