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.
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* 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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William H. Gordon, M.D.

1112.1900.0002In honor of African-American History Month, we honor William H. Gordon, M.D., who in 1901 received his medical degree from The John A. Creighton Medical College.  To the best of my knowledge, Dr. Gordon was the first African-American to graduate from any of Creighton’s schools.  Dennis Mihelich’s The History of Creighton, 1878 – 2003 states that Gordon was probably the first African-American student at our institution.Med1900catalogdesc002arrowIf Dr. Mihelich is correct, then it is likely that the 1900 medical college bulletin photo of the Histological Laboratory shows young Gordon (indicated above by the arrow), sixth from the left.

Med1900catalogdesc004Here is a closer look, with the arrow removed.

I don’t know much of Dr. Gordon’s career before or after his time at Creighton.  From the bulletins (and also A Century of Teaching and Healing, the history written for the School of Medicine’s centennial in 1992), it appears that he was from Nebraska and he stayed in the area after graduating.  The list of alumni in a 1913 bulletin still has him living in Omaha.

Let me know if you have other information or memories of Dr. William H. Gordon.  I’d like to have more about him in the Archives.

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Thank you, IRENE

This week’s blog post comes with a “Thank You” to Deb Sturges from Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library.  Earlier this week, Deb forwarded a link to a piece about a Northeast Document Conservation Center project that uses IRENE (Image, Reconstruct, Erase Noise, Etc.) technology to preserve old audio recordings; and the case highlighted in the story involved a WWII bombardier, Lt. Ray J. Skryja, interviewed by a radio station in his hometown of Omaha.  Deb knows that University Archives is assessing our audio and video materials and thought the information might be handy; and the Omaha connection made it more interesting.

After a couple of quick looks at our online newspapers and yearbooks (see the “Links” section on the right), I think Lt. Skryja from the interviews is the Raymond J. Skryja who graduated from from Creighton Prep in 1937 and from Creighton’s College of Pharmacy in 1954.
1954BluejayPg212

Here he is, clipped from page 212 of the 1954 Bluejay.

The best part (at least for me) is found near the bottom of the story, where you will find several clips – and then the entire interview – of Lt. Skryja speaking with Omaha radio station WOW.  This is possible because IRENE was able to extract sound from broken 78rpm records.  (Read more about IRENE at the NEDCC website.)

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Founders Week 2015: Day 5

It is time again for Creighton’s annual celebration of Founders Week.  As we did last year,* Creighton’s Attic will post daily (Monday through Friday) this week to feature individuals who started or built our institution.  On Day 1 we featured Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph; Day 2 featured John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal; Day 3, Mary Lucretia Creighton’s Will; and Day 4, Sarah Emily and Mary Lucretia Creighton Portraits.

If you’ve looked at this blog’s discussion last year of our institution’s founders, you noticed the post about Bishop James O’Connor.  Although he now is overlooked, early university publications always included Bishop O’Connor for two reasons: Mary Lucretia Creighton’s will (as we showed Wednesday) gave responsibility for starting our school to Omaha’s bishop; and Bishop O’Connor brought the Jesuits here to run it.

TransferDeedClasses began in 1878.  The following year, Bishop O’Connor transferred the property to the newly incorporated Creighton University, at which point he was relieved of direct responsibility for the school.  In the past couple years, University Archives received a copy of the original handwritten transfer document (shown above), complete with wax seal and ribbon.  (I should add that we were pleased and excited to add this to our collections.)

Let us know if you’ve enjoyed this Founders Week series.
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Founders Week 2015 in Creighton’s Attic
Day 1: Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph
Day 2: John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal
Day 3: Mary Lucretia Creighton’s Will
Day 4: Sarah Emily and Mary Lucretia Creighton Portraits
Day 5: Bishop O’Connor and the Property Transfer

* Last year’s Founders Week posts featured Mary Lucretia Creighton, Edward Creighton, John A. Creighton, Sarah Emily Creighton and Bishop James O’Connor

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Founders Week 2015: Day 4

It is time again for Creighton’s annual celebration of Founders Week.  As we did last year,* Creighton’s Attic will post daily (Monday through Friday) this week to feature individuals who started or built our institution.  On Day 1 we featured Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph; Day 2 featured John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal; and Day 3, Mary Lucretia Creighton’s Will.

