Jean and Alexander Heard Libraries have made one of the most requested archival resources available online to a global audience just in time for the Sesquicentennial. The Hustler, Vanderbilt’s oldest student newspaper, has been in circulation since 1888. First published by the Calumet Club (1888-1898) and then the Vanderbilt Athletic Association (1889-1917), it has been published by the students since 1917 under supervision of a publication board now known as Vanderbilt Student Communications, Inc. There are no early issues available of The Hustler until 1893 due to fires and vandalism. Only recently has one issue from 1890 been donated to the University Archives by the family of an alum.
Until 1967, The Hustler was published weekly but in 1968 it expanded to twice a week. By the 1990s it had again become a once-weekly publication. From 2007 to 2016, the newspaper maintained an electronic format and paper issues. In 2016, The Hustler was converted to an all-electronic newspaper. The University Archives now works with Vanderbilt Student Government to assist in archiving the digital files of The Hustler.
The Hustler is a vital part of recording our university’s history through the eyes of generations of student writers and back copies are frequently requested from Vanderbilt alumni. Noted alum Thomas Upchurch, “Wow. One of my regrets from my college years is that I didn’t keep a scrapbook, or a journal. So many details get forgotten. These old Hustlers will shake loose a lot of old memories. Thank you, and thanks to the library, for this gift to a lot of old grads. I can hardly wait.”
The timing of the digitization project was important to coincide with increased demand anticipated from the Vanderbilt community during the Sesquicentennial celebrations. At last, the publication’s archived print and digital content is available through a single interface. Our thanks go to The Hustler staff who supported this project from the start. Noted Editor Rachel Perrot, “I’m grateful for the Special Collections staff’s time and effort in making this project come to life! The Hustler has been a staple of Vanderbilt life for centuries, and this initiative will help preserve the history of alumni, news, and happenings over the years. Having a long-time record of The Hustler is also a beautiful testament to the work and dedication of our reporters dating back to the 19th century.”