May 21, 2024 Panther Pranksters is a great place for finding digitized copies of most of the early Madison, Indiana, newspapers. While browsing the site recently, however, I found there are digitized copies of Hanover newspapers. I had not heard of any papers published in our small neighboring town, but it turns out that the Hanover College student newspaper, The Triangle, can be found on the site.

Front page in 1934

There were a few issues that stood out to me, because apparently, it has been a long-standing tradition for students to publish April Fool’s editions each year. And it seems they would have given The Onion a run for its money. In 1934, a four-page “publication called the Hanover Astonisher likely was a substitute edition of the Triangle, was filled with prank articles that appear to poke fun at just about every official on campus.

One headline lamented that a “contagion” on campus failed to end classes for the week. Another proclaimed: MIGHTY PROJECT PLANNED—Martin Suggests Radical Change in River Course; Professor lists ten benefits to be gained by work:

“Dr. R. Earl Martin (Robert Earl “Doc” Martin, b. 18 Aug 1894, Gosport, IN, d. 27 June 1959, Hanover), leading physicist on the campus and also head of the Physics department in Hanover made his bid for immortality among the Hanover profs by advocating a drastic change in the course of the Ohio river as it passes the campus.” Complete with the photo below.

April 10, 1949

In the “Personals” column of the April 10, 1948, “Razzangle,” is this gem: “Dr. R. Earl Martin, the man who wears the neon Lambda Chi pin, became an active member of the After Chapel Cigarette and Cigar Club. The good doctor stated shortly after his initiation that he is responsible for the ash trays in Classic Hall.”

Dr. R. Earl Martin,
Physics Dept.

A previous, and bona fide, issue in December 1947 gave more information about Martin, known to his students as “Doc,” who had been presented with the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity’s highest award, The Order of Merit, at a banquet in his honor at the Hillside Hotel in Madison. Further: “Dr. Martin is now beginning his 36th year of teaching. … He received his A.B. at Indiana in 1917, his M.S. at Lehigh in 1921, and his Ph.D. four years later from his alma mater. He is an active member of the Masonic Lodge, chairman of the Physics Section of the Indiana Academy of Science, a deacon at Hanover Presbyterian Church, a member of the American Physical Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Jefferson County Tuberculosis Association.”

Another story stated that John Dillinger, a fugitive from the law at the time, had enrolled at Hanover. “John Dillinger, who recently withdrew from the Crown Point City College, the Astonisher with its usual thoroughness has obtained definite information that Johnny is planning to enroll in Hanover at the earliest possible moment. … The expected enrollment of this accomplished young man is due entirely to the untiring efforts of Dr. Kutz, who had considerable trouble in contacting him due to Dillinger’s failure to leave a forwarding address during his several moves. …

Dr. Russell Kutz, Education Dept.

Dr. Kutz reports that Johnny was almost sold on the idea of attending Michigan City University until the professor, with his usual direct, unfaltering salesmanship, assured Mr. Dillinger that the spirit of the competition at Hanover would undoubtedly prove a greater stimulus to him to achieve honors in his chosen field than the competition at Michigan City. Also, Dr. Kutz assured him that there was, in a minor degree, a little more freedom at Hanover than at the northern institution.

With the intimation by Dr. Kutz that Dillinger intended to add to his already overgrown list of petty crimes by joining a fraternity, practically every fraternity on the campus immediately dispatched rush letters. The advantage of having Johnny as a fraternity brother seems to lie in the fact that Brother Dillinger with his many talents would have little trouble getting girls into the dorm after the doors were locked.”

April 1, 1973, issue

This issue was dubbed The Square (as opposed to the actual name, The Triangle) and touted itself “Since 1909, the Campus Joke.”

Dean Barbara Quilling
Dean Glen Bonsett

It’s top story: “Conditions set for coed living in two units,” in which Barbara Quilling, dean of women, and Glen Bonsett, dean of men, were lauded with the moniker “The Deans Quonsett,” impressed the fact that this new living-quarters idea does have the word “education” in it, and thus the goal would be to “educationally shape the lifestyles of its students.”

The story ends: “The Deans Quonsett have resolved this difficulty [selecting the resident leaders for each unit] by agreeing to serve as the Resident Deans. Dean Quilling was quoted as saying, “If there’s going to be anything going on over there, I want to be in on it.”

And in sports that issue, The Square reported that kite-flying would be added to the college’s athletic department. The arena would include a stretch of ground alongside the athletic complex, complete with 10 large fans arranged to provide “tricky cross-currents and hidden air pockets” to make the competition more exciting.

Phyllis Codling McLaughlin

Phyllis Codling McLaughlin


Jefferson County Historical Society

Phyllis Codling McLaughlin is a journalist and author of “Images of America: Carroll County” and “Trimble County,” featuring historic photos of the Kentucky counties. Specializing in genetic genealogy, she got the “bug” in 1991 researching a great-grandfather who fought in the Civil War. She and husband, Andrew “Patter” McLaughlin, a Madison native, live in Milton with a menagerie of pets.

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