The 35th annual Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton Awards† Recognition Luncheon was held earlier today on campus.  For the past few years, the University Archives has been privileged to exhibit items from our collections at the luncheon.

SarahEmilyCharcoalThis framed charcoal of Sarah Emily Creighton was displayed at the 2012 luncheon.  At almost 7-feet tall, it is perhaps the largest item in our collections.MLCportraitThis year we featured a portrait of Mary Lucretia Creighton that hangs in the Rare Book Room of the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library.
MLCshoulderIt can be hard to see much in this dark painting, especially with bright sunlight in the background, but this closeup of Mary’s shoulder shows the detail in her dress.

Congratulations to this year’s recipients:  Meghan Bullard (student); Dr. Diane Cullen (professor); and Jim Flanery (women’s basketball head coach).  For more on the award, please visit the Committee on the Status of Women website.
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Founders Week 2015 in Creighton’s Attic

Day 1: Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph
Day 2: John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal
Day 3: Mary Lucretia Creighton’s Will
Day 4: Sarah Emily and Mary Lucretia Creighton Portraits
Day 5: TBD

* Last year’s Founders Week posts featured Mary Lucretia Creighton, Edward Creighton, John A. Creighton, Sarah Emily Creighton and Bishop James O’Connor

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Founders Week 2015: Day 3

It is time again for Creighton’s annual celebration of Founders Week.  As we did last year,* Creighton’s Attic will post daily (Monday through Friday) this week to feature individuals who started or built our institution.  On Day 1 we featured Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph, and Day 2 featured John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal.

People are often surprised to learn that neither Edward nor John actually started Creighton University.  That honor belongs to Mary Lucretia Creighton, Edward’s widow, whose will left money to start “Creighton College” as a memorial to her late husband.  The will explains, “I have selected this mode of testifying to his virtues and my affection to his memory because such a work was one which he in his life time proposed to himself.”

MLCwillBothThe image above contains the section (i.e., the outlined, enlarged portion) of Mary’s will that pertains to the creation of our university.  It was made from one of several copies of Mary’s will in our collections.

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Founders Week 2015 in Creighton’s Attic

Day 1: Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph
Day 2: John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal
Day 3: Mary Lucretia Creighton’s Will
Day 4: TBD
Day 5: TBD

* Last year’s Founders Week posts featured Mary Lucretia Creighton, Edward Creighton, John A. Creighton, Sarah Emily Creighton and Bishop James O’Connor

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Founders Week 2015: Day 2

It is time again for Creighton’s annual celebration of Founders Week.  As we did last year,* Creighton’s Attic will post daily (Monday through Friday) this week to feature individuals who started or built our institution.  On Day 1 we featured Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph.

The Creighton family was known in Omaha and elsewhere for its charitable works, and many individuals and organizations benefited from their kindness.  John A. Creighton, who outlived his wife Sarah Emily, brother Edward and sister-in-law Mary Lucretia by many years, received the most public recognition for his philanthropy.  The best example occurred in 1895 when Pope Leo XIII knighted John – which is why you sometimes see John referred to as “Count” Creighton – for repeated, generous support to Catholic causes.

NotreDame_JohnCreightonLaetareMedalJohn received another honor in 1900 when Notre Dame University named him the recipient of the prestigious Laetare Medal, awarded annually to an American Catholic for significant contributions to the Catholic Church and society.  The award originally was presented on Laetare Sunday (i.e., the fourth Sunday of Lent), hence the name.  (Notre Dame Archives has great information about the Laetare Medal.)  Thanks to Tom McShane’s 1914 donation, John’s gold medal and certificate have been at Creighton University for over a century.  At some point, the framed piece came to the University Archives, where it now resides.

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Founders Week 2015 in Creighton’s Attic

Day 1: Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph
Day 2: John A. Creighton and the Laetare Medal
Day 3: TBD
Day 4: TBD
Day 5: TBD

* Last year’s Founders Week posts featured Mary Lucretia Creighton, Edward Creighton, John A. Creighton, Sarah Emily Creighton and Bishop James O’Connor

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Founders Week 2015: Day 1

It is time again for Creighton’s annual celebration of Founders Week.  As we did last year,* Creighton’s Attic will post daily (Monday through Friday) this week to feature individuals who started or built our institution.

