The Blue and White was founded in 1890 as a broadsheet weekly newspaper – looking similar to its competition the then bi-weekly Columbia Spectator.
After 14 issues it changed format and became a monthly humorous and literary magazine. Content included lecture announcements, student poetry, critical essays, illustrations and drawings, and reports of what was happening around the campus, from athletics to campus gossip. Of note is the “Told Between Puffs” column written under the pseudonym of Verily Veritas.
As the magazine name implies, it was (more often than not) printed in blue ink on white paper. In 1893, after three years of publication and for reasons unknown, the magazine was disbanded. Editor Sidney Treat (CC 1893) wrote that purpose of the publication was “giving bright and newsy items, which are of interest to all of us, combined with truthful comments on the same, in order to show clearly the exact tone of the College.” Although short-lived, these issues do as Treat intended and provide us with a fascinating glimpse of 19th century student life at Columbia when the school was located at its midtown campus (49th Street and Madison Avenue).
The University Archives has a mostly completely collection of this title from 1890 to 1893 but unfortunately our paper copies are in very fragile condition. In order to preserve and provide access to the content, we arranged to have this publication digitized. We are happy to announce that this content is now available to everyone online:
But the story of this magazine does not end in 1893.
In the late 1990s, an intrepid student stumbled upon a description of this old campus publication and decided it needed to be resurrected, filling an information gap on campus. Resuming publication in 1998, the Blue and White continues to be published to this very day. These modern paper issues (in excellent condition!) are available for viewing at the University Archives though digitized versions of issues from 1998 onwards, created by the B&W staff, are available by visiting the “archive” section of magazine’s website. — Columbia University Archivists