In the Archives: U. of M. Too Vulgar?

"... a contraction that ... can be classed only as a mutilation."

Editor’s note: This column is offered a week before University of Michigan’s home football opener against Western Michigan University on Sept. 3 – as a public service to news outlets who are new to the UM football beat. It’s important to know how properly to shorten the university’s name. Nowadays, in most official communications the University of Michigan seems to use “U-M” as a shortened version of the full name. Here at The Chronicle, our preferred style is “UM” – we apparently don’t have a budget for extra hyphens. If we accidentally insert a hyphen, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. For heaven’s sake, though, there are alternatives that should absolutely be avoided – even people 100 years ago knew that.

Abbreviation for University of Michigan

The 1890 inaugural issue of the U. of M. Daily, later the Michigan Daily (public domain image from Wikipedia).

The University of Michigan was once disgraced with a nickname so disreputable, so slangy and vulgar, that an essay was published protesting its use. Even a newspaper in another city ran a disapproving editorial.

That nickname was “U. of M.”

In the April 1903 issue of The Michigan Alumnus, a former grad fumed against “the continued and persistent use of the compromising appellation, ‘U. of M.’” He found it coarse – unworthy of a great university.

“In the first place it is not distinctive enough, as there are several other ‘U. of M.’s,’ Maine, Minnesota, and Missouri being the most conspicuous,” he began, going on to excoriate the sloppy abbreviation.

He was not alone.

If that contributor wished to banish the term, he was several decades too late. Students had created it in the 19th century, and weren’t about to abandon it.

The oldest citations for “U. of M.” appear in student-published campus newspapers, of which there have been over a dozen through the years. In one, the April 1879 edition of The Chronicle (a student publication from that era, not The Ann Arbor Chronicle), appears an article rebutting Depauw University’s student newspaper’s critique of the Ann Arbor school.

The Asbury Monthly seems to think that the University is to be outstripped by Wisconsin, because the latter institution has secured Prof. Watson. The fact is that, while we regret much the departure of our great astronomer, the U. of M. is too great a fact, her foundations are laid too strong and deep, and there are too many great men left here in charge to allow it to be suddenly ‘outstripped’ by a young institution.

The editorial used “U. of M.” twice.

Contemporaneous local city papers avoided the term, preferring more dignified phraseology. The April 2, 1879 Ann Arbor Register reported, “To the friends of the University, irrespective of party, the vote on Regents is gratifying …” In the same issue it stated, “A proposed game of foot ball to be played in Detroit by a senior fifteen and a University fifteen, is now being talked of.”

Charles Chapman in his 1881 “History of Washtenaw County” did not deign to use the term. Years later, Samuel Beakes in his “Past and Present of Washtenaw County” mentioned it exactly twice, but only to list a student publication whose name included the undignified moniker.

Students paid no heed. In the June 1883 student paper the Argonaut, the term appears again. “It is with the utmost confidence that we assert that the Senior invitations are the most elegant ever seen at the U. of M.,” adding, “Hay-making on the campus is not a success in this weather.” [For many decades, hay was grown and harvested on what is now the Diag area]. The Argonaut survived until 1890, and numerous instances of the hated appellation pepper its pages.

An out-of-town paper noticed the term, and found it a handy space-saver for headlines. “The U. of M.—Its Approaching Semi-Centennial to be a Great Event,” reported the Detroit Free Press on June 18, 1887. “U. of M. Beaten in the Great Foot Ball Game Yesterday at Chicago,” read a November 30, 1888 Free Press headline. The Free Press still used the more formal terms in the text of its stories.

That changed around the early 1890s. A March 3, 1892 story mentioned the one-year anniversary of “the U. of M. Oratorical Association.” Meanwhile, a new campus paper took things further. Emblazoned across the inaugural September 29, 1890 issue was the masthead “U. of M. Daily” in a big, craggy font. The paper would survive to become today’s Michigan Daily.

