The Not the Rensselaer Handbook was written by Steve Staton, Tom White, and others, on 18 September 1985.
Actually, the first inklings of the book came to me in 1983, when I bought a political parody of the Bible called (what else?) "Not the Bible". At the time, I was very interested in digital publishing (yes, it existed back then!) and in making a "statement" about RPI. The "Polemic" and other humor/parody publications on campus were good attempts but they were amatuerish in their writing and finishing. I wanted to erect a living text that would also print very attractively on the campus' new "laser printer" -- whatever the hell that was.
I enlisted friends at WRPI, but the biggest contributors ended up being Thomas White (who wrote major sections) and Charles Wangerski (who did a lot of fact checking in 1984). I'd love to name the other contributors, but until I ask them if they mind being "fingered" it will have to wait.
The book was written on Myron and Sybil, the campus IBM mainframes, using the pre-TeX layout package, using funds (you had to use "money" to access the computer back then) from my OCS account. So in effect, the school contributed to my efforts. I also relied on the Rensselaer Archives to do background research on Amos Eaton and Stephen Van Rensselaer.
-- Steve Staton '85
Some people have asked if the original authors have given permission for this Wiki to use their text. They have.
From: "Thomas White" To: "Kevin Panko" Cc: "Steven R. Staton" Date: Sun, 27 Jun 2004 22:29:04 -0500 Subject: RE: ~RPI Handbook In principle (and that's all this opinion has to stand on, because we sure aren't collecting royalties), I prefer that the 1985-era, Steve & Tom version of NtRH stand and be preserved as its own entity. That is, don't obliterate it, and a link to the historical record version is appreciated. As for appropriating vast tracts of text for your own respin, take the format and content and crib at will, and ruthlessness is hereby heartily endorsed. While a fair and balanced (heh heh) reflection of the state of affairs for 1985, even a cursory tour through campus and town will show that it is woefully lacking for today's 21st century student needs. Have at it! Just toss in a credit for us old farts if the opportunity arises. NtRH is a curious beast. It's out there, and it's pretty much always been out there, and we hear about it every five years or so. It's gratifying knowning that the thing lives on; but a next generation is due. Yes, we both are still drawing breath. Give us a nice cup of cocoa and we'll sit in the corner and not do much unless asked. But we admire the attempt and eagerly await the results. Best regards, Thomas White '86 or close enough -----Original Message----- From: Steven R. Staton Sent: Sunday, June 27, 2004 9:26 PM To: Kevin Panko; Thomas White Subject: Re: ~RPI Handbook Why of course! That's why Tom and I put it on the web, in the hopes it would live on, and even become a continuously updated work. After all, I blew at least half a letter grade on it ... it MUST live on ;-)> Kevin Panko wrote: >Steve, > >I am an alumnus of RPI. The other day I was reading "Not the Rensselaer >Handbook" and got to thinking it would great if it were up to date. >A lot has changed since 1985. I mentioned it on Lily, and thus >the ~RPI Wiki was born: >http://rinse.unprompted.com/ntrw/ >I would like your permission to reuse the original text in this new >project - after all, even though we don't have DAKA or Sibyl anymore, >a lot of things haven't changed. Do I have permission? > >Kevin Panko