Blast from the Past; Exploring Past Editions of The Rambler: Part 1


The Rambler as an institution, while having served the Transylvania University community since 1915, has drastically evolved over its 107 years of existence. This evolution can be seen in several vintage issues of the Rambler, which were released from 1955 to 1966. The formatting, issues covered, and even the name of the Rambler all changed over the 11 years from 1955 to 1966 and in the 56 years since to the present day. 

The September 23rd, 1955 edition of what was then called the Crimson Rambler was primarily focused on the start of the new academic year. The cover story of the edition was a report on the demographics of the new Freshman Class. 174 new students enrolled at Transylvania that fall, which included students from a greater variety of states than previous years and a collection of “valedictorians, salutatorians and other students with high scholastic records in high school,” as the story composed by the Rambler staff as a whole wrote. Other cover stories included an announcement of a new language curriculum, which included new laboratory methods of teaching and introduced French, German, and Italian to the university. The front page also notes the hiring of four new professors to the Transylvania staff that Fall, with the most notable being that future Basketball Hall of Famer C.M. Newton was hired to his first head coaching job at Transylvania that summer. 

This issue of the Crimson Rambler was primarily concerned with being an introduction to the new Freshman class, most noticeably through a large message welcoming the freshmen at the bottom of the front page. A large section of this edition was a letter from the Rambler editors to the Freshman class that urged the Freshmen to “maintain that [Transylvania] spirit, to keep it alive while you are in Transylvania’s halls and to see to it that it is passed on, a living tradition, to every class of freshmen that shall come after you.” This letter was followed by an anonymous letter from a Freshman who emphasized the many feelings the class may be having. The anonymous Freshman wrote “I shall have to be guided, yet when I left home I thought I- the great I- would just have to enroll and then be on my own to conquer the world. Little did I realize how small I am. I have met several freshmen, just as lost as I am.”

The issue also included a guide of the important figures on campus, from the Student Council President to the presidents of various fraternities and sororities. By far the largest section of the edition was an overview of the Student Council Constitution and a piece written by Student Council President Willis Frey accompanying it explaining the importance of the student council. Transylvania was also still considered a Christian College at this point, so significant portions of the issue are taken up by the “Crimson Rambler Prayer” and a piece by the editors urging new students to “get out of the rut of Sunday morning sleep” and regularly attend church. 

A special thanks to SGA President Tate Ohmer for providing physical copies of the papers discussed in the story, and a reminder to be on the lookout for new stories in this continual series on past editions of The Rambler.