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Amherst College Student and Alumni Publications Collection

Identifier: MA.00230

Scope and Contents

This is an artificial collection composed of literary, humor and news publications, largely written and edited by Amherst College students and alumni, but also including five-college publications and publications edited by the College for students and alumni, such as the Amherst Graduates' Quarterly. General informational publications published by the college (such as catalogs, calendars, directories, face books, annual reports, and the like) can be found in the Amherst College Administrative Publications collection. Publications created by particular offices or organizations can be found with the records of those offices or organizations.

Note that the following titles are continuations of the same publication:

  1. Amherst Collegiate Magazine --> The Ichnolite --> Amherst College Magazine
  2. Amherst Literary Monthly --> Amherst Monthly --> Amherst Writing --> Amherst Literary Magazine
  3. Amherst Review --> A Review --> Amherst Review
  4. Writing at Amherst --> Clarion
  5. Touchstone --> Sabrina
  6. The College Olio --> The Amherst Aurora --> The College Olio --> The Olio
  7. Amherst Graduates' Quarterly --> Amherst Alumni News --> Amherst


  • 1829-2020

Conditions Governing Access

There is no restriction on access to the Amherst College Student and Alumni Publications Collection for research use. Particularly fragile items are restricted for preservation purposes.

Conditions Governing Use

Requests for permission to publish material from the Amherst College Student and Alumni Publications Collection should be directed to the Archives and Special Collections. It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Amherst College students have been recording their news, literary endeavors and witticisms from the earliest years of the institution. The first student publication on record is La Critique, a handwritten review in five issues penned in 1829, a mere 8 years after the founding of the College. Its first printed publications were The Sprite (1832-1832) and The Shrine (1832-1833), which contained original essays, stories, and poetry as well as reprinted material from other publications. Horae Collegianae (1847-1840) and the Amherst Collegiate Magazine, or Ichnolite (1853-1862, named after the College's celebrated collection of fossilized footprints) were other early publications in the same vein. The mid-nineteenth century saw the origin of some of Amherst's longest-running publications: The Olio, its yearbook, first appeared in 1855 and continues today. The Amherst Student, its student newspaper, has run nearly continuously since its first printing in 1868, weekly and in some periods more frequently. The Indicator, a political and humor magazine, ran from 1849-1851 and was revived in 1996. Curiosities of the late 19th century include, among others, a single issue publication entitled The Electric Pen (1878), printed and duplicated using Thomas Edison's eponymous device.

The Amherst Literary Monthly, later the Amherst Monthly, Amherst Writing and then Amherst Literary Magazine, ran from 1886 until 1932 and was Amherst's longest-running literary magazine. The Amherst Literary Magazine was resurrected 1955 and remained in publication until 1973. In the first decades of the 20th century, other publications at Amherst were mostly short-running humor magazines; many did not make it past the first edition. They included The Amherst Muck-Rake (1908 and a product of its era) and The Four-Leaf Clover (1912-1913). The Lord Jeff revived the humor and campus-interest genre in 1920, running until 1935. (For selections from publications during the mid-20th century, see Analekta.)

Touchstone, an illustrated magazine (1936-1949) chronicled the activities of the college's diminished student body during the war years, as did The Gazette of Amherst College (1943-1944) and The Jeff (1944-1946). The Sabrina continued the humor and photography of Touchstone in themed editions, running intermittently between 1956 and 2001. The 1950s also saw the advent of Scrutiny, a collection of student reviews and rankings of professors, which continues in website form today. A Review, later Amherst Review, another long-running literary publication, began in 1958 and ran with some gaps through 2005.

The 1960s and 1970s saw several experiments in creative and literary magazines, including one called Experimental Magazine (1963); the most prominent were Io (1965-1967) and Paideia (1965-1974). The advent of the internet has brought easier access to outside publications and has brought the focus of the remaining student publications more squarely on campus life and student literary and artistic work.


65 Linear feet (46 records storage boxes, 4 archives box, 2 half archives boxes, 13 oversize flat boxes, 11 newspaper boxes)

Language of Materials



A collection of literary, humor and news publications, largely written and edited by Amherst College students and alumni, but also including Five-College publications and publications edited by the college for students and alumni.


This collection is organized into six series:

  1. Series 1: Student publications [1829-present]
  2. Series 2: The Amherst Student [1868-present]
  3. Series 3: Olio [1859-present]
  4. Series 4: Alumni Publications [1911-present]
  5. Series 5: Class and Reunion Publications [1852-2014]
  6. Series 6: Five College Publications [1970-present]

Processing Information

Title-level abstracts in this finding aid were written by Amherst College's 2016 summer Digital Scholarship interns: Jennifer Lee (AC 2016), William Harvey (AC 2018), Phuong-Nghi Pham (AC 2018), and Norah Oteri (AC 2018). Interns worked with the collection to explore how Amherst College students respond to the world around them and to learn about archival research and data visualization. Their projects are available online (see External Documents below).

Mariah Leavitt, Archives and Special Collections Specialist.
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Amherst College Archives and Special Collections Repository

Amherst College Archives & Special Collections
Robert Frost Library
61 Quadrangle Drive
Amherst MA 01002-5000
(413) 542-2299