Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart

Duchesne Academy of the Sacred Heart, an Omaha college-preparatory school for girls, has in important place in the history of Creighton University.  For a period starting in 1925, Duchesne College – Duchesne had a college from 1908 to 1968 – officially served as the Creighton College of Women.  Duchesne students appeared in the Creighton yearbooks, and the women’s degrees were given by Creighton.  A look through the Duchesne section of the 1929 Bluejay gives an idea of how close the two institutions were.

This summer we added to that shared history.  We at the University Archives have been delighted to have Duchesne High School student Vivian Caniglia volunteer as an intern in the University Archives.  Vivian spent part of June, July and August working on a variety of projects.  Her last day at Creighton was Tuesday, and she is already back in classes at Duchesne.  Thank you, Vivian, for your excellent work!


In Vivian’s honor, we post one of her favorite images from our photographic collections.  This photo of four young women on the steps of the Administration Building (now called Creighton Hall) was taken in 1938.


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St. John’s construction, “Then and Now” edition

Two weeks in a row of “Then and Now” entries!  I’d like to say it is because last week’s was so well received – and hopefully it was – but the truth is I wrote this before heading out of town on vacation.

The heart of our campus, St. John’s Church, is undergoing some big changes.

SteepleAug2014Workers on cranes are repairing stonework on the 127-year-old building.

PlazaSideAug2014 A new addition on the west side, to be completed (hopefully) by late 2014, will feature an elevator that will make the church more accessible.

The current construction reminds me of a favorite photo from 1977 that shows one of the last major structural additions to St. John’s.

2nd steepleAlthough the original church design called for a second steeple, it was not until 1977 that the southeast corner finally got a spire.  Father Doll took this photo just before the crane lifted the new piece into place.

I’ll try to remember to post a couple of photos once the project is completed.

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24th Street construction, “Then and Now” edition

24th Street passes north-south through the heart of the Creighton campus.  This summer, drivers on 24th have had to deal with construction to repair the retaining wall that extends from Deglman Circle to the Old Gym.
Compare the photo above, taken with a phone last month, of men wielding jackhammers while a skid loader hauls chunks of concrete with the photo below.

This 1910 photo was taken when 24th Street was first extended along (what was then) the east edge of the university.  Wheelbarrows and hand tools are seen against the brand new retaining wall.

I don’t know anything about the workers from a century ago, but a few of the guys working in this summer’s heat have been very friendly and helpful.  My thanks go, in particular, to the two gentlemen who helped with traffic last week as I transferred collections between our main storage and the Archives Annex.

I’ll try to remember to post a couple of photos once the project is completed.

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Farewell to college joys, we sail at break of day

We were excited to see an article in the Omaha World-Herald this week about Vice Admiral Tom Copeman, USN, who graduated from Creighton in 1981. He is about to complete a two-year tour as commander of U.S. Naval Surface Forces. As you read the World-Herald article, take a good look at the photo of the clean cut officer – and then see if you can pick him out of this Phi Kappa Psi photo from the 1980 yearbook.  (The answer appears at the end of this post.)

TomCopeman_1980Yearbook_cropped If you want to search for the answer yourself, all of the Bluejay yearbooks are available online.  In fact, they’ve been online for a while, but we recently launched a new and improved system for browsing Creighton Bluejay yearbooks online.*

1980yearbookTimelineHere’s a screenshot, but you can check the actual timeline out at our website here. We hope you’ll find the new interface to be easier and more efficient to use.

ANSWER: The young, mustachioed Tom Copeman is 4th from the left in the back row. Good luck and fair winds to Vice Admiral Copeman on his next adventure.


Patrick Murray (Class of 2012) came up with the clever title (and the bulk of the content) for this week’s blog.  If you don’t recognize the words, they come from “Anchor’s Aweigh.”  We also bid farewell to Patrick this week, who as I write this is driving across the country on his way home.  Twice now, a generous supporter has made it possible for Patrick to return temporarily to the University Archives.  Words do not adequately express my appreciation to Patrick for all he has done and to our donor for making it all possible.

* Special thanks to Katherine Joyce, who did excellent work to produce the timeline for us.  If you like it, leave a comment to let us know.  I’ll make sure that Katherine sees your good words.


