The desire of Blair students to express their ideas and record the events that matter to them is nothing new. The Blair Archive holds a small publication called The Academy Item. Dated June 1884, Volume I Number 5, it was the result of, apparently, the single-handed effort of John W. Proudfit, class of 1884. The cover article is the program for commencement, while the other five pages include campus news, a letter to the editor, some poetry, jokes, and advertisements. One of the ads is from Mr. Proudfit himself, offering his printing press and accessories for sale.
The following November a new publication appeared, The Blair Hall Literary Magazine. Published monthly, the magazine printed fiction, essays, and poetry by students, as well as campus news, editorials, letters, reviews, sports, humor and alumni news. With the effort of an editorial committee, it continued, with a slight name change, until December of 1893.
In January of 1894 The Blair Hall Magazine became The Blair Hall Breeze. It remained a monthly magazine until March 1919 when it was reformatted into a weekly tabloid newspaper. The name had been shortened to The Blair Breeze in 1918, and it has continued under that name ever since. The literary component gradually shifted into special issues and, later, separate publications, while the Breeze continued to report items of general interest, campus news, letters, sports, cartoons and jokes.
Blair Academy hosted the Blair Summer School for Journalism, a nationally recognized program for high school and college students from the 1960s to 1990. The Breeze benefitted from the contributions of students and faculty involved in the program.
Parody issues have appeared sporadically under such titles as The Blair Wheeze (1929) and The Blair Blah (1989). Alternative and underground publications have been published with and without official recognition, offering varying perspectives and opportunities for expression.
The Blair Oracle joins a long and valued tradition at Blair.
(Copyright Holly Newcomb 2015)