Reflections on a Semester of Immersion in Loyola University’s Historic Theater Materials

This semester I have been an intern for the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project at Loyola University Chicago. I was supervised by the director of the project, Dr. Kyle Roberts. My initial research question was to ask what could be uncovered about the theatre, performed, read and purchased by St. Ignatius College and Loyola Academy between 1880 and 1915. I thought initially that there wouldn’t be more evidence of theatre performance until the 1920s, but I was able to find many archival materials to support my research objective. I was able to explore the theatre history of Loyola University by examining photograph albums, scrapbooks, articles, programs, and course catalogues in Loyola’s Special Collections. From the beginning I defined what would constitute theatre for my research broadly as an interdisciplinary performance and public display. I found that the 1877 Webster’s Handy Dictionary, more true to the time of my research, defines “Theatre” as a physical space, “a play-house, a place of action or exhibition.” The word “Exhibition” is defined as “a setting forth, a public show.” After I developed a broad concept of theatre and theatre-making, I posed more questions about who was producing and performing in the plays I would come across, who was writing them, who were the audiences, where were they performed, what historical and political trends would be reflected in the plays chosen to be performed, how often were plays performed, what plays were performed at other Catholic institutions at this time, and how could the plays chosen to be performed be considered distinctly Jesuit?

With my research questions in mind, my week–to–week experience as an intern involved scheduling appointments with the campus archivists and spending four hours at a time per appointment photographing evidence to support my research objectives. I then spent a large amount of time organizing and categorizing my findings. I met with my supervisor weekly to discuss my project and ask him for help in guiding my research. I would occasionally make blog posts about my process because the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project is a digital humanities effort to restore and explore the library materials of Loyola University in its beginnings. My blog did not fully reflect my work until the end of my semester when I could look at the entirety of my research and discern what was most significant to report. My blog does not include everything I discovered about other Catholic universities and instead focuses on St. Ignatius College and Loyola Academy. I developed a three-step plan for where I would like my research to take me next.

From the “St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. i” (1884), the “St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. iv” (1885-1907), and the “Photo Album of Loyola Academy” (1909), I was able to gather evidence of student performances in elaborate costumes. At this early point, I was able to speculate what plays were performed based off of costumes and handwritten labels by some of the photographs, as not all of the plays were identifiable. From the “St. Ignatius College Miscellaneous Programmes, Volume I” (1895-1898) and the “St. Ignatius College Miscellaneous Programmes, Volume II” (1880-1902), I learned a lot about the plays performed by the students of the college and the performative aspects of Elocution and Oratorical contests held by the college. I found answers for some of the unidentified plays from the photo album and stumbled on evidence about the director of a play called “The Upstart” Joseph I. Sullivan. I tracked him (along with several other similar individuals) from the time he was a student at St. Ignatius and an actor in plays as a part of The Loyola Dramatic Society, to a Gold Medalist in Elocution contests, to, perhaps, his role as the first dramatic instructor at St. Ignatius and the Loyola Academy. From the “History of St. Ignatius College” (1907-1916) and “History of St. Ignatius College” (1877, 1913-1917), I learned about plays written by St. Ignatius students and professors. I learned about an emphasis on French neoclassical theatre and a struggle with the rise of secularism to balance the performance of  vaudeville forms of theatre and the performance of plays with a more “moral” theme to coincide with Christian Doctrine. Finally, from the “Catalogues of St. Ignatius and Loyola University” (1880-1910), I was able to learn about how the students that performed in plays were also very active in Oratorical and Elocution contests. I was able to learn about what the students studied, if they became a part of the Alumni Association (which was very active in performances at the colleges) and if they ultimately became instructors of dramatic disciplines.

At the end of this semester, I am very satisfied that I answered many of my initial research questions. For every play I came across, I was able to find out who performed the play (as well as their backgrounds), where it was performed, when it was performed, and what historical contexts the plays might reveal about Jesuit theatrical values. I do plan to continue my research, as I have become very invested in exploring my initial research questions further. Throughout my blog, I refer to my next steps as “Phase 2” of my research plan. I plan to return to Loyola’s Special Collections to see if any of the plays that I came across still exist in the archives, especially the original compositions. I plan to take a field trip to Marquette University or St. Ignatius College Prep to see about the documents on Jesuit theatre performance in their archives. Another avenue for research that I plan to explore, is investigating the documents posted from archives of the Catholic Resource Research Alliance. I am looking forward to the continuation of my project and I am very excited to have this incredible opportunity!

Thank you for reading, please stay tuned for posts this upcoming summer!


Catalogues of Loyola Academy, 1908-1910

In these last few years of my exploration of the catalogues, I looked mostly to see what had changed about the college over time since the 1880s. I am very sad to report that a Loyola Dramatic Society did not reappear in the years I observed in the catalogues.


In earlier posts we discussed newspaper articles produced surrounding the production of this play, please see this blog post to read about my findings. A significant aspect of this program I would like to point out at this point is that Frederick Karr serves as the Dramatic Instructor of the event, and there hadn’t been a Dramatic instructor at the college since Joseph I. Sullivan in 1899.


1909-1910 Expences, $60.jpg
Note that the tuition has increased from $40 to $60, but all other expenses remain the same as in the 1880 program.
The societies at the university, a drama club is not listed.
1909-1910, Societies 2.jpg
The St. Ignatius Collegian is included in the societies established on campus for students and it is a quarterly published work of student literary work (does this sound like Diminuendo & Cadence like we have currently at Loyola or what!).

