The Archivist’s Nook: A Few Leaves from St. Rose’s on Pearl Harbor Day

“Schools At War: A Report to the Nation” was a report that schools around the country filed with the Office of Education and the Wartime Commission during the war. This is the cover of St. Rose’s 1943 submission.
“Schools At War: A Report to the Nation” was filed with the Office of Education and the Wartime Commission during the war. This is the cover of St. Rose’s 1943 submission.

About a month after the United States entered the Second World War, The Young Catholic Messenger, a weekly magazine that could be found on the shelves of Catholic school libraries throughout the country, published an article titled “United We Stand.” The article pledged that Catholics would support the war effort and outlined ways young people could “do their part for victory.” Catholic youth could make “crusades of prayer, sacrifice, Masses and Communions for victory and peace and for our soldiers and the leaders of the country.”¹

This braiding of Catholicism and Americanism occurred over and over again among youth on the home front. It marked a break from the past in that earlier Catholic proclamations of Americanness were often made defensively, amid Protestant accusations that Catholics weren’t fit for American institutions because of their membership in a hierarchical organization headed by the pope. Instead, during the war, a newly confident Catholic Americanism emerged in Catholic educational institutions and popular culture across the country as Catholics were fully enlisted in the effort to win the war.²

As noted in a previous blog post, Pope Pius XI requested that the Catholic University of America establish a series of educational materials that would promote Christian and democratic principles in the wake of rising totalitarian regimes in Europe. The result was the Commission on American Citizenship, which established a series of civic texts blending Catholic teaching and democratic principles and used in thousands of Catholic schools across the country from the early 1940s through the 1970s. This blending of American national identity with Catholic identity found new forms across the U.S. during the Second World War.

St. Rose’s Victory Corps in formation, 1943.
St. Rose’s Victory Corps in formation, 1943.

St. Rose’s Technical School records contain a gem of an artifact related to this new blending of Catholicism and Americanism in youth culture that is a fitting offering for Pearl Harbor Day. St. Rose’s was established in 1868 for female orphans. After 1895 it was incorporated as school for female students over 14 years of age to learn trades considered suitable for women at the time, namely, “plain and fancy sewing, dressmaking, and the responsible duties of practical housekeeping.” Between the late nineteenth and the early twentieth centuries, the young women remained at the school until they were twenty-one, “at which time they are thoroughly competent to make an honest independent living.” Indeed, one history noted, “our graduates make splendid business women, and they conduct large establishments in all the large cities.”³

Unfortunately, we do not have testimony from the students of St. Rose’s to corroborate such claims. We do know that a classical and business high school curriculum was added to the “technical” curriculum of the earlier period. And we have a student created journal from 1943, a full year into the Second World War. “Schools at War, A Report to the Nation” was a report on war-related student activities that took place in the school during the war. The report reflects the characteristic blending of Catholicism and Americanism we see among young Catholics on the home front during the war.

St. Rose students show off their “Books are Weapons” display.
St. Rose’s students show off their “Books are Weapons” display.

The report itself was dedicated to the “Immaculate Mother of God, the Patroness of the United States, the Ideal and Inspiration of every student at St. Rose.” The St. Rose Victory Corps centered many activities around war service. Like many Americans, they prolonged use of their clothing by mending and darning. They saved scrap materials such as old keys, cans, rubber and fat—all in short supply due to war rationing. Like many American youth, they made slippers and bandages for soldiers, donated blood, and collected garments for refugees. Using the title, “Books are Weapons,” they created a school display for National Catholic Book Week, claiming “books shape lives of free people,” no doubt to contrast with Nazi book burnings of the 1930s. The report and its wartime brand of Catholic Americanism can be viewed in its entirety here.


¹Young Catholic Messenger, January 9, 1942, accessible via American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives: http://cuislandora.wrlc.org/islandora/object/achc-ycm%3A23/datastream/PDF/view

²Maria Mazzenga, “More Democracy, More Religion, Baltimore’s Schools, Religious Pluralism and the Second World War,” in One Hundred Years of Catholic Education, John Augenstein, Christopher J. Kauffman, Robert J. Wister, eds. (National Catholic Education Association, 2003), 199-219.

³Sister Rose, “St. Rose’s Technical School History,” 1909, 14; in Catholic Charities DC, St. Rose Reference File, American Catholic History Research Center and University Archives, Catholic University, Washington, D.C.

