The Karl F. Putnam scrapbook contains newspaper clippings dating between 1899 and 1903, documenting social, academic, and family events, as well as news and information about Northwestern University. Clippings come from many papers, including the Evanston Index, The Inter Ocean, The American, Mt. Carmel Register, Evening Post, Chicago American, Evanston Press, Chicago Tribune, Chicago Examiner, and the New York Herald, and are neatly organized with an alphabetic index, in the front of the scrapbook, which lists the clipping title and page location. Putnam also included some cartoons and numerous news photos of University buildings, prominent professors, and friends.
Comical clippings include a 1901 article entitled “No More Kissing at Northwestern,” reporting on the teachings of Professor Crook, who declared that osculation was unnecessary, vulgar and demoralizing–prompting students to form an Anti-Kissing Society. Also of a comical nature is an article about the “Whiskers Club,” of which Putnam was President, which was organized in response to female students' objections to the “funny little” mustaches sported by the men on campus.
Clippings documenting Northwestern University's development, including the construction of Fisk Hall, the opening of the Law School by Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes in 1902, and donations from benefactors such as Orrington Lunt and William Deering, appear throughout the book.
The prominence of the Putnam family in society is documented in several clippings. The Daily Republican, a Mt. Carmel newspaper, highlights “A Notable Event among Society Ladies. Mrs. Putnam Entertains,” describing a reception Putnam's mother held, which was considered “one of the greatest social successes of the season.” Putnam himself was briefly featured in the New York Herald, Sunday, June 21, 1903 in a news article entitled “Wealth and Work in College Life,” focusing on “Students who have millions and those who work hard to pay their board…”
Due to its deteriorating condition, the scrapbook was disassembled and a preservation photocopy was produced. Photocopied pages have been foldered in their original order. The scrapbook itself has been retained for its intrinsic value.