The Trail Goes Online!

The Collins Memorial Library of the University of Puget Sound recently announced the digitization of large portions of its student newspaper, alumni magazine, and popular university historical texts. Among the materials available online for the first time include The Trail student newspaper (from the 1890s to the present), and the Alumnus alumni magazine (from the 1930s to the 1970s). In addition, a number of historical texts written by former university presidents R. Franklin Thompson and Edward Howard Todd are also present. In coming months, early editions of the annual University of Puget Sound Bulletin course catalog will also be added. To complement these printed materials, the collection has also grown to include over 70 recently discovered short films shot on campus and in Tacoma over the past several decades.

Collins Library began fast tracking its digitization efforts of these historical collections in late 2012 as the university began preparations for its year-long 125th anniversary celebration in 2013. Collins Library Director Jane Carlin said, “These materials provide an invaluable historical record not only of the university itself, but also of the city of Tacoma, and the northwest region.” She went on to say that, “More than providing just a factual record of the university, Tacoma, and the northwest, these materials offer insight into the social, economic and cultural subtexts of their times. We think that both casual and professional researchers from a variety of disciplines will find a wealth of material from which to draw.” Said Carlin, “Browsing through this collection is like watching Mad Men, except the material is the real thing, not an artistic representation, and the time period covered is twelve decades, rather than one.”

The Trail, in continuous publication since the 1890s, offers a wealth of information not only of campus life, but of local and national news events. John Finney, retired university registrar, and a volunteer archivist, added, “During much of its early existence, The Trail circulated not only on campus, but throughout the city of Tacoma as well. This wide readership drew strong advertising support from throughout the Tacoma area, allowing the historic Trail collection to now serve as a catalog of Tacoma businesses and commerce through the decades.”

The Archives & Special Collections at the University of Puget Sound is pleased to host its second summer research fellow.  The summer fellowship is designed to promote undergraduate student research, scholarship, and creativity through the use of primary sources.  The summer 2013 Fellow is Jillian Zeidner, a double major in history and religion, will focus her research on the Puget Sound campus in the 1960s.  Using the student newspaper, The Trail, Jillian will track student reactions to national and local events.  In addition, Jillian will assist in the creation of archival lessons drawing on the collections and compile research topics from the collections for future students. She will also be blogging her work on The Trail in the Collins Unbound library blog.


Click here to view a selection of some of our favorite articles from
The online TRAIL.
The Trail: Decade Articles

Title: Exchanges
Issue: The Maroon, Vol. 1, April 1904, No. 7 (Pg. 12/24)

Title: Draftees To Have Further Questions
Issue: The Trail, 1940 – 1941, No. 3, 18 October 1940 (Front page)

Title: ‘Environmental Quality’ Evaluation
Issue: The Trail, 1969 – 1970, No. 13, 13 February 1970 (Front page)

Title: Droppin’ Rhymes
Issue: The Trail, Vol. 13, Issue 26, 26 April 1990 (Pg. 6)

A few more Trail Articles:

The Trail, 1962-1963, No. 16, 20 March 1963 (Pg. 1, 8)

As part of the university’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations, several prominent speakers commented on education and its application in the larger world. The speakers included Dr. Sterling Moss McMurrin, a former US Commissioner of Education, Henry Steele Commager, a professor at Amhurst College, and Glenn T. Seaborg, the chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission. McMurrin emphasized the importance of intellectual freedom, Commager focused on the problems facing the world and how they would be solved (or not), and Seaborg predicted a future heavily reliant upon nuclear power and communication satellites. Many of the problems about which these men spoke 40 years ago are still problems today, and Seaborg’s picture of the future was in some ways very accurate.

The Trail, Volume 11, No. 28, 21 April 1988 (Pg. 1, 6)

The centennial celebrations for the university took place under the tagline “On the Frontier of Leadership,” and The Trail did a quick look back at how far the university had come in those 100 years. The celebrations included the compilation of a time capsule that was sealed in Jones Hall, some additions to the annual Peter Puget Weekend festivities, and the sale of a Centennial souvenir publication. It is fascinating to compare the Centennial with the university’s “To the Heights” celebration of 125 years, and to both reflect on the past and look forward to the future.


The University of Puget Sound and the Collins Memorial Library welcome all visitors to enjoy these milestone collections, publicly available online at: The contents of the site can be browsed by collection, publication, and decade, and can also be searched via Google-style keyword. For additional information, please contact