“Saint Rose to Observe 75th Jubilee,” Catholic Review, April 30, 1943.

News & Events: December 5, 2016

Advent candlesTHE MUSIC OF ADVENT – Don’t rush to deck the halls just yet! This is the season of Advent, in which the Christian world prepares their hearts for the birth of the Savior. Enjoy the music of Advent with the Naxos Music Library! Here are just a few albums we suggest:

Note: The University Libraries provides a limited number of simultaneous users for the Naxos Music Library. If you are turned away, please try again later.

FEAST OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION – Though classes will not be held on Thursday, December 8, in observance of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Mullen Library will remain open normal hours. However, the Nursing / Biology Library, Music Library, and University Archives will be closed. For complete hours, including holidays and special closings, please visit http://libraries.cua.edu/about/hours.cfm.

MEET WITH A LIBRARIAN – CUA students and faculty can now schedule a consultation with a librarian through Meet with a Librarian. Our librarians are available to meet with you about finding useful information resources, using a citation style, developing a research strategy, and much more. Please allow at least 24 hours between requesting a meeting and your suggested meeting times.

LYNDA.COM  – Why not take advantage of the online learning video library at lynda.com? Sharpen your skill set with courses on graphic design, time management, presentation skills, and so much more. Visit our lynda.com page to get started!

Nursing/Biology Library changes

At the end of the Fall 2016 semester, the Nursing/Biology Library currently located in Gowan Hall will be re-purposed, with print books and journals being relocated to Mullen Library. After the collection move is complete, the first floor of the existing Library will be re-opened by the School of Nursing as a learning commons where faculty and students may do research and work together. Plans are underway to utilize the second floor of the current space in Gowan for other nursing purposes.

Anyone needing help locating specific print books during the transition and relocation of collections may contact Taras Zvir, Interim Stacks Supervisor (zvir@cua.edu). Faculty needing to place items on course reserve may contact our Access Services staff (circ@mail.lib.cua.edu). Students and faculty are encouraged to arrange for research consultations through the Meet With A Librarian service, http://cua.libcal.com, or by contacting Linda Todd directly (todd@cua.edu).

News & Events: November 21, 2016

captureCHRISTIANS IN THE MIDDLE EAST – Learn about how Kevin Gunn, Coordinator of Religious Studies & Humanities Services, and Sam Russell, Graduate Library Pre-professional, are contributing to a cultural heritage preservation project, Christian Communities of the Middle East, the Fall 2016 edition of CUA Magazine. According to the project website, “The CCME Project seeks to collect digital (oral, photographic, and documentary) histories from the historic church in the Middle East. It will also collaborate between the communities and the Institute of Christian Oriental Research (ICOR) at the Catholic University of America (CUA) and other universities in the USA and abroad. The Project will establish a record of villages, towns, and cities of these communities and record the personal narratives of the men, women, and children once there. An additional focus will be to record hymns, stories, and traditional poetry in the communities’ native neo-Aramaic dialects. In order to preserve the memories of these communities, many of which are not recorded in a permanent form, it is imperative to collect, organize, and preserve their testimonies.”

NAXOS MUSIC LIBRARY – Did you know that CUA has a subscription to the Naxos Music Library? Log in to enjoy over 1.6 million tracks of classical, jazz, and world music. Want to listen on the go? Download the easy-to-use NML mobile app!

POPULAR READING – Want to find some good recreational reading for Thanksgiving? Check out our Popular Reading collection on the north end of the lobby of Mullen Library.

LYNDA.COM  – Why not take advantage of the online learning video library at lynda.com? Sharpen your skill set with courses on graphic design, time management, presentation skills, and so much more. Visit our lynda.com page to get started!

Appy Hour: ibotta

App: ibotta  ibotta icon
By: Ibotta, Inc.
Price: Free
Device: Reviewed on iPhone

The holidays are fast approaching and you’ll probably be shopping more. Why not save money on the items you already buy? ibotta is a rebate app that gives you cash back for name brand and generic items in hundreds of stores. It eliminates cutting coupons and mailing in rebates. The cash from your rebates can be delivered to your PayPal or Venmo account or be used to purchase gift cards from major retailers.

When you open ibotta for the first time, you need to create an account. You can also invite friends to join and get a referral bonus. If you and friends collect enough rebates, you could all earn an additional bonus.