Catalogues of St. Ignatius College, 1901-1905

There were several exciting finds in this catalogue that seemed to bring my research full circle as I was able to identify plays that are unmarked in the Photo Albums of St. Ignatius.


1901-02, Students in "Near the Throne"- photo album corresponds.jpg
The students in this photograph are labeled as having performed in “Near the Throne.” The students in the square frame in the lower left part of the page are in a photograph of the St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. IV. The student in the oblong frame on the right is also featured in the same photo album, but both instances are unlabeled and paired with photographs of students costumed for other plays and performances. The mystery is solved!
1901-02, "Near The Throne" .jpg
A program of “Near the Throne” with Edgar J. Cook as Antoniuus, Emperor of Rome. James A. Grffin is cast as Sicca, a courtier. 
1901-02, Chronicle of Events, Near the Throne- Dec. 18:19 at the Studebaker.jpg
The Chronicle of the Year 1901-1902. 
1901-02, Chrysostomian Debating Society, Edgar J. Cook Corresponding Secretary.jpg
Edgar J. Cook serves as Corresponding Secretary of The Chrysostomian Debating Society. 
1901-02, Edgar J. Cook, Philosophy.jpg
I decided to track the activities of Edgar J. Cook, who studied Philosophy the same year he was cast as Antoniuus in “Near the Throne.” 
1901-02, Examination, Translate Longfellow into Latin.jpg
The top part of the page of this examination asks students to translate a verse of Longfellow into Latin. 


1902-03, 1903, Mardi-Gras Musicale.jpg
The Mardi-Gras Musicale is an annual event. 
1902-03, Chronicle, Mardi Gras Musicale.jpg
“The Chronicle of the Year 1902-1903.” The annual college play is Shakespeare’s “King Henry IV,” performed at  Music Hall December 22nd and 23rd. 
1902-03, Dec. 22, 1902, "King Henry IV" Prince Hal- James Griffin.jpg
Program for “King Henry IV” at the Music Hall Fine Arts Building, December 22nd and 23rd, 1902. James A. Griffin is cast as Prince Hal. A photograph of James A. Griffin in costume as Prince Hal appears in the Photo Album of St. Ignatius, vol. IV. 
1902-1903, April 6th, Chrysostomian Society.jpg
James A. Griffin reads “The Knapp Trial” at a public meeting of the Chyssostomian Society on April 6th, 1903. 


1903-04, Arnold D. McMahon, Class of Commercial, penmanship- Commercial and Preparatory Departments.jpg
Arnold D. McMahon, the star of “Elma” during his college career serves as an instructor of First Commercial and Penmanship Courses. 
1903-04, Faculty, Arnold D. McMahon, Bookeeping, Algebra.jpg
Arnold D. McMahon also serves as an instructor of Bookkeeping and Algebra. 


1904-05, Chronicle of events, King Robert of Sicily presented at Powers' Theatre, Dec. 29th and 30th.jpg
“The Chronicle of the Year 1904-1905.” A performance, supposedly based off of the Longfellow poem, “King Robert of Sicily” is presented at the Powers’ Theatre December 29th and 30th. 
1904-05, King Robert of Sicily Program.jpg
Program for “King Robert of Sicily,” performed at the Powers’ Theatre December 29th and 30th. A photograph of students costumed for this play are also in the St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. IV. 


Catalogues of St. Ignatius College, 1895-1900

The posts for the Catalogues series are structured to be captions on photographs. The photographs shared in this blog post focus on the involvement of the student actors George F. Gubbins and Arnold D. McMahon in the Oratorical and Elocution contests at St. Ignatius.


1895-96 Elocution Contest Medals, Third Class Gold Medal given to Arnold D. McMahon.jpg
In this photo, George F. Gubbins is awarded the First Class Gold Medal in Elocution and Arnold D. McMahon is awarded the Third Class Gold Medal. I have previously documented how both students are very active in the St. Ignatius community and have acted in several plays. This photo also serves to communicate that individuals are  consistently involved in both Elocution and Theatre.
1895-96, Haymarket Theatre June 3rd 1896, Oratorical Contest.jpg
The Oratorical Contest of June 3rd, 1896 at the Haymarket Theatre. I have photographs of the hard copy program of this Oratorical contest in particular, as it was highly advertised. Both the College Glee Club and the Alumni Glee Club performed at this event and George F. Gubbins presented a Bass Solo.
1895-96, May 7th, 1896, Elocution Contest- Glee Club, Arnold D. McMahon (D or J?).jpg
Elocution Contest of May 7th, 1896, Arnold D. McMahon presents the piece, “The Burial of Dundee,” a nineteenth century poem by William E. Aytoun.
1895-96, May 20th, 1896, Chysostomian Society, Literary Exercises, Longfellow Essay.jpg
The Literary Exercises of May 20th, 1896, but the Chrysostomian Society. Another Bass Solo was performed by George F. Gubbins.
1895-96, Picture of St. Ignatius College- view from 11th street.jpg
An illustration of St. Ignatius College, View from Eleventh Street.
1895-96, Student Totals 494.jpg
Total Student Count at 494
1895-96, Thrusday, Feb. 13th, 1896, Schiller Theatre,
Performance of “Elma, the Last of the Saronidae” at the Schiller Theatre on February 13, 1896. I came across a photograph of the performance in the St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. i. Note that George G. Gubbins is cast as the Druid King, Nori and Arnold D. McMahon is cast as Elma.