City newspapers were holding the fort against the offending abbreviation. As an example, the January 3, 1890 Ann Arbor Argus story reported, “The Yale catalogue just published shows 1,477 students in attendance there. Yale is only about 700 students behind Michigan University …” However, later that year, cracks began to show in the foundation as the slang term crept into use. One November 6, 1890 Argus blurb said, “The [student paper] Chronicle-Argonaut is desirous of stirring up the poetic muse in the U. of M.”

A neighboring newspaper, the Ypsilantian, took a dim view of these developments. “The use of the mutilation ‘U. of M.,’ for ‘University,’ has nothing under the sun to recommend it,” reads an October 13, 1892 editorial. “It is an abbreviation that does not abbreviate, a contraction that does not contract, and can be classed only as a mutilation. In print it is scarcely shorter, and in speech it is decidedly more clumsy to utter and wanting in euphony to the ear.”

The article continued, “‘The University’ expresses to everybody here fully and exactly what is meant; and in other parts of the country where it would be necessary to say ‘University of Michigan,’ the mutilation ‘U. of M.’ would not be understood. We are surprised that it should find place in the columns of any newspaper.”

The term that offended local editors and alumni was by then so commonplace to students that it wasn’t even considered slang anymore – or so it’s suggested by a survey of UM student slang.

Students in an 1895 fall semester rhetoric course were asked to collect examples of slang they used. Over 600 terms were submitted. In the following spring semester, students voted on which terms were genuine slang and which could be crossed off the list as just ordinary words.

The resulting list of 446 slang terms and their definitions was published in three parts in the November and December, 1895 and the January, 1896 issues of the Inlander, a campus literary magazine.

“Hen-medic” was a female medical student. “Freshlet” meant a young freshman, and “moke” a fool. “Flops” denoted a saucer of ice cream and strawberries. “Squatchetery” meant “admirable, pleasing: ‘Your new gown is decidedly squatchetery.’” “Varsity” was defined as “from [the word] University.” A laggard might be called an “ice-wagon.”: “A student calls to a companion for whom he is waiting, ‘Come, don’t be an ice-wagon.’” “Lunch hooks” were teeth, and to “feed one chunks” meant to fib, as in “Do you think I believe you? You are feeding me chunks.”

The term “U. of M.” appears nowhere in the long list.


An 1897 ad for the U. of M. Toilet Parlors.

Meanwhile, townspeople were adopting the term. A Mrs. Trojanowski opened her “U. of M. Toilet Parlors” at 32 South State Street. Paul Meyer ran the “U. of M. News Depot” at 46 East Williams. It was a year after “Levy’s U. of M. Shoe Shop” opened that the alumnus magazine burst forth with its aforementioned scathing 1903 editorial.

That writer seethed against the use of the term. “But fostered as it is by the U. of M. Daily and all the ‘esteemed’ metropolitan papers of Detroit, there is small hope of betterment until an adverse sentiment is created and the students shall boycott all ‘U. of M.’ concerns and insist on the use of the name, University of Michigan, or the permissible abbreviation, Michigan, in the papers to which they subscribe.”

He wrote, “[W]ith the ‘U. of M. Barber Shop,’ the ‘U. of M. News Stand,’ the ‘U. of M. Lunch Room,’ the ‘U. of M. This,’ and ‘U. of M. That,’ the student is disgusted and chagrined to have this cheapened and unworthy title applied to his Alma Mater.”

Many businesses adopted the offending moniker.

Many businesses adopted the offending moniker.

Nonetheless, a few years later the U. of M. Restaurant joined the throng. The U. of M. Toilet Parlor, now the U. of M. Barber Shop, advertised its services as “Strictly Sanitary Shaving Parlors and 
Bath Rooms, Olive Oil, Crude Oil, and Mange Shampooing our Specialty.”

One wonders what that alum would think to see the modern ubiquity of the nickname he so despised.

Thanks to Ann Arbor historian Wystan Stevens for information about the U. of M. Daily.

Mystery Artifact

In the previous column, cmadler, Dave, TJ, and Irene all correctly guessed that the object in question was a mustache cup, which “kept the man’s mustache from getting hot liquids onto it, which would melt his mustache wax,” as Dave remarked.

