100 Years of Fitting Print

The news on Feb. 9, 1923: a new production by the drama group, the results of the vote for basketball team captain, the annual football banquet honored Tiny Elder as the “greatest athlete ever produced by Loyola,” and student Edward Maginnis fell while hunting, discharging his weapon into his jaw. 

So reported the first edition of The Loyolan, the newspaper of then-Loyola College. A century ago, the student newspaper led with school news rendered in five columns of words and more words, and not a single photograph.

The Loyolan has consistently been a newspaper that was engaged with the world, especially as seen in the paper’s opinion pages.

Not only did the word dominate the message, they were different kinds of words — ornate and decorative, says Molly Box ’21, former editor-in-chief of The Los Angeles Loyolan. Box, who also oversaw the paper’s centennial coverage as a student, spent much of summer 2021 rooting through the paper’s vaults in the Archives and Special Collections of the Hannon Library. 

“In the early ’20s and ’30s,” Box says, “there was language that read like poetry, and very long-form articles that contemplated the spirituality of man, which is something we don’t partake in nowadays.” Just as fascinating were the publication’s ads: cigarette ads, pipe tobacco, baby food and wedding rings were all on the minds of students, it appears.

Box says that her many hours of research proved to her that the Loyolan has consistently been a newspaper that was engaged with the world, especially as seen in the paper’s opinion pages. An editorial criticized those who seemed to show interest in the impact of the HIV crisis only after Los Angeles Lakers’ star Magic Johnson was diagnosed and his illness announced in 1991. The LGBTQ community has been facing the illness for years, the writer pointed out. A veteran, enrolled as a student after his military service, spoke out against the Vietnam War. A 1975 editorial advocating gun control, Box says, could be published today and be just as relevant. “It’s been interesting to think about how far we’ve come in a lot of areas and about how far we have not come in other areas,” she says. 

Most interesting to Box was the merger of Loyola University and Marymount College that forced the merger of their respective newspapers. “I expected, given the times, that one would dominate the other,” Box says. “But the two staffs met together to talk it out and figure it out.”

The Loyolan’s celebration features a website devoted to the newspaper’s history, including past articles, a selection of front pages and ads dating back to 1923, and interviews with former staff members. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of First Amendment Week, which is cosponsored by the Loyolan and ASLMU.

As for Edward Maginnis, it was reported that he would survive — and was looking forward to his next outing.

To see a collection of stories, op-eds, movie reviews and photo essays drawn from The Los Angeles Loyolan’s archives, go to www.laloyolan.com/centennial.