University Archives Open and Accepting Materials

Monday, October 8, 2012 1:25:00 AM

The recently created University archives have opened in the former Layton Gallery in the basement of Clare Hall. Materials are being accepted from throughout the University and beyond, according to Sister Margaret Ruddy, OSF, archivist.

Stritch President Dr. Helen Sobehart announced the creation of the archives at her first State of the University address last fall. She also announced that Ruddy would transition from her longtime role in the library to become the archivist, providing intimate knowledge of University history, the Sisters of St. Francis of Assisi and special cataloging and archiving techniques honed over many years in her previous position.

“My goal is to tell the history of the University from a different perspective,” said Ruddy.

“People don’t often look back in time to understand the present and plan for the future, but it can be very useful, especially with more than 70 years of history.”

Though she admits that she will be as much a detective as an archivist during the first years of the archives, Ruddy is already hard at work sorting and saving the materials she has collected from across the University. She is working on a University timeline that marks significant moments in Stritch’s history, as well as scanning and cataloging photographs dating back to when the original Sisters arrived in St. Francis from Bavaria.

Items already housed in the archives include photographs, presidential papers, yearbooks, gifts from past Franciscan pilgrims, newspaper clippings, architectural drawings and budgets, annual reports, back issues of Stritch Magazine and student newspapers, and more. Among the treasures is a pristine copy of the 1937-38 St. Clare College Bulletin, which served as the school’s very first course catalog.

“I’m starting with the things that have stopped,” said Ruddy of her first priorities in the archives, such as the printed student newspaper, yearbooks, literary magazines and other past publications. “I’m scanning everything I can, so that we have a digital record. Many photographs and documents have begun to deteriorate, and it would be a shame to lose them forever.”

Ruddy plans to eventually have display cases in the archives and around campus that highlight various areas of the University. She is also developing a query form to send to University colleges and departments, and welcomes anyone with institutional knowledge and spare time to stop by and offer assistance on identifying people in photographs and sharing stories. She plans to tap fellow Sisters to help, as well as Jubilarians who were students at St. Clare College.

Any alumni or friends of Stritch who have materials they think might be appropriate for the archives are encouraged to send them to Ruddy or contact her at or (414) 410-4260. She encourages people not to “edit” first or throw anything away.

“Just send what you have and I can sort it out,” she said. “There’s so much history in the little things that we wouldn’t want to miss!”