1897-98, Camera Club- Henry J. Dumbach President.jpg
The St. Ignatius Camera Club, photographs in this catalogue of the campus departments were provided by the Camera Club. Henry J. Dumbach is listed as the club’s president.
1897-98, Elocution Course.jpg
A Course in Elocution is offered for the first time I noticed in my observation of the catalogues. The curriculum involves both vocal and gestural techniques.
1897-98, Instructor in Elocution, Mr. Joseph I. Sullivan.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is listed as an instructor in the Elocution course, another instance of intersection between Elocution and Theatre.
1897-98, Prepatory Department Instructor, Mr. Joseph I. Sullivan, English Branches.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is listed as a professor in the English Branch for Preparatory students.
1897-98, Prepatory Classes.jpg
The Preparatory Curriculum includes lessons in Christian Doctrine and is designed to prepare students for future courses.
Leading Events 1897-98, Performance of
The “Leading Events of the Year 1897-1898.” The program from the original Extravaganza, “The Lord Mayor of Krashtowl,” produced at Columbia Theatre by Junior Students on February 10th. The Euripidean play, “Ion” was performed by the Senior students at the Schiller Theatre on December 28th. I referenced a photograph of this performance in an earlier blog post about the St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. i.


1898-99, Joseph I. Sullivan listed as Dramatic Instructor.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is listed as the college’s dramatic instructor. He is the only dramatic instructor I encountered in reading the catalogues.
1904-05, Thursday Dec. 29th, 1898, Columbia Theatre, The Upstart.jpg
“The Upstart,” performed at the Columbia Theatre on December 29th, 1898. A photograph of this performance also appears in the St. Ignatius College Photograph Album, vol. i. Note that the student Edgar Cook is cast as Covielle. Cook becomes a student I track later in the catalogues.


1899-1900, Dec. 28th 1899,
“The Prince and the Pauper,” performed at the Columbia Theatre by the Students of St. Ignatius on December 28th, 1899.

Catalogues of St Ignatius College 1889-1895

Note: it is possible some years may be excluded due to unchanging information from the previous years.


The Chrysostomian Debating Society (Honors Society) persons “Landmarks of Our Language” on March 5, 1890. The literary symposium includes readings of Caedmon, Chaucer, and Shakespeare (presented by Maurice J. Donoghue).
The first mention I came across of a Drama Club, called “The Loyola Dramatic Club.” Note Maurice J. Donoghue serves on the club’s board as treasurer.
1889-90, Awards Vincent J. Walsh.jpg
I noticed Vincent J. Walsh won many awards for a few years in a row, later he serves on the board of the Alumni Association. In this catalogue he wins the First Premiums in Christian Doctrine, Latin, Greek, and English.
1889-90, Dec. 26, 1889,
“The Triumph of Justice,” performed by the members of the Loyola Dramatic Club on December 26th, 1889. The character Gaspardo is played by a Joseph Sullivan. This could be evidence that Mr. Joseph Sullivan, the alumni director of “The Upstart” in 1898, was a member of the drama club when he attended the college.
1889-90, Jan. 15, 1890,
“If I Were A King” presented by the Members of the Loyola Dramatic Club on January 15th, 18890. The character Alberto is played by Maurice Donoghue.
1889-90, Sodality of the Blessed Virigin Mary Organization (claims it started in 1872).jpg
Maurice J. Donohuge acts as first assistant for “The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”


1890-91, Feb. 5, 1981, Grand Opera House,
“The Black Knight” performed by the Loyola Dramatic Club of St. Ignatius at the Grand Opera House, February 5th, 1891. You will notice many of the same students are involved in the drama club’s productions. I am attempting to suggest students involved in productions at St. Ignatius were the types of students to be heavily involved in many activities. I also collected information on many students examination scores and many were students on honor roll.
1890-91, Joseph I. Sullivan in student Roster as First Academic.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is enrolled in this year studying the First Academic coursework.
1890-91, The Gold Medal in Elocution, secon class, Joseph I. Sullivan, mentioned William J. Donoghue.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan wins the Gold Medal in the Second Class of Elocution Contests, with William J. Donoghue as an honorable mention. George F. Gubbins receives a tie in the Gold Medal in the Third Class.
1890-91, The Loyola Dramatic Club.jpg
The Loyola Dramatic Club receives a new board and William J. Donoghue serves as a Censor.
1890-91, The Sodality of The Blessed Virgin Mary, Consultors- Joseph I. Sullivan.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan serves as a Consultor for “The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary.”
1890-1890, Dec. 26 1890, Entertainment by the Junior Students,
“The Rising of the Moon” and “The Child-Crusaders” performed by the Junior students at College Hall, December 26th, 1890. The play’s title evokes themes of Catholic history.
The First Academic Class performs “A Trip to Greece with Nepos as Our Guide” on November 24th, 1890. Joseph I. Sullivan performs a solo, “God Bless You.”
1890-1891, Dec. 15 1891,
“The Quest of the Golden Fleece” is performed by the Class of the Humanities, December 15th, 1890. Vincent Walsh presents an original verse translation of “Winning the Fleece in Colchis” and a criticism of Ovid’s style.
Senior Elocution Class, The Maniac (Lewis) given by Joseph I. Sullivan.jpg
Senior Elocution class, both William J. Donoghue and Joseph I. Sullivan present.


1891-92, Dec. 12th, 1891,
“The Merchant of Venice” analyzed as part of a study on December 12th, 1891.
1891-92, Character Sketches.jpg
‘The Merchant of Venice” study an analysis event has a performative element due to the presentation of character sketches.
1891-92, English Curriculum, Longfellow and Tennyson, Shakespeare's Merchant of Venice.jpg
“Coppens’ Practical Introduction” in Curriculum for the Class of Poetry, along with Longfellow. Shakespeare’s Merchant of Venice in the curriculum provides further evidence for “The Merchant of Venice” class specimen of December 12th, 1891.
1891-92, The Loyola Dramatic Club, Censor, William J. Donoghue.jpg
The Loyola Dramatic Club


College Lecture Hall in the Photo Album of St. Ignatius, vol. IV.

