80-years of Trumpet voices and reporting shows significant change between then and now

As The Trumpet continues to celebrate our centennial, this week we are going back in time to the year 1941 – exactly 80 years ago.

Between 1921 and 1941, The Trumpet saw many changes including a significant one to its name. The first issue of 1941 has the student run newspaper named “The Trumpet” rather than “The Normal Trumpet”. In March 1941, the volume 24, issue six publication reported The Trumpet was “Published once monthly during October, November, December, January, February, March, April, May, and July at West Liberty, West Virginia [W. Va.] by West Liberty State Teachers College” (page 2 of 4).

Other changes between 1921 and 1941 include the addition of pictures, each page represented hard news, sports, and culture related stories and the number of pages within each given newspaper went from six pages long to four pages long. The library currently has the January, February, March, April, May, July, November, and December issues of 1941Trumpet publications archived, which means the October issue from 1941 is missing from the archives. As stated in last week’s throwback article, some volumes and issues of The Trumpet have been lost and unarchived due to unknown causes.

Exactly 80 years ago from this month, March 1941, student reporters placed hard news stories on page one, Trumpet staff and “In Short” summaries of important information on page 2, sport reports on page 3, and feature stories on page four.

Starting off with page one, The Dramatics Club sponsored a major three act play production called “Outward Bound” and was presented on March 3, 1941 in the Fort Steuben Hotel. Important to mention, 1941 was the year the second world war began, and even though the U.S. did not officially enter the war until December, training courses for various branches of the military were happening all throughout the United States. Trumpet student reporters covered a story regarding West Liberty civilian pilot training programs in an article titled “Second Pilot Training Course Gets Underway”. Continually, first semester Honor Roll students were listed on page one with their accumulative GPA to the right of their names. In this particular issue, reports of President Elbin being honored for his professional work by an “Ad-Chat” award for “outstanding service to the community in 1940”. Interestingly enough, students also reported in this issue of three former students announcing their marriage.

Page 3 was home to the sports reports of West Liberty’s men’s and women’s teams, and Hilltopper sports in March of 1941 were just beginning their seasons for some sports and concluding seasons for others. Baseball was preparing to “take over the hilltop sports scene” with reports of practices beginning within the month. West Liberty’s “court quintet copped up three wins” the month previously, and two home victories over Fairmont and Shepard state concluded the hilltoppers regular “court season”.

Page four concluded the March 1941 Trumpet with feature stories about sororities, students practicing teaching, student council buying a dance machine for “dorm” and even a list of movies and plays that were being played at the local theatre with prospective dates to the left.

West Liberty’s head of learning resources, Katy Zane, began the process of converting each Trumpet issue Elbin Library had on file to high-definition PDFs that are available anytime and anywhere. Viewable PDFs of old newspapers were originally available via two Google Drives; however, Zane now has every archived issue of The Trumpet uploaded to the new cloud encrypted storage website MEGA. The new home to the archives is organized into folders by years, similar to the Google Drives. To view the new site, please visit this link.

In August 2020, The Trumpet underwent a media convergence process and has switched to a completely digital publishing platform. To view certain issues of past Trumpets and all the newest ones, please visit issuu.com/thetrumpetwlu. Celebratory plans for the newspaper’s centennial include production of a documentary and a coffee table book.

For more information regarding the history of The Trumpet, how to join the current staff or general questions, please email Annalise Murphy at [email protected].