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Introduction
     
FROM ITS ORIGINS
as a tiny Episcopal training school in 1860, to its break with Columbia University in 1942, to its emergence as one of the finest liberal arts colleges in America, the history of Bard College displays intense growth and ever-increasing diversity. Essential to the rich history of the College is the cultural history of the students who contributed to Bard life in their own time and in the lives of future students. To a great extent, the history of student life defines the unique character of the College itself. As the composite of many individual's work, community activity, and ongoing campus dialogue, the Bard social experience derives its vitality from the meaningful exchange of ideas between students of different backgrounds and interests. Whether in the classroom, in political struggle, or in creative collaboration, life at Bard has been and continues to be characterized by an ethos of active, independent learning.

Nowhere does one find a more intimate, personal account of Bard's cultural history than in the expressive output of the students themselves. From original literature and artwork, to journalistic coverage of community events, opinions, reviews, and humor columns--a full range of cultural material can be found in Bard's student newspapers. Since 1895, over 20 different student publications have existed at Bard, some of which ran for more than 30 consecutive years. Most of these newspapers had been hidden away in the dark recesses of the Bard Library. Many of the volumes are being cracked open for the first time in decades. Moreover, this is the first time in the history of American liberal arts colleges that a comprehensive compilation of student publications has been made available as a searchable web archive.

This new web site provides anyone with instant access to over 10,000 pages of student newspapers and magazines, spanning over 100 years of Bard history. Among those pages one will find that styles of communication vary considerably, revealing the changing concerns and values of different generations of students. Periods of straight-laced, professional journalism are punctuated by years in which the paper became a politically-charged pastiche of image, poetry, and social critique. In some years the editors could boast of regularity in publishing; others made up for lack of discipline with chutzpah and creativity. All, however, offer a rich personal account of student life. From the struggle against an early campus curfew, to resistance against the war in Viet Nam, to the experimental learning environment of the "Inner College," Bard's student newspapers have recorded a broad range of events in news, interviews, collage, opinion, photography, and cartoons.

Alongside mainstays like the St. Stephen's Messenger (1895-1930), the Lyre Tree (1922-1934), the Bardian (1935-1960) and the Bard Observer (1961-present), one finds many rival publications, some of which lasted only a semester, others which published for several years. Many of these maverick publications, despite their short lives, attest to the variety and creativity of Bard students, who, dissatisfied with convention, boldy innovate on their own terms.

This fascinating collection may now be enjoyed by students, faculty and staff researchers, as well as historians, journalists, prospective students, and the public. By providing a multi-perspective account of and reflection on Bard student life in the twentieth century, the archive materials bring to light Bard's past as it was lived by the students who called the college their alma mater.