The Dartmouth

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For other uses, see The Dartmouth (disambiguation).
The Dartmouth
Type Daily newspaper
Owner(s) The Dartmouth, Inc.
Founded 1799
Headquarters Hanover, New Hampshire, United States

The Dartmouth, America's oldest college newspaper, is the daily student newspaper at Dartmouth College. The first issue of The Dartmouth, referred to as the Dartmouth Gazette, was published on August 27, 1799. The first publisher of The Dartmouth, Moses Davis, published the first issue with the motto "Here range the world--explore the dense and rare; and view all nature in your elbow chair."

The newspaper is published by The Dartmouth, Inc., an independent, nonprofit corporation chartered in the state of New Hampshire. Many alumni of The Dartmouth have gone on to careers in journalism, and several have won Pulitzer Prizes.


The Dartmouth leases its office suites on the second floor of Robinson Hall.

The Dartmouth was first published in Hanover, New Hampshire, on August 27, 1799, by Moses Davis "on College Plain"[1] under the name the Dartmouth Gazette. "Here range the world – explore the dense and rare; And view all nature in your elbow chair," Davis wrote in the first issue of the Dartmouth Gazette. In his first column, Davis stressed the necessity of avoiding "personal reflections" while maintaining "impartiality in view".

The first issue contained a request for subscribers throughout the local area to follow the news provided by the Dartmouth Gazette. The newspaper started with revenue from its subscribers. Davis wrote, "The Dartmouth Gazette shall be printed on paper of the present size and quality. The price will be One Dollar and fifty cents per ann. delivered at the Printing-Office. To give the paper a start, 25 cents is required on receipt of the 1st No. and 50 cents, if offered, will not be refused." The size of the first issue measures roughly 10 inches by 16 inches. A copied image of the first issue hangs framed in the office suites of The Dartmouth.

The first articles of the Dartmouth Gazette focused on local news, but also printed two pages of foreign and national news. The Gazette's aim was to print news articles that were of practical use to readers, often covering information about local events, laws that would affect local residents, and imminently dangerous sicknesses.[2] The first issue of the Dartmouth Gazette contains a poem and short story signed by "Icarus", who was later found to be Daniel Webster.[3] Issues of the Dartmouth Gazette demonstrate that the newspaper provided a record of local events relating both to the town and to the college. For example, "the second issue has a long and rather tediously written discussion of New Hampshire school laws, and a report of Dartmouth's Commencement activities from Wednesday, August 28, 1799."[2] It is also clear that mischief consistent with undergraduate students was not eliminated from the Dartmouth Gazette entirely by the editing process. In covering a dysentery outbreak in the later months of 1800, one story read:

Died: At Bergen, Norway, Joseph Surrington, aged 159. He retained his sense to the last hour of his long life. He was several times married and left behind him a young widow. His eldest son was 103, and his youngest nine years old.

The Dartmouth Gazette changed its name to The Dartmouth as the newspaper was published more regularly with a greater emphasis on news of Dartmouth College, rather than news of a national import.

The name of the newspaper was changed "to be a faithful expression of the mind of the students, — to be, what its title imports, The Dartmouth, possessing such a local character and stamp of individuality as will render it acceptable to all who claim this Institution as their Alma Mater."[4] This changing focus on local and College news contrasts with the greater national and local focus of the newspaper in the first decades of the 1800s. Financially, The Dartmouth was self-sustaining through a subscription revenue model.

The Dartmouth's printing press changed several times during the 19th century. In 1840, the editors noted, "We hope our convenience, which demanded a change of printers, will not compel us to do it at the expense of our typography."[5] The April 1840 issue of The Dartmouth stated bluntly, "[T]his month has not been prolific in College news." In this context, The Dartmouth's original local and national news focus becomes clear.

The Dartmouth printed many editorials in its pages, which "tackled a variety of topics, mostly of an academic nature. The Dartmouth also contained a College News section with one or two-line items on professorial appointments, alumni news, and an editors note regarding correspondence."[2]

By 1842, The Dartmouth regularly ran to 40 pages and was printed eight times a year. Under the principle of "write for your readers," the writing in The Dartmouth was "to be geared to the popular reader instead of the academic."[4]

Christopher R. Johnson '94 completed a detailed thesis history of The Dartmouth, after receiving a grant from the Hewlett Foundation for The Dartmouth's Historical Archives Project. According to Johnson, "From the editors' note at the end of each issue comes something as typically mock vainglorious as this segment: '…[A]s a consequence, The Dartmouth is making an illumination. Be careful you are not dazzled by its luminous pages.'"[2]

The Dartmouth went through a substantial developmental phase in 1875 under the watchful eye of Samuel Merrill of the Class of 1876. Starting in September 1875, The Dartmouth began publishing regularly every Thursday morning. Merrill doubled the size of the newspaper and increased subscription terms to $2 a year. Also in 1875, advertisements appeared in The Dartmouth for the first time. At this time, The Dartmouth was the only college paper published weekly in New England, and was one of the three largest college weeklies in the world.[2]


The newspaper's organization prior to 1913 was a simple business partnership between the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. The masthead section would state that the newspaper was published by the Publisher and Editor-in-Chief, using the last names of these two students.[6] As such, The Dartmouth was financially independent from the college. Although this system worked, it was recognized that some formal organization would be needed, making the newspaper an independent corporate organization that would be able to withstand an assault by the college.

