You may know that SJSU is the oldest public university west of the Mississippi, but did you know we also lay claim to the oldest literary magazine west of Mississippi? Published since 1867, Reed Magazine is throwing a blowout bash on September 22 to celebrate 150 years (!) of giving voice to regional, and more recently international, authors of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry. This historic event will be held at Morris Dailey Auditorium with a champagne reception in the Bell Rose Garden—and all are invited!
The Gala will feature a welcome by SJSU President Mary Papazian and be emceed by Santa Clara County Poet Laureate Arlene Biala and Reed’s current editor-in-chief, Cathleen Miller. Entertainment will include music, food, and readings from contributors of the 150th issue. According to Professor Miller, it will be a “celebration worthy of the West’s oldest literary journal as we mark our sesquicentennial.”
Only predated by The Mercury News as a San José publishing institution, Reed traces its history to the late 1860s when the first issue of The Acorn was published by the students of California State Normal School. The Normal School eventually became San José State University, the founding institution of the California State University System. The Acorn published many writers of the early American West, including Edwin Markham, the first poet laureate of Oregon.
Reed has had many names over the years. The Acorn became The Normal School Index in 1895, which then became The Normal Pennant in 1898. In 1920, it became The Quill and in 1932, El Portal. Finally, in 1948, the journal became The Reed, which was later shortened to just Reed. The publication is named after James Reed, a survivor of the infamous Donner Party ordeal, who granted the land upon which San José State currently sits.
Professor Miller teaches Reed as a two-semester class in the Department of English where students get hands-on experience combing through submissions, editing articles, and seeing the journal through production. Started as a regional journal of California authors, Reed has recently expanded online, bringing submissions from around the world and giving the publication a global footprint. Reed also engages in literary outreach to local high schools, bringing local authors to students and holding poetry contests for San José’s next generation of writing talent.
Dr. Miller points out that SJSU events like Reed Magazine’s 150th Anniversary Gala are perfect occasions for SJSU alumni and Silicon Valley residents to stay connected to the arts and everything that’s going on in the community. “In many ways, SJSU is the oldest cultural institution in Silicon Valley,” says Dr. Miller. “It makes sense that we continue to be not only a center of intellectual activity, but a contributor to the arts scene here.”
“If you haven’t been back in a while,” Dr. Miller adds, “come back to the university and see what’s going on.”
The Reed 150th Anniversary Gala is on September 22nd from 7-10pm at the Morris Dailey Auditorium on campus. Tickets are only $10 and, of course, the anniversary issue will be on sale.
To learn more about the event, visit the Facebook page here.
To check out Reed Magazine, please visit www.reedmag.org.