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