On September 18, 1913, a news story announced that The Dartmouth had become a corporation chartered in Maine over the summer break. "Instead of a mere union of editors putting forth a newspaper by common consent, there is a legal corporation for the purpose, a legal entity which exists in the eyes of the law apart from the particular individuals who form its personnel at a given time. The paper has changed from individualistic to corporate control," the issue read.[7]

The newspaper's board of management (currently called the Directorate, the group of editors and business directors) worked with Mr. Ernest M. White '05, of Portland, Maine, who spent many hours preparing and executing the incorporation of the paper.[8] The newspaper was chartered in Maine because the college could have a powerful hold on New Hampshire politicians if necessary, since it was a major employer and influence in the state. By incorporating the newspaper in Maine, the newspaper could escape some of the college's political power in case of a lawsuit.[8]

In 1939, the college's political influence was no longer deemed problematic, and The Dartmouth, Inc. was transferred from Maine to New Hampshire.[9]


The newspaper, commonly known as The D, is the campus's only daily and is free for students. The Dartmouth publishes Monday through Friday from September to June, except during examination periods and vacations. During summer months, the paper publishes on Tuesdays and Fridays. The offices of The Dartmouth are located on the second floor of Robinson Hall, where over 200 student staff members contribute to the paper weekly either through the editorial or business sections. The Dartmouth hires new staff at the start of every term.

The Dartmouth is run entirely by undergraduate students, with the publisher serving as the head of the business side and the editor-in-chief serving as the head of the editorial section of the paper. Members of The Dartmouth's senior directorate serve year-long terms from January to December, and each directorate selects the next year's leaders.

On the editorial side, applicants can apply to write for any of the various content sections, which include news, opinion, arts and entertainment, sports or "The Mirror", or to work on the photography, graphics, design or copyediting staff. Students are asked to submit an application before interviewing with current staff. On the business side, students can apply for the national advertising, local advertising, finance, operations and marketing, design and IT sections. Applicants are asked to submit an application before interviewing with current staff.

The Dartmouth also publishes two weekly supplements, "Big Green Sports Weekly" on Mondays and "The Dartmouth Mirror" on Fridays, and maintains an online blog called "DartBeat", formerly called "Above the Fold".

Special editions are printed for such events as Homecoming weekend, Winter Carnival, Green Key Weekend and Commencement, and a special freshman issue is sent to the homes all incoming students the summer before matriculation.

During the New Hampshire primary, The Dartmouth is known for its interviews with the presidential candidates.[10][11]

The Dartmouth also maintains its own photo and poster store with pictures in current editions as well as copies of historical front pages, available for purchase.

Notable alumni

Vox Clamantis Fund

The Dartmouth maintains the Vox Clamantis Fund, created in 1999 to help enable reporters, editors, directors and staff to supplement their "on-the-job" training by meeting and working with journalists and business journalism professionals. The fund consists mostly of donations alumni and community members can make through The Dartmouth's webpage.

In the past, the fund has awarded leave-term stipends for unpaid internships at news organizations including Hearst Newspapers, The New York Times, CongressNow, Condé Nast and The Atlantic Monthly, providing stipend recipients with front-row access to the world of journalism.

The Vox Fund has also allowed The Dartmouth to bring renowned journalists to Hanover to work alongside staff through the Editor-in-Residence program. Former Editors-in-Residence include long-time Philadelphia Inquirer reporter George Anastasia '69, former correspondent for NBC News Robert Hager '60, and New York Times reporter Jacques Steinberg '88.

The fund also sponsors reunions for alumni of The Dartmouth during each of the college's "big weekends". These events bring together staffers from throughout The Dartmouth's history, and allow staffers a chance to meet some of their predecessors.


  1. Tuesday August 27, 1799, Vol 1, No 1 issue, printed below the masthead and motto.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 Johnson, Christopher R. "The Dartmouth, America's Oldest College Newspaper: 1799-1999" thesis history of The Dartmouth. Chapter 1: Origins of The Dartmouth
  3. Volume 1, No. 1 issue of the Dartmouth Gazette. Page 2.
  4. 4.0 4.1 1839 Volume, November Issue, The Dartmouth
  5. 1840 Volume, No. 3, The Dartmouth
  6. Bound volumes of The Dartmouth from this period, some of which are stored in The Dartmouth's office suites in Robinson Hall.
  7. September 18, 1913, issue of The Dartmouth
  8. 8.0 8.1 Johnson, Christopher R. "The Dartmouth, America's Oldest College Newspaper: 1799-1999" thesis history of The Dartmouth. Chapter 3: Incorporation
  9. [1] New Hampshire Corporation Division: THE DARTMOUTH, INC.
  10. [2] 'Obama stresses healthcare at Jesse's'
  11. [3] 'Biden campaign sets sights on Iraq'
  12. [4] Obituary: Francis Brown
  13. [5] Obituary: Thomas W. Gerber

External links