Normal school paper online

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

An all-but-forgotten period of St. Cloud State University’s history has been resurrected through a collection of documents published on March 1 by Learning Resources & Technology Services’ University Archives.

All 93 issues of "Normalia," St. Cloud State’s first newspaper, are now publicly available online, through the Minnesota Reflections website. They provide readers a glimpse into life on campus and in St. Cloud from April 1892 to May 1904 through historical articles, photos and local business advertisements. Little information about the university has survived from this 12-year period, making "Normalia" a valuable resource for researchers and local history buffs.

St. Cloud State’s University Archives and Special Collections and the Minnesota Digital Library collaborated to digitize and publish the 1,867 pages of text and photographs. They are available and fully keyword searchable by going to and entering "Normalia" in the search box.

"Normalia" presents a snapshot of time when St. Cloud State University was a three-building State Normal School for teacher education. As advertisements in "Normalia" reflect, the Northern Pacific R.R. Dining Car Line and Pullman Sleeping Car Route were popular modes of transportation and shoes cost about as much as a bag of chips today. Student enrollment, which now tops 18,000, ranged from 226 to 357.

More journal than newspaper, "Normalia" provides a look at public education in Minnesota and the education program at St. Cloud Normal School through student and faculty writings. Stories also highlight alumni news and recap social events.

"Normalia" references campus personalities and key events in St. Cloud State’s early history, including a Feb. 5, 1898 hockey game deemed the first "ever seen in St. Cloud," in which the Alphas faced off against the Omegas, the introduction of football and basketball teams, and first-hand accounts of the Spanish-American War written by students and faculty who served with Minnesota military units.

This project was funded in part by a grant from the Minnesota Historical Society, through its Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund award, which came from the state’s Clean Water, Land and Legacy amendment fund. It was made possible by Learning Resources & Technology Services and the Minnesota Digital Library Coalition.

The St. Cloud State University Archives maintains the corporate memory of St. Cloud State by preserving and making available university records and publications of long-term value. To access archives information, visit

The Minnesota Digital Library Coalition works with organizations across the state to help them digitize their photo, map, document and sound collections. Then the Minnesota Digital Library makes those digital copies freely available through Minnesota Reflections, a constantly growing collection of more than 58,000 digital objects. To learn more, visit

For more information contact Tom Steman, St. Cloud State University archivist, at (320) 308-4753,, or Marian Rengel, Minnesota Digital Library Coalition outreach coordinator, at (320) 308-5625,

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