Cardinal Francis George (1937-2015)

Every week, we learn a little more about Creighton’s history.  Sometimes that comes through requests for information.  That happened this week, when a request came in for information about the late Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, who was laid to rest yesterday.

Some of you already knew – but we didn’t – that Cardinal Francis George taught in Creighton’s Philosophy Department early in his career.  He joined the faculty as an instructor in 1969, became Assistant Professor shortly after (when he completed his doctoral work for Tulane) and department chair from 1971 until he left Creighton in 1973.  While here the Rev. Francis George, OMI – you’ll notice he was not SJ – was one of five professors from Creighton listed in the 1973 edition of Outstanding Educators of America.  There is little additional information available here in the archives on this great man’s life and teaching career, though you can find him in the 1970, 1971, and 1973 yearbooks.

Cardinal Francis George devoted most of his time and priesthood to Chicago.  You can find many articles about his career with a simple Google search.  (The Chicago Tribune had a nice obituary that described his lengthy career – but the link I had for it no longer works.)

Unfortunately we do not have good photos of Prof. George from his days at Creighton, thus this entry has no images.  If any readers have such photos, please share them with University Archives.


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Donate blood, save a life

Next Monday (April 20, 10am – 4pm) and Tuesday (April 21, 9am – 3pm), the Creighton campus will host a Red Cross blood drive in the Student Center Ballroom.  You can schedule appointments online, if you like.

Click here to make a Monday (4/20) appointment

Click here to make a Tuesday (4/21) appointment

By donating, you will join in Creighton’s tradition of giving blood to help others which includes:

ReinertSJ1Rev. Carl Reinert, SJ, in the 1950s, when he was Creighton’s president; and

General Activities Blood Donor Novthese folks were in 1964 (let us know if you know their names).

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Creighton Blue

At the end of last week’s post, I promised this week would offer three things.  On Monday, we posted something borrowed.  Yesterday, we gave you our big announcement about new happenings for our department.  That leaves “something Creighton blue” for today.

2011_0004_2057_0001_croppedI originally had something else in mind for the Creighton blue entry, but I changed my mind after seeing the article in today’s Omaha World-Herald about Rev. John Schlegel, SJ, meeting Pope Francis.  If you were to ask people on campus or in the surrounding community to make a list of people synonymous with Creighton, individuals who are truly “Creighton blue,” most would name the well-dressed Jesuit priest who led our institution from 2000 to 2011.

Father Schlegel has been connected to Creighton since 1969, when he taught political science as a young scholastic.

schlegel5He returned to Creighton’s political science department again in 1978, after receiving his doctorate at Oxford, and soon took on administrative responsibilities here.

FrSchlegelInaguration2000President Schlegel’s inaugural in 2000

During his time as CU president (2000-2011), our university grew significantly.  (The entry in the Creighton “Presidential History” section accurately states “During the presidency of John P. Schlegel, S.J., (1943-    ) Creighton University experienced a period of unprecedented growth.”)  Truly, it is impossible to look at Creighton today without seeing Fr. Schlegel’s influence.

Two examples of Father Schlegel’s love for Creighton:
1. He was willing to leave the presidency of the Univ. of San Francisco to lead Creighton.  Many have mentioned that he had a verbal agreement – an unwritten clause in his USF contract – that allowed him to leave if Creighton ever called.  In other words, he was ready and willing to serve even before he was asked.

2. To care for artifacts of Creighton’s heritage, he made it possible for the University Archives to have a full-time professional archivist.  I am grateful to him for that (and I hope you are, too).

One more favorite image, a caricature from the John P. Schlegel Papers


All of us at Creighton’s Attic wish the best for Fr. Schlegel as he continues to battle pancreatic cancer.  You’re in our prayers, Father.

This will be our last post this week.  We hope you are blessed this Holy Week and that have a joyous and relaxing Easter.

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Hear ye! Hear ye!

At the end of last week’s post, I promised a “big announcement of something new.”  For us, this qualifies as a big announcement.


We of the University Archives are pleased to announce that our department is now University Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections.  We will continue our work to develop Creighton’s archives – and there are some good things to announce on that front in the near future – and we will also have responsibility for the rare books and special collections of Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library and the Health Sciences Library.  The staffs of the two libraries continue to be great, supportive partners.  Given the special storage and display needs for each, the idea to combine the three areas made a lot of sense.  We have already started a few small shifts to our website, and it will be largely reorganized in upcoming months (hopefully weeks).

RBR-straight copy-titled

The Rare Book Room at Reinert – which apparently many of you were unaware existed – houses rare and valuable print materials ranging from 15th-century religious materials to U.S. historical items to first editions of prominent 20th-century writers.  This wonderful resource has been underutilized, but we have plans to remedy that.

  • We already have created an internship opportunity, with the assistance of the English Department.  Our first Rare Books intern, Catherine Pedigo, is working hard to survey the collections and help determine what to promote.
  • We will use our website and social media to feature significant collections and items.
  • We will improve access to the room, hopefully soon, by instituting regular open hours.  We won’t be open full time, but we hope to have a schedule established once we make a few physical changes to the space.