Mystery Object

Mystery Object

This week, in keeping with the University theme, our Mystery Artifact is one related to a onetime campus ritual.

In this photo from an issue of the Michiganensian, you can see a student grasping this large item, but why? It’s not a tree, and ignore the letter B in the background.

What’s going on here?

Take your best guess!

Laura Bien is the author of “Tales from the Ypsilanti Archives.” Her second book, “Hidden History of Ypsilanti,” will be published this fall. Reach her at

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  1. By Laura Bien
    August 26, 2011 at 3:42 pm | permalink

    If anyone would care to peruse the fascinating three-part student slang article of 1895, here is a PDF of only those pages excerpted from the Inlander. It’s posted here. Very fun to browse through.

  2. By Wystan Stevens
    August 26, 2011 at 7:06 pm | permalink

    Isn’t that a photo of a freshman, who is climbing a tree on campus after being ordered up into the branches by a gang of mighty sophomores, in a traditional fall hazing ritual?

  3. By Laura Bien
    August 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm | permalink

    Daisy of a guess Wystan; we shall see what others think too, and sort it all out–this is no turkey raffle.

  4. By cosmonıcan
    August 26, 2011 at 8:03 pm | permalink

    Is that one of the dinosaur bones from the Natural History Museum? Is his sleeve torn off from battling prehistoric animals?

    I know of a tree in Bird Hills with hearts and initials dating back to WWI 20 or 30 feet high, maybe he was practicing to scale that. The place was a lovers lane for canoers back then.

  5. By Laura Bien
    August 26, 2011 at 8:07 pm | permalink

    cosmonican: d y w y k? But I won’t give out a pony here; I’m staying strictly on the hog train.

  6. By TJ
    August 27, 2011 at 12:50 am | permalink

    I’m thinking if rails, as in “ran him out of town on a rail.” but that doesn’t really fit with campus rituals. Some kind of greased pole to be climbed, perhaps?

  7. By Laura Bien
    August 27, 2011 at 1:02 am | permalink

    TJ: That guess is a socdolager; there’s only skinchy info in that pic after all. I’ll have to play a caged game and not talk like a man in a Christmas tree.

  8. By Matt Hampel
    August 27, 2011 at 9:00 am | permalink

    From the U-M identity guidelines: “The preferred way to refer to the University of Michigan in abbreviated form is U-M, with a hyphen. Please note that when referring in abbreviated form to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the punctuation mark is a hyphen, rather than an en-dash.”

  9. By Laura Bien
    August 27, 2011 at 12:08 pm | permalink

    Thank you for finding that, Matt–you really knocked the shingles off the grandstand!

    “Please note that when referring in abbreviated form to the University of Michigan-Dearborn, the punctuation mark is a hyphen, rather than an en-dash.”

    Hmm, that is contrary to the Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition, section 6.81, p. 333 hardback edition (“Other uses for the en dash.”) Quote: “Some universities that have more than one campus use the en dash to link the campus location to the name of the university.”

    Now I am intensely curious as to who made the decision to part ways with Chicago and insert a hyphen instead of an en-dash–and why? I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall at that discussion. Can a university dictate its own style quirks, or just in campus publications? Must others respect them? What if you have an article that lists 50 universities with remote campuses, each one with their own preference for hyphen/en dash? It could look a right mess if they’re all different.

  10. August 27, 2011 at 9:11 pm | permalink

    Speaking of typographic mysteries, what accounts for the almost complete disappearance of the em dash in the last few years? Even The Chronicle doesn’t use it, as in your sentence: “…instead of an en-dash–and why?” That last dash should have been an em dash, but you used an en dash instead. Most online news sources, including even the New York Times, use two hyphens where an em dash would have been called for. Yes, the em dash has been overused in the past, but then why replace it with a double hyphen instead of rewording to avoid it?

