The Onion

The Onion

During the early twentieth century, hazing was on the rise on many American college campuses. Dickinson College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania was no exception to this increase, with its main concentration founded in an organization called The Sophomore Band. The Sophomore Band had its own publication entitled The Onion, which was published sporadically from about 1907 to 1911. A copy of the newspaper could be purchased for five cents from the U.S. Lease's News Depot on West Main Street in Carlisle.

The first issue of The Onion stated, "We print ALL THE NEWS, fit or unfit, with preference to the latter." This publication also claimed to be "Published in Hell, under the direct supervision of the Devil." The editors of the paper, members of the Sophomore Band, were attempting to improve and make for a better Dickinson College.

The Onion included articles such as local and campus news, book reviews and literary sections, athletic news, law school briefs, jokes, etc. The main objective of the paper was to report on freshmen who were breaking underclassmen rules and threatening the Sophomore Band. Attacks by upperclassmen on freshmen were also printed for readers to see. The Onion was also a means to complain about anything and everything. Many articles were printed with complaints about President George Reed, whom students referred to as "Dockie." There were also complaints about the Student Assembly and the lack of proper facilities on campus. Many articles were just printed gossip, informing readers of what certain people were doing to amuse themselves.

The administration, faculty, and many organizations did not agree with many of the articles in The Onion. The establishment of the Student Assembly in 1908 helped to alleviate the tension between the freshmen and the upperclasses, and incidents of hazing began to decline. The need for the existence of the Sophomore Band also began to decline, and in 1911 the last issue of The Onion appeared and the periodical faded from existence on campus.

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Dickinson College Archives
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