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The Flat Hat, a student newspaper at William & Mary, is a rich source of information, announcing events taking place on campus as well as reflecting student opinion. It began publication in October 1911 and, except during the fall of 1918, has been continuously published ever since.


In the 1950-1951 academic year, tobacco advertisers used contests to appeal to college students, including trivia based on Flat Hat articles and a jingle competition.

The Weathervane, a supplement to the Flat Hat, documents student protests and student discontent during the Vietnam War era. See, for instance, November 7, 1969. Offshoots including the Straw Hat and High Hat were published separately. The Straw Hat was the summer school student newspaper with issues for July 3-Aug. 14, 1914, published at William & Mary's Dublin, Va. branch; 1927-1933 issues were published at Williamsburg campus. The High Hat (1930-1961) was the student newspaper of the Norfolk Division of the College of William & Mary.) The Fat Head is the traditional April 1st edition.

Flat Hat Online

The most recent issues of The Flat Hat are available online. Most issues of The Flat Hat from 1911-2010 are available for browsing and keyword searching in the W&M Digital Archive (with some exceptions). The issues not previously microfilmed were not digitized in 2007, and so are not available in the W&M Digital Archive.

All issues of The Flat Hat are available in paper form in the Swem Library's Special Collections Research Center and issues through the 1990s are also available on microform in Swem Library. Until the early 2000s, library staff indexed the The Flat Hat (as well as the Alumni Gazette and the William & Mary News) by subject and personal name. This index is still available as a card file in the Special Collections Research Center's lobby for public use. All three of these publications are available in the Swem Library on microfilm and in Swem's Special Collections in paper format.

Issues of The Flat Hat also published online from Fall 1999-Fall 2006 are available at the newspaper's website1.

Material in the Special Collections Research Center

  • Paper and electronic editions of The Flat Hat
  • "The Flat Hat" folder, Student Organizations Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • "The Flat Hat", "The Flat Hat--Controversy of 1945" folders, University Archives Subject File Collection, Special Collections Research Center, Swem Library, William & Mary.
  • Search the SCRC Collections Database for further material related to the Flat Hat.


Want to find out more?

To search for further material, visit the Special Collections Research Center's Search Tool List for other resources to help you find materials of interest.

Questions? Have ideas or updates for articles you'd like to see? Contact the Special Collections Research Center at or 757-221-3090.

A note about the contents of this site

This website contains the best available information from known sources at the time it was written. Unfortunately, many of the early original records of William & Mary were destroyed by fires, military occupation, and the normal effects of time. The information in this website is not complete, and it changes as we continue to research and uncover new sources.