In the winter of 1947, Washington-Lee published its first issue of Penman. The magazine sought to publish the most stellar creative writing pieces the student body could produce. The staff was inundated with submissions and proceeded to publish an additional two volumes before the end of that school year. These first three issues contained little artwork, save the cover illustration, and were densely packed with rich fictional narratives. Much has changed since that original publication, but the signature Penman clean layout has remained intact, and the diversity of issues tackled by student writers is just as rich as the first submissions.
Over the decades, the content has evolved to reflect the issues which most affect W-L students, and the staff tries to publish a fair balance of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and artwork. Publication is now bi-yearly, and the staff makes a concerted effort to keep the cost to a minimum –– $3 per issue ––so the entire student body can easily access this rich literary vault.
Below is an image from the summer of 2004, when then-editors-in-chief Kuo and Hanft sought to organize the Penman archives. Although there are some gaps in our publication history, the wealth of these past 60+ years of W-L writing is quite evident. If you are a former staff member, we’d love to hear your Penman stories! Please e-mail us at: firstname.lastname@example.org to share your memories.