The first issue of The Billboard. Notice the question mark, used as the masthead for the first two issues until students could choose a name for their newspaper.

Wilson College will be able to digitize its archived collection of print editions of its student newspaper, The Billboard, thanks to a $6,000 grant from the Council of Independent Colleges. The CIC grant was made possible by a contribution from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Digitizing issues of The Billboard will make copies of the newspaper, which dates to 1921, widely available to researchers and others from virtually anywhere, according to Amy Ensley, director of Wilson’s Hankey Center. The Hankey Center houses and manages Wilson’s C. Elizabeth Boyd ’33 Archives.

“These newspapers cover every turning point in the last 100 years through the eyes of students. They also represent nearly 100 years of women’s history,” Ensley said, referring to the fact that for most of the time period, Wilson was a women’s college. The college went coed in 2013.

Digitizing Wilson’s collection of student newspapers enhances its value as a historical record by making it searchable, which means the wealth of information contained within newspapers will be easier to tap by anyone researching a variety of topics─from gender and social issues to national and world affairs.

Once published weekly, The Billboard today is published every three weeks.

The timetable for completing the digitization project and details about how the collection will be accessed off campus will be announced in the coming months. On campus, users will be able to access the newspapers using JSTOR Forum, a software platform that allows digitized materials to be organized, accessed and shared.

Founded in 1956, the Council of Independent College is the leading national association for nonprofit, independent colleges and universities, working “to support college and university leadership; advance institutional excellence; and enhance public understanding of private higher education’s contributions to society,” according to the organization’s mission statement. More information can be found at

Published: January 16, 2019