Begin at the Beginning

“ As this, the first issue of the Caltech Alumni Review goes to press we feel like the
frosh who has just purchased a bright new beanie and is trying it on in front of
his mirror. Admiring his reflection he is happy at the thought that he is now old
enough to be a college man and proud of his new colors—when the terrible thought
occurs to him that as soon as he steps from the privacy of his room he will be
laughed at, criticised, and paddled by the sophs, ignored by the upperclassmen.”

So began the “Foreword” of the enterprise that begat the E&S magazine in your hands—or on your computer screen or tablet or smart phone. Edited by Albert W. Atwood Jr., BS ‘32, and published by the Alumni Association of the California Institute of Technology, the very first issue of the Institute’s very first magazine—published in June of 1937—was not that very different from the E&S of today.

origins.coverIt began with a message from the then president of the Alumni Association, H. Fred Peterson, BS ‘27: “A forward step being watched with great interest is the publication of this first copy of the Alumni Review. The Board of Directors of the Association have decided to dispense with the California Tech as a medium for Alumni news and expect to publish a magazine, this being the initial and experimental issue.”

The issue also included a note about its cover, which was created “by Harold Graham, ex ’24, who has left the ranks of pure science and engineering to achieve note in the field of industrial design. . . All thanks to a busy Tech man who has wholeheartedly cooperated in making this first issue artistically successful.”

In September 1943, the Caltech Alumni Review became Engineering and Science Monthly, kicking off with a note from its editor in chief, Donald S. Clark. “With this issue for September, 1943, we present Engineering and Science Monthly, which takes the place of the Alumni Review,” he wrote. “Engineering and Science Monthly has the endorsement of the California Institute of Technology, as well as the Alumni Association, and will endeavor to reflect all current development in the fields of engineering and science.” He then added, “We plan that each issue of Engineering and Science will be a well-balanced expression of the theoretical and the practical.”

In that same issue, Robert Millikan himself declared that, “With the inauguration of this magazine . . . a new means has been provided for the dissemination of information on the technical work of Institute graduates in the general field of engineering and science.” In mid-1967, Engineering and Science disappeared for a few months, presumably while it underwent a redesign. When it reappeared in October of that year, it carried the first-ever E&S logo on its front cover and, in its interior, a continued focus on the Institute’s science (that done by its faculty as well as that done by its graduates), its students and alumni, and the campus itself. It was, of course, not even close to the last time the magazine would evolve in look and tone and focus, but it was the last of the name changes and thus—in many ways—the end of E&S’s beginning.

–Written by Lori Oliwenstein

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