Looking into the Legacy
The history of ‘Southern publications began before Birmingham-Southern College was even founded. Established in 1907 as Pegasus, the yearbook publication we now know as Southern Accent has a rich and versatile history.
Dr. Hagen, an English faculty member, Director of the Harrison Honors Program, and Associate Provost noted, “The format and content changes through the years have been largely dependent on who is editor.”
Pegasus included pages of class roll call, songs, officers, prayers, poems, comedy, editors, literary features, and advertisements. The interesting aspect of these early yearbook publications is that there are very few pictures and many stories and anecdotes about the college and its students and faculty.
Pegasus changed to Southron when Southern University was founded in 1914. This publication also contained club and organizational pictures, including newly founded fraternities. The Southron was soon split into more easily defined sections, depicting university activities and class photos.
Southron changed to Revue in 1919, adding facts about the history and attributes of Birmingham-Southern College. The Revue briefly changed to Gold and Black in 1921, and changed again to La Revue in 1922. A plethora of popular sections was added to the yearbook, including: Cosmos, Recreation Activities, Crosswords, Cartoons, Sororities, Action Snapshots, Who’s Who, Panhellenic, and the Hall of Shame, which was a section dedicated to humorous awards such as biggest bluff or most sedate. Pictures of BSC’s campus as it changed through the years were first featured in La Revue, as were dedications explaining the namesake of buildings such as Munger, Stockholm, Stephens Science Center, and the Planetarium.
La Revue was renamed Southern Accent in 1942. Around this time, the Miss Southern Accent pageant was founded along with a Beauties section in the yearbook. Then, in the 1970s, more pictures were added in color, and slowly the paragraphs of text faded away as Southern Accent developed.
The student newspaper is the second oldest ‘Southern publication and was founded in 1916 as Birmingham-College Reporter. The student newspaper’s name was changed to Gold and Black from 1919-1938 and was altered to traditional columns and novel columns.
Hilltop News was established in 1939 and was a staple at ‘Southern until 2014 when the name was changed to Bagheera. Hilltop News expanded to include more practical news and opinion sections such as Polls, Politics, Issues within the College, and Opportunities for Internships, Fellowships, and Jobs. At the time of the name change, Hilltop News was still an old-fashioned newspaper, but gradually the publication developed into the more magazine-like publication we see today.
“30 years ago, the editors of Hilltop News engaged in investigatory writing; they set out to find why [the school] did something,” Dr. Hagen said.
The Southern Academic Review (SAR) was founded in 1987 and contained long essay-formatted research pieces submitted by students. In 2011, SAR was briefly out of commission until 2014 when Dr. Hagen and her recruited Harrison Honors Scholars brought it back.
The literary magazine known as The Quad was founded in 1940. This publication published short stories, poems, art, and photography from students.
Dr. Hagen explained, “The Quad was developed because there was a need for a creative outlet that other publications such as the Southern Academic Review did not provide.”
The Compass, a leadership publication published through the Hess Center, was founded in 1999 and publishes essays chronicling leadership experiences written by students.
The Gloria, named after beloved art patron Gloria Spruill ’58, is the newest edition to publications here on the Hilltop. Gloria is the visual and performing arts magazine of Birmingham-Southern College. Featuring season previews for art, theatre, and music student performances, classes, and Jan-term experiences, this exciting new publication helps to bring the arts events of students, faculty, and alumni to the entire Hilltop family.
Feature photo via BSC Archives.