This time of year, it seems appropriate to reflect on the past year and list a few of things for which we are thankful.  So here goes . . . .

RBR11__2015We are thankful for opportunities possible in the new University Archives, Rare Books & Special Collections department. With the Rare Books Room (above) and additional collections, we can better serve more people in more ways.

_MG_4936_1It has been a blessing to reflect on the pages of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible.  It also has been a blessing to be present as visitors react – visibly and audibly – to the beautiful sacred artistic work.

On a personal note, I am grateful for the individuals who do so much for our department.

  • Thank you to Katherine, Beth, Elenore, Sydney, Cat, Quinn, Blair and Lexie (student workers and interns).
  • Thank you to former student workers who continue to support us with their time, talents and information.
  • Thank you to my colleagues from the three Creighton libraries for helping to navigate new challenges.
  • A special thanks to Greg for his great work, and to Gerry for her many contributions.  (Enjoy retirement, Gerry!)
  • Thank you to the many people on campus who repeatedly do a variety of things that benefit our department.
  • Thank you to friends from the broader Creighton community who assist our efforts in multiple ways.  Your cheerful encouragement is much appreciated.

Here’s wishing you and yours a wonderful, restful, blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!


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In Memoriam: Rev. John P. Schlegel, S.J. (1943 – 2015)

2011_0004_2057_0002The Creighton community is in mourning.  John P. Schlegel, S.J., who led Creighton University from 2000 to 2011, died yesterday from pancreatic cancer.

2011_0004_2046_0060I will leave it to others  more eloquent than I and  closer to Fr. Schlegel to testify to his influence: on scores of individuals, Jesuit higher education  – especially Creighton, USF and Marquette  – and in so many other areas.  A good place to start is the moving tribute video on Creighton’s website, where you also will find a list of accomplishments and other memories.

2011_0004_2046_0061As mentioned in Creighton’s Attic last April, Fr. Schlegel is the one who made it possible for the University Archives to have a full-time professional archivist.  I am grateful to him for the opportunity and for the many ways he supported our mission to care for Creighton’s heritage.

2011_0004_2057_0005with Christine Wiseman (VP of Academic Affairs, 2002 – 2007)

Rest in peace, Fr. Schlegel.


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Happy Birthday, Adolphe Sax

Today’s Google Doodle reminds us that Adolphe Sax, the inventor of the saxophone, was born 201 years ago (November 6, 1814).  Saxophonists (including this writer), lovers of jazz, and many others around the world owe Adolphe a debt of gratitude.

To tie this to Creighton . . . .

Student playing saxophone 1986This photo is a good example of how little correct information we have for many of the items in our collections.  We don’t know the name of the saxophonist, when (or if) he attended Creighton, or what the event was that had him playing his horn.  We are certain that the information that came with the photo was wrong, though.  It stated that the image showed a girl playing a trumpet.

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Not goodbye, but good wishes


to change
your clocks
this weekend!

For visitors to Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library, Gerry Chase is the helpful woman at the desk behind the Circulation counter.  For those of us in the University Archives, Gerry is the helpful woman behind much of the good work we’ve been able to do.  It would be difficult to think of anyone who has done more for the University Archives – and for the University Archivist – than Gerry Chase.

There are a couple of things that I know about Gerry that warrant a mention here.  Gerry has been connected to Creighton her entire life; and Gerry likely would prefer that I not use photos of her in this blog post.  Let me see if I can share a little about her Creighton connections without including her in a photo.

(If I recall this correctly) Gerry was raised in a house located about where Creighton’s Law School currently sits.

Basil LazureHer father, Dr. Basil Lazure, was a member of Creighton’s science faculty.

stjohns snowGerry was baptized, confirmed and married in St. John’s Church.

StJohnsSchoolfrom1950aerialShe attended St. John’s Elementary School, right across California Street from the church.

studyarea2During high school, and later while attending Creighton University, Gerry was a student worker in the library.  Among her many duties, she painted tables for the library’s smokers study room.

RAL50thbanner1After graduation in [year removed, in case Gerry doesn't want me hinting at her age], Gerry joined the staff of the Alumni Memorial Library.  (The Reinert name was added a bit later.)

Gerry has helped the University Archives long before I arrived on the scene, and I can tell you she has helped me by identifying people in photographs, putting items in archival housings, and doing many other things – always cheerfully and patiently assisting.

graybackers_bulletinboardShe also has coordinated events with our Graybacker volunteers.*  I am counting on her being one of those volunteers in the near future.

I can’t begin to tell you how much I appreciate all Gerry has done, so let me close with a word of thanks.  Actually a big word of THANKS!!!

* Okay, almost made it without including Gerry in a photo, but she’s in this one.

