Bear Facts is a handbook of useful information for freshmen. The first such handbook was called Student’s Hand-Book of Brown University and was published by the Young Men’s Christian Association in 1888. The earliest issues were devoted exclusively to religious information, such as the work of the Y.M.C.A., a schedule of prayer meetings, a brief history of the missionary movement at Brown, and a directory of Protestant churches in Providence. In 1891 additional information was included, such as banks, telegraph offices, and the location of over 200 fire alarm boxes in the city. In 1892 Brown University buildings, points of interest in Providence, and a catalogue of the portraits in Sayles Hall were added. The handbook grew to include helpful hints for new students, songs, and information about student organizations and athletics. The title was changed to Hand-book of Brown University in 1903 and by 1924 to The Bear Facts. In 1960 Bear Facts was a joint publication of the University Christian Association and the Liber Brunensis, in 1961 was published for the University Christian Association by Liber Brunensis Publications, and was published by Liber Brunensis Publications from 1962 until 1978, when it was taken over by the Office of the Dean of Freshmen. Now a much more sophisticated publication than its early predecessors, Bear Facts is filled with information on what to bring to college, what to wear, what to eat and what not to drink, besides information on academic advice and counseling, student activities and social activism, and learning to study.
Publication of a student handbook for women students by the Christian Association of the Women’s College began in 1901. In 1933 it was published by the Freshman Council of Pembroke College and later by the Question Club.