If you want to know more of what is planned, keep checking here or at the new Rare Books website.

The Rare Book Room has already hosted our incoming president, Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, SJ.  The RBR was the site last week for photo and video shoots of Fr. Hendrickson and his two brothers.


Special Collections housed at the Health Sciences Library and the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library cover a variety of topics, including medical, dental and pharmacy tools; fables literature and memorabilia; and religious realia.  Some collections, such as the Carlson Fable Collection, are being actively developed.  Others are already on display – the mortars and pestles shown in the banner photo come from the Dr. Sidney Stohs Mortar and Pestle Collection, located on the upper level of the Health Sciences Library.  Our initial focus will be to promote what we have and to care for fragile or neglected items.

If you want to know more of what is happening, check here or at the Special Collections website.

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Something borrowed

1111.0113.4045.0088The “something borrowed” I promised in last week’s post comes from University of Nebraska at Omaha’s Archives & Special Collections.  A special thanks to Director Amy Schindler for sharing a digital version of a Harold Chenoweth film, “Playing the Game,” featuring former Creighton football great “Slingshot” Johnny Knolla.  I’ve seen photos of Knolla – that’s him in the photo above – and read reports of his success on the field, but this is the first time I’ve heard his voice.  Interestingly, Chenoweth does not show Knolla playing football, but the film does include highlights from a Nebraska Rose Bowl game.  (I won’t try to describe all that is on the film since UNO’s Archives staff has already done it here.)

If viewing “Playing the Game” sparks an interest in seeing other Chenoweth productions, you are in luck.  UNO has made several pieces from Harold Chenoweth Film Collection available for viewing.  There is a list at the bottom of the webpage, so just follow the links.  Could be an enjoyable way to spend part of the upcoming holiday weekend.

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Couple more pictures worth 1,000 words each

Last year during Women’s History Month, I shared one of our favorite photos in a post entitled “A picture that’s worth at least 1,000 words.”  To us, it seems like a short story waiting to be written.  (If you didn’t see it last year, . . .  why not?)

Here are a couple more in that same vein.

2012_01_17_00678CROPPEDThis 1920s-era basketball team likely was from one of the nursing schools affiliated with Creighton.  The uniforms are a treat, right down to the shoes.  When I show this photo, people usually comment on the way the woman in the front row shows off attitude – the look, the stance, the belt, even the daring way she ties her bow.

1111_1939_1810_0053CROPPEDI wonder what stories this late 1930s photo might inspire?  Those interested in fashion may notice the hats and fur coats.  (They might also notice the woman in the center who is wearing a carrot on her dress.  This woman, in the same dress with the same carrot, appeared in the photo from the post “I’ve never understood fashion” in 2013.)  Some interesting facial expressions here, too.

If either of these photos inspire a great piece of literature, please let us know.

We normally post to Creighton’s Attic at the end of the week, but we will be closed the end of next week for Good Friday.  Truth be told, I’m taking Thursday as a vacation day, too.  Rather than skip, though, we have decided to post on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.  To give you a hint of what to expect, we will paraphrase an old wedding rhyme.  We’ll have

Something borrowed,
Something Creighton blue,
And big announcement about

Something new.

(The topics of the posts won’t necessarily follow that order.)

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Aloha, Hui O Hawaii

This weekend – on Saturday, March 21, starting at 5:00pm, to be precise – Creighton folk will gather at the Kiewit Fitness Center for Hui O Hawaii’s Annual Luau (more info here).  Hui O Hawaii formed at Creighton in October 1948, and the club page in the 1949 yearbook indicates how large the group was.

Hawaiians3Hawaiian students had been coming to Creighton for a long time before the club started.  The first may have been a young man in the first decade of the 20th century, but a consistent connection traces to Hawaiian dental students in the 1920s.  Numbers increased significantly following World War II, in part because of our institution’s acceptance of Asian-Americans during the war, and the Hawaiian presence remains strong.  Creighton is sometimes called the Maui of the Midwest because so many young men and women from Hawaii study here.

HawaiiansWOWTVMusic figures prominently in our shared heritage, too.  The photo above shows Hawaiian musicians performing for local television station WOW-TV circa 1950.  (Apparently, if you couldn’t play an instrument, you just stood and smiled for the camera.)

1960HawaiianQuartetThis quartet performed in 1960 – and we would appreciate any information you can give us about the event, location or names of participants.

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Some numbers

Tomorrow is Pi Day – March 14th, or 3.14.  One of my sons* pointed out that this year you can extend Pi Day more since this is 2015, so 3.1415 – and even more if you celebrate at 9:26 (and 53 seconds) to 3.141592653.  To be honest, I am more interested in the excuse to eat pie than I am in counting the numbers, but I still took this as inspiration for a numbers-themed entry this week.

1111.0119.4057.0015#1.  After a very long time, the University Archives finished the digital capture phase for one of our photographic collections.  By digital capture, I mean creating a digital file of an existing photographic image.  This will make it easier to search and provide copies, and it will protect the originals better.  For this particular collection, we used a digital camera on a copy stand for at least 19,525 original negative and print images.  The negative above shows Fr. Joseph Zuercher, SJ (Creighton’s president from 1937 to 1943) and his dog.

