Yo ho Homecoming (and a bottle of rum)

Ahoy, mateys! Today is International Talk Like a Pirate Day, and we be celebrating here in the University Arrr-chives.  For today only, you can access our online Historical Photos in Pirate English! (Any of ye scurvy knaves who uses the menu on the top-right to switch back to real English will walk the plank.)

#05 - 1922pinAll ye Creighton buccaneers: Swap your pirate parrot for Billy Bluejay and celebrate Homecoming this weekend.   Put on your Homecoming pin (which probably is not as cool as the one from 1922, above) and head to the any of the sporting events to cheer on your Bluejays.  The Creighton Classic presents a weekend of Jays volleyball at D.J. Sokol Arena; the undefeated/untied women’s soccer team welcomes the Kangaroos of UMKC to Morrison Stadium tonight and plays at UNO Sunday; and the #3-ranked men’s soccer team faces 20th-ranked St. Louis University at Morrison on Saturday.   If you don’t know what to yell, click on the list of cheers from the 1928 Homecoming program (below) and pick something you like.  The Big Sneeze looks intriguing.

#10 - 1928 Oklahoma Program Cover1928 Homecoming Program Cheers


Leave a comment to let us know your favorite cheers from your time at Creighton.


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Aurora Borealis

I learned (via student worker Beth) that Omaha may have some good night sky viewing tonight.  An Omaha-World Herald story reports that recent solar flares may create a geomagnetic storm on Earth, which could result in better viewing of northern lights (in addition to disrupting communications and power grids).  It is a long shot that Omahans will see much – we are too far south to see much unless the storm is very strong, plus patchy fog is forecast later tonight – but it is possible.

These days, it will be necessary to drive out of town to see the lights.  (The OWH story relays UNO scientist Dave Kriegler’s recommendation to look for a greenish glow on the northern horizon before making the trip.)  There was a time, though, when the Creighton Observatory provided the best viewing in the area.  Since we don’t have any good aurora borealis photos, here are a couple of favorite images of the observatory.

1893Observatory&TransitRoomThis 1893 image was reproduced in university bulletins and other publications.

1910observatory1In 1910, grading done for the extension of 24th Street (mentioned last month in “Creighton’s Attic”) resulted in the transformation of the observatory into a two-story structure.


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Michael LaCroix

NationalLibraryWeek2008ReceptionReinert-Alumni Memorial Library has had only three directors in its 53 years – Fr. James Kramper, SJ; Ray Means; and the current director, Michael LaCroix.  Michael LaCroix holds the distinction of having served longest.  This week will be his last, though, as Michael retires from the post he has held since 1995.

Anyone who has been around the University Archives quickly comes to appreciate Michael.  The University Archives, as a department of the library, reports to Mr. LaCroix.  We also rely on him, and he has been a great supporter and friend.  There are not enough words – or if there are, I wouldn’t be able to put them in proper order – to express my appreciation for all he has done for the Archives and for me.

To get an idea of what sort of person Michael is, I invite you to read the citation from when Michael won the St. Ignatius Award earlier this year.  The award honors individuals whose lives reflect Ignatian values of Magis (which includes “a quality of soul which desires God’s goodness to be seen”), Cura Personalis (“personally caring for others”) and “being a person for and with others.”  The above photo shows Michael, holding the award, with Creighton’s president, Fr. Timothy Lannon, SJ.

Michael, I will miss seeing you each day, but I am happy for you as you start this new chapter in your life.  May God continue to bless you, and may God continue to bless others through you.


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Jesuit Archives of the Central United States

Missouri Provincial Congregation 1886Jesuits of the Missouri Province at the 1886 congregational meeting.

The Jesuits who established Creighton University in 1878 belonged to the Missouri Province of the Society of Jesus.  Creighton Jesuits remained part of the province until 1955, when Nebraska was placed in the newly-created Wisconsin Province.

Recently, the Missouri Province underwent another major change.  On July 31, 2014, the Missouri and New Orleans provinces merged to form the Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province.  At the same time, the Midwest Jesuit Archives became the Jesuit Archives of the Central United States – the name change reflects the expanded responsibility of the archives – which will serve “as the collective memory of the Central and Southern, Chicago, Chicago-Detroit, Missouri, and Wisconsin Provinces and the Jesuit Conference.”  For our purposes, the archives continues to be a valuable resource of information related to Creighton University and the Creighton Jesuit  Community.

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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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