On Display: The Inaugural Issue of the Alumnae Quarterly

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First Issue of the Alumnae Quarterly

Photo by James Gehrt

How it All Began

The first issue of the Mount Holyoke Alumnae Quarterly debuted in April 1917 at a time when resources were tight. The country was at war, and paper was scarce. The editors made efficient use of sixty-six pages, with the text-heavy look of the time. Articles were dense and focused on detailed College news as well as alumnae careers. Students and faculty contributed most of the content, often transcriptions of talks or addresses.

The issue was smaller in size than the current magazine, at six inches by nine inches. And it would be decades before color was introduced. But much is familiar today. Class scribes and their notes appeared in the very first issue. Deceased alumnae were given a “Necrology” section, which included the March 25, 1917, death of Elizabeth Storrs Mead, “first president of Mount Holyoke College, from 1893 to 1900.” And editors asked outright for feedback from readers, establishing from its very first that this was to be a publication for alumnae.

The editorial content of the magazine concluded with a list of about forty alumnae under the title “Addresses Desired”—essentially a call for information updates about lost alumnae—and, on the next page, a detailed schedule for commencement weekend 1917.

An annual subscription cost $1.00 “payable in advance.” And an eight-page advertising section, complete with index, was crucial in funding the project. The magazine went ad free in 1968, and in 1975 the subscription fee was eliminated.   

This article appeared in the spring 2017 issue of the Alumnae Quarterly.

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