The Argus has partnered with the University’s Special Collections and Archives to begin the process of digitizing the past 143 years of The Argus. For over a century, The Wesleyan Argus has served as a source of campus news and debate. The first issue was published on June 11, 1868, and it has been continuously published since then. Wesleyan students, alumni, faculty, staff, and visitors regularly use back issues of The Argus to research an amazing range of topics related to Wesleyan history and American history. At The Argus, we frequently receive requests for information that requires searching through office print copies for answers; the staff of the University Archives reports that The Argus is the most frequently used archival research tool at Wesleyan.
The digitization project will be divided into two phases. Phase 1 will cover 1868 through 1959; phase 2 will cover 1960 to the present. Thanks to funding granted from the Wesleyan Student Assembly’s (WSA) Campus Initiative Fund, work on the project will begin over the summer of 2011. The final product will be fully searchable, including photo captions and advertisements, and will display both zoomable PDF images of full pages and easy to read search highlights. Photos of the Grateful Dead playing on Foss and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. speaking to students will be available. Articles on Wesleyan’s first experience with co-education and the Vanguard class will be easily accessible. Advertisements from the 1950s for cigarettes and jobs at companies that no longer exist will also be available online for the Wesleyan community and beyond. If you want to remember the name of that band that played at Eclectic when you were a freshman, you will be able to easily search for the information. Students writing theses and professors teaching classes related to Wesleyan and Middletown’s history will now have an easy way to search thousands of pages of The Argus.
The WSA grant funding will only cover the first few decades of digitization. The Argus is committed to completing the entire digitization process up to the present day. We need the community’s help to complete the digitization process. To donate to the project, please visit: http://wesleyanargus.com/donate/. Be sure to specify in the Comments box that your donation is “to/for The Argus” for the purpose of digitizing The Argus archives. Many of our peer institution have already embarked on or finished the process of digitizing their college newspaper and it is time for us to begin the process. We feel that The Argus archives comprise an important part of Wesleyan’s history that should be preserved for future generations.