On February 5, 1849…
…the first official UW-Madison class was held for the entire student body of 17 students. At the time, campus was 50 acres, and the only classroom building was North Hall. Now, UW-Madison boasts a beautiful 933 acre campus located between lakes Menona and Mendota, playing home to over 40,00 students.
The first yearbook of the University of Wisconsin was published in April 1884 and called the Trochos, which is a Greek word for “badger.” That same year, the UW music instructor, Henry Dyke Sleeper, wrote Varsity, the university’s traditional alma mater song. The second yearbook, also called Trochos, was not published until 1887. The first Badger was published in February 1888, and the Badger is still published, with one hiatus in 1973-74. The Alumni Association helped publish volumes for those two years, though they contain student photographs almost exclusively. There was another hiatus for the 2003-04 year.
A confusing fact is that until 1932 the yearbooks were done by the junior class and the date on the cover is the class year of the junior class. Thus the first Trochos has ’85 on the cover, and the first Badger, although published in 1888, is called the ’89 Badger. This means, for example, that a person who was a senior in 1910 would have their senior photograph in the 1911 Badger. Also, the yearbooks covered athletic and social events of the year, or even two years, before the date on the yearbook. In 1932, the yearbook became a senior class publication; there are two 1932 yearbooks, and afterwards the date on the yearbook is of the senior class.
Currently, our dedicated staff members are beginning work on the 128th Edition of the Badger Yearbook, set to be completed in the Summer of 2013. We are always striving to increase our coverage of the student body as well as improve the overall quality of our book.