ALTHOUGH not properly a literary magazine, the first student venture into the field of literary composition was the "Sibyl" of the Alpha Nu society, one of the early campus organizations. Handwritten because there were no available means of duplication and no necessity for it, the "Sibyl" was read aloud at the meetings of Alpha Nu. It contained poems and essays written by the members of the club. So far as can be ascertained from the University records, it lasted from May 24, 1844, until November 2, 1866.
During the year 1861 a literary magazine was edited by a board consisting of four editors, two from each of the two societies, Adelphi and Alpha Nu, the leading campus literary groups, which was called the University Quarterly.
The first number of The Michigan University Magazine appeared in June, 1867. A pamphlet of some forty-four pages, it was published monthly as an expression of student thought. While it lasted it was one of the best college reviews in the country. In order to avoid the factionalism marring most of the college publications then in existence, the board of editors of the magazine was equally divided between fraternity men and independents, chosen from the junior class on the Saturday before Class Day. It was merged in The Chronicle in 1869.
The next publication to set itself up frankly as a literary magazine was The Inlander, which was first published in the fall of 1890 by the seniors of the class of 1891 at the beginning of their senior year. In the first issue, the editors of The Inlander stated: "The Inlander, accordingly, Page 1912will make its sole and only end the bringing forth results of literary ability of a high order, and the fostering and encouragement of talent…" Having set themselves a high goal, the successive editors of The Inlander proceeded to live up to it remarkably well, and many works of merit were published in it before it finally succumbed from lack of support in 1907. During this incarnation The Inlander was published monthly. In 1903 control of The Inlander was put in the hands of the Quadrangle Club with faculty representation on the staff, and in 1905 it was made a biweekly Sunday supplement to The Daily.
Five years after the death of The Inlander the first number of a new campus literary magazine appeared, called The Painted Window. Taking its name from a poem printed as a prelude to the first number, The Painted Window carried on the cover of its too few issues a drawing of a Gothic stained glass cathedral window. In addition to poems, essays, and short stories, each issue carried a reproduction in black and white of some work of art. Edgar Ansel Mowrer, then of the Chicago News Bureau in Paris, was the business manager of the little monthly. The Painted Window was first published in March, 1912, and the last issue is dated March, 1913. In 1916 The Inlander was revived, subsidized by the Board in Control of Student Publications, but was discontinued again in 1918.
In the second semester of the college year 1920-21, a mimeographed paper entitled Whimsies made its bow on the campus. In an introductory essay headed "The Why of Whimsies" the editors explained that they would like their magazine to be to the campus what the Atlantic Monthly was to the country at large: "Whimsies makes no attempt to assume literary high-priesthood, or to pose as a defender of literature against barbarism." After the first few issues the magazine was printed and assumed a cover. In his report of the Board in Control of Student Publications for 1921, Professor Scott said of it: "Obviously, however, so spontaneous and unpretentious a magazine, especially when it is also of so high a grade of literary excellence, deserves to be encouraged." The editors included Yuki Osawa, Stella Brunt (Osborn), Dorothy Greenwald, and Halsey Davidson.
In 1924 the name of the magazine was changed to The Inlander, thus becoming the third incarnation of that Michigan tradition, although its tone continued to be that of the magazine of the early 1920's which it had succeeded, rather than that of the more ambitious magazine which first carried the Inlander name. In 1930 this latest attempt to revive The Inlander failed. Included in the last few issues of the magazine were reproductions of works of art.
Contemporary was the name of the next literary magazine to be published on the campus. It was authorized by the Board in Control in May, 1935, and publication was started the following fall. It lasted for only two years.
Campus, the first summer-session magzine began and ended in 1938. It contained short stories, cartoons, and photographs. A year later Perspectives made a short-lived appearance as a literary magazine.
The most recent student literary magazine is Generation. It is dedicated to the arts. Music, literature, drawing, and photography are presented and analyzed in its three issues a year.