Happy birthday to us

The Yale Alumni Magazine celebrates 125 years of keeping alumni connected.

In January 1892, four months after it was launched, the Yale Alumni Weekly—now the Yale Alumni Magazine—reported that “the oldest alumnus of Yale is a graduate of the Class of 1820.” So as we celebrate our 125th anniversary this fall (our quasquicentennial, it turns out, but we won’t use that word more than once), we recognize that the alumni body we have served spans nearly 200 years. Some of our earliest readers were born in the Jefferson administration, and some of our newest in the Clinton administration.

When the Weekly was launched in September 1891, our first issue reported on a growing university—one with growing pains. We covered student complaints about overcrowding in Yale’s Sheffield Scientific School, about delays in the completion of the new gym (the one before Payne Whitney), and the tight squeeze into Battell for mandatory daily chapel. Our first issue also reported on Yale sports, the activity of the Glee and Banjo clubs, and the Law School. And it included the first-ever alumni note: “J. P. Cheney ’90S has entered a dyeing establishment in Paterson, NJ, in order to study the methods there employed.”

In 125 years, we have never strayed far from the intentions expressed in that first issue: “The paper . . . will be run exclusively for the benefit of the graduates of Yale. It will contain matter concerning the University itself, its development, its student projects and its athletics, and concerning the Alumni and their associations. It will serve as an organ for the expression of graduate opinion upon topics concerning the welfare and interest of Yale, and will act as a bond between the Alumni themselves and between the Alumni and the University.”

The Weekly was founded as a for-profit venture, a spinoff of the Yale Daily News. In 1937, it became the nonprofit Yale Alumni Magazine. Over the years, it has been published under a number of business models, including individual subscriptions, class-dues funding, and varying levels of financial support and oversight from the university.

But throughout, we have striven to give alumni a complete picture of what is happening at Yale. We have introduced alumni to eleven new presidents, seven new professional schools, and scores of new buildings. We’ve also kept alumni up to date with each other through profiles, interviews, and millions of words of alumni notes. We’ve reported on campus controversies ranging from the demolition of the Old Brick Row to coeducation to the proposed renaming of Calhoun, and we’ve given you room to voice your opinions on all of them.

In the slideshow above are some clips from our archives, reflecting our coverage of the university, its alumni, and world events over the last 125 years. Some of you started receiving the magazine this past September, and some of you have been with us for more than half of our existence. We thank you all for the privilege and responsibility of keeping you connected to Yale.—The Editors

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