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Photo of The Northwestern Pilot

The Northwestern Pilot began as a school newspaper in 1920 and eventually transformed into a bible study and outreach magazine. Due to financial strains, The Northwestern Pilot ceased publication in 1956.

Online Access:

Collection Information

Title: The Pilot
Span Dates: 
1920–1956; 1992–present
Bulk Dates: 
(bulk 1920-1956)
Northwestern College English Department, continues as a publication of the Advancement and Alumni Relations, continues as an arm of Marketing and Communication
23 bound volumes, 109 periodicals, 5 linear feet with growth
Collection material in English
Haburn Hovda Archives, University of Northwestern, Saint Paul Berntsen Library
Publication of Northwestern College.   
The Pilot is produced by Northwestern College to meet the needs of the college community, alumni, and friends of the Northwestern Community. 
Processing History:
The Pilot was first described March 2004. 
Revised 2009-08-11
Copyright Status:
Materials may be used for educational, non-commercial purposes only. Please request permission for the use or reproduction of portion or item.
Preferred Citation:
Researchers wishing to cite this collection should include the following information: Container number, The Pilot, Haburn Hovda Archives, Berntsen Library University of Northwestern, Saint Paul, Minnesota.
The collection is arranged in one series:
The Pilot
                Room  010
                Shelf 1 Side 2
                Shelf 2 Side 2
See Also:
The Northwestern Pilot Inventory for holdings and content notes

Scope and Content Note

The Northwestern Pilot began as a direct outgrowth of Northwestern Bible College’s English Department, instituted “for the purpose of promoting interest in school activities... and as a medium of correct self expression” (Pilot 1925). 
It first appeared November 17, 1920 as a four paged school newspaper concerned with campus events and interests.  Articles included class updates, missionary updates, poetry, editorials and devotional literature.
The practice of issuing a Northwestern Pilot focusing on a particular class at the Bible College began February 16, 1921 with the Freshman issue.  Junior and Senior issues followed. 
The school eventually changed The Northwestern Pilot’s format from a one-sided mimeographed serial to a printed magazine. 
The first eight page printed magazine is dated December 1922 and is “more sedate in character” (The Pilot, v10 n.7, p.212), meaning it contains far more Bible study articles and editorials than campus anecdotes. 
The number of The Northwestern Pilots issued varied during the first few years, but by 1923 the Northwestern Bible College student staff consistently published eight per annum.  This eight page publication carried on until October 1925, when it increased to twelve pages.
Due to the confusion between the Annual and the monthly edition of the Pilot, the Annual was given a separate name in 1926.  The Northwestern Pilot, became a serious bible study serial while The Scroll emerged as the school’s yearbook.
A name change occurred again in December 1929.  The serial became The Pilot: Organ of Northwestern Bible School. Growth continued, and by 1930 The Pilot was a twelve month magazine subscription of thirty-two pages “devoted primarily to the study of God’s Word” (Scroll 1930). 
In 1943, The Pilot added America’s Bible Study Magazine to its title.  By this time editorship now rested with the president of the college and contributors included faculty of the college and pastors. Features included:
Bible studies
Correspondence Courses
“In and Around the World,” current events in light of the Bible
Christian education forum
“For Your Library,” book reviews
Poet’s Corner
The final issue of The Pilot: America’s Bible Study Magazine is subtitled Commencement 1956.  A portion of the letter written by Northwestern College’s President and magazine editor Richard A. Elvee to explain the decision follows:
 To all Pilot Readers:
We have certainly appreciated the opportunity to come into your home month by month with the Pilot, however, we find that with the rising costs of operating Northwestern College in the training of young men and women for the service of Jesus Christ, we are no longer able to underwrite the publication of the Pilot.
Therefore, we have decided to suspend publication for the time being and to wait upon the Lord as to what He would have us do concerning the Pilot for the future.
The Pilot reemerged as a magazine produced by the public relations department of the college in the Fall/Winter of 1992.  The publication is no longer a Bible study magazine, but instead provides an “overview of life at Northwestern.”  The current publication includes feature stories concerning the college campus as well as alumni stories and updates.