In March of 2020, the University of Mary Washington’s Aubade Literary and Art Magazine was successfully rechartered after a long leave of absence. The staff of the club plan to produce their first publication since rechartering in the upcoming spring semester.
The first edition of the Aubade (pronounced O-baud) was distributed in 1971. In the fall of 2013, the club that runs the magazine produced its last documented publication.
Sophomore English major Hollis Cobb is the current president of the Aubade Literary and Art Magazine. He initiated the rechartering of the club in the fall of 2019. “Once I got to campus I did have to do a lot of my own research to figure out if it [Aubade] still existed, if anyone was around from the old club, and who I could get in touch with,” said Cobb.
The previous faculty advisor for the club was English professor Colin Rafferty. He continues to serve as the faculty advisor upon rechartering. Like most clubs on campus, Aubade was and is student-run. Rafferty did not have a substantial amount of information on the previous Aubade to assist Cobb’s research process.
Cobb did not find much information on the original club. “It was more breadcrumbs than anything substantial,” he said.
This meant the Aubade had to be restarted without knowing much of the magazine’s history.
“It was a club that had gone out around the same time as the yearbook, so there was no one that had been active from the previous Aubade. This meant that we had to go through essentially the same chartering process as a normal chartering,” said Alexander Lee, a senior and double major in political science and psychology.
As the president of the Inter-Club Association, Lee assisted Cobb in the rechartering process.
“We wanted to give them information about what the previous club was like,” said Lee. He conducted his own research to help Cobb, but did not find substantial information on the original Aubade club. The old constitution was not in the records, so they had to write an entirely new one during the rechartering process.
Both Aubade and the yearbook, The Battlefield, stopped publishing around 2013. When asked about why Aubade stopped publishing, Rafferty said, “The gap in publishing came from the fact that the Aubade is a student-run publication, and as such, relies on dedicated students to keep it going. If we lose a lot of staff, that institutional memory goes, and it can be difficult to keep it going.”
“I’m happy to see the Aubade come back because that helps to restore something that was part of UMW’s history for four or five decades. So instead of that disappearing with everything else between 2013 and 2017, it was just a minor blip,” said Lee.
Now that the club has been restarted, they are working on remarketing and seeking support from the community. Once more support is gained they will start accepting submissions for the first publication under the new club title. They plan to be producing print copies with the first publication tentatively set to be published in the spring of 2021. “We want to enter with a bang. We want to really show the university what we can do and what we can create,” said Cobb.
The Aubade operates with student staff as well as student contributors. The staff consists of the president, vice president, marketing director, as well as students who contribute to the organization and production of the publications. Contributors are those who submit works of art and writing to the magazine for publication.
Sarah Miller, a sophomore and a double major in historic preservation and political science, runs the marketing and social media for the Aubade. Miller expressed hope for the Aubade’s future. “When we say ‘the Aubade’ I want people to know what that is,” said Miller.
As a liberal arts university, UMW promotes creativity and expression. “I’m looking forward to showing everyone the talent we have at UMW,” said Miller.
Both Cobb and Miller agree that the school has an abundance of talent in the community.
“The whole reason that literary magazines exist is to exhibit the creativity of a community and especially at UMW, which is a school that is full of vibrant and creative people, creating a medium for students to display what they’re creating is encouraging,” said Cobb.
A literary magazine can consist of many forms of art. It is not exclusive. This can be seen in the previous publications of the Aubade that are digitally documented in the University’s archives.
“We stand for art, any form of it. Art is photography and writing, it’s poetry or prose. What we stand for is displaying student artwork in a form that is welcoming and very inviting,” said Miller.