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The Colorado Historic Newspapers Collection is going back to school. With the help of the Morgan Library at the Colorado State University (CSU) in Fort Collins, CHNC recently added the university newspaper the Rocky Mountain Collegian, 1891-1901. Formerly known as the Colorado Agricultural College, CSU was established in 1870 six years before Colorado Territory became a state. The campus’ first building, Old Main, was built in 1878 and the University welcomed the first five students on September 1, 1879. One year later the enrollment had grown to 25 students.
The local Grange was heavily involved in the early development of the University as well as Colorado’s State Board of Agriculture which was created to govern the University. The first courses offered were Arithmetic, English, U.S. History, Natural Philosophy, Horticulture and Farm Economy. CSU began opening their door to liberal arts in 1885, and by 1891 the University had instituted a “Ladies Course” that offered junior and senior women classes in drawing, stenography and typewriting, foreign languages, landscape gardening and psychology.
By 1892 there were 24 women students enrolled at CSU. The University’s newspaper the Rocky Mountain Collegian published its first issue in December 1891 with at least two women editors on staff. The RMC and other academic newspapers offer readers a student’s unique perspective on local, state and national issues such as suffrage, prohibition, the development of Colorado’s cattle and sheep industry, and many other important issues that shaped the landscape of the state.
The newspapers also shared important information about the growth and development of the University and its academic departments; alumni news such as marriages and academic and professional accomplishments; everyday aspects of student life including clubs and societies, sports, lectures, campus gossip, and faculty information; and it even included advertisements for local businesses. The Rocky Mountain Collegian also included biographies of students and faculty which are invaluable to researchers.
In the next few months CHNC will be adding more news from a campus near you including the Occident, Collegian and Tiger from Colorado College and the Oredigger from the Colorado School of Mines. So please check back soon for these upcoming additions. We feel that the inclusion of University and College newspapers in CHNC will add new news to the stories and people that shaped the history of our state.