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

President Wrote Editorials

Where now the normal full board provides for 50 editors including executives, and news, editorial, business, and photographic editors, the first Crimson boards consisted of a total of twelve editors, six from each Junior and Senior class. The present organization began to emerge as the paper became a daily, but still only the managing editor and his assistants were allowed to "put the paper to bed" and the president was supposed to write all the editorials.

But in 1907, the president appointed a committee, first just to do research for his editorials, but eventually to become the editorial board. Editorial scope only slowly transcended the bounds of the Yard, since the editors took (and continue to take) pride in the fact that reforms and improvements advocated on the Crimson's Page Two have so often been undertaken by the University administration.

War Stimulated Broad Thinking

War brought Page Two writers out of their shells. A generally neutral attitude toward the European conflagration during the first half of 1915 evolved into an ardent "preparedness" stand when the next board took office. Pro-Allied feeling grew in a crescendo up to the eve of United States involvement when the Crimson refused to print any more "Communications" from pacifists.


Meantime, wanderings from place to place in search of a suitable permanent home ceased when the November 20, 1915 issue was able to run its permanent address as 14 Plympton Street. Negotiations for a building fund and plans had been carried on since 1912, and a mortgage enabled the editors to break ground for their own home in the spring of 1915.

Although the mortgage was slated originally to be paid off along with taxes, by rent from the Crimson Printing Company, who rented the building in back and the basement floor, and from the Alumni Bulletin, which occupied one of the front offices, part of it is still outstanding.

But the editors finally had their own "castle" a Sanctum on the second floor that could serve as a retreat from the hustling news room, as a hanquet hall for full board dinners, or as a dance floor with star litterace adjacent. Ample space was allowed in the newsroom for strewing copy paper and typewriters wherever needed, while the managing editor and editorializers were provided with isolated nooks for better concentration on their individual problems.

Building Grows Mcllow

Dusty, ancient bound volumes framed relies of old triumphs and election posters, pictures and placards of the last three quarters of a century all bedeek every wall of the building, each with its fond associations, none with much artistic direction.

In some ways, analogies may be drawn between the present transition from the four-column Service News to the five-column Crimson and the first transition to a five-column Crimson in May 1920. Both changes followed close upon the end of a war, and both were accompanied by a change in type faces.

Eight-page papers had been the rule in the "Teens thanks to the activities of "Busy" Board members who garnered advertisements from all over the country. A larger paper was called for, and the purchase of the Crimson's present flat bed press during the year 1919-20 made possible the present 12 by 18 inch page.

To focus reader attention on headlines scattered over a broader expanse of paper, the managing editor prescribed Cheltenham bold to replace the former New York Timesish condensed type. Cheltenham held sway for 20 years when it was voted to go streamlined with so called Airport. The present Board of Editors have decided to change once more by introducing the more relined Bodoni as part of the Crimson's post-war reconstruction.

Photographs made their way into the Crimson sporadically, first, usually in the form of full-length portrails of football captains and of the various athletic teams, and gradually into action pictures of sporting events and scenic shots of Harvard landmarks. In 1899, the Harvard Illustrated had been originated with rather few illustrations, but when it was revived as a twice-weekly 20 years, later, improved photographic techniques had made it popular enough to be a successful advertising medium--as long as the Booming Twenties boomed. It came in for another brief flourish in 1940, but quickly returned to oblivion.

Teletype Service Bought