The Brown Daily Herald first appeared on Wednesday, December 2, 1891. The first issue was printed during the night and copies were distributed to each door in the dormitories with no preliminary announcement. The secret planning for the paper was actually begun about a month earlier by Ted Baylies 1895 and George Hunter 1893, who, as readers of the Harvard Crimson and the Yale Daily News were convinced that they could put out a daily newspaper at Brown. They enlisted the help of John 1893 and Edward Casey 1893, who were putting themselves through college in their printing shop at the foot of College Hill. Baylies and Steve Hopkins 1893 rounded up advertising for the whole year to insure the financial soundness of their proposed venture. Ben Johnson 1893, H. Anthony Dyer 1894, and Guy A. Andrews 1895 were also named to the board of editors. The approval of President Andrews and other faculty members was obtained before the first issue appeared. The four-page paper was printed at the Casey shop on a single-cylinder press operated by a wheel, mostly by the labor of the editors after they discovered that the tramp printer they had hired was given to drinking. The price of the paper was two cents a copy or $1.50 per year. The Herald received a cool reception from the Brunonian, which in 1890 had welcomed the Brown Magazine as a new literary publication and devoted its own pages to news, but had rejected the idea of daily publication. A Brunonian editorial criticized the appearance of the Herald, and stated, “There is not sufficient news in a college of our size to support a first-class daily, and anything less is an expensive luxery (sic).” Nevertheless, the Herald survived and even began to have a social life, holding its first banquet at the Crown Hotel in 1903, and playing the first of a long series of annual baseball games against the Brunonian in 1907. As a supporter of Charles Evans Hughes 1881 for president in 1916, the Herald happily and in large print proclaimed his victory on November 8, before learning that he had actually lost the election.
The word “Daily” was dropped in May 1917 when publication was limited to three days a week. In the fall of 1918 the paper became a semi-weekly. On February 1, 1919, daily publication was resumed. During the war letters from alumni in the service were featured. After the war, the paper turned its attention to other matters, printing a green issue for St. Patrick’s Day in 1920, and on January 20, 1921, an editorial on the immoral behavior of Brown students and their dates, the “social buds,” who came to Brown dances and checked their corsets with the hat-check attendant. The editorial provoked replies and received a whole page of coverage in the Boston American. The Literary Supplement of the Brown Daily Herald, a twelve-page collection of poetry and short pieces of prose, priced at fifteen cents, made two appearances, in April and May of 1921, and then disappeared. For some reason, in December 1921, when the Herald was celebrating its thirtieth anniversary, the masthead began to include the words, “Founded in 1866, Daily since 1891.” The reason for the determination of this date of “founding” is uncertain. Perhaps the Herald, decided to adopt its rival, the Brunonian, with which it had coexisted, as an antecedent, and to stretch its life back to 1866, when another Brunonian, this one a rival of the Brown Paper, appeared. On October 19, 1924, a newspaper appeared with the title, Brown Daily Drivel, a single issue printed by students as a travesty on the Brown Daily Herald. In later years the Herald issued its own comic papers, often on April Fool’s Day, and most recently at the end of a year as the final production of one editorial board before the next board takes charge.
In 1933 the Herald caused a considerable stir by launching an editorial campaign urging students at Brown and at other colleges to sign petitions pledging “not to bear arms except when the country is invaded.” An unexpected result was the appointment by the Rhode Island General Assembly of a committee “to investigate the University and to provide penalties for disloyalty to the State and Nation.” The response of the students was to raise the number of pledges to 700. The peace drive spread to other colleges and soon an Intercollegiate Disarmament Council was inviting colleges across the country to join the peace movement. The university administration, while not in favor of the stand, did not interfere, and the legislative committee concluded that there was no need to suppress the movement as there was no evidence of a connection with disloyal organizations outside the University. When a destructive hurricane struck New England on September 21, 1938, during freshman week, eight upperclassmen who were on campus to greet the freshmen managed to get out by candlelight a mimeographed one-page edition of the Herald, followed by a similar two-page issue the next day. During the second World War the Brown Daily Herald again suspended publication on January 12, 1943. From March 10 to August 13, 1943 the paper was published weekly and called the Brown Herald. From August 20, 1943 to October 5, 1945 the weekly Brown Herald-Record replaced the Brown Herald and the Pembroke Record, and during that time had a woman editor, Audrey Mishel ’44. In September 1947, when the Herald resumed daily publication, it published a magazine called Midnight, a manual of sorts for the Herald staff. The title came from the paper’s deadline.
