Encyclopedia Brunoniana


The Observer was described as a “fortnightly publication by the students of Brown University with the cooperation of the English Department and the approval of the Committee on Student Activities” when it first appeared on January 17, 1949. Edited by Peter H. John ’50, the publication aimed to fill the need for “a serious cultural, philosophical publication” at Brown. The first issue of eight pages contained an article by President Wriston on education, one by Swami Akhilananda of the Vedanta Society on “New Year’s Resolutions,” and one by Professor Charles Baylis on democracy as a philosophy of life. In addition there were excerpts from a letter of a German student, a commentary on the new curriculum, and a review of a book by Harvard president James B. Conant. Complimentary copies of the first issue of The Observer were sent to over five thousand students and faculty, and subscriptions were advertised at fifty cents for the semester. There were seven issues in all, including contributions by both students and faculty, before The Observer announced the suspension of publication for the summer. Publication was not resumed in the fall.