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The Daily Cardinal was founded by undergraduate students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison more than 120 years ago, with the first issue appearing April 4, 1892. "We believe the University is in need of a daily paper," explained the founding editors, "and to do without it longer would be an irreparable injury." One of the oldest student newspapers in the United States, The Daily Cardinal functions independently of the university itself. Because of its longevity, The Daily Cardinal staff has witnessed and reported on a remarkable period of American history, a period that includes the passing of the 19th amendment, the atomic bomb, and the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Over the past twelve decades, innumerable students contributed to The Daily Cardinal, including notable alumni like Peter Greenberg (Emmy-award winning CBS journalist), Rita Braver (CBS News), and Paul Soglin (mayor of Madison).
The Daily Cardinal presents a voice of the UW-Madison student population as well as an historic record of campus news and activities. The collection captures generations of UW-Madison student opinion, news, events, and cultural history. It is an essential resource for understanding the history of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, as well as the history of Madison, Dane County, and the state of Wisconsin. It is heavily consulted by a variety of users and researchers, from undergraduate students who are investigating the history of the university to genealogists researching their family history. University Archives staff consistently use issues of The Daily Cardinal alongside other archival documents in their teaching, outreach, and exhibit work.
A selection of years has been digitized for this collection. The University Archives, along with The Daily Cardinal and the UW Digital Collections Center have a long-term goal to digitize the entire printed run of The Daily Cardinal and make those issues available freely online.