A WWII Mobilization in The Tale of The Ticker

Baruch College archivist Professor Sandra Roff reports on the war efforts of a venerable CUNY student newspaper.

Eagle collage from the 1943 volume of Baruch's college yearbook.

Collegiate newspapers in the United States have always functioned as an outlet for student opinions and as a vehicle to inform the college community of activities on campus. The journalistic history of Baruch College goes back considerably farther—back to the 1850s, when 17 Lexington Avenue was the original Free Academy.

In 1866 the Free Academy became the College of the City of New York, then became in 1919 the School of Business and Civic Administration. Its name changed once more, in 1953, when it became the Bernard M. Baruch School of Business and Public Administration.
It was the students of the City College School of Business who, on May 7, 1932, launched their own newspaper, called The Ticker, and 70 years later it is still being published at Baruch College. From its inception it has focused on political, economic and social issues that were important to students and faculty, providing a contemporary reader with insight into life at 23rd Street for nearly three quarters of a century.

From 1942 until 1945, the School of Business—like all the municipal campuses—was committed to the war effort and the support of students, alumni and faculty in the military, and a look at issues of The Ticker that appeared during World War II presents a remarkable picture of student activities, opinions, and responses to the war.

One month after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the announcement of “War Courses” and an article on the formation of a Coordinating Committee for Intercollegiate Defense appeared in The Ticker, and by January 12, 1942, a full war program was outlined. This including “an honor roll of City College men in the armed forces, planning of social affairs for the defense forces, and planning defense rallies.” It was announced two months later that the College would offer its facilities to troops stationed nearby and provide them with courses as well as books.

In the April 13 Ticker a letter thanking the College appeared from Lieutenant Lloyd A. Parker, Adjutant of the 372nd Infantry: “It is desired to take this means of expressing the thanks and gratitude of the soldiers of the Second Battalion, 372nd Infantry for the thoughtful and splendid gesture on your part.

The City College ROTC, was the largest in the nation.
I refer to the generous donation of 339 books and 379 periodicals which were received by this headquarters on Wednesday, April, 1942.”

This cooperation between the College and the armed forces was duly noted when the October 26 issue cited the program as the “only one of its kind in the country.”

Women at the downtown campus quickly became involved in the war effort. On February 23, 1942 an article announced “Girls to Correspond with Service Men,” and on March 16th the Girls’ Club pledged to maintain a plaque with the names of men serving in the armed forces. And at least one victory for women students appears to have come as a result of the war: on December 14, a Ticker headline revealed, “Requirements Equalized for Girl Students.”

“Due to the shortage of male high-school graduates able to attend college,” the story reported, “women students will be admitted on the same basis as men in the Spring Term, Administrator Herbert Ruckes announced Friday.” According to this same issue, a women’s preparatory course for the armed forces was formed on campus, the first of its kind in the country.

The second year of battle began with continuing war-related activities in the College — drives for the Red Cross, the collection of books for the Armed Forces, a blood drive, and a war bond drive. A notable innovation was a farm labor recruitment drive. “Desperate need for farm labor prompted the Council to sponsor enrollment of students for work on the nation’s farms during the coming summer,” said The Ticker on February 22, 1943.

It was during World War II that the Ticker became international in circulation. Also on February 22, a “Letter to the Editor” stated: “We, at the School of Business are particularly eager to keep contact with our students in the armed forces. The Ticker, which is the most complete and uncolored reflection of current activities at the school, is being mailed to all former School of Business students in the armed forces.” It was also announced that a newsletter was going to be mailed to soldiers along with the Ticker. “Every day the mail boxes of City’s organizations are jammed with mail from soldiers who only a few months ago were enjoying our activities, dances, shows and all-round fun.” The Ticker began to print excerpts from letters they received. In the December 7 issue a soldier wrote that “reading [in The Ticker] about your Student War Activities Council and their wonderful work has warmed the inners of my heart.” A column that appeared regularly in The Ticker was “G.I. and Oh Gee!” This was an outlet for letters, quips, and other war-related anecdotes written by soldiers from the School of Business. On March 14, 1944 appeared this unsigned poem:

Sitting on my GI bed,
My GI hat upon my head,
My GI pants, my GI shoes
Everything free, nothing to lose.
GI razor, GI comb,
GI wish that I were home.

Also from “G.I. and Oh Gee,” came a letter from Sgt. Hymie Koshner, Class of ’42: “Right now, however, I’m thinking of The Ticker and Alma Mater. I wish I could adequately describe the feeling of brotherhood and friendship The Ticker gave me” (March 12, 1945).

One activity that evoked much enthusiasm in the campus community was the drive to raise $75,000 in bonds and stamps to purchase a plane representing CCNY. On February 14, 1944, The Ticker exulted: “The long-awaited fighter plane, “Spirit of CCNY,” has finally rolled off the assembly line and is scheduled to take to the air…The quest was successful and the Spirit awaits a crew to fly it to victory.”

By the summer of 1945, soldiers began to return to the states and to the School of Business. “G.I. and Oh Gee” in the October 8, 1945 Ticker celebrated with good reason: “So many wonderful tales of heroism, devotion to duty, and extraordinary courage have come in to us that we have good cause to hold our heads high with justifiable pride in the record of City men in service.”

 

Contents October 2002

$7.5M State Grant Launches Incubator Network

Students Reaping Benefits of Technology Fee

Georgian Elegance, 21st-Century Technology Joined in Reborn Brooklyn College Library

Launching LaGuardia Students Toward Animal Planet

From ’60s Activist Ranks to Executive Suite

Digging the City’s Past

Poet Laureate Collins Takes his Cue on Evil

A WWII Mobilization in The Tale of The Ticker

Subversive Feminist Julia De Burgos Celebrated at Hostos

Italian "Enemy Alien" Experience in WWWII

Museum at Queens College Spans Six Centuries of Art

Celebrating Scholarly “Pleasures of the Mind”

Valued Vets Toasted at the Central Office

CUNY Responds to Powell’s Call for More Minority Diplomats

LaGuardia and Lehman Honored for Freshman Year Programs

Former Brooklyn College Philosopher Turns Philanthropist