Written by on January 28, 2015

Mustang Daily Digitization Project

Special Collections and Archives is digitizing Cal Poly’s student newspaper collection. The collection includes of all of Cal Poly’s student newspapers, beginning with the first weekly student publication, The Polygram, in 1916. We’ve named the endeavor “The Mustang Daily Digitization Project,” in recognition of the longest-running masthead of the student newspaper, the Mustang Daily (1967-2013).*

Front page of The Polygram, January 16, 1918

Front page of The Polygram, January 16, 1918

The first edition of the Mustang Daily was published in 1967, eventually averaging approximately 140 issues per year. We estimate that we will be processing over 6,160 issues of the student newspaper in order to complete our task. So far the collection is digitized through August 1985, and we expect to finish digitizing the collection by the end of Spring Quarter.


Homecoming makes the front page of the El Mustang, October 22, 1957.

If you are interested in contributing to the digitization and processing of this project, contact Special Collections and Archives, located on the fourth floor of the Kennedy Library. Also, feel free to check out information regarding the collection of student newspapers here: http://lib.calpoly.edu/find-and-borrow/collections-and-archives/university-archives/collections/newspapers/

Utilizing the Collection

The Special Collections and Archives department houses a multitude of primary sources for research purposes, but none of our collections capture the student voice of Cal Poly as well as the student newspaper collection.

Articles in the newspaper provide us with first-hand perspectives of people throughout Cal Poly’s development, including during historically-significant time periods. For example, if you were researching the draft during the Vietnam War and wanted the perspective of a person eligible for the draft you could access Mustang Daily issues from that era to find.

I came across a July 2, 1969 issue that contains an article with the headline: “Avoiding the draft not always taboo.” This article expresses the beliefs of a 22-year old student who considered the draft to be “repulsive” and couldn’t envision being in a position in which someone could order him to do something that he considered to be unethical. He subsequently filed for Conscientious Objector status, a position that afforded him noncombatant military service and allowed him to serve his two year military obligation working in a hospital, as a janitor.

Busy news day: Duke Ellington, a new Administration Building, and the clock tower are all featured on the front page of the El Mustang, Nov. 9, 1962.

Busy news day: Duke Ellington, a new Administration Building, and the clock tower are all featured on the front page of the El Mustang, Nov. 9, 1962.

Articles like this are the tip of the iceberg in regards to the potential for utilizing the resources provided by the massive amount of information found within the student newspapers collection. Soon The Mustang Daily Digitization Project will begin providing online access to the collection during the Winter 2015 quarter and the extensive information within its collection will be easily accessible for all. See the full collection now accessible on Digital Commons.

* Chronology of Cal Poly’s student newspaper:

1916 – 1932: The Polygram

1938-1942: El Mustang

1942-1948: Mustang Roundup (available on Digital Commons)

1945 – 1967: El Mustang

1967 – 2013: Mustang Daily

2013 – present: Mustang News


The school mourns the death of President Kennedy, Nov. 26, 1963.


Read more on Mustang Daily Digitization Project.