“The Horned Frog” yearbook’s 114 years of publication mirrored the university’s history as it grew and modernized throughout the years.
“The Horned Frog” was chosen as the name for the yearbook in 1898 before it became TCU’s official mascot, yearbook adviser Kathy Hamer said. The staff wanted a title that differed from the University of Texas Longhorn, she said.
When Clark Jones, editor of “The Horned Frog” in 1989, joined the yearbook staff, he said the publication was a shadow of its former self in comparison to his mother’s university yearbook from the 1950s. He said the book was flimsy and only a few pages long.
Jones, who is now a microbiology professor at the university, said trying to bring the yearbook back to its traditional form was difficult.
The staff created the yearbook with non-Internet-based paper layouts, the darkroom in the communication building and a small computer in the attic of the former Brown-Lupton Student Union building, he said.
Jones said that without social media or the Internet, it was difficult to spread the word about getting involved in the yearbook. He said he came up with an idea to create more involvement by taking yearbook pictures during orientation.
“TCU’s campus has changed tremendously, but there is still so much history attached to this campus as well as things that haven’t changed,” Jones said.
Laura Donnelly, “The Horned Frog” editor-in-chief, said the yearbook was the means by which the university recorded its history.
Now the staff works in the basement of the University Recreation Center under Hamer’s supervision.
Jones said the amount spent per year on “The Horned Frog” in 1989 was between $5,000 and $10,000. This year, the publication of the book cost more than $60,000, Hamer said.
Hamer said “The Horned Frog” does not receive any money from the university and that all the money that goes into the creation of the yearbook was made through yearbook sales.
She said that since she came to the university in 1993, yearbook sales ranged between 1,800 to 2,300 copies annually
Each year, “The Horned Frog” staff creates a new theme for the yearbook that has an underlying meaning, Hamer said. In 2000, the theme for the yearbook was “Emerge,” which represented rising above the crowd.
Donnelly said staff members spend the most time on developing the book in the summer in preparation for its release in the fall.
She said that during the school year, she worked on the yearbook 10 to 15 hours a week, depending on deadlines.
Donnelly joined the yearbook her sophomore year as its organizations editor and immediately grew fond of the staff as she met and worked with people from all different years, she said.
Hamer said a DVD version of “The Horned Frog” became available in 2004, which was a compilation of video footage from events throughout the year. TCU was the first university to offer a DVD supplement in their yearbook, and other universities soon followed the example.
Last year, the yearbook began to feature QR codes to view specific events, such as the implosion of the west side of Amon G. Carter Stadium, Hamer said.
The now 500-page, full-color publication features different sections on student life, academics, organizations, Greeks, sports and people, Donnelly said.
“The yearbook allows you to look back on your college years and say, ‘I remember when TCU looked like that,’ or, ‘I remember when that program wasn’t there or was just starting,’” Donnelly said.
This story was corrected to show the correct uses of DVDs for the yearbook, sales and that ID photos are not used in the yearbook.