The History of Student Publications at Andover

First printed in 1857, The Phillipian is Andover’s weekly student newspaper. Alongside The Courant,” Andover’s oldest creative arts magazine, and “Pot Pourri,” the yearbook, student-run publications have witnessed and recorded Andover’s history. An examination of previous issues indicates that these student publications have evolved significantly since their respective creations, covering a wide range of content from campus news to literature, arts, and more.

During its early years, The Phillipian focused on events on campus and in the town of Andover as well as Andover’s athletics, clubs, logistics, and academics. The first publicly archived issues of The Phillipian are from 1878, each issue four pages long and featuring a few illustrations but containing no photos.

Advertisements constituted a significant portion of The Phillipian—dense pages of advertisements for furniture, watches, and boots were just some of many found in The Phillipian. Some volumes during the 1950s featured civil war-related advertisements, drawing a parallel between campus and American society.

Notable Andover alumni who wrote for The Phillipian include Seth Moulton ’97, United States Representative, Susan Chira ’76, former Assistant Managing News Editor for “The New York Times,” Gary Lee ’74, an award-winning journalist, and Christopher Hughes ’02, a co-founder of Facebook. Hughes wrote several articles for The Phillipian’s Commentary section voicing his opinion on Andover’s policies. In Vol. CXXV, No. 11 of The Phillipian, Hughes wrote in response to the 2001-2002 Blue Book’s gender justice issues, published a few days before the policy was amended by the administration.

“Though last week’s decision manifested the administration’s reason and humility, the possibility of a similar revision in later years is apparently still on the table. Such a possibility presents a threat to the Academy’s ability to provide a healthy and nurturing environment for its students in two respects: not only would such a change place those students struggling with their sexual orientation under undue stress, but it would also challenge the student-house counselor relationship and pose a virtually impossible enforcement scenario for house counselors,” wrote Hughes in his piece.

Richard Greener, Class of 1865, the second-ever Black student at Andover, was an Editor for The Phillipian. During his time at Andover, Greener also served as an Editor for “The Mirror,” the Philomathean Society’s literary publication. Graduating from Andover in 1865, Greener became the second Black person admitted to Harvard College, from which he graduated in 1870. 

In recent publications, The Phillipian’s coverage of athletics, photography, and arts expanded, reaching 16-20 pages each issue. Additionally, The Phillipian now occasionally expands coverage to issues beyond Andover.

The Courant,” Andover’s oldest creative arts magazine, was founded in 1873 by Abbot Academy students. Before the 1972 merger between Phillips Academy and Abbot Academy, The Courant”—formerly The Abbot Courant”was run independently by the Abbot Academy.

“The merger of Abbot and Phillips Academy was a bloodletting, more of a violent and very poorly conducted occasion. Abbot Academy students felt like their school suddenly just disappeared overnight and that they were forced to go into this school, where many teachers and students back then were very averse to girls joining. So a lot of Abbot’s culture was lost in that merger,” said Frank Zhou ’22, one of the current Co-Editors in Chief of The Courant.”

Almost immediately after the merger, The Courant” began to publish only sporadically from 1972 to 1992. The significance of The Courant” revealed by the merger has impacted the Andover community. In fact, The Courant” was an outlet for Abbot Academy students to heal from the trauma of the merger, according to Zhou.

Zhou hopes that The Courant” board expands the publication digitally in the future, especially given the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Throughout the past few decades,The Courant” has published not only prose and poetry but also students’ visual artworks.

“Pot Pourri,” Andover’s yearbook, is an annual publication that contains information about student and faculty members as well as student activities. The earliest publication ofPot Pourri” is in Spring 1893. Differing from recent issues of “Pot Pourri,” most visual elements were hand-drawn illustrations by Andover students. Over 140 pages of the first yearbook included approximately 30 drawings featuring activities such as orchestra, sports teams, and subject-specific cartoons.

Ahanaf Tajwar ’22 believes that “Pot Pourri” offers the opportunity for students to recollect the highlights of student life on the Andover campus throughout the past year.

“It’s nice to get a diverse look on what my peers think about the school and whatnot. There are a lot of cool photos in there, and honestly, the photos are hype, especially like the Senior Vista Walk… I feel like it covers everything,” said Tajwar.