Colorful Crimson History Began with Off-Color Magenta...

Continual Process of Change Marks History of 73-Year-Old Crimson; Once Appeared as Bi-Weekly Literary Mag; Still Cambridge's Only Breakfast Table Daily

Fostered Monthly

Sure proof of a healthy adolescent was the wandering afield of the editors in 1885 when they fathered the Harvard Monthly, devoted mostly to book reviews and articles of timeless interest.

Not until 1891 did the organization really buckle down to taking journalism and the Crimson's relation to it seriously. Previous writing had taken place in Stoughton 22, but the room had served particularly in the "fortnightly" days, as much as a club room as an office.

Fifty-five years ago, in 1891, The Harvard Crimson started appearing at the top of page one. Even the type style of the banner head has remained virtually the same. A brief experiment was launched in 1933 when the Crimson Seal divided the two words after the fashion of the New York Herald Tribune. The present head, especially designed to harmonize with the rest of the page, was introduced in September, 1941.

Print First Sports Extra


Settling finally on a title that would stick symbolized the intention of the editors to make the paper a serious splash in the journalistic pool.

Sports coverage of the Princeton baseball game on May 30, 1892 gave students a taste of future Crimson initiative when the crowds returning from the game were greeted by the paper's first sports extra. The feat was accomplished by relays of local kids on bicycles who caught copy dropped to them from the bleachers and rushed it to the printer.

The next fall saw the first in the now traditional series of pre-election straw votes to test Harvard temper in the national presidential elections. At this particular time, incidentally, undergraduates proved themselves far more out of step with the times then the Faculty by giving Harrison a huge majority over Cleveland.

Contracts for Printing

Beginning in 1893, a printing contract with the Crimson Printing Company was signed. From then on, the company supplied printers, linotype machines and a press to accompany the Crimson in its moves to 1304 Massachusetts Avenue, in 1805, to the Union, in 1901, and finally to the present establishment in which the two organizations work as close neighbors.

Linotype operators for the Crimson have always taken a personal interest in the goings on of the succeeding generations of amateur newspapermen, and somehow find a compensation for all the unbusiness-like, harum-scarum procedures that have inevitably accompanied every board of editors.

Art Hopkins, the paper's present senior printer by virtue of 17 year's experience with it, figures that if a printer is to work on the Crimson he must take a very real interest in the paper and work unceasingly for its betterment, or else his nightly endeavors turn into nothing but unmitigated hard labor, for which a weekly pay check is at the most but poor compensation.

News Tests Crimson Mettle

No serious competition for the Crimson in its own field has appeared since the Harvard Daily News threw down the gauntlet in the fall of 1894. The incumbent journalists affected to look down their noses at the upstarts, but were effectively put on their mettle by a keen rivalry that was not always bare-faced and above board. Unethical wire-tapping and signs of yellow journalism on the part of the News, however, showed up the following fall when the challengers were blighted by the failure of their subscription drive.

In spite of a cut in the subscription rates from $3.50 to $2.50 to meet the competition, the Crimson emerged fatter than ever financially, and by 1906, the business board, having returned the rates for subscribers to $3.00, was bringing in enough advertising to clear sizeable profits.