  11. By Laura Bien
    August 27, 2011 at 9:42 pm | permalink

    Hmm, perceptive observation, Jim. If I had to guess, it is because there is no actual em dash on my (others’?) computer keyboard, as opposed to a onetime wooden partitioned tray full of various metal bits of type, including, I presume, en dashes, em dashes, and hyphens. Looking at my Mac keyboard, there’s only one lonely key here on the upper right-hand side that offers the en dash: -. There is no em dash key, or hyphen key either, now that I look. When I type up manuscripts and need the em dash I use two en dashes. “The matter was resolved–or seemed to be.” Somehow this is converted via editor filters into an em dash. Use the same en dash key for hyphenation with e.g. compound adjectives. “He was a silly-headed duffer.” Likewise converted, this time to hyphen, by ever-patient editors. I think the reduction of en dash, em dash, and hyphen options due to computer keyboards has led to this fading of the em dash. What do you think?

    Don’t forget one of my favorites, the triple em dash! “The unnamed writer L— secretly bemoaned the demise of em dashes.” See, I have no way of indicating the triple em dashes on my computer…

  12. By Laura Bien
    August 27, 2011 at 9:47 pm | permalink

    “The matter was resolved–or seemed to be.” Interesting; I used two en dashes for this, but this paper’s WordPress filter (?) converted it into an em dash.

    “The unnamed writer L— secretly bemoaned the demise of em dashes.” Hmm, again, used just 3 en dashes here and in the unpublished comment it appeared as three separate en dashes, but WordPress converted into–what is that, a single em dash? It certainly doesn’t appear as long as the triple-ems in my Chicago Manual of Style.

  13. By Laura Bien
    August 27, 2011 at 9:53 pm | permalink

    “what is that, a single em dash?” (er, excuse me, I meant, a double em dash?) Whatever it is, it is not the same length as the old-timey triple-ems, which L— misses but revisits in 19th-century novels.

  14. By cosmonıcan
    August 27, 2011 at 10:06 pm | permalink

    re #10: In a true, classic character set, you would have the choice, in order of length, of an M-dash, an N-dash, a Dash (or I-dash), and a Hyphen. In a serif font the Dash would be the width of a capitol “I”, the same would be true of the other dashes, matching the width of the capitol “M” and “N” characters, including serifs, in their particular typefaces. So an M-dash in Bodoni would not necessarily be the same width as an M-dash in Garamond, depending on the design. Hyphens were often the same width as an I-dash, but slanted so the right side was slightly higher, so that was a fourth, and separate character, and only used for word breaks.

    The character set we are forced to used now is the result of engineers throwing out historical typographical standards, and more recently, software developers and companies having wars over Postscript vs Truetype vs whatever is the flavor that year.

    There was a time, even recently, when each font — meaning each available point size, of a particular typeface — was drawn specifically for the size at which it was to be used. So if you enlarged a letter from a 7 point font, and the same from a 9 point font, up to 6 inches high and compared them, they would have been very different, in the interest of readability — not anymore.

    Out of this mess, perhaps the art of typography will reemerge, but the classic designations are just placeholders until designers insist on new standards, just don’t bet on it. As you point out, when even what was once such a bastion of fine typography as the New York Times (which developed the Times Roman typeface to distinguish themselves with), stoops to using typewriter and secretarial standards such as double hyphens out of laziness, then there cannot be much hope for now.

    Off of my soapbox, and pardon my typo’s.

  15. By cosmonıcan
    August 27, 2011 at 10:14 pm | permalink

    By the way Laura, on a Mac, if not others, a Hyphen is the basic character, an N-dash is option-hyphen, and an M-dash is shift-option-hyphen. The Hyphen and N-dash on the computer are slightly different, but not enough for me.

  16. By DrData
    August 27, 2011 at 10:22 pm | permalink

    So, @Cosmonican, have you read?

    “Just My Type: A Book about Fonts.” [link]

  17. By Laura Bien
    August 27, 2011 at 10:28 pm | permalink

    Good Lord, man, get back on that soapbox pronto! You have some mad typographical knowledge that I am anxious to hear more of! Thank you for that fascinating comment, and if you have just a moment, please lay out more of what has changed perhaps for the worse from the old hand-set type days–as a printing mechanic’s daughter I would be riveted to learn more.

