Volume I, Number 1: Cornell Student Publications

Student publications have been a staple of campus life since the beginning of the University. Hundreds of different publications have been produced by students over the years on a vast range of subjects. While many have a fleeting existence and narrow exposure, others have had century-long runs and an international impact.

Cornell’s first humor publication, and the third oldest collegiate humor magazine in the country, contained whimsical articles, poems, songs, and cartoons. Much of the magazine’s humor is lost on today’s audiences or would be considered politically incorrect. The original graphics were designed by students, some of whom would become prominent artists. The Widow is perhaps best remembered for its illustrated covers, which, by the 1950s, often parodied the style of popular national magazines. It continued to publish sporadically until the mid-1970s.

The first Cornell publication, The Era served as a news magazine. Its name was chosen to indicate that the founding of Cornell would inaugurate a new era. It contained articles and later photographs of campus events, reports on athletics, and historical and biographical pieces. Alumni contributions were also included. The magazine ceased publication in 1924, but was revived for a brief period in the late 1940s before ending once again.

Produced by students in the College of Agriculture, this publication contained news from within the College, but also was an internationally recognized resource for the latest in agricultural techniques and noteworthy advances in the field. It also contained advice and interest pieces that were appealing to those in all areas of agriculture from farming to teaching. The Countryman ceased publication in October 1995.

Soon after its initial issue in 1978, The Lunatic gained a reputation on campus as the premier humor magazine for students. In its first few years, each issue sold thousands of copies. The award-winning magazine continues to publish articles and illustrations with amusing commentary on campus, national, and international news.

One of the first college daily newspapers, founded by William Ballard Hoyt ‘81, the Cornell Daily Sun began publishing on September 16, 1880, and has published continuously ever since. The Sun continues to be the news source for the campus community. It also serves as a training ground for students who go on to journalism careers. The physical paper, combined with the Sun’s Web presence, has garnered honors as the nation’s best college newspaper.

Later known as the Sibley Journal of Engineering, the magazine was published by the students of the Sibley College of Mechanical Engineering. It contained items of interest for both mechanical and electrical engineering audiences. While including College news, The Crank stood out for itsdetailed technical pieces, which often contained complex calculations, diagrams, and graphs highlighting current machinery, technology, research or inventions. It later merged with the Cornell Civil Engineer to form the Cornell Engineer.

This short-lived publication was an attempt at a campus pictorial magazine. While photographs are ubiquitous in today’s magazines, they were less common at this time. The Graphic focused on high quality photographs, whose captions constituted almost the only text. Most of the photographs were from campus, but each issue also included several photographs unrelated to Cornell, such as full page photos of nationally known female entertainers. The high cost of production contributed to the end of the magazine in 1926.

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