The Millidek: A Centennial Celebration

1906 Millidek cover

The cover of the original 1906 Millidek

The Millidek is the name given to Millikin University's student annual. The very first of these appeared in 1906, the third year of the university's existence. To honor this, the centennial year of that original Millidek, the University Archives has chosen the Millidek as its Fall 2006 Exhibit at the entrance of Staley Library. This webpage is the on-line version of that exhibit.

In the beginning…

In December of 1905, the senior class at Millikin, the Class of 1906, embarked on a campaign to produce the first ever yearbook for Millikin University, what came to be known as the “MILLIDEK.” That same month an article appeared in Millikin's student newspaper, The Decaturian, entitled “The Annual” (text below) which introduced the idea to the entire Millikin student body and set the initial course and direction for this demanding student project.

Image of plate from inside the 1906 Millidek Dedication
Plate from inside the 1906 Millidek Dedication of the 1906 Millidek

In February of 1906, an editorial appeared in the Dec (text below) which called for every student of the university to support the project as the book belonged to each and every student and would bring with it the ability for each student, “when school days are past…[to] go to school once more and [live those] times anew.”

That spring of 1906, the very first volume of the Millidek was produced and a Millikin tradition was born.

Image of the beginning of the Decaturian article from Dec. 1905 Image of the beginning of the Decaturian article from Dec. 1906

The Decaturian Vol.3 No.4 December 1905 (p.6-7)


The senior class of the University is now busying itself with plans for the publication of an “Annual,” or year book…

…In this the first annual brought out by a class in the James Millikin University, it is very probable that more space than usual will be devoted to the university itself, both exterior and interior. The book will also contain a history of the literary societies, debating clubs, musical organizations, athletic association, the Christian associations, the fraternities and sororities. Not only these but each class, both of the academy and college, will occupy a prominent place in the book. An important feature will be the cuts of the university campus and buildings and of all organizations.

Special emphasis will be placed upon the literary department. However excellent a Millikin annual may be as to its binding, its illustrations, its “get-up” in general, it must be made to compare favorably in its tone and general spirit, with the annuals of other institutions. All students will be asked to contribute to this department. This will stimulate rivalry between classes and organizations and in addition will bring to light the real literary talent of the institution…

…The editor will be chosen from the senior class. The publication will be under the supervision and direction of the seniors, but associate editors will be selected from other classes and from the various organizations. The annual will be published for all, and each student should possess a copy. It will aid those who are already leaders in the college life to remain loyal to their own society and to the university, and will awaken to more active life those who have not heretofore brought themselves forward and who have, perhaps, been “hiding their light.”

As the expense of an annual is large, each student should show his enthusiasm…and not rest until all copies have been disposed of.

The Decaturian Vol.3 No.6 February 1906 (p.6)


It is not necessary for us to describe to our readers the proposed “Millidek.” Our senior friends have explained it and propounded its merits repeatedly until we feel sure that almost every student could, in a very creditable manner, reproduce their single speech. They have posted announcements and advertisements, button-holed us in the corridor until we feel sure they are in earnest and are going to give us something worthy of their efforts and of our consideration. In short, they are doing their part beautifully, but how about us? Are we responding to their calls?

The “Millidek” is not for the senior, alone. They are not asking us to assist them for selfish purposes, but for the school. When the book is published and is read by students and friends of the university, and by strangers as well, the thought of approval or disapproval will not be upon the class of '06, but upon the school as a whole. Let each one feel that it is our book. Even more, that it is my book. I must make it a success.

Well then, if it is your book you must gather material. The seniors do not hear all the jokes nor see all the ridiculous situations. If each student connected with the school would hand in one good joke do you not see what that would mean for the book? Have you sent yours in? Hurry up before it is too late!

Then I want one of these books. In later years when school days are past, and care are multiplying, it will be a source of a great deal of enjoyment to pick up a “Millidek” and have your mind refreshed by the recalling of old forgotten jokes. You will there read names and see faces of friends almost forgotten. You will in truth, at spare time, go to school once more and lives these times anew. Can I afford not to get the Millidek? One dollar and a half invested now to bring to you, as interest, in later days, hours and hours of pleasure is a business proposition you can not well afford to miss. R—.


Student editor of the 1906 Milidek
Original 1906 Millidek student editors, all members of the class of 1906

Anne Morris Boyd – Art Editor

Estella Esther Bryant – Literary Editor

James D. Moses – Business Manager

W.R. McGaughey – Asst. Business Mgr.

