Ironically, one of the first things you notice about the UWM Libraries’ digital collection of the UWM Post is how obviously paper the UWM Post was. The tears, holes and yellowed paper, though viewed on a computer screen, transport you to Sept. 26, 1956, when the first edition was published.
The archives recently completed digitizing the entire collection of UWM Posts to mark the 60th anniversary of the paper’s founding.
Now published exclusively online, the UWM Post appeared in campus newspaper racks for more than 55 years.
The archives’ collection offers a student perspective on the history of the university and the arc of its remarkable transition from a teachers college to a premier research institution.
It also offers a window onto society as a whole.
Some of the stories are quaint period pieces, such as the Sept. 26, 1956, story on the “coed” who was crowned “Alice in Dairyland” after earlier being voted a “datable doll” at a campus carnival. Stories in 1975 dealt with the perennial problems of campus safety and parking.
Other reports remind us that some issues have vexed Americans for quite some time: “Marijuana not damaging” (Feb. 24, 1967); “Legalized abortion question concerns health and morals” (Feb. 16, 1968); and “Forum attempts to break myths about the Islamic society” (Dec. 11, 1995).
Abigail Nye, interim head of the UWM Archives, said that it took over a year to complete the project.
“You’re seeing the development of UWM as an urban institution of higher education,” she said. “In the ’50s, you sense the institution trying to find its identity in the shadow of UW-Madison. Then in the ’60s you start to see rapid growth, new buildings, new programs.”
The collection consists of 50,830 pages of material, Nye said, making it the archives’ largest digital collection.
Acknowledging the sheer fun of perusing old student newspapers, Nye also points out that the digital collection opens the UWM Post to researchers, both professional and hobbyist.
“Anybody can walk into our archives and use the materials, but not everyone can spend the time or money to travel here,” Nye said. “One of the things I love about digitizing our collections is that it democratizes research; materials are easily accessible to anyone at virtually any time or place.”
The UWM Post collection is just the latest of dozens in the UWM Libraries Digital Collections. Entries range from the award-winning Milwaukee Polonia Digital Collection to collections from the American Geographical Society Library and UWM Music Library.