    Thank you also for the Mac info, of which I had had no idea. I didn’t know that, but appreciate the information. Now please, if you have the time, tell us more!

  18. By cosmonıcan
    August 27, 2011 at 10:40 pm | permalink

    I have to back track a bit, not all typefaces use the same characters for these dashes anymore, there has been some improvement.

    The quality, sharpness, and accuracy of graphics, both screen and printed, is much better than it was even ten or fifteen years ago. My soapbox has it’s limits, I will give the Devil his due, there is a price to pay aesthetically for these improvements, so I cannot complain too much.

  19. August 28, 2011 at 10:26 am | permalink

    Wow, this discussion has acquired a great deal of dash. Without consulting a style manual (of which I possess several), in my copyediting days I used hyphens to connect parts of compound words (the spellchecker wanted me to say copy-editing), en dashes for ranges (e.g. 1–3 or April–November) — and em dashes (without bracketing spaces)for connecting phrases within a sentence. I just used the Microsoft character set codes, alt-150 and alt-151 for the en-dash and em-dash and it appears that everything was translated into hyphens. Yet I see that a couple of comments here successfully put in em-dashes–perhaps as a WordPress translation of a double hyphen (which I just inserted)? Yes, this is a test.

  20. August 28, 2011 at 10:30 am | permalink

    Hmm, WordPress translated my double hyphen into a single hyphen, but I did get a longish dash for my alt-151 code, yet short hyphens for my alt-150 code (the ranges).

  21. By Rod Johnson
    August 28, 2011 at 1:10 pm | permalink

    Dr Data: Just to be opinionated, Just My Type looks to be OK but a little slapdash, from the excerpts I’ve seen. There are lots of books of its ilk–bits and bobs of typographic knowledge assembled from here and there to entertain “font fans.” But it seems to perpetuate the idea that typography is about “fonts,” just like the superficial, gossipy Helvetica movie did.That’s actually just a smallish piece of the big picture–typography about using type to communicate and express. As a still accessible but somewhat more sober overview, I would recommend Robert Bringhurst’s Elements of Typographic Style, or, if you’re into the micro-level of type design and typefounding, Ferd Smeijers’s Counterpunch.

  22. August 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm | permalink

    I’m not an expert on fonts, although I spent a summer setting type on a Ludlow at my aunt’s book bindery in high school. But I do know something about character coding on the web. Almost all web pages, including this one, are encoded in Unicode. Unicode has many different dashes, including figure, en, and em (‒, –, —). There are also codes that are not called dashes but look a lot like them, including the hyphen, non-breaking hyphen, minus, and hyphen-minus (what you get when you type the key in the upper right corner of your keyboard) (‐, −, -).

    How you type these depends on your keyboard and operating system. How they appear on your screen depends on your web browser and font, and I’ll leave that to Cosmo, who clearly knows more than I do about fonts. He’s absolutely right about fonts being different at different sizes. Some computer fonts (Metafont) have “hints” that say things like “make this serif smaller at bigger sizes” but that’s as far as they go.

  23. August 29, 2011 at 8:07 am | permalink

    I just looked into the triple-em dash a bit. There is no Unicode character for that, but the em dash is supposed to be rendered with no space on either side, so that several put together will appear as a single long dash. Modern fonts seem to get this wrong most of the time.

  24. By DrData
    August 29, 2011 at 9:10 am | permalink

    @Rod Johnson. Although I appreciate fonts and grammar, most of this discussion is over my head, so I appreciate your recommendations for font books. That’s what I like about libraries. You can leaf through several books and decide which one you want – often not the book you were searching for. And,the previous sentence used the wrong font to represent an em dash.

  25. By Laura Bien
    August 29, 2011 at 9:56 am | permalink

    Fascinating information. I am grateful that people who know far more than I do took the time to explain their knowledge about this subject, and like others I appreciate Rod’s book recommendation. “Elements of Typographic Style” has a sky-high Amazon rating and it appears Bringhurst is a poet as well–somehow that seems fitting for this subject. I also note that the book is available in EMU’s library, for which we have a card (it loans out books to non-students for free, wonderful and appreciated resource). Counterpunch is in the U-M library (tiny note: turns out the author’s name is Fred, not Ferd). Look forward to reading both!