1892-93, College Lecture Hall, St. Ignatius College.jpg


1892-93, May 24th 1893, Oratorical and Elocution contest- William J. Donoghue.jpg
Senior Oratorical Contest of May 24th, 1893. Vincent J. Walsh performs “The World’s Fair–Its Lesson to Chicago” and William J. Donoghue performs “Herculaneum.” 
1892-93, Picture of Holy Family Church, St. Ignatius College.jpg
The Holy Family Church, adjacent to St. Ignatius College. 
1892-93, The Loyola Dramatic Club, William J. Donoghue now the Treasurer.jpg
William J. Donoghue serves as treasurer of The Loyola Dramatic Club, and George F. Gubbins serves as a censor. 


1893-94, Student Total at 446.jpg
Total Student Population at 446. 
1893-94, The Loyola Dramatic Club.jpg
This is the first mention of the Student’s Library Association that I encountered. 


1894-95, Alumni Association, Treasurer, Vincent J. Walsh.jpg
Vincent J. Walsh serves as Treasurer of the Alumni Association.
1894-95, Elocution Gold Medal, four class given to Arnold D. McMahon.jpg
Arnold D. McMahon wins the Gold Medal in Elocution in the Fourth Class.
1894-95, Register of Alumni, Joseph I. Sullivan.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan appears in the registry of members of the Alumni Association.
1894-95, Societies.jpg
Societies include the Alumni Association, The Sodality of the Blessed Virgin Mary, The Chrysostomian Debating Society, the Scientific Academy, the Orchestra, and the Camera Club. The Loyola Dramatic Club is no longer listed.

Catalogues of St. Ignatius College 1880-1889

The catalogue blog posts will be more sparse, in that they will be contained to photo captions unless the require an external link, considering much of their content is repeated year to year. These posts are meant to establish a greater sense for the daily activities and community of St. Ignatius and Loyola Academy that was the foundation for its stage performances. I have gathered information on every year’s “Daily Order,” tuition, terms, and faculty between 1880-1910.


Daily Order 1880.jpg
The Daily Order, Tuition is $40 per 10 Months, Classes are heavily humanities based: Latin, Greek, Physics, Chemistry, Penmanship, Book-keping, German, French, Religious Instruction, Mathematics or Arithmetic, English, Geography, and History
1880, Poetry Class.jpg
Example of a poetry class (sophomore year) curriculum with classical authors and an emphasis the centuries of Augustan and Romantic literature.


1882-83, The German Academy, The St. Caecilia Society.jpg
First appearance of the St. Caecilia Society. The organization acts as a choir or Glee Club.
13th Annual Commencement, Programe, St Cecilia Choir.jpg
The St. Cecilia Choir performs for the thirteenth Annual Commencement, which, despite the misspelling, could most certainly be The St. Caecilia Society. A lecture on “The Augustan Age,” is indicative of an emphasis on eighteenth century poetry in the curriculum.


1884-85, Summary of total in departments=306.jpg
The study body total in 306 (remember the Loyola University advertisement in The New World that broadcasted having a student body of over 1,600?)


1885-86 Donations to the Library and Museum.jpg
Throughout the catalogues, inventory of donations to the library and the museums of the department of mineralogy and natural history are made. Donations are various samples of nature artifacts and taxidermied animals.
1885-86, Academic Circle, Feb 2d, 1886, Selection from the "Mikado" by the Orchestra, Scene from "King John," Selection "Mr. Smith" delivered by John F. Fitzgerald .jpg
Both the scientific circle and academic circle held events around the same time. The scientific circle held a demonstration on properties of combustion. The academic circle’s program, above, featured a musical selection from “Gilbert and Sullivan’s” Mikado, supposedly performed by the Students of St. Ignatius. The program also includes a performance of a scene from “King John.”


1886-87 The Classical Course- "this is the only Course that fully develops all the faculties, forms a correct taste, teaches the student how to use his powers to the best advantage...".jpg
Classical course description claims that it is the only course “that fully develops all the faculties, forms a correct taste…and teaches [the student] to excel in any pursuit.” The emphasis on the study of Classics as an integral part of a proper education is interesting to our modern context.
1886-87, Joseph I. Sullivan-Catalogue of Students, studies Prepatory Elementary.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan listed as a Preparatory and Elementary student. This is most likely Joseph I. Sullivan, director of “The Upstart” in 1898, perhaps the coordinator of the tableau vivant classical models and dramatic instructor at St. Ignatius.
1886-87, Award of Premiums, Distinguished in Reading, Joseph I. Sullivan.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is awarded the first premium in History and Geography for the Preparatory Class.

In the photograph below, “Coppens’ Oratorical Composition is on the curriculum. It can be supposed it is the literature of Rev. Charles Coppens, who would be celebrated at the   Golden Jubilee of September 29th, 1915, for having been a Jesuit Priest for 50 years and an instructor at St. Ignatius

1886-87, Class of Rhetoric, Dramatic Poetry- one of the objects of the class


1887-88, Chrysostomian Debating Society.jpg
The Chysostomian Society, claiming to have originated in 1875, acts as a sort of “Honors Society,” as the president is appointed by faculty and the organization’s object is to critically analyze and discuss literature. 
1887-88, Joseph I. Sullivan in Third Commercial.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is enrolled as a Third Commercial student. “Third” refers to the class number (like a section) and “Commercial” refers to study with the object of pursuing a commercial career. 
1887-88, Third Class Commercial awards, Gold Medal Next in Merit, Joseph I. Sullivan.jpg
Joseph I. Sullivan is next in merit for the Gold Medal of the Third Commercial Class. 


