Flashback Friday: Vintage Publications

From the SMS Archives

Our Archives team (Christine Godfrey and her team of dedicated volunteers) in conjunction with the SMS Learning Commons is working on a project with Bev Waterfield's 7/8 Leadership class. The class will be researching former SMS students who had significant historical relatives.

For their month-long project, the class was divided into three groups: one doing research in the Archives, one working with Pam Best in the library, and the third working with Ms Waterfield. The groups will rotate through the three parts of the project. 

To make the fragile vintage magazines available for this project, the Archives team undertook digitizing these early editions to both preserve the original copies and make them more accessible as references. This effort revealed its own discoveries about our school's first forays into producing a periodical...

In the March 1911 (Vol. 1, No. 1) issue of the St. Margaret's School Magazine, editress, Ruth Jones, noted that students had long wished for a school magazine.  Elected by the Fifth and Fourth Forms, the editress with the magazine committee planned to publish monthly.  Nora Jones (sister of the editress) won the school-wide cover design competition, a design which was used with minor changes until 1923.

The March 1911 (Vol. 1, No. 1) issue contained school news from January and mentioned coming February events.  It included photographs, nature and sports columns, poems and stories, current events, plus competitions in photography, candy making, needlework, drawing, English literature research, bible knowledge, and puzzles.  The April 1911 (Vol. 1, No. 2) issue contained February news and announced the winners of the many competitions.  The scripture and literature questions were dropped due to poor response.

A measles epidemic in the spring of 1911 halted monthly publication. Miss Barton and the Magazine Committee decided to publish only one issue per term.   The December 1911 (Vol. 1, No. 3) was the first issue after the death of the school’s founders, Isabel and Edith Fenwick, and it described the new school under construction.  First and Second Form students were given a page.

The March 1912 (Vol. 2, No. 1) issue saw elections for Editress, Sub-Editress, and the magazine committee. All members were re-elected with the addition of two new members.  The June 1912 (Vol. 2, No. 2) covered the final term of the 1911-1912 school year after the students had moved to their new building at Fort & Fern streets.  A “News of Old Girls” column was added.

The December 1912 (Vol. 2, No. 3) was the first issue of the 1912-1913 school year and a new magazine committee was chosen. The photography page was discontinued.

The July 1913 (Vol. 3, No. 1) issue explained that debt and a lack of news was the reason there was no spring 1913 issue. A Magazine Entertainment event held on April 2, 1913 raised enough to pay off the debt.  Sales of the July 1912 issue ($23.60) and December 1912 issue ($18.35) were far short of the $35.00 per issue printing costs.   With sales barely covering printing costs, advertisements and several new features were added to the June 1914 (Vol. 4, No. 1) issue.

From March 1911 to June 1914, eight issues of the St. Margaret's School Magazine were published.  They range from thirteen to twenty pages and gradually included more news on school activities.  With the outbreak of the First World War, the magazine ceased publication for seven years, returning in June 1921 as a 32-page publication.  It was published annually until 1935 when it again ceased publication.  It was replaced for the 1939-40 school year by the Cardinal.

Submitted by Christine Godfrey

Read archival editions of the St. Marget's School Magazine here.



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