The paper quickly gained a respectable readership, though former student and faculty member Elizabeth Daniels ‘41 recalls that the Chronicle “was thought of as a paper for conservatives.” In an editorial on March 17, 1944, the editors addressed this widespread belief, saying, “We shall deal with each issue according to our opinions at the time, not according to a rigid, preestablished party line.” A comparison of editorials in the Misc and the Chronicle through the early years of the two-paper campus shows that the Chronicle position often countered that of the Misc, and when the papers endorsed candidates the Misc. endorsed Democrats while the Chronicle endorsed Republicans. Daniels remembers that most students perused both papers as they appeared – the Miscellany on Wednesdays, the Chronicle on Saturdays. The Miscellany News welcomed the Chronicle’s competition in its editorial pages, and starting in 1945, the two papers published the first of many joint issues: “The Atomic Age.”
The papers worked together a few times each year, publishing issues on current campus debates and the national discussion of a proposed National Students Association. The two papers experimented and expanded on parallel yet opposed tracks, taking opposing stances within similarly structured publications. Both papers added pages and began experimenting with humor and colored issues in the late forties and early fifties, but they continued to hold contradictory opinions in most campus and national debates until the early fifties. An editorial in January 1949 compared the two papers from the Chronicle’s perspective: “The Miscellany News seems to be basically an idea or way of thinking, attracting a specific kind of mind which wants the outlet the Misc can offer. The members of the Chronicle… are attracted to the Chronicle as a newspaper. The Chronicle is a medium whose fundamental nature remains the same, but whose face and focus change with the editorial boards.”
The disagreement over the merger became heated, fought through editorials and letters to the editor in both publications. The Misc. stood firm in its refusal of the merger and its claim of better financial stability, but the campus community continued to press for an end to dual newspapers. The Misc. held historical precedent as the first newspaper on campus, and the pressure for a single publication fell primarily on the Chronicle. On May 16, 1959, after a semester of angry confrontations in the editorial pages of both newspapers, the Chronicle “put aside personal feeling, in the hope that it may be an example for others to do the same kind of thing in the future. No matter what the cost, we shall have one newspaper at Vassar. Therefore, publication of the Vassar Chronicle shall terminate at the end of this term.” In its last issue, the Chronicle published a letter from Warden Elizabeth M. Drouilhet which declared that the Chronicle showed a profit in its last fiscal year – putting an end to rumors of financial insecurity. Helen Codere, professor of anthropology, also wrote to the Chronicle, thanking its staff for “the action you have taken, and for the spirit in which you have taken it.” The Chronicle staff moved to join the yearbook staff at the close of the year, and the leftover funds from the paper became a scholarship fund “which shall award $150 dollars per year to a student whose academic achievements are coupled with an interest in journalism. In this way, we are sure that our funds will work toward the betterment of Vassar.” With that, the Chronicle ended its fifteen years as the second student newspaper, and Vassar students got what they wanted: a one-paper campus.
The Vassar Miscellany News to 1969
The Vassar Chronicle. 1944–1959. Vassar College Library