1888-89 Daily Order and Terms
The Daily Order is the same as it was in 1880, I include this photo to demonstrate how it does not change for many years. 


Scrapbook “History of St Ignatius College, 1877, 1913-1917,” Conclusions

In this scrapbook, we observed the advertisement techniques of the original play “The Only Way,” and explored some of the background of the play’s author, Ignatius P. Walsh. I located a resurrection of the Cardinal Wiseman play “The Hidden Gem” at St. Ignatius. I learned about alumni and former professorial relationships with the university. Alumni would have their own shows performed at the college, including the dramatic reading of “Cyrano de Bergerac” in 1917. My last case study in the “Interesting Finds!” section of the previous post was on the development of the Catholic Instruction League because anti-theatrical sentiments toward vaudeville seem to parallel larger distrust of secularism in the education system. The close relationship between theatre performance and education at St. Ignatius through 1880-19-17 (as I’ve found it in my research thus far) also seems to run parallel to the League’s efforts because of plays’ emphases on morality. The sense of morality claimed by “The Only Way” is an example.

Scrapbook “History of St Ignatius College, 1877, 1913-1917,” Findings on St. Ignatius and Loyola Performances

In this scrapbook, I found evidence of much of the same advertisement techniques for theatre performances as in the last scrapbook. One play that stuck out to me was “The Only Way,” by Ignatius Walsh, the author of “The House of Sand,” which I previously learned was sold by the Loyola University Press.

St. Ignatius College, "The Only Way," Ignatius Walsh, Central Music Hall, Feb. 17th, 1917.jpg
“The Only Way” written by Ignatius Walsh, performed at Central Music Hall, February 17th, 1917.
Photograph of Ignatius P. Walsh, A.B. '17, Winner of first place in Intercollegiate Latin Contest.jpg
Ignatius P. Walsh, in 1917

I found more evidence of Ignatius Walsh’s activities as a student. In the picture below, he is credited with delivering “Spirit of Our Fathers” at the Loyola Oratorical Association, Annual Oratorical Contest, St. Ignatius College, College Hall, Wed. April 26th, 1916.

Loyola Oratorical Association, Annual Oratorical Contest, St. Ignatius College, College Hall, Wed. April 26th, 1916, "Spirit of Our Fathers"- Ignatius P. Walsh.jpg
Ignatius P. Walsh recites “Spirit of Our Fathers” at the Annual Oratorical Contest of 1916.

“The Only Way” received attention from Chicago press, and it is unclear at how precisely this was accomplished in general,  prior to the opening night of the college’s plays.  In The New World article below, “The Only Way” is described as “a modern play of political intrigue and crookedness.” The production was directed by a professor of elocution at St. Ignatius, J. Harry Marston-Flynn, which supports my emphasis on the relationship between elocution contests and theatre performance. The annual Naghten Debate is mentioned at the end of the article.

New World, Jan 19th, 1917, "The Only Way" article advertisement.jpg

In the article below, The Chicago Tribune, on February 13th, 1917, confirms that Ignatius Walsh is a student at St. Ignatius, and that the play’s venues were the Strand Theatre, with Central Music Hall as its second venue (gathered from the first ticket featured in this post). Tribune, Feb. 13, 1917, advertisement, "The Only Way"- produced last evening at the Strand theatre, and a second performance was planned owing to the large numbers unable to procure seats for the first production.jpg

The acting in “The Only Way” is reviewed in The New World Article below, published after the performances of the play. The article claims Ignatius Walsh was the lead in the play. The article mentions “The House of Sand” and explains that Walsh is the president of the Oratorical Association at St. Ignatius, holds medals in Latin, Oratory, and general scholarship, and is the editor of the Loyola University Magazine (as the current vice-president of Loyola University’s Literary and Arts Magazine, this fact is important to me). The article reviews the acting in the play: “The players had the direction and coaching of some of the best dramatic talent in the city, and all things considered, “The Only Way” can compare favorably with any college play staged in Chicago within recent years.” The opposition between secularized drama and moral/religious drama resisting vaudeville becomes apparent in the following quotation:

“The drama itself is unusual in this day of scenic extravaganzas, in that it has a serious purpose and an ethical theme. It is a return to the old standards which critics and students of the drama have prescribed as the only cure for the present deplorable condition of the stage. Mr. Walsh is to be congratulated on his piece of work. St. Ignatius lived up to the dramatic standards which it set formerly in Mr. Fitzgerald’s “The Right Idea.”

If you remember, we assessed the popularity of “The Right Idea” in a previous scrapbook.

New World, Feb. 23, 1917, "The Only Way" review.jpg

St. Ignatius College Play, "The Only Way," Ignatius Walsh ticket, Strand Theatre, Feb 15th, 1917.jpg
Alternate Venue Ticket, “The Only Way” at the Strand Theatre

New World, Feb. 2nd, 1917, Vice President of the Loyola Oratorical Society Ignatius P. Walsh.jpg

"The Only Way St. Ignatius" button.jpg
“The Only Way” support button, evidence of the play’s popularity or an ability for affiliates of the university to create merchandize surrounding the play to advertise its performance.

In the following article, the word elocution is replaced by the phrase “professor of public speaking” in reference to J. Harry Marston-Flynn.