Since that time the Brown Daily Herald has been published regularly. Its duration is not, however, as long as its numbering suggests, having been inadvertently extended on January 18, 1959, when the volume number abruptly changed from 68 to 88, an error on which all subsequent numbering has been based. The Brown Daily Herald Supplement was first published on September 28, 1959. The contents of the first issue were an interesting assortment – a review of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, (recently reissued in the United States, where it had been banned), photographs of life on South Main Street (identified on the cover as “Slums”), an article on the prospects of the Ivy League season, an article on new chairman of the National Republican Committee, and a cartoon by Jules Feiffer. The Supplement continued to be a weekly (although not always on the same day of the week) publication until 1963. The Brown Herald Review, containing literary pieces, art, and book reviews, was published eight times during the academic year from October 1963 until January 1966. A hoax issue of the Herald which went wrong was that of December 6, 1965, with its oversized headline, “Pembrokers Get Apartments; Experiment Begins in Spring,” and related stories. The next day Editor-in-Chief M. Charles Bakst ’66 and two managing editors resigned, stating that in conceiving the hoax issue they had believed that it “would be humorous in the short-run and conducive in the long run to a more thorough discussion of Pembroke’s residential and social system.” In fact their stories had been taken at face value by some students, faculty, and administration, who were not amused. On March 27, 1964, a similar effort proclaiming “Pembroke No Longer ‘Coordinate’; Corporation Makes Brown ‘Co-ed’” and “Keeney Selects Special Committee to Supervise ‘Herald’” had brought forth no more than a cheerful communication to the managing board from President Keeney, probably because of the proximity to April Fool’s Day.
In 1968 Beverly Hodgson ’70 was acclaimed by the press as “First Woman Editor of Ivy League Daily” (and coincidentally later married the nephew of Audrey Mishel, the woman editor of the Herald-Record of World War II), and with her managing editor, another woman, Laura Hersh ’70, got the Herald out from its new offices at 195 Angell Street. In 1973 the Brown Daily Herald Voluntary Publishing Association, which took in outside printing jobs as well as publishing the Herald, was facing financial difficulties after purchasing typesetting equipment. The solution was the founding of Fresh Fruit, a college-oriented tabloid with distribution to eight college campuses and the potential for generating advertising income. Its first appearance was in the Brown Daily Herald of February 15, 1973. In February 1975 an editorial staff separate from that of the Herald took over the publication of Fresh Fruit. The Herald, still in debt after a 1974 operating loss of $10,000, began an alumni subscription drive, filed claims against its creditors, and sought incorporation under the laws of Rhode Island. With the Commencement issue of 1975 the Brown Daily Herald Voluntary Publishing Association became the Brown Daily Herald, Inc. In 1985 the Herald entered into a contract with the Undergraduate Council of Students, in which the UCS agreed to purchase 5,500 subscriptions at five dollars each for every member of the student body. A weekend insert called good clean fun ” was added in 1986. In September 1989 a new supplement, intended to be monthly, appeared under the title, In Depth. Editor-in-chief of the Herald Amy Bach expressed the hope that the new supplement would serve as a forum for the thorough exploration of one topic each month. The first issue was devoted to articles on depression, the second to Providence’s neighborhoods. On November 2, 1991, the Brown Daily Herald held a one-hundredth anniversary celebration, at which William Kovach was the keynote speaker.