It seems appropriate to start this year’s series by looking at the project that brought the Creighton family to Omaha.  Edward Creighton had been involved in construction telegraph lines in the East before he relocated his business (and some family members) here in 1856 to position himself for the anticipated transcontinental telegraph line.  Edward helped survey the route, often by himself in potentially dangerous territory, and his company constructed large sections of the line.  In short, Edward Creighton played an important role in creating the nation’s first transcontinental telegraph line, completed October 24, 1861.  (Dennis Mihelich’s The History of Creighton University, 1878-2003 provides much more detail about Edward’s telegraph interests.)

TelegraphWireI recently came across this artifact associated with Edward Creighton’s telegraph work.  On the transcontinental telegraph’s 100th anniversary, the president of Western Union Telegraph Company presented to Creighton University a section of wire from the original transcontinental line.  The plaque needs a little repair work, but the wire is fine.  I confess that this little history nerd is very excited to find this item in our collections.

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Founders Week 2015 in Creighton’s Attic

Day 1: Edward Creighton and the Transcontinental Telegraph
Day 2: TBD
Day 3: TBD
Day 4: TBD
Day 5: TBD

* Last year’s Founders Week posts featured Mary Lucretia Creighton, Edward Creighton, John A. Creighton, Sarah Emily Creighton and Bishop James O’Connor

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Apparently we were hungry

A lot of conversations around the University Archives this week have related to food, and one in particular inspired this week’s post.  The idea came from a discussion of the off campus eating places that Creighton students frequent, and I immediately thought of the many times alumni and long-time faculty, staff and administrators have mentioned Beal’s Grill.
BealsSignWalt Beal opened his establishment on the southeast corner of 24th and California in 1939, and for years it was an important part of Creighton student life.  Son-in-law Howard Fiedler ran the restaurant after Walt passed away in 1973 until it closed in 1986.

Proposal/favor:  We’ll share a few images of Beal’s in this post.  In return, we ask you to share your favorite memories of Beal’s OR of other Creighton student hangouts.

walt beal corrected2Walt and Hazel Beal with a cake to share on Walt’s birthday (year unknown).
Beals-6 guysWalt (far right) and five of his employees.  The guy next to Walt is Frank Luis, but we could use your help identifying the others.  (Thanks to Frank’s daughter for helping us identify him.)  The photo was taken around 1953, according to an article about Beal’s that appeared in the Summer 1997 Creighton University Window magazine.

Beal's039Burnice Fiedler (on the right, talking to a customer) was Walt Beal’s daughter and Howard Fiedler’s wife.
Beal's1986 043Howard and Burnice stand behind the counter around the time Beal’s closed its doors in 1986.
Beal's038One last photo for you.

I hope you’ll share your memories of Beal’s or other hangouts in the comments section.  I think I’ll go get something to eat.
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My apologies for missing a post last week.  We’ll make it up to you next week.  Creighton celebrates Founders Week starting Sunday, and Creighton’s Attic plans to have a special post each day – Monday through Friday.

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Fr. Lannon, SJ

In a few days – on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, to be precise – Timothy Lannon, SJ, will retire from his post as Creighton University’s president.  It has often been mentioned that Fr. Lannon is the first Creighton graduate to be named officially as Creighton’s president.  I will let other sources talk about his time leading our university and instead will offer a few memories from his student years.
TLannon1111_0098_0613_0001Student Tim Lannon graduated from Creighton in 1973 with a mathematics degree.
TLannon1111_0098_0173_0004He is seen here at halftime of a basketball game in his role as president of the Student Board of Governors, presenting money raised by students to help a student cover medical expenses.
TLannon1111_0098_0165_0010He is seen here (with pens in pocket) standing by Fr. Joseph Labaj, SJ, Creighton’s president from 1970 to 1978.

TLannon1111_0098_0640_0016I don’t have anything to write about this last photo, but I thought you all might enjoy.

There is also a lot of good stuff about him in the pages of the 1973 Bluejay.

Have a joyful, peaceful retirement, Father Lannon!

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