Don R. Lehman – Advertising Manager

Trenna June Miller

Trenna June Miller – Editor-in-Chief

Faculty Advisors to the original 1906 Millidek Professor W. Varnum Ms. F. Kirk Ms. E. Baker
  Prof. W. Varnum Ms. F. Kirk Ms. E. Baker

By the numbers…

There has been a total of 94 separate volumes of the Millidek, one for each academic year beginning with 1905-1906 and running through 1998-1999. Combining each of these volumes, there has been a total of 20,098 pages of Millidek published, with the 1920 volume containing the most with 298 pages and the 1999 volume containing the least with just 80 pages (and a per volume average of 213.8 pages).

One number that may confuse Millidek users is 1932. At a quick glance, it would appear that there were two different volumes produced that year. More importantly, there seems to be no 1922 volume at all.

1932 Millidek cover in silver 1932 Millidek cover in blue

Above:  The two "1932" Millidek covers

No, there is no simple explanation like a printer's "typo" either. The story of the two "32s" goes back to World War I and its effect on campus life. In 1918, so many seniors had joined the military that for the first time in the Millidek's history, the junior class was forced into producing it. The 1919 Millidek then was produced by the junior class (the class of 1920) and this tradition continued in the years to come. Apparently, when the class of 1923 were juniors, they decided that the Millidek they produced should bear their class year rather than the academic year and thus the 1923 Millidek was published—in the spring of 1922! So the 1922 yearbook, created by the class of 1923 is actually labeled as the 1923 yearbook. Confusing? Absolutely. The tradition continued through 1932, when the class of '32 produced a yearbook in both their junior and senior years and labeled them both 1932, one being for the year 1930-31(above left) and one for 1931-32(above right)! Just follow this simple rule: between the 1923 and 1932 yearbooks, subtract 1 from the year to know which year it is for unless you have a “blue 32” in which case it is 1932!

A tradition on hold…

In the fall of 1998, the below editorial appeared, with accompanying cartoon, in the September 23rd Decaturian (p.2)

”Milli-apathy's ax wounding tradition.”

1998 Decaturian article

Decaturian cartoon from 9/23/98Unfortunately, that year's Millidek would be the last ever produced by Millikin students up to the present and the tradition now lies dormant. But Millikin merely reflects what is happening on campuses all over the country. In an article entitled "No Thanks for the Memories" in the May 5, 2006, issue of the The Chronicle of Higher Education, author Amy Rainey explored the demise of the college yearbook nation-wide and concluded:

“Students are unlikely to realize the value of the book until years after they graduate. After all, yearbooks are the living history of an institution, told from students' perspective.” (p. 46)

Indeed, in the Millikin University Archives we rely heavily on our copies of the Millidek to assist our patrons, especially alumni and the family of alumni. A valuable source of Millikin history is no longer availble for future alumni.

The cover of the final Millidek, 1999
1999 Millidek Cover

There has not been a Millidek produced since 1999.

A glimpse inside…

Much of what is inside the Millideks is text. They contain daily journals, poetry, short stories, jokes, descriptions of events and organizations, etc. They are also filled with images, moments from each academic year captured and preserved to rekindle memories and intrigue first time viewers. A tiny sampling of these great images is provided below, but to truly appreciate the Millidek, you need to get one in your hands and peruse it as a whole.

JMU Bookstore

JMU Bookstore from the 1909 Millidek

1911-1912 Millikin Baseball Team with Keio University team from Japan
Millikin Baseball team with the Keio University team of Japan from the 1912 Millidek
SATC soldiers in 1919 Millidek SATC soldiers enjoy a little free time from the 1919 Millidek
Women's Gym class from the 1921 Millidek Women's Gym Class in 1921 Millidek
Tumbling Team in 1924 Tumbling team from the 1924 Millidek
Women's Field Hockey team from the 1926 Millidek Women's Field Hockey Team in 1926


Student Dance in 1946 A student dance from the 1946 Millidek
Night view of front campus from the 1953 Millidek Night view of front campus in 1953
Color Guard in 1964 Color Guard practicing from the 1964 Millidek
For Soul Only or FSO from the 1969 Millidek For Soul Only in 1969


Albert Taylor Hall in 1974 Students gathered at Albert Taylor Hall from the 1974 Millidek


Millikin University Band from the 1977 Millidek MU Band in 1977
Greeks in 1981 A "Greek" gathering from the 1981 Millidek
A glimpse into residence life from the 1988 Millidek Resident Life in 1988
Jazz Lab Band in 1998 The Jazz Lab from the 1998 Millidek

The University Archives in Staley Library has a copy of every Millidek ever produced and all are available for viewing and research.

Last Page of 1906 Millidek
Image of the last page of the original 1906 Millidek

This page created September 28, 2006 by Todd Rudat
Copyright: Millikin University Board of Trustees