Founders Week 2016

Founders Week seemed to go fast this year, in large part because the university was closed Tuesday and started late on Wednesday because of the severe weather. To cap it off, we decided to show interesting pieces from our collections that relate to the four Creightons celebrated during Founders Week.

First up, we offer a portrait of Edward Creighton printed on porcelain.  There is some color to the faded image – perhaps added by hand after the printing.  The ruler along the left gives you an idea of the size of the piece.

MLCatFordCtrWe’ve shared this painting of Mary Lucretia Creighton before.  (It was displayed during last year’s Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton luncheon.)  I share it now, though, to let you know that this version of Mary Lucretia currently is at the Gerald R. Ford Conservation Center here in Omaha.  (We’ve mentioned the Ford Center before in May 2013 and in January 2014.)  Even in the small photo above, you can see some white flaking along the bottom of the portrait.  Conservator Kenneth Bé is just waiting for word from us (which will come when we locate funds for the project) to begin working his magic on the painting.

JACchairThe Rare Books Room is home to an office chair that belonged to John A. Creighton.  It is a beautiful piece of furniture, with black leather and rich wood.  A frequently asked question from visitors: Can I sit on it?  The consistently given answer: No.
SECmantlepieceA year ago, I didn’t know this piece existed, but it has quickly become one of my favorites.  This mantelpiece ornament was a gift from Sarah Emily Creighton to Creighton College on its opening day in September 1878.  The cross, anchor and heart represent the theological virtues of Faith, Hope and Charity.  It has suffered some damage over the years, but hopefully we can address that in the not-too-distant future.


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A lot is happening on the Rare Books and Special Collections sides of our department.  With the (greatly appreciated) help of Arnette Payne and Patrick Murray, we have established regular open hours Mondays through Fridays.  Research hours are

SJBcaseby appointment only, but visitors can come view displays – most notably the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible -

Mondays  9:00am – 11:00am
Tuesdays  9:00am – 11:00am
Wednesdays  10:00am – 12:00 noon
Thursdays  10:00am – 12:00 noon
Fridays, 2:30pm – 4:30pm.

To make it easier for us to let you know about neat finds and happenings with these collections, we started a “Creighton Rare Books” Twitter account @CreightonRBSC.  (We’ll continue to use @CreightonArchiv for Archives-related matters.)

IMAG1682_cropped&resizedIf we’d had the account last week, we would have used it to tell about bringing two of the Heritage Edition volumes at a gathering of Saint John’s University alumni here in Omaha.  Next week, we’ll tweet to show a couple of volumes on display at the Mary Lucretia and Sarah Emily Creighton luncheon.  I’m counting on our student workers and interns – who have already suggested some great ideas – to use @CreightonRBSC to “turn a new page for Creighton’s Rare Books and Special Collections.”  (Credit for that cheesy line goes to Cat, who used it for our first tweet.)

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It’s Cold Outside

A favorite photo that fits the current cold weather:
students1960s1I’m told this is from the 1960s, but I don’t know who (or where) the students are.  If you have any information that will shed light on the photo, please let us know.

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Hoping that you and yours had a peaceful, joyous Christmas and are now enjoying a happy 2016.

Shortly before Christmas, the University Archives received a request for a photograph of an alum. We receive lots of requests for photos, but I wanted to share this one because its purpose was to add to the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Fund’s virtual Wall of Faces gallery.

INFO FROM SLEEVE: Foran, Patrick Joseph BS '65 INFO, BACK OF PHOTO: "84R [/] 1-140" OTHER AFFILIATED INFO:We uploaded this photo of Patrick J. Foran (Class of 1965), who was killed in Vietnam in early 1967.  It was an honor and a privilege to be able to help in this small way.

Let us know if there are other Creighton alumni without photos on the Wall of Faces. We will check our collections to see if we have a good image.  There is no guarantee we will have one, but if we do, we will be pleased to add to the gallery.  Or you can upload images yourself from the individual’s page in the gallery.

