The Simpsonian celebrates 150 years


Clipping from the first edition of the Simpsonian.

by Alyssa Craven, Editor-in-chief

On Oct. 1, 1870, ten years after the Simpson College had opened, The Simpsonian published its first issue claiming to be the first and only college paper in western Iowa.

“…The Simpsonian will become a permanent institution, continued year after year by the students,” the staff wrote in the first edition of the paper.

Christie Smith was the first Editor-in-Chief of the paper, along with an editorial staff comprised of Louie M. Dimmitt, H. Nell Walker, Alice M. Barker, C.K. Kennedy, W.H. Berry, Will A Park, J.N. Reynolds and J.A. Everett.

The newspaper was initially published monthly. It only cost one dollar for a year’s subscription.

The staff wanted the paper to be a place that would help students be informed.

“It will be devoted to educational news and to the interests of the college,” the staff wrote. “Its column will be filled with literature science and a variety of other reading matter so that it may be iteresting to all and especially those who desire to see education advance.”

The paper also wanted to be a place that was inclusive and allowed everyone a chance to discuss important issues.

“With this, the College now appears before the public not ashamed of its colors. Both ladies and gentlemen master the sciences in the same class-room and upon the same rostrum they stand face to face and discuss with equal ability the questions of the day,” the staff wrote.

This was written 49 years before women would be given the right to vote.

In the first issue, the staff reported on the college’s endowment, which had reached $6,000.

Another story talked about how on Oct. 24, the northern lights could be viewed from campus. 

The writer claimed, “the scene was grand beyond description.”

One of the stories complained about how the streets looked somber because of the numerous puddles of water.

They were also an assortment of ads consisting of grocery stores, shoes, real estate agents and medicine.

One ad advertises “pure drugs! And the best stock of Notions” from Harbison & Raiders. 

Another ad for pictures advertised by saying, “Wake me early, mother dear, for I have to make great preparation, before I go and have my photo taken.”

 Since the first issue in 1870, The Simpsonian has continued to publish for 150 years, covering the latest news, making The Simpsonian the longest continuous running newspaper in the nation.