The app helps you find potential rebates in several ways. You can search for specific items (e.g. toilet paper or Diet Coke) or even scan the barcode of a potential item. You can also browse items at different stores or in categories like grocery, pharmacy, and clothing. Once you find an item, simply select it and then verify your purchase by scanning the item’s barcode and your receipt. This all happens within the app using your smartphone’s camera.

The Archivist’s Nook: All Dressed Up – On Turkeys and Tuxedos

Sorry, Mr. Turkey, but it would a social faux pas to decline the invitation this late.
Sorry, Mr. Turkey, but it would be a social faux pas to decline the invitation this late.

Over the next week, the campus will become rather quiet. Most students and staff will hop on various planes, trains, and automobiles on their way to family and feasts. Many readers may even have their own Thanksgiving traditions from watching football to volunteering at a soup kitchen. But would you spend Turkey Day attending a formal soiree after the big game? If you were a student at Catholic University in the 1920s, and had remained in DC, you may very well have. In fact, if you found yourself on the campus in the 1930s, you may also have witnessed bonfires and parades.

One of the earliest CUA social traditions often centered on Thanksgiving – the Utopian Club Annual Gala. Founded on March 14, 1923, the Utopian Club was one of several men’s social organizations that existed in the early twentieth century at CUA. Among its peers were the Senators Club, the Abbey Club, the Dod Noon Club, and (by 1935) the Cave Dwellers. All these organizations acted as fraternal and alumni societies, organizing formal galas and casual gatherings known as “smokers.”

Students posing at one of the 1930s galas.
Students posing at one of the 1930s galas.

Within its first year of life, the Utopian Club inaugurated a tradition of hosting an elaborate ball for its alumni and active members, as well as invited guests from the campus community. What began as a simple event in 1923, soon became one of the most anticipated social occasions of the academic year. The student press closely followed the announcements of the Utopian Club’s social engagements, waiting for its elected head, the “Supreme Utopian,” to announce the Ball’s date, venue, and ticket availability.

While these soirees technically had no fixed date, they were traditionally held in the ballroom of a local hotel on Thanksgiving evening following a CUA football game. Other events, such as the Abbey Club’s Tea Dance were often held the following Saturday. These activities were originally intended to liven up the moods of students who were unable to spend Thanksgiving back home. These dances, as the December 1, 1926 Tower put it, “officially [close] one of the most brilliant weekends that will be written into the historical archives of the C.U.  Thanksgiving weekend is always anticipated by those ‘left behind’ for the holiday. Days stuffed with sparkling dances, ardent music, a rousing football game, and dazzling girls, everything to make the existence of the stay-at-home a little easier to endure.”

Conga Line at the Homecoming Dance, ca. 1950s
Conga Line at the Homecoming Dance, ca. 1950s

The Senators Club, an alumni organization, soon began to hold its own Thanksgiving gala alongside the Utopian Club in 1928. By the 1930s, the Thanksgiving galas became closely associated with the Homecoming football game, held during the holiday weekend. Thus, the various social events of Thanksgiving weekend became ever more lively affairs as the 1930s wore on, with celebratory bonfires, jitterbug contests, freshmen pajama parades, and votes to determine the “handsomest man” and the man with the “biggest feet.” With the Tower also reporting multiple visits by motorcycle-bound police and impromptu parades through the Brookland neighborhood, the student population often clashed with the administration and alumni community over what forms of Homecoming spirit were acceptable.

Homecoming royalty was first selected in 1949. Pictured: 1967 Homecoming Queen and court.
Homecoming royalty was first selected in 1949. Pictured: 1967 Homecoming Queen and court.

By the 1940s, the Thanksgiving traditions of the previous decades began to fade. The dates of the dances and the Homecoming game itself eventually became movable, though soirees continued for years (and the Homecoming dance never fully vanished). The original founder of the galas, the Utopian Club, continued to thrive well into the 1980s, albeit under a new name. In 1956, in honor of its long-time mentor, Fr. Ignatius Smith, O.P, it adopted the name Sigma Pi Delta. A collection of the organization can be viewed in the Archives.

Newest in Popular Reading: Young Frankenstein, Woman of God, Being A Dog, & Arsenic With Austen

As we prepare to partake upon a much needed Thanksgiving recess at The Catholic University of America, we encourage you to pick up one of our Newest in Popular Reading books to relax the mind while away from school. We have a great selection in our popular reading collection located on the first floor of Mullen Library in the Reference Reading Room. There you will find an assortment of best sellers and other popular titles.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” ~ Augustine of Hippo

Some of our newest titles are listed below. Hold your cursor over the Title to see a short description of the book, or click to view the catalog record. The status of the book is shown beside the call number.

