Campus societies are a large portion of any university history, older universities such as Harvard or Yale pride themselves on their societies. The men and women who have participated in literary societies historically have found lucrative jobs and connections due to the unique experience that these societies provide to undergraduates. Literary societies were regularly founded in pairs in order to foster competition and growth. This history often brings to mind older institutions on the east coast. However, the University of Oregon is no stranger to the benefits of literary societies on its campus.
For the first fifteen years of the University of Oregon’s existence, the campus was without any student publications. During this nascent phase of the university’s development, though, the framework that would eventually lead to the proliferation of student newsletters, newspapers, and magazines was erected. The early formation of literary societies was critical in catalyzing the rise of student publications, and the early publications set a precedent for independent journalism for more than a century. Today’s post illuminates the early efforts of students to bring news and commentary to print, focusing on the first publications created by the UO student body.