Kalliope was a descendant of another literary journal, Portfolio, which was first published in 1939. This journal went through several other names, including The New Portfolio in 1940 and the Critique in 1947. Publication lapsed during the 1950s and resumed during the time period from 1960 to 1966. Finally, in 1980, Eileen Levitan along with Terry McDonald, Mark Seinfelt, and Bob Karpowicz founded the magazine known today as Kalliope. In the spring of 1981, under the faculty advisory of John Haag and John Balaban, the Kalliope staff sent their first edition to the printers. The first publication began as a small twenty-eight page book of twenty-two works. The student writing consisted of a collection of poems, one short story, and a few drawings. Despite the magazine’s humble beginning, Eileen Levitan and the others believed that Kalliope would further Penn State’s literary tradition and be a place for exceptional students to display their work. In introduction to the 1983 edition, the founders stated:
“This university was not only capable of supplying the various talents—literary and managerial, artistic and monetary—needed to maintain Kalliope, but needed Kalliope as a place to display those talents.”
In 2000 Kalliope won the National Program Director’s prize for student literary magazines in Content. Eileen and those who assisted her thirty-four years ago were right—Penn State was capable of supplying talent, and Kalliope was the necessary medium for exhibiting this talent.