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You don’t look a day over 99…

A few folks gathered today at the Old Gym to celebrate the building turning 100 years old! That’s right, about a century ago construction began on the Gymnasium that has served Creighton University in a variety of ways over the years.

You won’t be surprised to know that the Old Gym was for many years the home court for
Basketbal v KU 1950the Jays men’s basketball team, shown here battling the Kansas Jayhawks.  It also has
Volleyballbeen home for women’s volleyball (above) and basketball teams.  You may not know that the building once housed a swimming pool used in earlier years by the stylish men of
Hugh M Schwaab diving  1930s DwlCreighton’s swimming and diving teams.

The facility is important to Creighton not just for athletic reasons.  The large open areas
1111_1923_1810_0024were ideal for dances,  commencement ceremonies (above) and other large gatherings.  It  Master1111_1951_1810_205also provided Creighton’s ROTC program an indoor space for drilling and practicing with weapons.  But for generations of Creighton students, the Old Gym is first and foremost  340113registrationremembered as the place where the stood in long lines in very hot or very cold conditions (depending on the season) to register for classes, like these poor folks in the late 1940s.
Travis Sing’s book, Creighton University Athletics: A History in Photographs, has many more great photos of the gymnasium.

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Oh, the places you’ll go . . .

Now seems like a good time for another installment of our “Oh, the places you’ll go” series.  (Our first installment was a Halloween edition.)  The idea of the series is to let you see some places on campus that many people don’t get to see – places not open to the general public, but where University Archives staff has gone to retrieve Creighton’s historical materials.

This post will do double duty since it will also provide the answers to our recent quiz about an item seen here from Hint #1

dome, fixed stepand in the article photo (shown below) from Hint #2.

The_Observatory_page4The answer, then, is that the item is a marble switchboard, used to transmit or receive telegraph messages for synchronizing the observatory’s clocks with clocks elsewhere.

The top photo was taken in December 2007, when I toured the observatory to determine if many historical items remained there.  (Very little was there, but I did retrieve the marble switchboard.)  The building is off limits for safety reasons, but we offer a few photos as a peek inside.

room, scope and base from southwestThe base and mount for the telescope in the transit room
scope from stairs, look westThe base and mount for the equatorial telescope in the dome, with PVC as a placeholder for the telescope
dome interior, track for turning
Part of the gear mechanism for turning the dome



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Student, Teacher, President

Creighton is celebrating our new president, Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, S.J., this week.  A Missioning Mass was held yesterday (Thursday, October 1) at St. John’s Church, and an Installation Ceremony will occur this afternoon at the D. J. Sokol Arena in the Ryan Athletic Center.

If you follow us on Twitter, you saw Lexie’s photo of the church ready for yesterday’s Mass.

MissionMass01Oct2015We posted to show the Saint John’s Bible, which we transported from the Rare Books Room for the Mass.  The beautiful altar cloth, created for the liturgy by Creighton’s own Maureen Beat, features a kingfisher and a dragonfly in keeping with the inaugural theme “As Kingfishers Catch Fire.”  (The theme comes from a Gerard Manley Hopkins poem.)

It has been mentioned a few times this week that Fr. Hendrickson has been at Creighton before.  He first came to Creighton to study for a short period in the mid-1990s, then returned in the early 2000s to teach.  If you want to see how he looked in those days, check out the 1997 Bluejay for a picture of him as a student (bottom left, in costume); and to see him as teacher, see the 2001 (bottom, right page) and 2002 (center, right page) yearbooks to see him as a teacher.

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Hint #2

With all of the excitement surrounding the Missioning Mass yesterday for Creighton’s new president, Rev. Daniel Hendrickson, S.J., I forgot to post the second hint for the questions asked last Friday.  (The first hint was posted Tuesday.)

This hint gives away the answer to Question #2, and it contains the information you need for Question #1.  Take a look at this article by Fr. William Rigge, S.J., which is one of a handful of Fr. Rigge writings we’ve made available online.
The_Observatory_page4This photo from page 4 of the article shows the piece mounted to the wall (left edge of image).  The information about the piece appears a couple pages later.

You can have the weekend to answer the questions.

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Hint #1

On Friday we posted a couple images and asked you a few questions about this item.  No one has guessed correctly yet so, as promised, here’s a little hint.

dome, fixed stepHere is the item where I found it several years ago.  If you can recognize the setting, you’ll be able to answer Question #2 – and that may help you figure out which sources can provide answers for Questions #1.

I’ll offer one more hint on Thursday, if you need it.  Good luck!

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Do you know what this is?

Another guessing game for you, this time about an artifact in our collection.  Here it is from slightly different angles.


_MG_45611. What is it?  Or at least, describe its purpose or use.

2. Where was its home/where was it used (before it came to the University Archives)?

I’ll give a couple extra clues sometime next week, if they are needed.  I’ll announce winner(s) next Friday.

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