College Men Present Play, in Central Music Hall, "The Only Way," written by Ignatius P. Walsh of the senior class- "Mr. Walsh is playing the lead".jpg

In addition to attention from the press, “The Only Way” was advertised, much like “The Right Idea,” with letters sent personally inviting members of other colleges and alumni.

Invitation to a lady, Jan 31st 1917 for "The Only Way".jpg
Letter sent to the Sister schools requesting attendance at “The Only Way.”
Letter inviting Alumni to "The Only Way" for "old times sake" .jpg
Letter sent to alumni requesting attendance at “The Only Way.”

I became very interested in Ignatius Walsh’ involvement with his school magazine and its potential relationship with his playwriting. I found evidence of two potential magazine contenders in this scrapbook that could have been the publication for which Ignatius Walsh was the editor. The first piece of evidence, was a manuscript of “The Three A,” printed in purple ink (I think of the Mardi-Gras concert program). The magazine is fairly large and contains short stories, prose, and jokes. I

The Three A-publication.jpg

On the page of the magazine below titled “Klass Kronicle,” joke prose works titled “The Greek Contest,” “Treasures Report,” and “The Hospital List.” The bottom of the page humorously says “those blessed (?) EXAMS are here again!!!!!! (‘Nuff sed).”

The Three A-publication, Klass Kronicle.jpg

The next piece of evidence for a possible magazine Ignatius Walsh could have worked on is referred to as the “Shrapnel” and the pages included in the scrapbook I read were full of comics.

Editorial note- Shrapnel.jpg
Editorial Notice of the “Shrapnel.”
"Jugged!"- Shrapnel.jpg
Comic in the “Shrapnel.” The word “jugged” in this context could refer to a sense of imprisonment.

Another play I saw performed at St. Ignatius is Cardinal Wiseman’s “The Hidden Gem,” performed by the Student of St. Ignatius Academy May 29th, 1914.

The Hidden Gem, St. Ignatius Academy, at Holy Family School Hall, May 29th, 1914.jpg

I have encountered this play several times in my research. The photographs below on the far left, is the inside program for “The Hidden Gem” performed at St. Xavier, the photograph on the far right is an unknown school’s performance of “The Hidden Gem.” I also found performances of “The Hidden Gem” by St. Mary’s Kansas and Marquette College. The center photograph is actually of a performance of “The Hidden Gem” by the Junior Students of St. Ignatius College for Yule-Tide Entertainment December 28th, 1892. I know that this is a performance by St. Ignatius Chicago because the role of Proculus was played by George F. Gubbins, who played Nori, the Druid King, in “Elma, The Last of the Saronidae” alongside Arnold D. McMahon on February 13th, 1896.

The following set of photos was interesting to me because I wondered why an article on a scandal would be kept by the creator of the magazine. The article explains how a former Loyola Professor of languages, Henry Landwirth, was seized by the police in his home for what I understand to be counterfeit marriage license. The most interesting part of the article for my research purposes is that he mentions he wrote a “poetic drama…entitled ‘Ideal in Suffering,” which he claims likens him to Edgar Allen Poe. I am hoping to search for record of this play in phase 2 of my research.

Chicago--American, March 20 1917, "henry Landwirth and the "wife" he took by a Hebrew poem" contract".jpg
Article from The Chicago Herald American, March 20, 1917.

Chicago--American, March 20 1917, "henry Landwirth and the "wife" he took by a Hebrew poem" contract," a professor of languages at Loyola University, I wrote a drama entitled "Ideal in Suffering".jpg

Tribune, "Former Professor Arrested After Siege"- His Poem Served Him As Marriage License Twice.jpg
Article on Henry Landwirth in The Chicago Tribune, March 20th, 1917.

In the program below, the Loyola Alumni present a dramatic reading of “Cyrano de Bergerac” on March 11, 1917 at the Powers’ Theatre. Given previous evidence of Alumni involvement with the Gymnastic exercises, it is possible to claim that some alumni continued to be strongly involved in the college after they graduated.

The Loyola University Alumnae, present Mr. Bertram Griffith Nelson in a reading of Edmond Rostand's Comedy, "Cyrano de Bergerac", March 11, 1917, Powers' Theatre.jpg

New World, "Loyola Alumnae Reunion Sunday" 1917, March 11 in Powers' Theatre.jpg
Article in The New World, February 16, 1917.

One subject of many of the collected articles and photographs in this scrapbook and the previous scrapbook of Miscellaneous Programmes is the Blessed Jeanne d’Arc Society of Loyola University. The society delivers an “illuminated lecture” or a lecture with photographic accompaniment dramatizing the life of Jeanne d’Arc. I have evidence from Chicago newspapers that the lecture became popular to some audiences.

Blessed Jeanne d'Arc, portrayed by the Jeanne d'Arc Club of Loyola University in an Illustrated Lecture, March 20th, Parish Auditorum.jpg

Interesting Finds! If you recall, in a previous post, I shared that I found evidence of a Minstrel Show performed by the Feehan Council of the Young Men’s Institute. The close association between the Holy Family Parish schools and St. Ignatius makes the notion of this performance disturbing to modern readers.

Booster Club of Holy Family Parish-"First Grand Old TIme Black Face Minstrel Show" Nov. 28th and 30th 1916.jpg

I also came across an illustration of St. Ignatius of Loyola himself, referred to in the same manner as by Leo H. Mullany, author of “The Dream of the Solider Saint,” published by the Loyola University Press.

Illustration of Loyola, The Soldier Saint.jpg

In this scrapbook, several documents were gathered concerning the “Catholic Instruction League,” which I understand to be a group of individuals who desired to bring Christian Doctrine or “morality” back into classrooms. The photograph below is a log of a meeting and the organization’s members.

