Now students can go online to experience the university’s rich past.
87 volumes of The Horned Frog are now available in a digital repository, thanks to the special collections department of the Mary Couts Burnett Library. The digital repository includes yearbooks from 1905 to 1999.
Special collections senior archivist Mary Saffell said the project had been underway for a while, but the actual process took about three months.
When choosing the vendor, Saffell looked to Lyracis Digital Collaborative, a company that had recently digitized her own college yearbook.
“I thought they did such a great job with mine, so I wanted that for TCU too,” Saffell said.
Saffell said they selected the volumes that best represented the given year, but some were too fragile to send.
“The really early volumes, like the very first from 1897, will be scanned in-house at a later date,” said Saffell, “And as of right now, we’re just focused on the 20th century.”
When looking through the collection, Saffell also encouraged students to notice the unique hairstyles, artwork and inside jokes found in each decade.
“Really early on, TCU had dress codes for the students, so it’s interesting to see how the students of today have changed in appearance,” said Saffell, “During the 1930s and 40s, some of the photos of students even look like glamorous, movie star portraits.”
She also pointed out that students aren’t the only parts of TCU that have changed over time.
“When flipping through, it’s neat to see the buildings, what kinds of organizations were on campus, and what athletics were available to the students,” said Saffell, “At one point, the Brite Divinity School was in the center of campus, so you can see jokes like ‘Repent ye’ drawn on the front of the building.”
Saffell said the collection is not just for current students.
“I think it’s also great for alumni, and I encourage them to look up the year they went to school,” Saffell said, “But together, I think it’s great for the current students to connect them with TCU’s past and the legacy they’re a part of.”
Mallory Burkett, a TCU alumna and the current student affairs publications coordinator for The Horned Frog, said that the digitization of the yearbooks is a great way to share the publication more prolifically.
“I think it’s a wonderful way to access the history of our school quickly,” said Burkett, “That being said, I don’t think a physical book is going to be replaced by a fully digital book any time soon. There is something to be said about being able to pick up a book and reminisce.”