Decade team: Amy Herridge, Ashley Metz, Phil Storm and Kathy Summy (captain)

In the spring of 1890, a group of students at Iowa Agricultural College, led by F.E. Davidson, began printing a news sheet titled the Clipper. “The students did this on their own initiative, and without support from college officials.” This publication soon led to the creation of the Iowa Agricultural College Student, and the beginnings of what would one day become the Iowa State Daily.

Davidson was an interesting character. In 1888, Davidson was one of 150 students expelled because of rioting by students who opposed secret societies. According to ISU’s Greek Affairs Web site, the riots of May 25, 1888, included the breaking of windows in the chemical and physical building. “Cyanogen gas in combination with carbon bisulphide was liberated in the lower halls for the purpose of driving the societies from the room,” reported the Des Moines Register. Davidson was arrested on May 30 for organizing the riot and was expelled from IAC. He was readmitted a year later and helped found the I.A.C. Student.

During its first few years of publication, the I.A.C. Student was published on a bi-weekly basis until 1894 when it became a weekly newspaper. The newspaper publication schedule followed the school terms, which typically lasted from the beginning of March to June and late July to November. The I.A.C. Student was financed by both subscriptions – 50 cents per term and 5 to 10 cents an issue, as well as advertising. Some of the most common advertisements were for the meat market, florists, hardware and laundry.

On March 15, 1897, the I.A.C. Student formally became The Student, and switched its format from eight pages to around 16 pages. The I.A.C. Student newspaper staff was made up completely of I.A.C. students. Editors were not designated for specific sections, such as Alumni or Athletics, until 1895.

The I.A.C. Student was not really focused on hard news, but rather personals, editorial-based stories, literary pieces and athletic news.  Some of the sections included local, alumni and society news. These featured very personal tidbits, such as, “Miss Lottie Laybourn spent Sunday and last week in Des Moines, where she met her sister and attended the Fair.”

Almost all pieces took strong editorial stances, either re-directing wrongs or encouraging students to be more diligent in their studies. In an article titled “Students, what are you here for,” the paper told them to “make the best of your time while here … you are working for your own good.”

Athletics, especially baseball and football, were emphasized at I.A.C. These programs began to be more developed at the college during the mid-1890s. A major story in the November 10, 1896, I.A.C. Student was when the college beat Grinnell to win the state football championship. The newspaper proclaimed that the team’s opponents that year had been “left in the path of the ‘Iowa Cyclones.’ ”







About this Project Iowa State Daily Greenlee School Iowa State University Centennial Site