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San José State University Student Publications Collection
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Collection Details
Table of contents What's This?
  • Organizational History
  • Preferred Citation
  • Arrangement
  • Scope and Content
  • Publication Rights
  • Conditions Governing Access
  • Processing Information

  • Language of Material: English
    Contributing Institution: SJSU Special Collections & Archives
    Title: San José State University Student Publications Collection
    creator: California State University, San José
    Identifier/Call Number: MSS-2009-08-02
    Physical Description: 19 boxes (23.33 linear feet)
    Physical Description: 1 flat file drawers
    Date (inclusive): 1880-2022
    Abstract: The San José State University Student Publications Collection consists of publications created and written by students for students. The collection consists of student-created guides, magazines, newsletters, newspapers, pamphlets, and yearbooks.

    Organizational History

    In 1857, the San Francisco Board of Education established Minns' Evening Normal School for current and prospective teachers in the city. Named after its principal, George W. Minns, the institution was formally established as the first California State Normal School by the State Legislature in 1862. A decade later, the Legislature voted to move the Normal School to San José, and the school relocated to its new home on Washington Square prior to the fall term of 1872. After a fire destroyed the Normal School building in 1880, the Legislature authorized $200,000 to construct a new building on the same site. Completed in 1881, the building was commonly referred to as the Second State Normal School. After several names and curriculum changes, Minns' Normal School is now San José State University, offering more than 134 bachelor's and master's degrees with 110 concentrations, and is recognized as one of the top public universities granting such degrees in the West.
    Student publications have been an essential part of campus life at San José State University since its founding. The first student paper was The Acorn, which debuted in 1867. This publication was followed by The Class Paper in 1880, The Normal Index in 1885, and The Normal Pennant in 1898. The Quill, a student literary journal, was initially published in 1925, followed by El Portal in 1932 and Reed Magazine in 1948, which is still published annually.
    Documenting such topics as athletics, student organizations, and social and intellectual activities, SJSU student publications have featured original works such as plays, poetry, short stories, and essays, as well as news reporting and publicity for campus events. Publication formats include literary, feature, and humor magazines, a daily newspaper, club and organization newsletters, and guidebooks on a variety of topics. In addition, many of the publications cover national and international issues, as well as offering a local view of the student population by featuring in-depth profiles of individual students.
    Other prominent SJSU student publications include the feature magazine Lyke (1946-1965), and the school yearbook La Torre (1911-1965).

    Preferred Citation

    San José State University Student Publications Collection, MSS-2009-08-02, San José State University Library Special Collections & Archives.


    This collection is arranged in seventy series, each representing a publication title. The series are arranged alphabetically by publication title, and the publications in each series are arranged chronologically.

    Scope and Content

    This collection documents and reflects student life at SJSU through a wide array of publications created and written by the students of the institution. Publications from the earlier years of the university include Normal School titles such as The Normal Pennant dating from the late 1800s; humor magazines such as the Spartan Spanker that date from the 1920s; and the short-lived San Jose State College Times from the 1930s, which was a precursor to SJSU's current campus newspaper, the Spartan Daily. The bulk of the collection consists of publications created from 1960-1990, representing a time of significant change for the university in terms of student demographics, enrollment numbers, and campus expansion.
    Of particular historical significance in the collection are SJSU student publications documenting the counterculture of the late 1960s and early 1970s, which record the university's role in Bay Area social movements, as well as student perceptions of social and political issues related to Civil Rights, Vietnam War protests, and feminism. Examples include the publications The Outside Agitator and Shaka. In addition, it should be noted that several of the publications produced during this time period were created or produced by students attending New College, an experimental, interdisciplinary liberal arts program in existence on campus from 1968-1981, including Jabberwock, Son of Jabberwock and Hieronymous.

    Publication Rights

    Copyright has been assigned to the San José State University Special Collections & Archives. All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of the Special Collections & Archives. Copyright restrictions may apply to digital reproductions of the original materials. Use of digital files is restricted to research and educational purposes.

    Conditions Governing Access

    The collection is open for research.

    Processing Information

    This finding aid was created as part of the Survey and Cataloging Project, a two-year San José State University Library grant project funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission. The project began in 2008. The Project Director is Danelle Moon. The Project Archivist is Erin Louthen.
    Collection processed by Alicia Deadrick and Jane Gilvin. Finding aid EAD encoded by Silke Higgins. Reviewed by Danelle Moon and Erin Louthen. Collection reprocessed and finding aid updated with series level description by Rita Wang (2017). Accurals added with new descriptions by Eilene Lueck (2022).

    Subjects and Indexing Terms

    College student newspapers and periodicals -- California -- San Jose (Calif.)
    Student activities -- San José State University
    Student publications -- California -- San Jose