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Texas Cooking Main > Texana > Texana Book Reviews
100 Years of The Daily Texan

The Daily Texan - The First 100 Years

by , Eakin Press

Original Book Review by

As every University of Texas student and alumnus knows, the Daily Texan is the campus's student newspaper, readily available every day, including weekends. Since UT has not been immune from campus political movements, neither has the Daily Texan. To sample, the paper has recorded major news, both world wars, the assassination of President Kennedy, the UT tower massacre of 1966, and apartheid in South Africa.

Austin's Eakin Press brings us the interesting history of the University of Texas's student paper in its book The Daily Texan: The First 100 Years. The slim, hardcover volume is a photo-filled history of the century as it relates to the University of Texas printed by the Daily Texan. The book's authors, Tara Copp and Robert L Rogers were editors of the paper in 1996-1997 and 1995-1996 respectfully.

Copp and Rogers have produced a large, orange book (naturally) that any UT alumnus, student, or Texas History fan would enjoy. The book is fascinating on a number of levels. As a chronicle of events and people, it serves as a yearbook. With its many photos and reprinted articles and anecdotes, it serves a book on Texas history.

Smoke Rises From Gunfire on the UT Tower
The Daily Texan paper began as weekly publication in the Fall semester of 1900. The book is divided so that Rogers writes about the paper's first 50 years, and Copp covers the second half of the century.

The chapters are organized by decade. Rogers' work is a little more dry. Most of the editors from 1900-1950 are no longer around, and a lot of it is the result of impressive research, rather then from interviews. However Rogers points out many imortant events, like the campus and newspaper's attitudes towards both world wars, and their attitude towards race.

The result is a unique snapshot of life in the 1920s during Prohibition. One story arc describes how the role of women increased in what was a male-dominated school.

Most notably, Rogers details how first amendment rights have evolved over the century. In 1908, editor William A. Philpott wrote that he was "cramped" in expressing his opinion by the school administration. The book also shows how the university repeatedly moved to censor editorials and news articles. At one point, staffers ran blank space with the headline "This editorial withheld."

The 40 Acres in the Sixties

In the 1960's we learn about integration of dormitories and classes, and the civil rights movement. The book gives note to on of UT's famous events - On August 1, 1966 Charles Whitman shot over a dozen students from the top of the UT tower. The national press descended upon Austin, and the Daily Texan published a number of top-notch articles and photographs.

In the 1970's the book chronicles the colorful shots between UT Regent President Frank Erwin and the Daily Texan. At the time, Erwin moved to terminate some of the paper's editorial freedoms. In fact the cover of the book contains Erwin's quote "We do not fund anything that we don't control," (Mar. 16, 1972) referring to the student paper.

The 1980's and 1990's are presented in two chapters. In the 1980's, editor Mark McKinnon went to jail for refusing to hand over photographs of Iranian student protesters to UT police. (McKinnon went on to be a top-circle advisor to President George W Bush's 2000 Presidential campaign)

I immediately flipped to the pages about "my era" as a U.T. student in the late 1980s to see what the writers had to say. Arguably the book could have included lots more facts and history, but the book was surely a tremendous undertaking and by itself is very interesting. Anyone with an interest in the history of the University of Texas, or life as a student at the institution over the past 100 years, the book this is an informative series of snapshots and insight.

Daily Texan front page November, 1963
Daily Texan Front Page from November, 1963

The Daily Texan - The First 100 Years
147 pages
Eakin Press (September 1, 1999)
Purchase Book on Amazon.Com
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