History of the Hatchet

For 89 years, students at Washington University produced a yearbook called “The Hatchet.”

Below is an excerpt from a February 1998 Student Life article about why there were no yearbooks in the early 1990s, and student’s determination to bring the yearbook back:

Efforts are underway to organize a Washington University yearbook for the 1998-99 school year. Since September, students have been meeting regularly to bring back the annual publication. According to WU Archivist Carole Prietto, WU published a yearbook from 1903 until 1992, when problems arose due to a lack of student interest.

“My sense is that the yearbook has been lagging since the 1970s,” Prietto said.

According to Prietto, there was no yearbook produced for the 1981-82 school year. The ’90 yearbook was a year late due to a massive disk failure, and the ’92 yearbook was not released until ’94.

Last year, sophomores Dan Sucherman and Bryan Pendleton decided to put together a “memory book” for their floor to record their freshman experiences. From those modest beginnings, the ambitious goal of bringing back the WU yearbook arose.

“Wash U has gone six years without a yearbook, and I would like to change that,” Sucherman said.

To learn more about the origins of the name “Hatchet”, see https://library.wustl.edu/georges-hatchet/

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A word about producing the yearbook in 1965

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Students who worked on the 1998-99 Hatchet yearbook

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A look behind the scenes of publishing the 1965 yearbook

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Computer technology meets yearbook, 1999.

About the author

Miranda Rectenwald is Curator of Local History, Washington University Special Collections. More info.