The Arcadian: Prep School Paper Prepped For Preservation

Readers of Fit To Print know of the Newspaper Project’s growing enthusiasm for preservation microfilming and archiving college as well as some high school student papers.  See, for example, the blog entry of last September 10, describing John Marshall High School’s The Monocle.  Our latest filming initiative in this category is also, like The Monocle, from Richmond.  This time however, the paper originates not from a public, but a private institution-St. Catherine’s School, the longest standing all girls school in the city and a school of equally long-standing high reputation.

Here are some sample images from this new holding:

The Scrap Basket appeared in 1927, some six years after St. Catherine’s relocated to its current site just shy of Three Chopt and Grove, to what was then the city’s far West End and now the very near West End.  Our first microfilmed issue (above, click to expand) dates from the Fall semester of the 1930 school year.

Odds ‘n’ Ends addressed the interests of those younger students in the Middle School and published for about ten years beginning in 1932.  The copy pictured above is from the close of the school year 1933 and the first we had available to microfilm.

In 1940 it was decided that the title The Scrap Basket on the masthead was a little too divorced from the pride and aspirations of the students responsible for the paper’s content.  A poll was conducted of the upper students and the resulting choice, The Arcadian, was inspired by an architectural feature of the campus-its two distinctive arcades.  An article from the second page of the May, 1940 issue shown above speaks to the increased ambitions of the student staff.

Cost considerations during the war years shifted The Arcadian from the print shop to the mimeograph machine and a more homemade layout.  Two examples are seen below, as well as a 1944 cartoon illustrating St. Catherine’s extracurricular calendar.

1944 Events Calendar from the Arcadian

Regretfully, copies from the 1950’s are at this time elusive, so on to the 60’s and the three examples of the paper’s refashioned appearance through the decade.  Again, click on the image to enlarge:






The following four front pages give an abbreviated, and very accelerated, glimpse of an archive which concludes, for the present, in 2007.






St. Catherine’s is a “prep” school, after all, whose academic rigor is designed to produce the qualifications for that consequential next advance in a young woman’s education.  From the close of the academic year 1994, a springtime perennial of The Arcadian:

The Virginia Newspaper Project would like to express its gratitude to Tyler Paul, St. Catherine’s archivist, who granted us permission to microfilm from their archive.  Thanks also to Sarah Herguner who succeeded Ms. Paul as school archivist while microfilming was underway.

Postscript….preservation microfilming has almost reached completion of The Pine Needle (Film 2557), the student publication of St. Christopher’s School, the sister (or brother?) school of St. Catherine’s located only a short distance to the north.  We anticipate a blog announcement sometime later this year.

Odds ‘n’ Ends, The Scrap Basket and The Arcadian are available on Film 2559 at the Library of Virginia.


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