The History of The Monocle

By Mary E. Goetz

Pictured above are pages from the 1935, 1972, 1989, 1996 and 2010 yearbooks, respectively. Photo credit: Mary Goetz

The Monocle, Buffalo Seminary’s newspaper since 1935, is making a comeback. 

The newspaper was first recognized in the 1935 Seminaria, SEM’s yearbook, as the annual publication’s “younger sister.” The new publication covered the smaller stories in between yearbooks that fell victim to the Seminaria’s overflow. At this time, the Seminaria also noted that “its editors have done a thoroughly creditable job in producing an adequate, interesting, and well-planned paper.” 

As of 1941, The Monocle consisted of news, comments on school life and illustrations. Throughout the next year, the newspaper sped up their publications providing a balance between thoughtful articles and humor. The 1943 issues tackled the War Effort in investigating measures taken by schools concerning World War II. 

With the new use of the mimeograph, a copy printer that uses stencils, The Monocle could print a remarkable amount of copies in 1952. The 1953 issue featured a “Literary Page” that included stories, poems, and essays. There was also an “Extras” section in which reports on events could be released on the day that they occurred. 

The Monocle was professionally printed for the first time in 1954, with issues coming out four times a year: Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, and Class Day.

The Monocle continued to grow in staff and publications, and in 1972 The Spectacle made its first appearance. 

The Spectacle was a more literary publication as opposed to The Monocle, publishing poems and short stories rather than articles and cartoons.

Carrie Brown Wick, a SEM alumna from the class of 1976, says that because of SEM’s size, “there just weren’t that many people to run that many things,” and therefore The Spectacle and Monocle were not competitors. 

Wick remembers her time at The Monocle to be informal and “not terribly organized.” Harry Schooley, a well-renowned figure and long time teacher at SEM, also noted that after the newspaper became printed by professionally an outside company in 1954, its publications were “simply photo-printing of typed articles and photos, just as enjoyable but not as professional looking as the earlier publications.” 

Wick also recalls “typing out articles to fit in long skinny columns, and literally cutting and pasting the columns of text to fit the pages.”

The 1981 Monocle included brief descriptions about events that transpired during the 1981 school year, college plans for the senior class, a middle page of pictures and a brief article about three teachers leaving the school. 

The Monocle maintained its status until 1987, when The Scarlet Herald took its place, but only for a year. 

For close to a decade, SEM had no recognized publications until the “Sem Spotlight” began in 1996. In 2010, the “Sem Spotlight” was replaced with “Meant 2 Be Red,” an online publication. The Monocle made a two-year-comeback from 2010-2011 and “Meant 2 Be Red” remained until 2014. 

Since then, there have been only faculty-run news publications including the SEM Portal, SEM Weekly, and the Seminary’s Instagram.

The 1935 Seminaria correctly perceived, in its earliest year, that The Monocle would  “stand on its own feet, and occupy an important place in the future life of the Seminary.” The editors have been proven to be correct, with its resurgence throughout SEM’s history. 


The Monocle has once again returned in 2021 with a website and print publication each trimester.

Mary E. Goetz
Mary E. Goetz

Mary is a freshman at SEM. Some of her interests include journalism, rom-coms, and music. Her favorite part about SEM is the freedom and sense of community. 

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