Curio Columbiana, Orientation 2014
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Back in the 1890s, when Columbia’s campus was still at 49th Street and Madison Avenue, the role of bulletin boards on campus vastly exceeded that of today. In the absence of a widely read daily paper (Spec was fortnightly then), tacking notices up was the primary means of centrally and quickly disseminating information. Memos, class information, and lecture announcements were published chiefly in centrally located boards. And so it appears, much unlike today, students felt compelled to regularly check the bulletin boards.
Student publications in particular relied upon bulletin boards to advertise the arrival of new issues on campus. There was no free distribution back then, and issues had to be sold. Our nineteenth century forbearers, who carried on the original iteration of The Blue and White, seem to have particularly avidly pursued publicity. Sometimes, alleged the editors of the April 1891 edition of the Columbia Law Times, they took it too far:
"The concentrated essence of gall with which the gentlemen connected with The Blue and White are blessed, is very apt, we find, to show its existence under very annoying circumstances. The gentlemen who are delegated to post notices of the time of the issuing of the different numbers of The Blue and White, seem to have no thought of the rights of others
Surely their courtesy must be hid under something. When these gentlemen find a notice of another paper on the board, it would be well for them to put themselves to the small inconvenience of finding another place for their own. But not content with monopolizing the blackboards, these gentlemen even go to the extent of tearing down the notices of other papers—posted upon boards made especially for these papers—and displaying their own notices in glaring colors thereon. If the gentlemen of The Blue and White would consult these papers they might perhaps, for a consideration, be induced to loan the use of their private boards. Until that time we think it would be well for The Blue and White to keep on its own side of the fence."