Media: Slideshow

Student Humor Magazine at the College of William and Mary

The Owl.

The front page of the January 1854 edition of the Owl, the student humor magazine of the College of William and Mary (satirically renamed here "Billy and Molly Kollege, Billysburg, Werginnie"), includes a series of short comic pieces. Two of the bits use racist stereotypes—including one titled "An Ethiopian Dialogue," which is written in black dialect.

Original Author: William and Mary students

Created: January 1854

Medium: Magazine front page

Courtesy of William and Mary Digital Archive

The Horrors of Slavery in Black and White.

This illustration, titled The Horrors of Slavery in Black and White, was published in the January 1854 edition of the Owl, a humor magazine produced by students at the College of William and Mary. At left, the wood engraving depicts enslaved people "in the neighborhood of William and Mary and other Southern colleges" while they are dancing and playing music. At right, it shows a downtrodden white textile worker "in the neighborhood of Yale and other Northern Colleges" who is toiling at night by candlelight.

Original Author: K. L. Kinsdale, artist; Richardson & Cox, engravers

Created: January 1854

Medium: Wood engravings

Courtesy of William and Mary Digital Archive

"Negroes Rejoice!"

A caricature of an enslaved man dancing with joy appears under the heading "Negroes Rejoice!" in the January 1854 edition of the Owl, the student humor magazine of the College of William and Mary. Faculty rules forbade students from abusing or striking enslaved people, a rule that the white commentator here takes exception with, writing sarcastically:

Chapter V. Sec. 13th is not abolished, which says 'no Student shall abuse strike or injure negroes. Not even if they are grossly impertinent. Ahem!  (This law savors of Northern manufacture, or perhaps it originated in some classic author: Horace (Greely) for instance.

Original Author: Students at the College of William and Mary

Created: January 1854

Medium: Magazine illustration and text

Courtesy of William and Mary Digital Archive

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  • The Owl.

    The front page of the January 1854 edition of the Owl, the student humor magazine of the College of William and Mary (satirically renamed here "Billy and Molly Kollege, Billysburg, Werginnie"), includes a series of short comic pieces. Two of the bits use racist stereotypes—including one titled "An Ethiopian Dialogue," which is written in black dialect.

    Original Author: William and Mary students

    Created: January 1854

    Medium: Magazine front page

    Courtesy of William and Mary Digital Archive

  • The Horrors of Slavery in Black and White.

    This illustration, titled The Horrors of Slavery in Black and White, was published in the January 1854 edition of the Owl, a humor magazine produced by students at the College of William and Mary. At left, the wood engraving depicts enslaved people "in the neighborhood of William and Mary and other Southern colleges" while they are dancing and playing music. At right, it shows a downtrodden white textile worker "in the neighborhood of Yale and other Northern Colleges" who is toiling at night by candlelight.

    Original Author: K. L. Kinsdale, artist; Richardson & Cox, engravers

    Created: January 1854

    Medium: Wood engravings

    Courtesy of William and Mary Digital Archive

  • "Negroes Rejoice!"

    A caricature of an enslaved man dancing with joy appears under the heading "Negroes Rejoice!" in the January 1854 edition of the Owl, the student humor magazine of the College of William and Mary. Faculty rules forbade students from abusing or striking enslaved people, a rule that the white commentator here takes exception with, writing sarcastically:

    Chapter V. Sec. 13th is not abolished, which says 'no Student shall abuse strike or injure negroes. Not even if they are grossly impertinent. Ahem!  (This law savors of Northern manufacture, or perhaps it originated in some classic author: Horace (Greely) for instance.

    Original Author: Students at the College of William and Mary

    Created: January 1854

    Medium: Magazine illustration and text

    Courtesy of William and Mary Digital Archive