A dip into The Duke archives: January 12, 1962

Courtesy of Gumberg Library Digital Collections

Courtesy of Gumberg Library Digital Collections

By Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor


Since 1925, The Duquesne Duke has been serving the Duquesne community by reporting on the issues that matter. Thanks to the Gumberg Library Digital Collections, our 90-plus year history is always just a few clicks away. With that in mind, here is the fourth of many dips back into The Duke’s archives.


On Jan. 12, 1962, The Duke was turning its gaze inward. One of the biggest front page stories of the day wasn’t reporting on some wider-campus happening or Pittsburgh news. Instead, it discussed the very paper itself.

What was the occasion? The naming of two new “co-editors-in-chief” — at the time, a first for The Duke.

Announcing new editorial positions in the paper’s most prime real estate isn’t a tradition that has continued on to our current publication methods. That said, we are welcoming a number of new staff this semester who will ultimately transition into full editorial roles come next school year. Keep your eyes on bylines, and you’ll quickly find some of our new recruits.

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Courtesy of Gumberg Library Digital Collections

Courtesy of Gumberg Library Digital Collections

These days most college students are used to the holiday break being a hard divide between the fall and spring semesters. That wasn’t always the case for Duquesne students, however. In 1962 finals were slated to begin on Jan. 22, and registration for the spring was a mere eight days later on Jan. 30.

Predictably, it looks like neither The Duke’s staff nor the campus at large were very excited for either. One headline even sarcastically refers to “Registration ‘Fun.’” For those who still share that sentiment, just be glad we can navigate nearly the entire registration process from the comfort of our own rooms.

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No product gets more ad space in an early 1960’s copy of The Duke than cigarettes. In this 12 page issue alone are five large spots for various brands. One in particular — selling “Pall Mall Famous Cigarettes” — totes itself as a “girl watcher’s guide,” and provides a graphic of “an average, healthy girl” for reference. Unrealistic expectations in ads certainly aren’t a new phenomenon.

Curiously, toward the end of the paper is an ad for the brand new Chevy Nova II (“Liveliness and luxury at a low, low price!”). It’s safe to say no automakers are reaching out to the modern-day Duke to place any ads. After all, do college kids these days have even close to enough money for a parking pass, let alone a new car? Seems doubtful.

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Courtesy of Gumberg Library Digital Collections

Courtesy of Gumberg Library Digital Collections

On the sixth page of the issue comes an article entitled “Conservative Trends Appear On Campus.” Just as the heading implies, the piece interviewed a number of students about how conservative ideologies were making headway on the ‘Bluff.

The consensus seemed to be that in general Duquesne students were liberal-minded, if apathetic to most political topics. Nevertheless, students said there were certainly those with conservative views. Despite the polarizing political climate of 2017, that characterization is still probably decent in its accuracy.

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In the letters to the editor section, a strongly-worded note from a student criticized The Duke’s proofreading prowess. The editor-in-chief took it upon himself to explain the difficulties in producing a completely accurate paper week-after-week under tight time constraints.

These days we’ve gotten to a pretty good place when it comes to editing copy, but mistakes do slip through. That much never changes. In keeping with that, just as was explained back in ‘62, we’re always looking for competent copy editors to keep the paper spic and span. Come check us out at 113 College Hall.

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Finally, this trip back into the archives will be brought to an end with a poem found in a section called “Mr. Duke Says…” The full copy is as follows:

LINES WRITTEN BY A POOR SOUL FROM NEW YORK WHO ONCE PRONOUNCED IT IN PUBLIC AS DU-QUEZ-NE…

A surly old Prof from Duquesne

Treated students with utmost distuesne

“If we find we can’t truesne ‘em,

We might as well bruesne ‘em!”

He would cry as he brandished his cuesne.

But the students from the U. of Duquesne

Refused to crack under the struesne

They would greet him with laughter

Though they knew that thereafter

He would grow angry all over aguesne.

by Rev. John Carlin

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