  26. August 29, 2011 at 10:18 am | permalink

    For those interested in computer type wars, this Wikipedia article is a good start: [link]

    I can’t recommend any books on the subject, haven’t been looking into it for a long time, but I would suggest anyone really interested to take a class at Hollanders, where you can get some hands–on experience setting physical type.

    Lastly, I’ve got an antique cast iron book press I’d like to sell, if anyone’s interested, 12×16˝, will refresh a deck of cards or make pressed duck too!

  27. By Laura Bien
    August 29, 2011 at 11:15 am | permalink

    Cosmonican, may I trouble you to please send a pic of said book press to My ramshackle yet cherished collection of random old stuff is perpetually at the level of “one fewer item than we actually have physical space for.”

  28. August 29, 2011 at 1:54 pm | permalink

    I was going to dash off a quick note here, but thought better of it lest I be criticized for selecting the wrong dash.

    I do wonder, though, if there is some excessive sense of correct typesetting that is not warranted by the quality of the prose being typeset. it is jarring to see casual prose rendered in a way that makes them look like they were carefully printed, but without any of the copy editing, proofreading, and typesetting that once accompanied that effort. Without that, you end up with the result of making it look like you typeset the first draft.

  29. By cosmonıcan
    August 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm | permalink

    Done. Gee, maybe Mary & Dave should put in a classified section here. I’ve been meaning to post that and some other stuff on Craig’s list, but the weird responses always put me off. Folks here seem a little more civilized.

  30. By Rod Johnson
    August 29, 2011 at 4:58 pm | permalink

    Fred, Ferd, tomayto, tomahto. :)

  31. By Rod Johnson
    August 29, 2011 at 5:23 pm | permalink

    By the way, if you like metal type, Counterpunch might be of special interest. It’s about the design of a new font based on letterpress-era technology. In the old days, type was made by punching lead blanks with a counterpunch, which had a negative image of the glyph (character). So type-founding was largely a matter of making those counterpunches, which means it was almost more concerned with the negative space around the letter than the shape of the letter itself. For instance, counters (the “hole” in the middle of letters like o and d) would stick up like a post from the counterpunch (get it?), and careful attention was paid to their shape so as not to trap ink and so on. You can see the basic idea here: [photo] It’s a very different way to look at type.

  32. By Laura Bien
    August 29, 2011 at 5:27 pm | permalink

    Excuse me please for mentioning it Cosmonican, and please excuse me for cluttering up the thread, but your email did not come through (perhaps due to a large image?) You can also just email me your email address if you prefer…or just instruct me as to where to drop off the black satchel full of money at midnight…thank you! :)

  33. August 29, 2011 at 5:35 pm | permalink

    Re #28: Ed, normally you are a font of knowledge, but your type can become out of sorts. Not to press the matter but…

    Agreed about the quality of the writing. But that makes it all the more jarring when one of the few news sources where writing is still respected, like the New York Times, gets its typography wrong. I may have unfairly criticized them. I just checked and they do seem to be using the em dash correctly now in their regular stories but not in some of the other material, like the blog.

  34. August 29, 2011 at 5:37 pm | permalink

    Oops, should have used a real ellipsis instead of three dots… do as I say, not as I do.

  35. By cosmonıcan
    August 29, 2011 at 6:20 pm | permalink

    Laura: Sent again, if the first was fouled up, blame Apple—the new system software is full of bugs. If you don’t have anything yet, I have no explanation. You can try me at if need be, maybe my mail server is messed up.

    RE #28: I do agree. Best to write everything out in longhand first, it’s quicker, and you don’t get precious about it if it needs changes. Longhand forces you to proofread yourself too, when you finally do type it.