If you are near the State Capitol in Lincoln any time soon, I invite you to visit to see the Remembering Our Fallen exhibit that honors military men and women from Nebraska who have given their lives in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.  I was fortunate to be at the Capitol Wednesday for the exhibit ceremony, which the Omaha World-Herald covered nicely.  The featured speaker, Noala Fritz, is the mother of Capt. Daniel Fritz of Creighton’s ROTC.


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Creighton Football: Undefeated Since 1942

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from all of us at Creighton’s Attic.  We have a special Christmas gift for you with this post, our last for 2015.  Guest writer Patrick Murray (Class of 2012) tells of Creighton football in the early 1980s.  At his suggestion, we added a couple of photos, taken from our online archives of Creightonian issues.

In the years preceding the Second World War, the Creighton football program was regarded as a regional football power, frequently overpowering rivals like the Drake Bulldogs, Marquette Warriors, and Haskell Indians. In the decades after its discontinuation in 1942, students and boosters launched several attempts to revive the football program, but as they were unsuccessful the Bluejays’ final season on the gridiron ended with a middling record of 5-4.

One piece of pigskin legend remains popular on the Hilltop today. You may recognize the “Creighton Football: Still Undefeated” shirts sold through the University Bookstore. Few people realize that the origins of this joke actually come from the mythical yet little-known 1983-84 football squad.

In the fall of 1983, Heileman’s Old Style Beer released promotional posters with the “Creighton football schedule” for students returning to campus. (The legal drinking age was still 18 at that time.) The Jays’ fictional schedule pitted them against the very best teams in the country: Nebraska, Notre Dame, Alabama, and Miami, to name a few. Senior Bob McDonald, an enterprising Creightonian journalist, took the idea and ran with it, penning articles each week about the football team’s “results.”

The Football Jays were an instant hit. It was totally zany, college-kid stuff. The 1984 Bluejay yearbook provides a charming synopsis of the season:

“The Jays, who played their home games on a nearby stretch of Interstate 480, were scheduled to end the year with a game against Nebraska in the Orange Bowl in Miami. However, the request that the City of Miami be delivered to the Interstate so local fans would not have to travel too far to view their favorite teams was misinterpreted and the City of Tampa, Fla., was delivered instead. Since the Super Bowl was scheduled for Tampa later in January, the CU coach, the Rev. Michael J. Morrison, S.J. (who also served as university president), asked Los Angeles Raiders owner Al Davis for permission to let the Jays meet the Washington Redskins in the game. Davis agreed and the Bluejays, dressed as the Raiders, trounced Washington 38-9. A Super Bowl victory and a university president as coach weren’t the only oddities on the team as McDonald took poetic license to its furthest extreme. The Jays boasted the only female football player in the country in Kristi Swanson Palaschak and had one of the first players to sign after the United States Football League draft in Walter Tomasino, who signed a three-year, $500,000 contract with the Chicago Blitz. Psychology instructors Gary Leak and Rich Millard served as assistant coaches.”

11Nov1983CreightonianMorrisonFr. Michael Morrison, S.J., Creighton’s head coach (and president), runs for a touchdown.

The team and its hijinks became sensations on campus and across the country. The Sigma Nu fraternity threw a rally and parade before the Bluejays’ homecoming matchup against Penn State. CBS did a Saturday morning broadcast live from in front of Kiewit Hall and filmed a portion of a Jays football “practice,” hastily arranged on 24 hours’ notice. This got the attention of Sporting News magazine, who ran an article in their Nov. 21, 1983, issue. Paul Harvey’s popular radio program, The Rest of the Story, even inquired about airing a segment about the team  The Creighton athletics department received offers from three other non-football universities (Point Park University in Pittsburgh, University of Arkansas-Little Rock, and notably Seattle University, who challenged the Jays to a game in the Kingdome) for a matchup. Wide receiver Kristi Swanson Palaschak even received a congratulatory fan letter and autograph request from a Massachusetts man. (She happily obliged.)

The Bluejays ended that legendary 1983-84 season with a record of 12 wins and no losses, adding a delightful post-script to the Creighton football legacy and remaining “undefeated” since 1942.


Patrick was kind enough to compile the text of all of the Creightonian coverage of the 1983-1984 Jays football team into one easy-to-read document: Creightonian Football 1983-1984 Articles.  If you want to see the original stories, and more pictures, you can browse* our online Creightonian issues.

