Archives On The Air 29: Has This Student Newspaper Gone Too Far?—Joe Jacobucci Papers

Jul 30, 2018

The article in the April 26, 1934 parody issue of The Branding Iron that led to Joe Jacobucci’s suspension from University of Wyoming. Box 6, Joe Jacobucci papers.
Credit American Heritage Center

How far is too far when it comes to parody? Young Joe Jacobucci found out in 1934 when he edited a parody issue of The Branding Iron, the University of Wyoming’s student newspaper.

Two newspaper articles about Jacobucci’s suspension. The top article is from The Denver Post on April 29, 1934. The bottom article is from The Casper Star-Tribune on May 29, 1934. Box 6, Joe Jacobucci papers.
Credit American Heritage Center

Parody issues were nothing new. It was an annual Branding Iron tradition.

But Jacobucci’s version titled the “Ironing Board” triggered his suspension from school and the destruction of the print run.

So what happened? The front-page layout portrayed the UW President, the Dean of Men, and the President’s private Secretary as “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost of Wyoming’s Holy Trinity.” This was apparently more than the administration could take.

Portrait of Joe Jacobucci, 1934. Box 1, Joe Jacobucci papers.
Credit American Heritage Center

But Jacobucci’s suspension was not totally unexpected. A Wyoming newspaper explained that the suspension continued a campus tradition of uncertain tenures for Branding Iron editors.

Jacobucci was researching the history of Wyoming journalism upon his untimely death in 1939. His research is available at UW’s American Heritage Center.