St. Augustine Hall, 3rd FloorSparks and Sequoya

January 14 – February 12, 2013

Sparks was the oldest literary magazine at St. John’s, which ran for only a short time, from 1891-1897. It was formed when students from the Sparks Literary Society began writing class pamphlets. Upon the success of this pamphlet and encouragement from their faculty advisor, Father McCormick, they began the Sparks literary magazine. The earliest issues were handwritten, while later issues were printed. In addition to editing this early publication, the society dedicated themselves to the study of elocution, composition, and debate. The name Sparks was derived from “the fact that the pamphlet contained little offshoots from the flame of knowledge then so fervent and bright in the minds of many of their class.” By 1897, Sparks Literary Society had raised enough funds for a furnished meeting and reading room and small library.

Sequoya is the second-oldest and longest-running student-published literary magazine at St. John’s University. It was first published in April 1934, at the original St. John’s College campus in Brooklyn. The magazine’s purpose was “to be a free and clear avenue for literary expression”. The magazines featured fiction, poetry, essays, reviews and art, including photography. Over the years, the name of the publication switched between Sequoya and Sequoya Quarterly, and later Sequoya Literary Magazine and Sequoya Literary and Arts Magazine.

Copies of Sparks and Sequoya are housed in the University Archives and are available for research. Please call (718) 990-1465 or email archives@stjohns.edu to make an appointment.

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