Introduction to the Archives

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The idea for this project dates back to my freshman year, when the Rambler elective spent a session digging through three boxes of the paper’s history. While reading through past issues, I found myself awestruck by the thought and care apparent in the efforts of generations of Bush students who contributed to The Rambler. Every sheet of paper and 1930’s typewriter smudge seemed precious.

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Analysis of the ’00s Rambler

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The 2000’s were haunted by 9/11 and its aftermath. In this decade, The Rambler gave us snapshots into students’ 9/11 experiences (“Forum Page (9/11)”), their condemnation of the Iraq War (“Comments on the State of the Union”), and their worries about security theater (“New airport security technology under heavy review”). Based on the paper’s coverage, students were tired of George W. Bush’s hypocrisy and war-mongering, and they gravitated to Barack Obama’s message of hope in the 2008 presidential race. The school’s enthusiasm for Obama’s candidacy shines through The Rambler’s coverage, which takes us on the journey from a hard-fought campaign to a tearful inauguration day.

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Analysis of the ’90s Rambler

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The ‘90s were marked by relative prosperity and economic growth, a time when the Cold War ended and America projected strength on the global stage. In the Rambler of this decade, there wasn’t an overarching crisis, social movement, or political development that students responded to, such as World War II or the women’s movement. Instead, students grappled with a variety of social issues, from the war in Kosovo to climate change, from the impact of Magic Johnson going public with his AIDS status to the question of whether Bush should have condoms in the bathrooms. Of these, I will focus on the advent of the internet and the Columbine massacre.

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Analysis of the ’70s Rambler

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The ’70s were a fascinating time for The Rambler. Students grappled with topical subjects like the environmental movement, second wave feminism, the Vietnam War, and the energy crisis. The 1977 article “The Santa of the seventies” captures some of the worries of the time. According to the article, Santa now flew a helicopter instead of reindeers because “this way is more economical and more convenient. Because of inflation reindeer feed has skyrocketed in price. Gas is much cheaper.” In this decade, the paper also became increasingly prolific and professional. 

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Analysis of the ’60s Rambler

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When I took out the first yellowed Rambler from the ‘60s, I was beyond excited. No other decade in American history is so famous for youth movements around social justice, equality, and peace. Just as I had hoped, in the ’60s-era Rambler you’ll find students grappling with thorny subjects like the Vietnam War, civil rights, and their own class privilege. Surprisingly few articles mention the counterculture, although several from the ‘70s did (see “Books!” and “Can a pyramid be powerful?”). 

In a short article from 1964, “From the Principal’s Desk: That Was The Year That Was,” the Bush principal expresses skepticism that the student body is socially conscious: “Social revolutions; the assassination of our president; a major earthquake in our newest state; the war on poverty…have any of these events of the 1963-64 school year touched us deeply or personally?” Nonetheless, as you’ll see below, at least some of The Rambler’s writers were passionate about social and political issues, and their work provides a frontline view of the sixties’ multiple revolutions. 

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Analysis of the ’40s Rambler

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1945 marks an exciting development in the history of The Rambler: the moment it got its permanent name. As you may have noticed, the paper of the ‘30s had many monikers, from the staid Bush News to the dorky Bush Bugle. Fast forward to 1945, and the paper gives us this update: “There have been many changes in the school paper since it was first published. This semester’s staff has changed the name from The Barometer to The Rambler. It has tried to change what was formerly a gossip sheet into an orderly, interesting newspaper.”

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Analysis of the ’30s Rambler

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For my senior project, I wanted to find out how political and social issues were covered in issues of The Rambler from past decades. When I began with the oldest archives, dating to 1931, I hoped to find students grappling with sexism, racism, the world wars, and the Great Depression. Instead, I discovered that during the ’30s the paper was principally a venue for gossip, announcements, and endless discussions of what so-and-so wore to this dance or to this trip to the ski lodge.

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