The Round-Up Digitization Project


Less than two years after the establishment of the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts in 1889, the members of its Columbian Literary Society created THE NEW MEXICO COLLEGIAN under the editorship of school librarian, registrar, and stenography instructor, Francis E. Lester. Published monthly in quarto format, the paper functioned as an illustrated literary journal and news magazine. It featured articles, commentaries, creative works, and editorials from the Society staff, the president of the college, and members of the faculty. The last issue of the school year became the commencement issue and featured photographs, reprints of theses, and reportage on the graduating class and the events surrounding the occasion.

In 1902 to revive flagging interest in The Collegian, the staff elected to change to a smaller, denser octavo format which it used for the next four years. It was, however, the Stenographers’ Association also headed by Lester that experimented with the production of a true journalistic newspaper. Originally called The College Weekly, it merged in 1906/07 with the The Collegian under the new name, The Round-Up. Fully managed by a staff elected by the student body, the newspaper appeared weekly in large four-page issues throughout the school year with a monthly eight page issue that included works “of a literary character.” Dedicated to producing a newspaper that met high journalistic standards, the staff elected to have the paper professionally printed in Albuquerque. Another innovation the editors pursued was to give every student in the school an opportunity to contribute to the production of the paper. Responsibility for writing and editing rotated through the departments, a practice that soon became too unwieldy to continue but was an effective recruiting tool for young journalists. Of more lasting importance, the Board of Regents recognized The Round-Up as the official organ of the College and made sure the newspaper received authorized reports of all important matters pertaining to the administration of the institution—one of the largest and most important in New Mexico. Eventually, news of local and regional interest made its way into the paper as well and expanded its influence throughout the Territory and, later, the State.

Throughout the next century, The Round-Up continued to reflect not only the college life of which it was a part but also the growth and development of Southern New Mexico and the interests of its citizens. Today that inclusiveness makes The Round-Up a significant resource for the study of late Territorial and twentieth century New Mexico history.