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The BlueStocking Turns 95!

December 2014

This month we are sharing a post from Abbie Bagwell who was our intern this fall in the Archives & Special Collections at Presbyterian College. Abbie, a senior from Inman, first visited the Archives with Dr. Anita Gustafson’s History of the South class. After attending a presentation in the Archives about the founding of the college newspaper, Abbie expressed interest in completing an internship with us.

Carl W. McMurray PC class of 1920 The Pac Sac, p. 44

Carl W. McMurray, PC class of 1920

The Pac Sac, p. 44

Last year I began wondering about the origins of PC’s Blue Stocking Newspaper. For the staff and myself, all we really knew was that the Blue Stocking had always been. Painfully aware that we knew nothing about our founding, the officers met with PC’s archivists Teresa Inman and Sarah Leckie in order to learn a little bit more of our past. Pointing us to Blue Stocking alumni Ben Hay Hammet’s book, The Spirit of PC, they informed us that our first newspaper was created and initially funded by a student named Carl W. McMurray. With the aid of a small staff he produced the first paper on October 17th, 1919 (making this year our 95th anniversary) followed by eight subsequent print runs that academic year. Within the book Hammett quotes McMurray as having said:

“…I decided to assume the personal responsibility for the financial success of the venture. Then I selected the most capable men I knew to serve on the staff with me, and I pledged them to secrecy so that the first issue might appear on campus as a surprise. The secrecy worked and few of the students and none of the faculty knew about it until they were confronted with the fact” (Ben Hay Hammet 38- 39).

Our group was founded in secrecy? The campus knew nothing “…about it until they were confronted with the fact”? (Ben Hay Hammet 39).

We thank our archivists for this opportunity to learn about our founding. As our paper, at that point, was functioning fully and solely online it was particularly interesting to watch the staff of about 25 leaf through the majority of 95 years’ worth of this paper. Truly, it was nothing short of incredible. There was unmistakably something about the ability to leaf through tangible copies that we lacked with the online format. Really, it renewed an interest many of us didn’t want to leave dormant; it was time to, not forsake the online paper necessarily, but to bring back the print editions. Distributing papers to students across campus, the fantastic support of local businesses, reestablishing connections between campus and community, we view the print runs as not just part of a legacy former Blue Stocking staff have established but also a vital way to reconnect with our home, Clinton. Ultimately, our job with the paper is to inform and to be an outlet of student expression but it wouldn’t be accurate to leave it at just that. Our job is also to give back to the community that gives so generously to us…

…which brings us to the present-day. We want to hear from you! Meeting with our archivists only whetted our curiosity, especially now that we have rebooted the print edition to work alongside our online format. Meeting with the archivists enabled us to gain invaluable perspective on not just our group but also the campus and surrounding community as well. Otherwise, these stories, these pictures, might have been lost or left unheard.

If you or anyone you know were a part of the Blue Stocking culture and are interested in submitting a memory-based story, in setting up an interview, or signing up for a mailed subscription please contact me at:

Abbie Bagwell ’15
Archives Intern

We’d like to thank the IT Department and Abigail Fuller from the Library staff for getting us set up with a new platform for Blue Notes, the Archives monthly column.