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Each issue of the Dickinson Liberal included extensive campus social news of a

personal (and gossipy) nature. Unfortunately, without the context of being a member of

the student body, much of the “news” now means little to the reader. For example, this

particular issue posed this (now mysterious) question:



From 1848-1928, this institution was

known as the Williamsport Dickinson

Seminary. In 1877, the school’s literary

societies united to start a monthly

publication that would represent the

voice of the entire student body, the

Dickinson Liberal, an intriguing

combination of literary magazine, school

news, alumni happenings, and gossip

column. The editors stated in the first

issue that the publication would be

“dedicated to the interests of student life

and the promotion of literary culture.”

By combining their efforts, the literary

societies published an independent,

student-run newspaper, financed by

donations and subscriptions from

faculty, staff, students, and alumni,

with paid advertisements from local

businesses, and additional funding from

student-organized fundraisers.

The December 1892 issue of the

Dickinson Liberal was a typical one. It

began with an editorial that discussed

the meaning of Thanksgiving, and the

religious implications of opening the

Columbian Exposition on the Sabbath.

Next was a report on happenings on

campus, often including mention of

a lecture by a well-known orator or

a musical program. In this issue, the

students had just attended the Mozart

Sextette sponsored by the YMCA.

After updating the reader on alumni

activities, a literary section followed.

In the December 1892 issue, the poem

was entitled “Our Professors” and there

were two essays, one on “Habits,” and

the other on “Prejudice, A Perversion on


The following excerpt is from the poem “Our Professors” by S.S.C. ’95, which was

printed in the December 1892 issue:

Though newspaper titles changed, the format with an emphasis on the literary

tradition continued into the 20th century. Because a genuine commitment to student

creativity in the written word remained strong, separate publications eventually

emerged such as The Light, The Tributary, and The Lycoming Review.

The College Archives has digitized existing student publications, including the student

newspapers and literary magazines, making them readily available for

online searching and browsing. To view the collection of digitized Lycoming College

newspapers (and to read the remainder of the above poem)



To read more about the history of literary societies, consult Dr. John F. Piper, Jr.’s

history of the institution, “Lycoming College, 1812-2012.”