Student Publications at Mundelein College

In order to celebrate the 90 year Anniversary of Mundelein College, the WLA applied for and received the Illinois History Digital Imaging grant. The IHDI grant is aimed at digitizing documents of historical significance and making them accessible at the Illinois Digital Archives. I have been lucky to be part of a team that is digitizing items from Mundelein College held at the WLA. We’re scanning and describing thousands of publications, photographs, and other items related to the history of Mundelein College so that they are more accessible to the public.[1]

Mundelein College Skyscraper staff celebrates receiving the All-American Honor Rating by the National Newspaper Critical Service of the Associated Collegiate Press. Pictured are Columnist Mary Anne Pope, Artist Diane Mazza, Contributor Carlotta Serritella, and Contributor Maureen Racine. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1962-05-22)] [2] [ mc_student_pubs_0052].

Throughout the digitizing process, I’ve been fascinated by the rigor with which students published journals, newspapers, and pamphlets. Mundelein College students maintained a rich tradition of self-published literature of their sixty-year history. They collected articles and essays, cropped and captioned photos, and folded thousands of pages. The resulting, now digital, volumes demonstrate Mundelein College students’ work and the joy with which they performed it.

We’ve digitized dozens of publications. Here are some of my favorites:

Clepsydra often featured small pieces of writing like this short poem, “Pyromagia,” by Emer Phibbs about the coming of Autumn. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1932-11) [mc_clepsydra_0007_Page_05-06].

Clepsydra (1932-1938) is a beautifully bound collage of student verse and prose. The name comes from the ancient Greek water clock used to limit the speaking time of Athenian orators. The editors of the Clepsydra wrote that this helped to “make their speeches clear, concise, forceful.” Therefore, it is the clock, they say, that “aided our language to acquire that power and clarity that are its greatest charm.” [3]

Other interesting publications include The Mundelein College Review (1938-1991), an impressive scholarly journal filled with criticism, fiction, and scholarly work. The short-lived political pamphlet Take Issue (1970-1971) illustrates how Mundelein students saw their place in the world. And Mundelein Scholar (1985-1990) was the last student newspaper before the school’s affiliation with Loyola University.

In the Mundelein Scholar office, a student works at a dry mounting heat press. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (circa 1980s) [mc_student_pubs_0025].

Already digitized and available on the WLA website, The Skyscraper (1931-1969) is one of my favorite time capsules in the Mundelein College collection.  It was a newspaper that served as a voice of the students as they react to politics, social movements, and personal experiences during the first half of the college’s history. From the first issue on January 30, students thought of themselves as muckraking journalists “covering assignments,” “rustling news,” and facing “deadlines.” [4]

The “The Sky-Line” in the Skyscraper newspaper was filled with funny quips about student life. (1931-05-29)] [5]

But the Skyscraper was more than serious information. Early editor, Doris Barnett, invented a satirical section to lampoon student life called, “Skyline.” Writers anonymously submitted clever limericks and comical poems, and published under pseudonyms like “O. Kay,” “Peter and Paul,” “The Banshee,” “Nemo” and “Night Owl.”

The photographs we’ve digitized from the WLA’s collection reflect the student-led nature of the publishing process. The editorial boards organized a schedule of articles, photographs, and advertisements. They scheduled articles weeks and months in advance, wrangling students and keeping them to deadlines. Though printing technology changed over the course of the Skyscraper’s history, the editorial grind in 1931 looked much like it does in today’s college newspapers.

Skyscraper editorial staff planning was messy work. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (circa 1960s) [mc_student_pubs_0060].

They met with journalists and editors of newspapers to learn about the craft. Mundelein College students benefited from their proximity to Chicago’s many newspapers and from the rich tradition of Catholic presses in the U.S. and around the world. [6]

Pictured are Mundelein College students Eileen Schaefer, Mary Etta Talarico, Dianna Artori, Joanne Infantino, and Maxine Tyme, members of the Press Club and staff members of the Skyscraper, talking to Daily News City Edition editor, Maurice Fischer. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1963-12-06) [student_pubs_0054].
Editors cropped the photographs, picked the font sizes and fit articles onto the page like puzzle pieces. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1940-02-09) [student_pubs_0036].
The final step in the publishing process for Skyscraper editors was sending the finished proofs to the printer. This photo shows a Skyscraper editor, likely Co-Editor Elizabeth “Betty” M. Vestal, working over a proofing press similar to those sold by the Chicago company Vandercook and Sons. The early proof presses of the 1930s created the ability to see a representation of the final paper before being sent to the printer. This phase remained essentially the same over the next thirty years, but the proof presses became faster and easier to use. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1940-03-06) [mc_student_pubs_0031].
After enjoying the satisfaction of completing the paper and holding the finished product in their hands, they started the process all over again. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1956-10) [mc_student_pubs_0039].

The photos and publications that our team has digitized from Mundelein College’s past contextualize otherwise snapshots found in the already digitized Skyscraper newspaper. For example, the page below is a fascinating time capsule from November 1, 1968. The top article features the Mundelein Marauders, the school’s football team, who played other women’s colleges in the region. These pad-less pigskin pounders provided entertainment for the school’s fans in the oft forgotten sport of women’s tackle football.

This back page spread from the Skyscraper November 1968 contains an article about the Mundelein Marauders football team, an attack on a Mundelein dorm by Loyola students, and political ad from Richard Nixon that played on the anger of progressives in the wake of the infamous 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.] [7]

Among our newly digitized photos for the IDHI project is the entire roll of film from the Skyscraper reporter who documented the event.

Here’s the photo from the article of the Mundelein Marauder flanker, Margaret Desmond, setting up the team’s touchdown. Notice the line on the ground where she has been forced out of bounds, the person on the left who appears to be an observer jumping out of the way, and the young man in the naval cap giddily chasing the play to get a better view of the action. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1968-10-26) [mc_departments_athletics_0349].
Equally entertained and entertaining are the Mundelein College cheerleaders who seemingly outnumber the team itself. This photo is from the Mundelein College Collection in the process of being digitized by the WLA. (1968-10-26) [departments_athletics_0343].

The newly digitized Mundelein College student publications provide a window into college life in the middle of the twentieth century. The Richard Nixon campaign ads and the discontinued collegiate sports stand out as quirky practices of past peoples. But as college newspapers shutter and shrink across the country due to lack of funding, interest, or both, publications like the Skyscraper, Scholar, and Review also remind us of the immeasurable value of the seemingly frivolous elements of liberal arts education. By struggling through the process of publication from planning to printing, Mundelein College students gained life experiences. They were forced to negotiate with tight timelines; they learned the usefulness of levity and comedy; they saw their work come to life on the page. It’s been a pleasure to work with these items, learn how they intersect with each other, and help to make them more accessible to researchers. [8]

Anthony is a US History and Public History PhD student at Loyola University Chicago. His research focuses on the influence of celebrity on politics and identity during the Civil War era. Professionally, he’s interested in interpretation and public programing in museums.




[3] (mc_clepsydra_0001_page 113)




[6] ;

[7] Skyscraper 1968-11-01_page 8


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About Women and Leadership Archives

Established in 1994, the Women and Leadership Archives (WLA) collects, preserves, and makes available permanently valuable records of women and women’s organizations, which document women’s lives, roles, and contributions. The WLA grew out of the need to care for the records of Mundelein College and expanded to collect papers of women leaders and women’s organizations. Collection strengths include the subject areas of activism and women’s issues; authors; education; environmental issues; public service; social justice; women religious; and the fine, performance, and visual arts. The WLA is part of the Gannon Center and Loyola University Libraries and serves a wide variety of users, ranging from students and scholars to the general public. The WLA makes records available at the Archives in Loyola’s Piper Hall, offers remote reference services, presents programs, and provides online resources. Staff include a Director, Assistant Archivist, and graduate assistants from Loyola’s Public History Program.

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