Catholic Instruction League- Minutes Taken From--Committee Members

The letter below is from Archbishop Messmer writing to the Catholic clergy and laity to ask for support at a meeting of the Catholic Instruction League.

Catholic Instruction League, Archbishop from Milwaukee, encouraging attendance at meeting.jpg

In the letter below, Assistant Secretary to the Catholic Instruction League, Mary E. Sullivan writes to Rev. John Mathery of Loyola University Chicago to announce a petition that a “course in Christian Doctrine be conducted during the approaching school year…for the the Sisters and the members of the League.” The University is being asked to provide a certain “brand” of education, and was most likely seen as an ally for articles published in the Chicago Press, like the one by former president Rev. A.J. Burrowes demanding “morality” be taught in schools.

Catholic Instruction Leage, request for a course in Christian Doctrine at St. Mary's High School.jpgIt is interesting to consider the Catholic opinion of early twentieth century theatre–the review of “The Only Way” in The New World called present forms of theatre “deplorable”–when paired with the dilemma apparent with the formation of the Catholic Instruction League. It seems nearly reminiscent of anti-theatrical sentiment by the Puritans in Jacobean England. The Minstrel show and vaudeville performances could have been seen as corrupt, so it is interesting that St. Ignatius was occasionally involved in the production of these shorts of theatre (example: vaudeville at the Gymnastics Exercises).

Article- "The Catholic Instruction League Grows".jpg
Article printed 1919
Catholic Instruction League, Letter to Captain Crippen, Morals Inspector, nude female pictures exposed publicly in the saloons- please investigate, Secretary Morals Committee John Pope.jpg
Letter sent to the Chicago Police asking for nude photographs to be removed from public view from the Secretary of the Morals Committee of the Catholic Instruction League, John F. Pope.

To end this post on a lighter note, I found a copy of the sheet music of Loyola University’s alma matter song, “Loyola U” printed by Loyola University Press and I’m led to believe this may be one of the first print editions of the song in this format.

Loyola "U"- sheet music published by Loyola University.jpg


Scrapbook “History of St. Ignatius College, 1907-1916,” Conclusions

My primary conclusions about this scrapbook are an emphasis from St. Ignatius College on original composition, from both students and professors. I saw through the direction of Frederick Karr on the plays “In the Fool’s Bauble” (1907) and “Richelieu” (1908) the potential of valuing seventeenth century French theatre for its establishment of the neoclassical “standard.” The construction of the Loyola University campus and the creation of the Loyola University Press allowed plays produced by Loyola and St. Ignatius affiliates to be sold and possibly spread. I learned that methods of advertisement for plays took the form of published articles in Chicago newspapers and letters and forms personally inviting members of other colleges and alumni to attend.

Scrapbook “History of St. Ignatius College, 1907-1916,” Findings on St. Ignatius and Loyola University Performances

For this blog post, I would first like to note that the scrapbooks did not have its documents in chronological order and so my observations are arranged in the order I encountered certain materials. I came across articles on Edmund F. Curda, the student who played the Jester for “In the Fool’s Bauble,” in my search to learn more about the students acting in the plays performed at St. Ignatius. The Chicago Tribune article featured below explains that Curda won First Honors in an Oratorical Contest. I was able to find a few other articles that awarded students for winning Oratorical and Elocution contests, but it is interesting to speculate why the creator of the scrapbooks decided to keep the articles about certain students when so many won contests. Edmund Curda seems to have been a star pupil at St. Ignatius (he was even a Rhodes Scholar).

Chicago Tribune, March 24th,

The above article dates on March 24th, while the one below dates on March 27th of Curda’s junior year. The article below explains that Curda won the Elocution gold medal in 1904 and “the class medal for the highest record of the year as a sophomore.” Curda’s address is mentioned, which is something I found to occur in articles about students in this scrapbook.

Sunday Record Herald, Edmund F. Curda, March 27th, Award in Oratory.jpg

I tried to see if I could learn more about Edmund Curda’s life. I found his obituary records, having died at the age of 78. I was able to gauge it was the correct Edmund Curda because the record says he was born in Cook County, Chicago and it denotes his birth as having been in 1889, and in the article below of 1907, it claims he was 19. It claims he won the senior class prize in Elocution and so we can assume the two previous articles are potentially from 1906. The article explains that Curda has been in the college for six years and has won five medals in that amount of time.

The Chicago Record Herald, Winners of Gold Medal at St. Ignatius Contest, Edmund F. Curda.jpg

In the article from the Journal feature below, Edmund Curda’s name is misprinted as “Edmund F. Curdy.” The resemblance between the photos has led me to believe there is not both an Edmund Curda and an Edmund Curdy to follow The article explains that that Curda, along with four other students, won Rhodes Scholarships at Oxford University.

Rhodes Scholars-

After researching an example of one student who performed in plays, I encountered programs for other types of events. One event that I came upon frequently was the occasion of the “Golden Jubilee” that would celebrate a reverend’s priesthood. The Golden Jubilee of September 29th, 1915. The event is significant and in the second photo below, the event was celebrated by The True Voice, seeing as Rev. Charles Coppens had been a Jesuit Priest for 50 years and was an instructor at St. Ignatius. In my later exploration of the course catalogues of St. Ignatius, I saw that many publications by Coppens were incorporated into the curricula of many classes.

