This spring, the Baylorian celebrated its 100th year. UMHB Life looks back at the trials and successes that charted the course to where the literary journal stands today.
In October 1912, the first issue of the Baylorian surfaced on campus. Today, as the academic journal celebrates its 100th anniversary, much has changed on campus and in the world, but the publication’s primary purpose—capturing the scenes and emotions of college life—remains true.
The first editorial in the Baylorian’s inaugural issue compared the publication to a “frail ship” setting out for the first time hoping one day to become “the mighty ocean liner” (see inset).
Today the Baylorian sets out on her maiden journey, weak, insufficient and lacking in experience. Though her crew be courageous and determined, she may flounder and sink, but as surely as Baylor people never give up there will one day be a Baylorian, rich in our experience, and sure of its own merits, that shall bring rich returns of satisfaction and joy to those that sent her out.
– Baylorian inaugural issue, 1912
Longtime faculty member Dr. E. H. Wells launched the idea for a college magazine some time earlier. Under his direction, the magazine was first known as The Records, then Our B’s. Finally, the Baylorian was published in 1912—its quest to become the mighty ocean liner now under full sail.
According to the 1912 editorial, the publication’s editor Agnes Taylor and her crew created the literary monthly magazine, published and managed entirely by the student body, with intentions to “give just as true an account as possible of all of the pleasures, pastimes, work, and worry of the students.” The collection of short stories, jokes, and general thoughts of the Baylor Female College student body was available for an annual subscription price of fifty cents.
The Baylorian became a compilation of works that were a true representation of the college life. Through the years, pieces such as “The Mexican Question” (1913), “The World, the War, and Me” (1942), and “In Memoriam: John Fitzgerald Kennedy” (1964) forever recorded the concerns of the time. Beyond being an outlet for creative expression, the Baylorian provided an opportunity for students’ literary talents to be displayed.
The frail ship chugged along with the first issues containing only a handful of student work, while the rest of the pages were filled with campus news, local advertisements, and Royal Academia notes. The Baylorian’s progress was stalled in 1914 when World War I issued a devastating blow to the advancement of the fledgling magazine. With rising print costs and a national focus shift, many publications, including the Baylorian, were forced into hiatus. During this time, an expanded Quadrennial Baylorian, WWI edition (1915-1916) served as both literary magazine and a make-shift yearbook (the college yearbook was not published from 1915-1918).
The Baylorian made its return in 1921. At that time the journal charted a new course, doing away with advertisements and news pieces and becoming purely literary in content. The Baylorian began featuring more art contributions in the 1930s, and with each subsequent year, the publication continued to gain steam, propelled by high-caliber pieces submitted by students. Different years meant different styles and organization, but, regardless, the Baylorian kept its focus on being a reflection of college life.
“To have a publication that continues highlighting the creative writing and artistic talents of UMHB students after 100 years is very impressive,” museum curator Betty Sue Beebe said. “Through the years, the topics, format, and types of writing changed, showcasing the current interests of student authors at that time. Historically, that is significant.”
Current editor Nicole Johnson is proud of how far the journal has come since its humble beginnings in 1912.
“I am so pleased with the quality of pieces we published this year,” she said. “The Baylorian offers a forum for students to say what they truly feel. It is freedom of speech at its finest.”
This spring, the Baylorian celebrated its centennial year with a commemorative issue that included excerpts from the first issue and every 25 years afterward, in addition to new content submitted by students and alumni this year. More than 75 poetry, prose, and art pieces were considered for publication in the 100th anniversary issue. Submissions included dramatic poetry explaining the human body tormented by cancer, funny prose reminiscing a first date that did not go as planned, and a detailed painting of a grown-up version of Little Red Riding Hood. Each piece was assessed by the publication’s five student editors and two faculty advisors. Over 20 authors and artists were selected to appear in the 2012 issue, which featured 25 poems, five prose, and 11 art pieces.
Senior English education major Amanda Pate’s photograph “A Day at Cambridge” was selected for the cover of the 100th anniversary issue.
“The photo creates an illusion of moving forward. This is a certainty for the Baylorian as it steers into its second century of existence. This is a concept we felt was important to highlight on this year’s cover,” Johnson said.
Pate said she feels art and photography perfectly compliment the Baylorian’s literary works.
“Art, much like writing, is an expression of humanity,” Pate said. “Art shows what words explain. I do not think that art or writing is better; I think they work together toward a common goal.”
Evan Duncan ’12, who submitted work for this year’s issue, feels the Baylorian is an important creative outlet for students.
“Mary Hardin-Baylor is an incredible institution, and part of what makes it so great are the rules and structure, but it can be easy for an environment like that to feel somewhat creatively stifling. The Baylorian allows for some exploration and expression,” Duncan said.
Pate, Duncan, and the other 2012 contributors were honored in April at the 100th anniversary release party celebration. Guests had the opportunity to view artwork and hear readings from this year’s artists and authors. The editors also recited poetry from earlier issues of the literary journal.
As the Baylorian crosses the century mark, the dreams its first editor had for the “frail ship” to become a “mighty ocean liner” have been realized. The Baylorian has navigated the tides of time, and despite (or, perhaps, because of) the storms encountered along the way, the publication is today “rich in experience, and sure of its own merits.” As the Baylorian continues the voyage into its second century of existence, Johnson encourages students and alumni to submit their prose, poetry, and art to keep the publication going strong.
“I am honored to be a part of such a great legacy, thanks to the hundreds of students who have submitted work and kept the Baylorian going over the years,” she said. “I look forward to seeing how it advances and prospers in the next 100 years.”
-Tyler Agnew ’15
Current students and alumni may send their prose, poetry, and art submissions to Baylorian2012@yahoo.com.Copies of the 2012 edition and back issues are also available.