The Albany College Student (left), First Edition (center) and the Pioneer Log (right). Photo by Aidan D'Anna

A brief history of LC: the start of The Pioneer Log

The Lewis & Clark student body expressed its opinions through publication of a newspaper long before the birth of our beloved Pioneer Log. In 1871, Professor Royal K. Warren of what was then Albany College began publication of Our College Missive, an early edition of what we would call a college catalog today. In 1877, just one year after Warren ceased production of the Missive, students revived the publication under the same name, effectively creating the first student-run newspaper of Albany College. Though only a few issues of the Missive were ever published due to strict college rules regarding “social affairs,” this marked the first time students were able to speak directly to other students through a circulated paper. 

Following a twenty-year period with no student paper due to the lack of an organized student body and no student fees, in 1897, another publication, The Albany College Student, made its first appearance. Created by economics, history and German professor Alfred C. Schmitt, the new student paper was set up as a joint stock company with Schmitt serving as the president, senior J.P. Smick serving as editor and twenty student stockholders holding one five dollar share apiece. The paper met its expenses by charging a subscription fee of seventy cents per semester (publishing eight issues a semester). 

In 1902, two years after Schmitt resigned from the College, editors of the paper published a brochure called the ACTA, which, though not a school sanctioned yearbook, is largely considered to be the first in the school’s yearbook series. Because the school could not pay for both a yearbook and a school paper, the ACTA was dissolved after just one publication. In 1905, the Albany College student body organized and took over publication of the Student, replacing the subscription with small student-body fees. 

In the fall of 1930, in commemoration of the retirement of the long-running school yearbook The Orange Peal, the Student changed its name to match that of the discharged yearbook. The Peal continued bi-monthly publication until the spring of 1942 when Albany College officially closed its doors. When the newly christened Lewis & Clark College opened in the fall of 1942, the student body did not leave the idea of a student-run newspaper behind. 

On Oct. 13, 1942, eight students of LC’s first journalism class published the first edition of what would soon become The Pioneer Log. In the meantime, that first edition was simply titled “First Edition.” Deciding on a name became the fledgling newspaper’s main concern for the first two issues; since the brand new college did not yet have a mascot, there was no logical title for the paper. This was such a big concern, in fact, that the front page article of First Edition was headlined “Let’s get a name”. Though there was no mascot, the staff wanted to honor the new name of the college, so the title was to be something LC-related. 

On the front page of First Edition, the staff put the issue of the name to a vote and the student body was asked to “voice its desires” by choosing from a variety of possible monikers. Titles ranging from The Trailblazer to The Pathfinder to Tom Tom were given, as well as The Pioneer and The Log. By the third issue, the last two choices were combined, and on Nov. 30, 1942, The Pioneer Log was born.

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