St. Ignatius College, Golden Jubilee, Wednesday, Sep. 29th, 1915.jpg

The True Voice, Coppens, S.J. Golden Jubilee.jpg

The next evidence of a play I encountered was of a performance of the Sir Edward lytton Bulwer play, “Richelieu” at the Powers’ Theatre in the December of 1908. The article below regards how “Jesuit colleges have always been noted for their dramatic productions” and “it is expect that the St. Ignatius play this year will be up to the usual high standard.” These lines indicate to me the centrality of theatre performance at this time to Jesuit education.

St. Ignatius, article on Richelieu at the Powers' Theatre on December 28th, and 29th.jpg

The Chicago Inter Ocean also published an article, featured below, on “Richelieu” at St. Ignatius College on December 24th, 1908 and explained that the Glee Club sang for the play and the play was accompanied by the college orchestra.

Inter Ocean, Dec. 24th, 1908, St Ignaitus College Students, to perform

The article below, from The New World explains that “Cardinal Richelieu is one of the famous characters of history, he has been drawn for us, according to Bulwer’s conception, in a strong, vigorous fashion, so that he seems to live and breathe before us in the lines of the play, as the true architect of the French monarchy…” In addition to a historical importance in portraying Cardinal Richelieu on the Jesuit stage, I think there is theatrical importance because Cardinal Richelieu in the “Le Cid” controversy of 1637, was the one to confront the French Academié and establish the regulations of verisimilitude that characterized French neoclassicism and set a standard for the theatre of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. I noticed at this point after reading the article below that the “director of amateur actors” for “In the Fool’s Bauble” produced in 1907 was Frederick Karr, and so his direction of “Richelieu” seems united in how both plays are concerned with French theatre.

New World, Performance of

I began to see evidence of a developing Loyola University. Some of the largest being from the article below from the Chicago Daily Journal, on the construction of the university.

Chicago Daily Journal-

At this point in the scrapbook, (I have become incredibly impressed at how it is constructed), articles for the new Loyola University appear. In The New World, an advertisement was published on August 25th, 1916, to draw students to the university and its departments.

New World, 1916, Loyola University Advertisement, High schools listed.jpg

I also found a ticket for the “First Annual Debate” between the Loyola Oratorical Association of St Ignatius College (there was a blending of Loyola and St. Ignatius at this point) and the Marquette Debating Society of Campion College, Wisconsin. I followed the programs and the event continued for all of the years that I observed.

Loyola Oratorical Assoc. of St. Ignatius College, vs. Marquette Debating Society, First Annual Debate, College Hall, April 15, 1915.jpg

The first play I saw marked as a “Loyola University Play” was called “The Right Idea,” (1913)  by James Fitzgerald, who I imagine could have been a student.

Loyola University, 1913,

The ticket below explains that the venue was the Whitney Opera House (Barrot Central Theatre) and the play was performed on Saturday, January 25th, 1913.

Students of Loyola University,

I found many letters of correspondence between Henry H. Regnet and catholic instructors from various colleges about ordering tickets for “The Right Idea.” In the letter below, Henry H. Regnet, S.J. encloses tickets for “The Right Idea” for a Sister and the Eighth Grade Boys to attend on February 1st, 1913.

Letter back to the sister, tickets for

In the letter below, Sister M. Louisa thanks Henry Regnet for the tickets to see the play, claiming “The Right Idea” was certainly “The Right Idea.”

Less personal correspondence was made as well, below someone from the Sisters of Charity School asks for eight tickets to attend the play. This printed form suggests new methods of advertising theatre at Loyola University and ensuring a large audience.

Ticket form for “The Right Idea.” Note that “Positively no girls” are to be admitted, an interesting note (possible an attempt at humor) for a contemporary reader.

Another development I noticed was the Loyola University Press. The play “The House of Sand,” an original play by Ignatius Walsh, is advertised below as purchasable from Loyola University Press by other colleges for student performance. The emphasis on the question “do you want a play with a moral?” seems to be related to articles I will mention as an “Interesting Find!” on increasing concern that Christian Doctrine and morality was being taught less in schools.

I did some digging on Ignatius Walsh and found that an Ignatius P. Walsh delivered an address at the Rev. Coppens Golden Jubilee on September 29th, 1915.

Address by Ignatius P. Walsh, St. Ignatius College, Golden Jubilee, Wednesday, Sep. 29th, 1915, inside program 2.jpg

In the program below for the annual Naghten Prize Debate of December 13, 1915, an Ignatius Walsh presented the Introductory Remarks. I am under the impression he was another star pupil, if he had been a professor it would be likely he would be listed as a “Mr. Ignatius Walsh.”

Naghten Prize Debate, Dec. 13, 1916,

I found one lecture that was also an original composition of a St. Ignatius affiliate, that became quite successful, and was printed and sold by the Loyola University Press. The presentation, entitled, “The Dream of the Soldier Saint,” is the story of St. Ignatius and it was written by Leo H. Mullany.

Copy of

In the advertisement below, “The Dream of the Soldier Saint” is being sold to provide challenging reading material for students who have not yet determined their “vocations.” 

Interesting Find! In accordance with the Jesuit emphasis on charity work, the article below explains that the Glee Club of St. Ignatius made an appearance at an “insane asylum,” where a theatrical sketch called “The Early Vows” was performed for patients. The language in this article is a bit troubling to a modern audience and reveals much about early twentieth sentiments toward mental health.

St. Ignatius Glee Club performs for the

As I mentioned earlier in this post, urgency rose to teach Christian Doctrine in school as secularism became pronounced at the end of the nineteenth century. The president of St. Ignatius College, A. J. Burrowes, in the Tribune article of August 15, 1909 below, argues that “teaching morality” is one of the essential aspects of a proper education.