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In Memoriam: Fr. Pat Malone, S.J. (1959 – 2014)

We were saddened to learn of the passing today of Pat Malone, S.J.  As pastor of St. John’s Church here on campus, Fr. Pat helped the University Archives several times.  He figured prominently in our efforts to find proper homes for religious relics that had been in our holdings.  He will be missed by many.  Rest in peace, Fr. Pat.

StMaryMagdRelicFr. Pat helped relocate this relic of St. Mary Magdalene to a parish here in Omaha.  Today is the feast day of St. Mary Magdalene.

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Deglman Hall 1950s

This week’s offering: A couple of favorite images showing dorm life in the late 1950s.  (For you younger readers, we used to call residence halls “dorms.”)  Both were taken at Deglman Hall.  I would guess at least one was staged – unless watching someone iron was considered fun back then.
1957, Students in Deglman Hall Laundry1957, Student Barber Shop, Deglman HallWe would be glad to know the names of the young gentlemen in these two photos.  Let us know if you recognize anyone.

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Summer Habits

The distinctive attire of women religious was a common sight at Creighton for decades of summers.  In 1913, Creighton started a Summer School largely to provide teacher training for nuns who taught in parish schools.  Sisters from several orders came to campus to take courses that would help them when they returned to their own classrooms in the fall.

PhysInst1111_1965_1045_0019This pair participated in a Physics Institute in 1965.

It was common to gather for formal and informal group photos while on campus.


This 1922 photograph was taken just north of the main campus building (which we now call Creighton Hall), with the photographer likely positioned on the observatory platform.

SummerInst1111_1962_1045_0131This small group posed outside of Gallagher Hall in 1962.

1966Nuns1111_1966_1810_0048The women let a priest (near the back) join in this 1966 photograph.

Leave a comment to share your memories of seeing – or being – a nun participating in one of the summer programs at Creighton.

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Great Higginses of Creighton University, Part II

Last month,our D-Day post praised Andrew Jackson Higgins, a former Creighton high school student.  This week we celebrate Mary Higgins, CCAS ’73, who made an even greater mark on the University during her thirty-nine years here at Creighton.

HigginsMary1Here is a photo of Mary from the 1980s, during her seventeen-year tenure as head coach of the “Lady Jays” softball team. During this time she earned a unique spot in the NCAA record books for coaching in two of the three longest games in NCAA history: 31- and 25-inning games on consecutive days!  During her time on the hilltop, she also served as an administrator, assistant athletic director, and an academic adviser to countless Creighton students.

This week, Mary embarks on a new adventure as president of Omaha’s Marian High School. We congratulate Marian High School on their great choice. Best of luck, Mary!

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Ahead of their time

As you know, today is the fiftieth anniversary of President Johnson’s signing of the Civil Rights Act, a landmark piece of legislation that outlawed discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. Our hometown of Omaha has a fascinating, though checkered, history when it comes to race relations. One of the leaders in the fight against racism was the Omaha De Porres Club, led by Denny Holland and Fr. John Markoe, S.J., about whom we produced a digital exhibit in 2012.

We are pleased to announce that Matt Holland, a friend of the University Archives and the son of Denny Holland, has written and published a book entitled Ahead of Their Time: The Story of the Omaha De Porres Club. You may remember that Matt Holland gave last year’s Archives Lecture about the Club.

Check out the book on Amazon here. Congratulations, Matt! We can’t wait to read it.

For those interested in learning more about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the National Archives has a terrific blog post today with photographs, links, and other materials for your perusal.

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Austin Miller, SJ

Every so often, I come across photos or mentions of Austin Miller, SJ.

1111.0114.4045.0098Father Miller’s years at Creighton included stints as Dean of Men, head of the Creighton Institute of Industrial Relations (also called Institute of Labor Relations), director of the School of Adult Education, and founder of the Institute of Social Order.  He also is the focus of several intriguing photos in our collections.
dMaster1111_0114_1810_0121This 1951 model shows him with a model of an ear that he used to teach a class for parents of deaf children.
dMaster1111_0114_1057_0084I’m not sure where or when this photo was taken, but Father Miller (in long sleeves) apparently had some connection with ROTC.
1111.0114.4045.0104Here he is performing his priestly duties in the pulpit at St. Cecilia’s Cathedral in Omaha.

Please leave a comment to share your personal memories of Father Miller.

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