The year is 1916.

All male Cal Poly students have to wear military uniforms in the dorms and train during the day in case their services are needed for the war in Europe. Only three academic departments exist: agriculture, engineering/mechanics and household arts.

The California Polytechnic School has only existed for 13 years.

And then came Raymond Harr, a student whose name has been forgotten among the many remarkable alumni who would follow him. But his impact can be found in the hands of most Cal Poly students and faculty five days a week.

On April 25, 1916, Harr created the Polygram, Cal Poly’s first student newspaper, which published just once every two weeks. In its first issue, Harr wrote “In order to make this paper grow and become a success, we must have the loyalty and cooperation of every student in the school. Why shouldn’t we? The Polygram is the official organ of the Student Body and every member should help to boost it.” If only he knew the impact his journalistic venture would have over the next century.

In celebration of the paper’s 90th anniversary, the Mustang Daily has dug deep into its archives to uncover some of the most interesting and influential articles ever published. From World War II’s impact on the student population to riots in the ’60s; from ads for portable typewriters to the banning of women students; from the plane crash of the 1960 football team to the disappearance of Kristin Smart in 1996, the Mustang Daily is offering you a glimpse into its rarely seen history. And in the process, you’ll get to see the evolution of not only the paper, but the evolution toward the Cal Poly we attend today.

To understand the historical impact of some of the articles, many former editors and reporters have contributed their perspectives throughout this issue. Their commentaries provide a phenomenal flashback to the context in which many of the stories were written.

Hundreds of editors and thousands of student reporters have sculpted, modified, dismantled, regenerated and perfected the campus papers throughout the past 90 years, and in tribute, this special edition is dedicated to them.

Emily Rancer
Mustang Daily editor in chief, 2006-07

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *