Thursday, November 20, 2014

St. Kate's Veterans

Private Verla Phillips, 1944
In honor of Veterans Day, there is a display featuring items from St. Kate’s archives that were collected by Verla Phillips. Phillips served in the Women’s Army Corps (WAC) during World War II. She was originally from Minneapolis and was deployed to Italy to serve in the Army Air Force. During her time in service, she kept a scrapbook, which she filled with keepsakes, news clippings, postcards and other mementos she collected.

Items from her scrapbook include a WAC calendar, a newsletter and a nursing pamphlet published by the American Red Cross. She also kept ticket stubs and playbills from performances she attended during her time in service. 

In addition to items collected by Phillips, the display also features articles about St. Kate’s students who served in the military. In the 1940s, several students formed the St. Catherine's Veterans' Association (known as the K-Vets), a club for students who had served in WWII. An article from The Wheel shows members of the K-Vets looking at photos and reminiscing about their military days.

Another article features a story about former service women who were pursuing an education at St. Kate’s under the G.I. Bill. One of the women featured in this article is Catherine Moore (later Sister Anne Joachim Moore). She went on to become the president of St. Mary’s Junior College, which is now the Minneapolis campus of St. Kate's.

This display will be on view for the month of November on the lower level of the St. Paul Library, in Archives and Special Collections, room 62.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

St. Kate’s Alumna Apprenticed with Adé Bethune

Icon of the Mother of God and Christ the Teacher,
designed by Adé Bethune.
St. Kate’s alumna Martha Greenwood Spaans, ’63, assisted Adé Bethune in creating the Icon of the Mother of God and Christ the Teacher, currently on display at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery. Spaans spent the summer of 1964 working as an apprentice in Bethune’s Newport, RI home, where she set up a silkscreen shop in the basement. According to Spaans, “Adé showed me two large penciled icons she drew on white paper, one of Jesus and the other of the Madonna. She wanted to make them into large plaques for use in churches and chapels.

"I ordered clear birch boards to be cut to size for the plaques. I built drying racks so I could print one color at a time and all the boards would be drying in a convenient area close to where I was silk-screening. Adé and I got together at her big worktable upstairs and decided upon colors for the two icons. Adé watched for hours as I worked with her drawings and cut a stencil with an Exacto knife for each color on the icons.”

After the printing process was complete, Bethune sent Spaans to Boston to purchase gold leaf from her Russian gold dealer. Spaans applied the gold leaf to the halos and completed the icons, which were then sold through Bethune’s St. Leo Shop Bulletin

Bethune taught apprentices like Spaans throughout her career. She founded a workshop along with fellow Newport artists Graham Carey and John Howard Benson, which they cheekily called “John Stevens University.” Contrary to its name, John Stevens was not a university, but a working studio founded on the principle of quality craftsmanship. At John Stevens, students such as Spaans learned through hands-on apprenticeships with the artists. Bethune (whose childhood nickname was Lion) referred to the shared living and working area in her home as “Lion College” and dubbed her apprentices “cubs.”

Monday, November 17, 2014

Archives Dance Cards Display

Many people are familiar with the phrase “my dance card is full” however there was a time when this expression could be used literally. In the past, dance cards were a fixture at formal dances at St. Kate’s and other academic institutions. The November display features a selection of dance cards from St. Kate’s Archives, as well as photos and documents related to these dances.

Dance cards from St. Kate's Archives
Not only did dance cards provide a place for students to record the names of their dance partners, they also functioned as a program for the evening’s entertainment. Information on the cards included the name of the band playing, a list of planning committee members and chaperones, and occasionally a menu (as seen on the dance card on display from St. Kate’s 1939 Junior Prom).

Several dances were held every year, each one sponsored by a different club or planning committee. These events were formal in nature and often centered around a carefully selected theme. For example, the drama club, known as the Laboratory Players, sponsored the Fall Formal Dance in 1964. The theme they selected was “On Broadway.” Documents on display from the Archives show that the club planned to decorate using a theatre marquis, with street lights and park benches, which they planned to borrow from the city of St. Paul.

The dance cards will be on display during the month of November on the main level of the St. Paul Library, in the case in front of the video carrels.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Adé Bethune Lecture: Dr. Judith Church Tydings, Nov. 18, 6:30 pm

"Adé Bethune, Renaissance Woman: Creative Living and Aging"

Tuesday, November 18
6:30 pm
Visual Arts Building lecture hall

This will be the last in a series of lectures commemorating the centennial of liturgical artist, writer, and social activist Adé Bethune (1914-2002).

Harbor House designed by Adé Bethune.
Tydings will discuss how she knew and experienced Adé Bethune during the last 10 years of her very active life. She will explore how Bethune applied Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs to her life and to the design of the community housing for elders that she founded in her eighties, Harbor House in Newport, Rhode Island.

Tydings received her M.A. in History in 1959. She returned to graduate school in her sixties, earning a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Maryland in 2010. Her dissertation, "Old Yankee Women: Life Histories and Cultural Significance," contained a chapter on Adé Bethune. As part of her doctoral research on women and aging, Dr. Tydings lived with Bethune for a time during the final years of her life.

The lectures are presented in conjunction with the exhibition Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery through December 19, 2014. The exhibition draws from items in the University's Adé Bethune Collection and each speaker has used the Collection for their research.

Co–sponsors of the lecture series are: the Myser Initiative on Catholic Identity; Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet, St. Paul Province; Alumnae Council Lifelong Learning Committee and Friends of the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery.

For more information about the exhibition and lecture series see

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Found in the Archives: Library Hours

There was a time when the St. Kate's Library wasn't open every day of the week. Until the late 1960s it was closed on Sundays. Students began asking for extended hours, however. The minutes of the Student-Faculty Committee from November 18, 1964 include this item:
"[There was a suggestion] that the library be open on Sundays and the Friday and Saturday of exam week. It was mentioned that the librarians work very long hours all week and are entitled to have Sunday free."
Demand for Sunday hours continued unsuccessfully until the 1966-67 academic year. That year, Head Librarian Sister Marie Inez mentioned in her annual report "the happy resolution of opening the library on Sundays with the cooperation of students and faculty."

That cooperation was the plan of Resident Student Council President Jan English and Day Student Council President Judy Tingerthall. They led an S.O.S. (Students Out to Study) effort to recruit faculty members to staff the library for 3 hours on Sunday afternoons, using sign-up sheets like the one pictured here. It shows the signatures of 25 faculty members willing to sit at the library desk from 1:30-4:30.

This sign-up sheet is in the Archives and Special Collections as part of the records of the College Association, the student governing board. Unfortunately, the Archives does not seem to have the "list of duties" Sr. Marie Inez left for the faculty members who sat at the desk.

Friday, November 7, 2014

We like big books

Over the summer, in the St. Paul campus library, we started using one of our whiteboards to ask you a Question of the Week. Questions have ranged from favorite songs and favorite movies to pet peeves and an animal that represents you.

A couple weeks ago we asked you what book you would recommend to someone else, so we thought we'd put together a display with your book suggestions. But we didn't just add the books. We wanted to let you know how much we liked big books, and we cannot lie.

Come into the St. Kate's Library to check out some of these great book suggestions!

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Adé Bethune and the Church of St. Paulinus

Two artworks from Adé Bethune’s first official commission as a liturgical artist are currently featured in the exhibits, Adé Bethune: The Power of One Person, on view at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery and Wisdom Ways Center for Spirituality in the Carondelet Center. One of these works is a full-size cartoon for the church’s stained glass rose window, the other is a sketch of five saints, which were painted in the church sanctuary.

Bethune's sketches of saints for the Church of St. Paulinus
Bethune is highly regarded for her work as an illustrator, writer, activist, and liturgical artist. Throughout her career, she acted as a designer/consultant on nearly 300 churches all over the world. The first of these was the Church of St. Paulinus in Clairton, Pennsylvania.

In 1936, the church pastor, Father Joseph Lonergan, commissioned Bethune to create several works for the church. He had seen her illustrations depicting the Stations of the Cross, which were published in the March 1935 issue of The Catholic Worker. Father Lonergan had a strong interest in Neo-Gothic works, so Bethune was a natural choice for these commissions. Her sketches depicting five saints is reminiscent of traditional Russian icons, with their dark outlines, bold colors and the use of gold leaf.

Bethune’s sketch for the painted panels of saints for the Church of St. Paulinus is on display at the Carondelet Center through November 10. Her cartoon for the stained glass window at St. Paulinus is on view at the Catherine G. Murphy Gallery through December 19.

For more information, visit: