Eagle Tales: Bylines and Headlines

Excerpts from the Eagle archives


From the archives: three Eagle reporters in the 1950s

1925: The student-run American Eagle (it would be another 40 years before the paper shortened its masthead), published its inaugural newspaper on November 20. "Getting out a first issue is no 'cinch,' as all the staff can tell you," read a front-page notice, soliciting both readers and writers. The four-page broadsheet featured hard-hitting pieces about the University Choral Society and the student body elections, and a humor column called "The Eagle Eye," which advised female dorm-dwellers that "despite fits of homesickness, copious weeping may not be indulged in."

1963: One day after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the Eagle published a special edition commemorating his life and impact. Under a bold, front-page headline that read, simply, "SILENCE," the paper reported that "On campus everything halted. Cars were surrounded by tense clusters of students listening to staccato news flashes. Students were still and stunned." Eagle staffers delivered the paper and a condolence letter wrapped in a black ribbon to a White House guard, who gave it to Kennedy press secretary Pierre Salinger. 

1964: The paper published the first of what would become an annual tradition: the Bald Eagle, an April Fools' issue packed with fabulously fabricated features about campus happenings and world affairs. In 1964, staffers wrote about a tuition cut, a new beer-friendly policy, and AU's second-place finish in a surfing tournament. Over the years, April 1 issues have been published under such pun-derful names as the Ego, Beagle, and Bagel and in 1986, normally neurotic editors took the joke a step further, listing the dateline as March 32. 

1975: The Eagle commemorated its 50th anniversary with a four-page special section showcasing all 24 incarnations of its masthead, a sampling of its most colorful headlines ("Permits outnumber sparking spaces," and "Trustees: They came, they saw, they left") and a roundup of the most outlandish classified ads. Twenty-six years later, the Eagle—boasting yet another nameplate—celebrated its diamond anniversary (albeit belatedly) by launching an online edition. Today, all 91 years of Eagle issues have been digitized and are available on the library website.