Title Author Status
Young Frankenstein: A Mel Brooks Book: The Story Of The Making Of The Film Mel Brooks with Rebecca Keegan; foreword by Judd Apatow
Love For Sale: Pop Music In America David Hajdu
The Thyroid Connection: Why You Feel Tired, Brain-Fogged, And Overweight–And How To Get Your Life Back Amy Myers, MD
Woman of God James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Where The Jews Aren’t: The Sad And Absurd Story Of Birobidzhan, Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Region Masha Gessen
Good Clean Fun: Misadventures In Sawdust At Offerman Woodshop Nick Offerman
How To Be Alive: A Guide To The Kind Of Happiness That Helps The World Colin Beavan
Unspeakable Things Kathleen Spivack
Napoleon’s Last Island Thomas Keneally
Being A Dog: Following The Dog Into A World Of Smell Alexandra Horowitz
Herbert Hoover: A Life Glen Jeansonne, with David Luhrssen
Arsenic With Austen Katherine Bolger Hyde
Nine Women, One Dress Jane L. Rosen
Carry on: A Story of Resilience, Redemption, and an Unlikely Family Lisa Fenn
Week in Paris Rachel Hore
A Book About Love Jonah Lehrer
The Hopefuls Jennifer Close
Sarong Party Girls Cheryl Lu-lien Tan
You Will Not Have My Hate Antoine Leiris; translated from the French by Sam Taylor
Buffering: Unshared Tales of a Life Fully Loaded Hannah Hart

Looking for more options? You can always see a full list of our Popular Reading books in the catalog, by searching under keyword, “CUA Popular Reading.”

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News & Events: November 14, 2016

opposingviewpoints_in_contextONGOING TRIAL – A trial subscription to Opposing Viewpoints in Context is available now through November 30. Opposing Viewpoints In Context is the premier online resource covering today’s hottest social issues, from capital punishment to immigration, to marijuana. This cross-curricular research tool supports science, social studies, current events, and language arts classes. Its informed, differing views present each side of an issue and help students develop information literacy, critical thinking skills, and the confidence to draw their own valid conclusions. To access the trial, please go to http://proxycu.wrlc.org/login?url=http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/?p=OVIC&u=wash31575. Please send any feedback to Joan Stahl, Director of Research and Instruction, at stahlj@cua.edu.

FOOD FOR FINES + DIAPERS FOR DOLLARS – From Monday, November 7 through Sunday, November 20, get $1 off outstanding fines for each nonperishable food item donated at Mullen Library. Get $2 off per diaper for each unopened package of diapers! Donations will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Part of CUA Campus Ministries’ Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 12-20. CUA overdue fines only; lost item replacement fees and other WRLC fines not eligible.

WRLC and Beyond – When CUA doesn’t have the book or article you’re interested in, there are two services available to help you get what you need:

  • Consortium Loan Service (CLS) – CUA is a member of the Washington Research Library Consortium, a partnership between nine universities in the Washington, D.C. metro area. Our online catalog will show results from all nine WRLC libraries. When CUA doesn’t have the item you need, but another university in the consortium does, you can request that the book be delivered to CUA for you to check out at Mullen Library. To learn how to place a request through the Consortium Loan Service (CLS), check out this short video.
  • Inter-Library Lending (ILL) – If none of the WRLC institutions have the book you need, we can search beyond the consortium to find a library that is willing to lend us their copy through Inter-Library Lending (ILL). The easiest way to submit an ILL request is to first locate the book’s record on WorldCat. To learn how to submit an ILL request, watch this short video.

The Archivist’s Nook: Social Media from the Stacks

Social media can be a powerful tool for libraries, archives, and museums to create a branded, collaborative online presence. But where to begin? Before diving head first into the latest social media trends, cultural heritage institutions must first ask several questions, such as: What are we hoping to achieve by using social media? Who will be creating the content? Who is our intended audience? Nina Simon, author of Museum 2.0 blog and The Participatory Museum, presents three simple steps to crafting a basic social media plan:

Part 1. Define your goals.
Part 2. Define your resources and boundaries.
Part 3. Develop the ideas and explain the plan.¹

Know your hashtags and your audience! Instagram post from @CUAarchives
Know your hashtags and your audience! Instagram post from @CUAarchives

Start with the basics of who you are and what you want to achieve. For example, the Australian Museum first defined their social media strategy in 2009 after participating in a staff wide workshop, where they developed a vision statement: “To inspire the exploration of nature and cultures through sharing; engaging; building relationships and influencing, while adapting our organizational culture”². Goals could include reaching new audiences and encouraging the growth of online communities around your institution.

