New website brings 9 decades of University history online

Chicago Little Theatre stage

Designed for the 1916 Cap and Gown by C. Raymond Johnston of the Chicago Little Theatre.

The newly launched University of Chicago Campus Publications website allows researchers to readily explore more than nine decades of University history, from 1892 to 1995.   At launch, the site provides digital access to four periodicals:  Cap and Gown, the College yearbook; the University of Chicago Magazine, the official alumni publication; Quarterly Calendar, an early omnibus publication; and the University Record, its successor By visiting campub.lib.uchicago.edu, members of the UChicago community and researchers around the world can conduct a simultaneous keyword search of all four publications, using an interface built and maintained by the University of Chicago Library.

University of Chicago Magazine, April 1952.


University of Chicago Magazine, April 1952.

The Campus Publications site is an exciting new resource for faculty, students, and alumni of the University and provides a wealth of historical information for other researchers examining the history of the University and its impact on higher education. Genealogists researching University connections may also find the site particularly helpful. For many, research into University history will no longer require careful and laborious browsing of multiple volumes of bound print publications.  For the first time, the complete content of some of the most heavily used University periodicals will be fully accessible online across publications and chronological time periods.

The earliest publication on the site, Quarterly Calendar (1892-1896), includes a wide range of information:  faculty and administrative rosters, course descriptions, official regulations, convocation addresses, directories of administrators and faculty, lists of registered students by academic program, and statistics on student registration.

Adler and Hutchins cartoon

Adler and Hutchins cartoon, Cap and Gown, 1934.

It was superseded by the University Record, published from 1896 to 1908, from 1915 to 1933, and finally, from 1967 to 1981 under the new name University of Chicago Record. The Record published convocation addresses; articles on University buildings, cornerstone layings, and dedications; biographic sketches and memorial tributes; statements and reports by Presidents and other administrators; photographic portraits of faculty, administrators, and convocation speakers; an announcements of campus events.

The Campus Publications site includes all issues of the University of Chicago Magazine that were published from 1908 to 1995.  The Magazine includes articles on campus events; news from classes; alumni activities; articles by faculty members on their research; news and notes on individual alumni; excerpts from recently published faculty books; feature articles on notable alumni and faculty; and photographic essays on the campus and University events.  For a period from 1908 to 1915 when the University Record was not issued as a separate publication, the content of the University Record was published as part of the University of Chicago Magazine.

Sketch of urban renewal at Ridgewood Court on 55th

Violet Fogle Uretz’s sketch of urban renewal at Ridgewood Court on 55th in the November 1957 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine (page 22).

Cap and Gown varied in format from year to year, reflecting the changing student editorial board.  The Campus Publications site includes all issues published from 1895 to 1958.  Cap and Gown included individual photographs of undergraduate students with information on their campus activities; essays on University administrators and faculty members; photographs and records of athletic teams by sport; photographs and lists of members of fraternities, social clubs, and other student organizations; and photographic essays focused on the campus and events of the past year.

Because all four of these publications can now be simultaneously searched by keyword, researchers can rapidly access the distinct voices and perspectives of faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and guest lecturers as they engage with the vital issues of the day.  For example, a search on “urban renewal” leads to numerous illustrated stories beginning with an October 1954 piece in the University of Chicago Magazine.  Among many other sources, researchers will find an article on the launch of urban renewal in the 1956 Cap and Gown; a set of sketches of urban renewal sites by Violet Fogle Uretz in the November 1957 University of Chicago Magazine; an Interim Report of the Subcommittee on South Campus on the impact of urban renewal in the March 14, 1969, University Record; and an article in the March 1976 University of Chicago Magazine pointing to changes in student housing options resulting from urban renewal.

Photos and descriptions of alumni members of the military reported killed or missing in action

Part of Chicago’s Roll of Honor in the February 1943 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine (page 16). Featured are alumni members of the military reported killed or missing in action.

Campus attitudes toward war and the military are another longstanding issue that can be researched in Campus Publications.  Among the relevant coverage, one can find a convocation address by Carl Schurz on American imperialism prompted by the Spanish-American War in the January 6, 1899, University Record; a report on the University’s involvement in World War I in the October 1917 University Record; an article on a peace march by University students in the May 1937 University of Chicago Magazine; an essay by Katharine Graham, who later became the publisher of the Washington Post, on student unrest and the media in the July 1969 University of Chicago Magazine; and a discussion of psychological diagnoses of student anti-war protesters by Joseph Schwab in the March 1970 University of Chicago Magazine.

Some subjects that were particularly difficult to research in the past are readily explored using the new online interface.  One is women’s athletics at the University of Chicago, and especially images of women athletes and teams.  A search returns information about women’s intramural basketball games in the 1900 Cap and Gown; the organization of the University’s Women’s Athletic Association in the December 1903 University Record; completion of a women’s athletic field adjacent to Ida Noyes Hall in the July 1923 University of Chicago Magazine; a photograph and description of the activities of the women’s archery team in the 1930 Cap and Gown; a photograph and report on the record of the women’s field hockey team in the 1955 Cap and Gown; and the merger of the separate Departments of Physical Education for Men and for Women in the July 19, 1976, University Record.

Senior Baseball Team, 1915

Senior Baseball Team, 1915, in Cap and Gown, 1916 (page 298).

Searches on well-known topics in University history may yield some surprises.  For example, Enrico Fermi’s name appears for the first time in the February 1946 issue of the University of Chicago Magazine.  But Fermi is not the focus of the news note; it is instead Leona Woods Marshall, his Manhattan Project colleague, who has been named one of Mademoiselle magazine’s ten women of the year.

The Campus Publications site can be used on its own, but it also works well when supplemented by the University of Chicago Photographic Archive, the Library’s searchable database of more than 40,000 digitized documentary images.  The Photographic Archive provides access to photographs of many individuals, buildings, events, student activities, and historic landscapes.  Many other images of University individuals and events, however, appeared only in the official publications, the alumni magazine, or the student yearbook.  Researchers now have the opportunity to use both the Photographic Archive and Campus Publications sites together to locate the widest possible array of documentary photographs of University history.

As additional periodicals are digitized, the Library is looking forward to adding new content to the Campus Publications site, offering a growing and increasingly rich source of information on the University’s distinctive history.

Sexual segregation cartoon

Sexual segregation cartoon, Cap and Gown, 1903 (page 17).

The construction of the University of Chicago Campus Publications database and website required the expertise and collaboration of staff across multiple departments of the Library, including archivists, digitization experts, and web and database developers from Special Collections, Preservation, and the Digital Library Development Center.  Kathleen Arthur oversaw the digitization of the content.  Charles Blair and John Jung developed an interface that would enable and optimize the search experience for those interested in University of Chicago history.

The University of Chicago Campus Publications may be used for educational and scholarly purposes, but any such use requires that the University of Chicago Library be credited.   Commercial publication projects require the permission of the Library .

Researchers with questions about the collection may contact the Special Collections Research Center.

This entry was posted in Feature Story, Featured Collections, Featured Electronic Resources, General News, Resources, Special Collections and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.
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