  • September 9, 1983  Schedule in ad on page 7
  • September 30, 1983  “Record now 3-0 Jays stage second-half rally, storm past Wolverines, 20-17″ by Bob McDonald
  • October 14, 1983  “Jays rated 17th after defeating Penn State 31-14″ by Bob McDonald  &  “A Bluejay football history”
  • October 28, 1983  “Unbeaten Jays ranked 8th in polls — Defeat USC, Notre Dame” by Bob McDonald
  • November 4, 1983  “Jays roll over Illinois 63-0″by Bob McDonald
  • November 11, 1983  “Bluejays arouse bowl game controversy” by Bob McDonald  &  “Football players stage show that won’t soon be forgotten”by Bob McDonald  &  “CU football team materializes for CBS”by Cheryl Horton
  • December 2, 1983  “Bluejays bound for two bowl games on Jan. 2″ by Bob McDonald
  • December 9, 1983 “Bluejay football generates national publicity”
  • February 3, 1984 “Bluejays capture national championship — Also win Super Bowl”by Bob McDonald

* Click on the “Browse” tab (upper right).  Scroll left on the timeline at top and select “1983.”  Along the left side of the webpage, click on the month you want.  That month’s issues will appear in the center panel, so click the date you desire.

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More on Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible

Regular readers* will recall the September post about the arrival of the Heritage Edition of The Saint John’s Bible on Creighton’s campus.  In case you’ve missed it, we wanted to call your attention to some welcome publicity for the Heritage Edition over the past few days.

SJBcaseThe Bible’s seven volumes – and the viewing stand and
cabinet – are the centerpiece of our Rare Books Room.

The current issue of Creighton magazine has a great article by Rick Davis about the Heritage Edition here on campus.  It includes a nice photo of Mr. and Mrs. McCarthy, who loaned us the Bible, with Creighton’s president, Fr. Daniel Hendrickson, and his twin brother, Fr. Scott Hendrickson.

Also new this week: I had the pleasure earlier this semester to sit down with Creighton theology professors Dr. John J. O’Keefe and Dr. Wendy M. Wright for a discussion of The Saint John’s Bible and the Heritage Edition.  Our conversation was recorded, and it was released as the December 14, 2015, Catholic Comments podcast.  (Click here if you want to hear other Catholic Comments podcasts.)

A reminder that the Heritage Edition is on display in the Rare Books Room of the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library.**  We are featuring Advent-themed illuminations this month.  We started with Messianic Predictions from Isaiah, shifted to pages that show the Magnificat, the Canticle of Zechariah and Glory to God (on display until tomorrow, the 16th), the will conclude with Birth of Christ.  The Rare Books portion of our website always lists the current viewing hours, and also the illumination on display.

* Still hoping it is okay to use the plural.
** If you need help finding us, here (under “Location”) are directions to the library and the room.

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Let’s hear it for Creighton Volleyball!

VolleyballOur volleyball team has come a long way since the days when this photo* was taken, and they have a chance to go even farther.  For the first time in school history, Creighton volleyball has made it to the Sweet 16.  Coach Kirsten Bernthal Booth’s team plays #1 seed USC tonight in a regional semifinal in San Diego, CA.  Rob Anderson (Creighton’s Sports Information Director) tells you most of what you need to know about the big weekend.


*I hope you don’t mind us re-using this photo from an October post, but it fit so nicely for today.

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Chronicles and Shadows Timeline

Last year we launched a timeline to make browsing the Bluejay yearbooks easier.  We’ve now done the same thing for another Creighton publication.  Today, we launch a timeline of digitized Creighton Chronicles and Shadows magazines from 1909 until 1941.

22944123226_d6c343b385_bThe cover of the graduation edition of Shadows from May of 1927.

The publication began in 1909 as the Creighton Chronicle, a student magazine that featured campus news, advertisements from the book store, and essays and fiction writings from students and faculty.  After the introductions of the Creighton Courier and the Creightonian respectively, the publication changed its name to Shadows and became primarily a literary magazine.

Cat Pedigo deserves the credit for the good portions of this blog post.

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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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