Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
The first undergraduate publication at Tufts, known unofficially as the "annual," was the Tuftonian. Over the years, the Tuftonian went through many incarnations, serving as a literary magazine, newspaper, alumni journal, and a number of other purposes, and its history is closely intertwined with that of other Tufts undergraduate publications. The Tuftonian appeared in various formats, with several gaps, for a span of one hundred years.
Two fraternities, Zeta Psi and Theta Delta Chi, sponsored the original Tuftonian. It appeared once a year between 1864 and 1872, and contained descriptions of student organizations, sketches of faculty, and articles directed toward the undergraduate population. The first volume (1864-1870), was composed of seven issues in tabloid size. Thereafter it was published in pamphlet form. The aspirations of the early editors to turn the publication into a "literary magazine" were abysmal failures, judging from the recorded comments of those responsible for it. The fraternities experienced differences of opinion over the contents of the publication in 1872, leading to two separate publications being published for three years. Zeta Psi continued the Tuftonian, while Theta Delta Chi produced the Budget, which could be considered Tuft's first true literary publication.
The Tufts College Publishing Association was founded in 1874 to broaden the base of student publications at the college, and produced the Tufts Collegian which appeared monthly for four years and served as an undergraduate newspaper and a solicitation vehicle for alumni contributions. In 1878, the two fraternities reconciled and agreed to share the journalistic field with others, allowing the Publishing Association to abandon the name Collegian and appropriate the name Tuftonian. Subscription rates were $1.00 for the academic year, with publishing cost being subsidized by the sale of advertising space.
Until the appearance of the Weekly, a student newspaper, in 1895, the Tuftonian served the campus as a multi-purpose journal, including news, literary pieces, and alumni information. It shifted to a literary journal form following the establishment of the Weekly, and after World War I, became a quarterly publication. For many years, both the Tuftonian and the Weekly were operated under the auspices of the Publishing Association. Faculty members selected the editor-in-chief of each publication as a method of preventing rivalries among the fraternities and other student societies over the position. Due to financial difficulties, the publication was required to call on the support of the faculty and the trustees over the years. The production costs of student publications were eventually included in the student activities fees, which was charged to individuals attending tufts college. Subscriptions, however, were still solicited from those who had left the hill.
After the appearance of thirty-six volumes, the Tuftonian suspended its publication in 1911.It reappeared fifteen years later in the spring of 1926 as a new series with a different format. Its modified return was prompted by the demise of the alumni magazine, the Tufts College Graduate in February 1926. From 1926 to 1940, the Tuftonian published fourteen volumes as a literary magazine at Tufts College. It changed again in the fall of 1940, changing its format to include more alumni information and renumbering its volumes once again. The reconditioned publication was at first co-edited by a Jackson undergraduate and John Holmes, Tufts poet and faculty member. The focus of the new version of the Tuftonian, was to serve as the magazine of Tufts College, including not only students, but also faculty, staff, and alumni. This move was for the "greater good" of the college and was supported by the college's president, Leonard Carmichael. In 1965, the Tuftonian's contents were divided among several campus publications, primarily the Literary Magazine of Tufts University.