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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.