By Henry Fisher | January 22, 2024
The Albany Student Press (ASP) as it is known today is the product of over a century of ever-evolving journalism at UAlbany – from The Normal School Echo to the State College News to the ASP as it is today. For the very first edition of “Archive Dive,” we go back to the earliest January in the State College News, as recorded in UAlbany’s online archives.
Welcome to Archive Dive, and welcome to State College News Volume 1, Number 13.
State College News, Vol. 1, No. 13. Dated for Jan. 10, 1917
Photo Credit: University at Albany Archives
While reading through the edition of Jan. 10, 1917, one story in particular made me chuckle: “Beginning of College Traditions.” While the subtitle states that “Student Body Votes that Freshmen Remain in Auditorium Until All Upper Classmen Have Left,” the article goes on to list Student assembly resolutions that only grow more ridiculous by our own standards. All of these were done in the name of “college traditions” and “school spirit” but instead restricted Freshmen at the State College with numerous highly specific rules.
Among these rules was a Freshmen dress code, which specified the type of hat that must be worn on campus and that they would not be allowed on campus without this cap and an accompanying jacket. It also restricted Freshmen travel to certain areas without the accompaniment of an upperclassmen, a parent, or a lady. Though UAlbany is now a smoke-free campus (at least in theory), Freshmen were banned from smoking on campus except in specific Freshmen-only areas.
It seems almost fitting that the alleged first act in creating college traditions at UAlbany was a list of rules that applied only to Freshmen. Imagine something like that now.
There remains a few minor, yet interesting notes in the margins of No. 13. One of these is, of course, the old name for what would become the University at Albany – the New York State College for Teachers. For these articles, it is referred to as the State College. Another is the price tag, with $1.50 per year in order to receive these weekly editions.
A curious character in the history of the State College News is Alfred E. Dedicke, the first chairman of the State College News in 1916, and later the Editor-in-Chief (which seemingly replaced the role of chairman). As of this article, Dedicke only had months left of his time at what was at the time the State College – not because he was soon to graduate, but because of the first World War.
Dedicke would leave the State College a few weeks after the U.S. declaration of war (April 6, 1917), according to the UAlbany Alumni Associations Veteran’s Archives. Without the specifics of his name and hometown, it is unclear what ultimately happened to him beyond his survival of WWI. Dedicke would not return to State College. An important person to conduct follow-up research.
Advertisements are also a great way to get more of a window into the State College of 1917. Most of these advertisements seem to be for tailors, printers, and restaurants, with an additional advertisement placed by an insurance company. A personal favorite is the Spalding WDJP Jacket which promises to help the wearer “Defy ‘Jack Frost’” – priced at $8.50.
Overall, the State College News seemed to have a wholly different role than the Albany Student Press does now. While some things are markedly similar, such as the sports coverage and student assembly news, the State College News also uses much of its paper for notices that would, today, be sent out via email or personal messaging. Examples of this include times for a mandatory auditorium meeting and additional upcoming club meetings.
Writer’s Note: “Archive Dive” is a new series perfect for the curious historians among us. Each new release will focus on a date in UAlbany’s history that has been recorded by the Albany Student Press (and its previous incarnations) going all the way back to 1916. The hope is to resurface these snapshots of UAlbany’s culture and history and look back with a modern perspective.