Skip to Main Content
Mount Allison University Libraries | Music Library
Banner image link to Mount Allison UniveristyMount Allison University ArchivesImage Map

Early Mount Allison Papers: The Mount Allison Academic Gazette & other early papers

A virtual exhibition that pays tribute to generations of student journalism on campus.

The Mount Allison Academic Gazette

The pedagogical approach of all three Mount Allison institutions placed a great deal of importance on public speaking. Exercises in composition and elocution were compulsory and seen as essential components of a formal education throughout the nineteenth century.

Since printing was costly, the earliest campus papers consisted of student compositions compiled and transcribed in a volume by hand and read aloud by students either as part of a class exercise or at meetings of societies and clubs. The first of such papers was The Mount Allison Students' Repository, a manuscript paper edited and read by two students at a gathering of students and faculty. Very little information survives concerning this paper except for the fact that at least one issue was dated January 1847. It is an early example of a convention that would later lead to the conception of long-lived publications like the Argosy

The Mount Allison Academic Gazette became the first official printed paper on campus, appearing in 1853 and running until 1861. It was published by the administration of the Mount Allison Wesleyan Academy, the oldest precursor to our modern institution. It would have filled a practical role, serving as an official publication to convey information about the institution, faculty, and events. Its issues often contained lists of students, faculty members, available courses, and so forth. In many ways, it functioned as a kind of catalogue for the Male Academy (and for the Ladies' College from 1854 to 1857). In accordance with this role, students would have had little to no involvement in the creation of the Academic Gazette.

While the tone and content of the Academic Gazette is quite different from the more collaborative student papers that followed, it is notable as the first serial publication at Mount Allison and can tell us a lot about the priorities and values of the Wesleyan Academy.

When the Mount Allison Wesleyan College was opened in 1862, it was served by a similarly named paper, The Mount Allison Gazette (having dropped "academic" from the name).

Other early papers

The Mount Allison Times followed closely on the heels of The Mount Allison Academic Gazette, first appearing in December 1854. Like other early papers, it was read aloud at a gathering of Mount Allison Ladies' College students. It consisted of a collection of compositions written by the women of the academy. This helped to establish a relatively long lasting trend unfamiliar to many today.

The Mount Allison Ladies' Literary Society was formed in September 1858, and all its members contributed to the Panorama, which was read at meetings held at the close of each term. It was not until three years later in 1861 that members of the Male Academy convened to form their own literary society, initially known as The Pantheon. Just a few months later, the name was changed to the Eurhetorian Society at the suggestion of Rev. Stephen Humphry.

In 1894, after the establishment of better-known publications, two printed papers appeared on campus which only ran for one year. These were The White-house Siftings and The Hum of the College. These fortnightly publications were projects connected to Laura Lathem's rhetoric classes at the Mount Allison Ladies' College. Neither seem to have been intended for long-term publication but would have served as exercises in composition and a hands-on introduction to journalistic concepts for the students involved.

It is possible that the short lifespan of some papers is owing to the high turnover rate of students. These collections, whether printed or simply read aloud, were often spearheaded by a key group of students or small society within a graduating class. Once that cohort of students graduated, there may not have been anyone involved to carry on the project. Additionally, without well-established societies to oversee them, surviving copies of these short-lived papers are scarce. Fires were an unfortunate recurrence on campus, which led to the loss of many student societies' records. For the very early handwritten papers, the lack of widely distributed printed copies means their chances of survival were significantly lower.