Sunday, January 29, 2012

In my first and second weeks at my history internship, I did a lot of different things. We attempted to get the scanner to work, but due to technical difficulties, scanning will have to wait until tomorrow, January 30. After the attempts at getting the scanner to work failed, I went to work and started paging through the photo albums from the early years of St. Ignatius College to see if I could find any pictures of students studying with books or the St. Ignatius Library. Most of the photos I was reviewing were from the beginning of the 20th century, specifically 1904 and 1905. It was interesting to see that the Department of Natural Sciences had a large collection of stuffed animals. I'd be interested to see where these stuffed animals went when St. Ignatius moved to Rogers Park and became Loyola. Additionally, the pictures were much more captivating than I expected, and I greatly enjoyed looking through the photo albums. There were pictures of the early classrooms at St. Ignatius and the students with books in their classrooms. It was cool to see the environment and appearances of various students from over 100 years ago. On my way to my political science internship at the State's Attorney's Office, I pass St. Ignatius College Prep. Until this internship, I did not realize that St. Ignatius College Prep is the former home of St. Ignatius College, and after reviewing the photo albums on Monday, it was interesting to drive by St. Ignatius College Prep and picture college students walking around 100 years ago. I hope to post some of the pictures from the photo albums later in the semester when we are able to scan them. 

A Picture of St. Ignatius College Prep, the initial home of St. Ignatius College

After finishing my review of the photo albums, I started paging through the first few catalogues of information from St. Ignatius College. These catalogues contain information on the leaders of St. Ignatius College, the professors, the students, and some years contain information about the museum and library. I was specifically reviewing information concerning the library, but I also got the chance to review other information contained in the catalogues. Particularly, I found the grading system and the selection of a "First Premium" - the best student in each class, "Second Premium" - the second best student in each class, and "Distinguished" - the other excellent students in each class, very interesting. I thought the merit based point system that St. Ignatius College used, which rates students out of 100, and the ability to get awards for great academic success in a particular class, such as Geography, was actually a superior system to our system today (at least from what I read about it and learned in the catalogue). In my review of the information on the Library contained in the catalogues, I found out that one of the oldest books in the library, which was a medieval text on vellum, was actually donated during this time. St. Ignatius initially held some misconceptions about what the text was, and it was not until recently that its real purpose was actually identified. 

Anyway, as a whole, the first week was very interesting. It particularly struck me that the records of the Library in the initial 10 years of the school were kept meticulously, but as the school expanded and its library expanded, the records seemingly dwindled until no mention was made of the library in many of the years of the catalogue. In fact, the school did not have a librarian for 3 years from 1887-88 school year through 1889-90. Overall, I think this internship will be one in which I learn a great deal and get to explore both the history of the Library and the school as a whole. Thanks for reading. 

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