  36. By Laura Bien
    August 29, 2011 at 6:56 pm | permalink

    Ah, thank you Cosmonican; got it! I appreciate your trouble; reply anon. Agree with writing in longhand. I always do that after digesting research materials. For one, I enjoy the physical act of writing on a pad of paper with one of my treasured and carefully hoarded gel pens (80% of the beauty of a fountain pen’s line, 0% of the hassle) and for two, writing in longhand is more in line with my speed of thought, if that makes any sense. I can cross out, insert stuff, draw arrows at will. Am I the only one who imagines that I can tell when a given manuscript was initially typed, instead of written out? It has that “typed” flavor.

  37. By Laura Bien
    August 29, 2011 at 7:04 pm | permalink

    …there’s some withering quote out there by a reviewer about some book or other about how it was a “feat of typing” or the like–essentially dissing the manuscript as “just” a feat of typing; darn it, I wish my sieve-like memory could recall it. Wasn’t Kerouac’s “On the Road” typed on a giant roll of fax paper, while fueled by select stimulants? Whether that shows or not in the final product is for better writers than I to determine.

  38. By Rod Johnson
    August 30, 2011 at 10:33 am | permalink

    Truman Capote on Kerouac. “That’s not writing, that’s typing.”

  39. By Rod Johnson
    August 30, 2011 at 10:35 am | permalink

    (Which was unfair, by the way–On The Road was worked over again and again before publication.)

  40. By Laura Bien
    August 30, 2011 at 11:21 am | permalink

    That’s it!–thanks, Rod.

  41. By cosmonıcan
    August 30, 2011 at 12:03 pm | permalink

    My press can now be seen by the curious on Craig’s List, For Sale, Antiques, and Arts & Crafts. My M-dashes were automatically converted by them to double hyphens—I guess the people at Craig’s List are not the sort to extend their pinkies while drinking tea.

  42. By Laura Bien
    August 30, 2011 at 12:12 pm | permalink

    Double hyphens, bah. It’s a beauty, a real treasure. Hope it finds a good caretaker to preserve it on its ongoing long journey down through history.

  43. August 30, 2011 at 12:29 pm | permalink

    Craig’s List uses the antiquated ISO 8859-1 character set, now generally considered obsolete. There is no way to represent an em dash in this character set.

  44. By Laura Bien
    August 30, 2011 at 12:56 pm | permalink

    Now that’s a pity. Seems like the poor beleaguered em dash has fallen from its heyday a century or so ago to become an endangered species these days. It does have its foes; viz., this Slate article: “Em dashes–why writers should use them more sparingly”: [link]

  45. By Rod Johnson
    August 31, 2011 at 11:33 am | permalink

    Given the turn this discussion has taken, I feel as if I have to post this: [link]

    Kyle Durrie, with some Kickstarter help, has put his letterpress in a van and is driving around the country giving demos and printing things for people. The Tour is coming through Kalamazoo, Flint and Detroit in two weeks (but mysteriously not Ann Arbor–I can’t believe Englander’s isn’t on this). If you’re interested in type, this could be a really fun thing to take in.

  46. By Marvin Face
    August 31, 2011 at 9:18 pm | permalink

    Did you mean Hollander’s? Englander’s was the furniture store on State, as I recall.

  47. By Rod Johnson
    September 1, 2011 at 1:10 am | permalink

    Yeah, Hollander’s, duh. That’s a strange thing to dredge up from my subconscious.

  48. By Dave
    September 3, 2011 at 3:44 pm | permalink

    Laura, Could the mystery photo be of “Banner Day”?
    In the 1890′s the class rivalries found expression in the “banner scrap.” In fall, several weeks after the opening of college, on a designated Friday, the freshmen would gather about the flagpole to defend their banner against the sophomore class. The struggle lasted until the sophomores captured the freshman banner or until such time as the freshmen had been able to defend it for at least thirty minutes. After the contest, both classes continued to indulge their competitive zest, largely in an attempt to force members of the other class up trees.

  49. By Laura Bien
    September 3, 2011 at 3:49 pm | permalink

    Interesting idea Dave…..strangely enough next column deals with a ritual very similar to the one you describe… :)

  50. By cosmonıcan
    September 21, 2011 at 7:23 pm | permalink

    A new resource for people who want to see old printing processes. Not open yet, but here’s a vid from channel 7: [link]