Next, evaluate what resources are needed to achieve these goals. Understandably, short-staffed institutions often find themselves overwhelmed at the prospect of maintaining a vibrant social media profile. Here at the American Catholic Research Center and University Archives, we each take turns writing posts for this blog. This not only distributes the workload, but also creates a variety of content and perspectives! There are also many resources and articles available online that give great recommendations and tips to make the most of what you have. Here are just a few:

Once you have a few ideas, it is now time to develop them further and write them down. The Australian Museum utilized a simple blog post to present the main findings of their workshop. Through a clearly articulated strategy, museums are able to explain to the entire staff as well as stakeholders the value of participating in social media.

Here at the Archives, knowing the potential audiences for this blog and how to reach them plays an important role in our social media plan. With about 400 personal papers and organizational records, 100 University records collections, and 5,000 museum objects, we have a range of material that appeals to many different groups. Our blog post content reflects this diversity, as we address topics not only relating to CUA’s history, but to labor leaders, the World Wars, comic books, library science, and much more! We pinpoint the audience most likely to appreciate a particular blog post – whether that be the CUA community, particular dioceses located around the country, or other DC area archives – and market the blog directly to them. This could be by tagging potentially interested institutions on Twitter or Instagram, adding relevant hashtags, emailing directly or via a listserv, and whatever else we can think of!

Showcase anniversaries and other dates important to your institution. Twitter post from @CUAarchives
Showcase anniversaries and other dates important to your institution. Twitter post from @CUAarchives

As the Museum Assessment Program’s Social Media Handbook explains, “Starting social media can be overwhelming, but remember that at its heart, social media is not actually about technology. Rather, it’s all about conversation and story telling. If you have a good story to share, people will want to listen and respond.” Museums, archives, and libraries have moved towards a new identity: one of dialogue, collaboration, and community. Social media plays a key role in portraying this identity, as cultural heritage institutions around the world create new narratives and two-way conversations with their audiences. By carefully evaluating their goals and resources, even the smallest archive can utilize social media to give their institution a face and personality to share with the world online.

Peruse our own social media content here:


¹Simon, N. (2009, June 9). How to develop a (small-scale) social media plan. [Blog Post]. Museum 2.0. Retrieved from http://museumtwo.blogspot.com/2009/06/how-to-develop-small-scale-social-media.html

²Kelly, L. (2009, Nov. 19). The museum’s social media strategy. [Blog Post]. Australian Museum. Retrieved from http://australianmuseum.net.au/blogpost/museullaneous/the-museums-social-media-strategy

News & Events: November 7, 2016

fffFOOD FOR FINES + DIAPERS FOR DOLLARS – From Monday, November 7 through Sunday, November 20, get $1 off outstanding fines for each nonperishable food item donated at Mullen Library. Get $2 off per diaper for each unopened package of diapers! Donations will benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Part of CUA Campus Ministries’ Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 12-20. CUA overdue fines only; lost item replacement fees and other WRLC fines not eligible.

ONGOING TRIAL – A trial subscription to Opposing Viewpoints in Context is available now through November 30. Opposing Viewpoints In Context is the premier online resource covering today’s hottest social issues, from capital punishment to immigration, to marijuana. This cross-curricular research tool supports science, social studies, current events, and language arts classes. Its informed, differing views present each side of an issue and help students develop information literacy, critical thinking skills, and the confidence to draw their own valid conclusions. To access the trial, please go to http://proxycu.wrlc.org/login?url=http://ic.galegroup.com/ic/ovic/?p=OVIC&u=wash31575. Please send any feedback to Joan Stahl, Director of Research and Instruction, at stahlj@cua.edu.

ELECTION COVERAGE – Election coverage will be streamed in the May Gallery beginning at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, November 7. Stop in to get updated on results.

MEET WITH A LIBRARIAN – CUA students and faculty can now schedule a consultation with a librarian through Meet with a Librarian. Our librarians are available to meet with you about finding useful information resources, using a citation style, developing a research strategy, and much more. Please allow at least 24 hours between requesting a meeting and your suggested meeting times.