For some of us – especially Beth and Katherine – the completion of this stage is cause for jubilation.  The next step for this collection, which is ongoing, is to enter metadata (i.e., information about the photos) into the digital files to make searching easier.  Another next step, already started, is to digitally capture another photographic collection.

IMG_3656cropped#2. A December post about film and video preservation noted that the University Archives has “several hundred reels and cassettes of a variety of media formats” in permanent holdings.  That number got a lot bigger last month with a donation from one of the offices on campus.  The photo above shows just the VHS tapes lined up in our Annex.  To give you a different perspective of how many cassettes are there, the line on the right measures about 13 feet long.  I’ll let you estimate how long the other two lines are.

ClockHands#3.  A while back, some of my students suggested that I should post the photo of the hands being added to the Creighton clock whenever we change our clocks because of daylight savings time.  They suggested it could be a good reminder.  I forgot to do that with last week’s post, so here’s your reminder – a week late.

If any of the students on Spring Break are reading this, be careful and come back safe.

* Yes, my sons are as nerdy as I am.

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Servant leaders

It was my honor and pleasure to break bread with Fellows of the NE LEAD Program, a leadership development program for Nebraskans involved in agriculture.  After the dinner, the LEAD folks were kind enough to listen to me talk about different aspects of Creighton’s history that relate to servant leadership.  Part of what I shared with them are examples of Creighton students serving in the community, and I figured I should share those with those of you who value Creighton’s heritage.

Article - Id= 4 :When a tornado struck Omaha on Easter in 1913, Creighton students responded immediately.  The article above, which appeared in the Creighton Courier in April 1913, describes various ways that the student body helped in the aftermath of that disaster.

Christmas service 1941The Creighton community often provides material support to families during the Christmas season.  The photo above shows Creighton students in 1941, during the early days of World War II, getting ready to deliver Christmas presents they had gathered for people who otherwise might have gone without.

1111_1952_1810_0099When floods threatened Omaha and the surrounding area in the early 1950s, Creighton students turned out literally by the truckload to do whatever was needed to reinforce the levees.

Today Creighton students left campus for Spring Break.  Many of them are headed on service trips, including: 16 students and 3 staff from the Office of Multicultural Affairs will be heading to Texas to study, worship and work with migrant workers – a trip in collaboration with the Catholic Migrant Farmworker Network; and over 130 students from the Creighton Center for Service and Justice* will be heading to 15 sites around the country (after 220 CCSJ students went to 25 sites in the fall) for a variety of service projects.

* Creighton announced this week that the Center will be renamed for John P. Schlegel, SJ.  Fr. Schlegel was Creighton’s president from 200o to 2011.

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Whitney Young, Jr.

Let me start by confessing that this started out to be the most boring post ever to appear in Creighton’s Attic, but then I came across something that I consider exciting.  (At the very least, it decreases the boring-ness quotient of this entry.)

I was checking a digitization project when I saw this image
INFO FROM SLEEVE: Young, Whitney M., Jr.LLD '64INFO, BACK OF PHOTO:* handwritten, pencil (dark) "Whitney M. Young Jr [/] Commencement Speaker 1964"* handwritten, pencil (light) "P. S. Magazine [/] Page 5"* stamp, "4 Jun [/] Olander Studio [/] 304 1/of Whitney Young, Jr., speaking in front of a Creighton banner.  According to the back of the photo, this was taken in 1964 when Young was Creighton’s commencement speaker.  At the time, Young was the Executive Director of the National Urban League.

Before this civil rights leader was prominent nationally, he spent time in Nebraska in the early 1950s as head of the Urban League’s Omaha chapter.  I searched our online Creightonians and found this article) that Young had been hired to teach a sociology class at Creighton starting in 1951.  According to Dennis Mihelich’s The History of Creighton University, 1878-2003, Young was our institution’s first African-American faculty member, albeit an adjunct.  If you, or someone you know, was in one of his classes, please email me or leave a message in the comment section.  I would love to know more.

Okay, now for some of what I was going to post originally . . . . Last August, Creighton’s Attic reported on two campus construction projects, St. John’s Church and 24th Street,* with a promise to post some photos when these were completed.  As promised:

St. John’s ChurchStJfromSWThe new addition on the west side of St. John’s Church opened a few weeks ago.
StJfromWYou’ll have to visit the church to see what it looks like inside, but I can tell you that the elevator located just inside the door greatly improves accessibility.

24th Street retaining wall

24thStWallThe retaining wall that runs along 24th Street was fixed in 2014, and it looks much better than the cracked, gray concrete that was there before.  I took this pic this morning.  The work was done sometime in 2014, although I am not sure when.  (Truth be told, I can only get so excited about looking at retaining walls.)

Next month, Creighton’s Attic will be back to University Archives business with a few exciting (for us, anyway) announcements.
* We highlighted renovation and construction for St. John’s Church in an August 2014 post, then included an update in October.  Our post about refurbishing the 24th Street retaining wall also first appeared in August 2014.

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