News Detail
A diary page showing an entry from September 1870.
Saint Louis University Digitizes Historic Records Showing Jesuit, Student Life in Late 1800s

July 24, 2015 — A newly digitized collection at Saint Louis University gives a glimpse into the daily lives of students and Jesuits at Saint Louis University in the late 19th century.

The Special Collections Library at SLU has digitized the historic diaries of prefects, or supervisors, at the university from 1851 to 1894, making them available to anyone who would like to view this unique historical record.

In the five diaries that the university holds, the prefects kept records of the activities of the students. At the time, students as young as 10 years old could be enrolled in the university, and prefects were responsible for looking after them.

These journals are some of the earliest records of students at the university and preserve firsthand accounts of daily activities, providing a unique window into student life. One prefect tells the story of older students tricking the younger boys into thinking dessert would be served after the evening meal, and laughter when they were disappointed. Most days consist of a rhythm of Mass, classes and mealtimes, but of course, the younger boys also get into trouble: making too much noise in services and having snowball fights.

Another journal in 1870 begins with prefects returning to school from the summer months. Before classes resumed, the first order of business for the Jesuit prefects was that the "boys got their tickets" for the upcoming baseball game between the St. Louis Red Stockings and the Empires Baseball Club.

The Saint Louis University Special Collections holds rare and original sources, preserving them so that students, staff and visiting scholars have easy access to these materials. These diaries are part of the process of digitizing the larger Historical Records Collection at the library; this provides access for students and staff to engage directly with these important sources with ease and convenience. [Sources: Saint Louis University, Saint Louis University Digital Collections]

Recent News

July 10, 2018 — St. Paul’s High School in Winnipeg, Manitoba, has named alumnus Kevin Booth as the school’s next president, succeeding Jesuit Father Len Altilia.

July 3, 2018 — The project, headed by Fr. John Pungente, SJ, wraps up 40 years of conversation about modern media.

July 2, 2018 — The Society of Jesus is proud to announce the ordination of 27 new priests in the United States, Canada and Haiti.

June 21, 2018 — Jesuit organizations denounce the Trump Administration’s “morally repugnant” policies and practices.

June 21, 2018 — Today is the feast day of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, an Italian Jesuit known for his courage in serving the sick and his dedication to the education of young students.

June 18, 2018 — Nearly 600 U.S. Catholic organizations declared that they are “still in” to support the Paris Agreement.

June 14, 2018 — Fr. Martin will speak on welcoming LGBT Catholics at the World Meeting of Families in Dublin, which runs from August 21-26.

view all news

Search news

Since St. Ignatius bought a printing press in 1556, the Jesuits have been involved in communications. Today the Society of Jesus publishes a number of award-winning journals and publications. Click below to access our latest issues.

America 7/9/18

America 6/25/18

America 6/11/18

Manresa House of Retreats
Manresa House of Retreats is located on the banks of the Mississippi River in Convent, La., midway between Baton Rouge and New Orleans.