September 2007


Roosevelt at White House, December 8, 1941Ken Burn’s newest PBS documentary called “The War,” reminds us how primary sources can help us to see the past more clearly, and really make history come to life. If you are watching the Burns series, studying the crash of the Stock Exchange or reading the “Triangle” book for class…check out some of the historical newspapers that covered the incidents when they happened. Keep in mind that newspaper reporters had to write the stories and get it to press, so be sure to search the few days after an event to make sure you get the most coverage (for example: President Roosevelt’s Message regarding “…day that will live in infamy speech” was delivered on December 8th, 1941 and printed in the Newspaper on December 09, 1941.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle covers 1851 to 1902. ProQuest Historical Newspapers [How do I? ] Allows you to search several historical newspapers simultaneously, Including Chicago Defender (1905 to 1975); Christian Science Monitor Historical (1908 to 1993); Hartford Courant (1764 to present); New York Times Historical (1851 to 2001); Wall Street Journal Historical (1889 to 1987); Washington Post Historical (1877 to 1988)

You might also check for audio and video files: Ex: Roosevelt’s “fireside chat” before and after Pearl Harbor. Check out Michigan State University’s Vincent Voice Library http://vvl.lib.msu.edu/findingaids.cfm

Picture: Franklin D. Roosevelt at The White House, 12/08/1941 Public Domain, courtesy of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library; The President’s Message. (1941, December 9). New York Times (1857-Current file),1. Retrieved September 25, 2007, from ProQuest Historical Newspapers The New York Times (1851 – 2004) database. (Document ID: 105168402).

Original entry by Blythe Roveland-Brenton, University Archivist,  in an article for the St. John’s Alumni Magazine; Digitized version of recordings created by P. Charles Livermore, Librarian.  News excerpted here for podcast syndication.

Rivard_Glee_club_1948There have been many student choral groups throughout the history of the University. The most long-lived was the St. John’s College Glee Club. This all-male choir formed in 1927.  For a few years during World War II, the group was discontinued, but was again active in 1947, when the Reverend Robert L. Rivard, C.M. became director.  The Glee Club was highly successful, and was regularly featured on radio broadcasts and television programs. One notable milestone occurred in the spring of 1950 when the Glee Club cut a three-record album of some of their most popular secular and religious pieces.  All but one of the selections was sung in four-part harmony without musical accompaniment.  Two of the numbers on the album hold a special significance to the University – “Alma Mater” written by the Reverend Carroll Rosensteel, C.M. and completed by the Reverend Thomas Ryan, C.M., and “Hymn to St. John’s” composed by Father Rivard.

In 1975 the Men’s Glee Club joined forces with the Women’s Glee Club to become a mixed chorus.

Roveland-Brenton, Blythe.   “Gleeful Harmony: A look back at St. John’s Singing Groups.”  St. John’s University Magazine: For Alumni and Friends of the University, Fall 2007.  pp. 44-46.