The CRIMSON will hold its annual dinner in the Union this evening at 7 o'clock; the occasion will be a particularly memorable one, marking as it does the fortieth anniversary of the founding of the paper. About 90 guests will be present, among them being Dean Hurlbut; W. R. Thayer '81, editor of the Graduates' Magazine; Dr. Endicott Peabody, headmaster of Groton School; representatives of the Yale News, Princetonian, and the Cornell Sun; a number of former editors and graduates, and about 40 undergraduates. The guests will assemble in the CRIMSON Sanctum at 7 o'clock.
The toastmaster will be R. B. Batchelder '13, who will introduce the following speakers: "The CRIMSON Building," H. M. Williams '85; "The Undergraduate and His Relation to Better Things," R. C. Evarts '13; "Recollections of an Old Editor," W. R. Thayer '81; "The CRIMSON and the College," Dean B. S. Hurlbut '87; and "An Outsider's View," Dr. Endicott Peabody.
History of "The Harvard Crimson."
For the benefit of all those who are celebrating with the CRIMSON its fortieth birthday tonight, and for the benefit of all undergraduates, a brief history of the paper has been compiled from the day the founders of the MAGENTA waited for the appearance of the first edition in the room of H. A. Clark '74, Stoughton 22, to the present.
Slow and Painful Beginning.
The beginning was a slow and painful process, the paper being sustained by a few enthusiastic undergraduates who believed the college should have some newspaper publishing more news than did the Advocate and furnishing students with more journalistic experience. From 1873 to 1875 it struggled along as the MAGENTA, named from the college color of the day, after the analogy of the Oxford DARK BLUE.
It was a fortnightly, like the Advocate, with sixteen pages, including, besides advertisements, news, and editorials, several poems of a light nature.
In 1875 when the original Harvard color, crimson, was restored, it assumed the title of "The CRIMSON."
Finances in those days were far from stable. Following the panic of 1873 advertisers were none too ready, the printers were close in collecting their bills, and subscribers were lax in payment. Many times the editors went down in their own pockets for an advance guarantee, that the next issue might appear. Not until 1879, indeed, were these conditions bettered, when a campaign of soliciting custom for advertisers put the paper on its feet.
In this same year, 1879, The Echo, the first college daily, sprang up to live three years of unsuccessful life and be supplanted with hardly a struggle by the Herald in 1882. According to the Advocate it was hard to say what feature of the Echo was most acceptable to its readers, "the vulgarity of the first year, the insipidity of the second, or the negligence of the third".
1882 also saw the change of the CRIMSON from a bi-weekly to a weekly, a proposition to unite with the Advocate, which was to assume the heavy debt under which the CRIMSON was again laboring, having been rejected by the Advocate Board.
Combination with "The Herald."
Though it had only a few editors the Herald proved itself energetic and efficient. "The city dailies gave it credit for getting out extras in the quickest time ever known in the newspaper world." For a year it continued on its way alone, but in 1883 united with the CRIMSON under the title of "The CRIMSON". In 1884, this was changed to "The DAILY CRIMSON." The new paper had the field entirely to itself, and combining the best editors of the two boards, very soon paid off all debts and started with a will on its career. It assumed its present title in 1891.
Even then the days of hard struggle for existence were not yet over. Especially in the matter of printing were the editors still pioneering. One of them writes: "The paper was then printed by H. E. Lombard in the loft of a wooden building in Central square, "The Post.' Two of us had to go each midnight to read proof. As the cars from Boston ran only once an hour after midnight, and by horse-power, we were usually obliged to walk back to our rooms." Lombard continued to print for the CRIMSON, with the exception of one day, until 1893, when the contract was given to the Crimson Printing Company, consisting of R. S. McCarter and J. E. Kneeland, who are still its printers. An old Washington hand-press was set up in the rear of the CRIMSON Office. in the basement of what is now Fairfax Hall.
The Sanctum was at first in this same building, one flight up, reached by an outside wooden staircase in back. It was changed to a small room on the second floor of the Lyceum Building, the present Co-operative, in 1886; and in 1889 again returned to Fairfax Hall.
In 1885 the CRIMSON put into practice a novel idea which led to the establishment of the Harvard Monthly. A monthly supplement was published, to be filled with matter furnished by the English instructors, taken from the best themes and compositions done in the regular College work." The scheme worked so well that the editors gladly entrusted the supplement to separate hands, and the Monthly was established as an independent publication.
Struggle With the "News."
The most interesting and exciting period of the CRIMSON'S history was that of competition with the Harvard Daily News in 1894-95, a period made memor-