University of Notre Dame

The Story of Notre Dame
Notre Dame: Foundations, 1842-1857 / by John Theodore Wack

Notes 2.1

1 Daniel Leeper, "Some Early Local Footprints," reprint from the South Bend Daily Times (South Bend, Indiana: 1898).

2 Supra, pp. 26-28.

3 This same factor was important in the foundation of many of the Protestant denominational colleges, i.e., the fear that their members, newly removed to the West, would be lost to other denominations. Cf. Charles F. Thwing, History of Higher Education in America, (N.Y.: 1906), pp. 228-230.

4 Brother Edward [?], "The Record of Notre Dame -- 1840, 1841, 42," UNDA. This is a very brief memoir of these years, roughly written, ungrammatical, and often quite amusing. It was probably written by Brother Edward, one of the community.

5 Since Father Sorin, as Superior, was involved in the overall duties of the administration of the entire institution, he appointed Cointet as President of the Council and Brother Gatian as Secretary; the other members were Brothers Augustine, Paul, and Vincent, and a Mr. Riley about whom nothing else is known; possibly he was a new (and temporary) seminarian. Fr. Sorin was present and quite vocal at most meetings. "Register of the Council of Professors, 1st Volume, January 7, 1844 to April 1, 1846," UNDA (hereafter cited: C. of Prof., 1844-46.

6 This catalogue of courses appears impressive, especially the presence of two courses in science, a fairly novel curriculum item at this time. However, not all of these subjects were taught. Botany, Zoology, and Mensuration (a type of mathematics which deals with the measurement of length, area, and volume) were certainly not taught this year; there is no further mention of these courses, nor were there students at the college who were prepared to take them, with perhaps one exception. C. of Prof., 1844-46, entry of January 14, 1844. The seminarian, Mr. Gouesse was later added to the faculty as Prefect of Discipline. Ibid., entry of March 8, 1844.

7 Even Miami University of Ohio, one of the better Midwestern schools, had only seven teachers for two hundred and thirty-four students in 1834, some ten years after its foundation as a true college; cf. Walter Havighurst, The Miami Years, 1809-1959 (N.Y.: 1958), p. 48. Indiana University had only one teacher for a period of three years, and, by 1831, six years after its opening, had only two professors plus the president; cf. James A. Woodburn, Higher Education in Indiana (Washington, D.C.: 1891), pp. 48-81. It should be noted, however, that these schools were true colleges, and their teachers were professors who taught courses from the classical curriculum. If this definition were to have been applied at Notre Dame, only one teacher could have been listed for the college, Fr. Cointet, and he had very few students to teach.

8 Granger, "Obituary of . . . the Province", UNDA. Brother Paul was 28 at his death.

9 C. of Prof., 1844-46, entry of May 11, 1844.

10 Ibid., entry of February 18, 1844.

11 Boarders' Ledger No. 2, 1849-1852, UNDA. This ledger, kept by Brother Gatian, lists in its first pages those students who came to Notre Dame before 1849; this information was taken from Ledger No. 1 (which no longer exists and which might possibly have been lost in the fire of that year) or from what could be remembered of Ledger No. 1. Gatian noted in regard to the year 1842-43, "Perhaps a few others came whose names have been forgotten & who never paid."

12 Ibid.

13 The Boarders' Ledger included all of the students in the whole institution, even those who worked for their schooling, but it did not include the apprentices who had come to receive manual training from the Brothers.

14 For an example, see "Chronicles," p. 54.

15 Moses Letourneau would have been a valuable member of the community at Notre Dame, but he became ill and regretfully left the college in the spring of 1846, hoping to recover his health in Detroit. He entered the diocesan seminary in that city and was ordained in 1850 as the first native priest of the Diocese of Detroit. He died in 1851 while Pastor of Holy Trinity Church in Detroit. His brother, Louis, also came to Notre Dame and later was ordained a priest there. Cf. Catholic Almanac . . . for 1852, "Obituary, August 14, 1851, Rev. Moses F. Letourneau;" Boarders' Ledger No. 2, 1849-1852, UNDA; and Alexis Granger, "Obituary of the Students & appr. of Notre Dame ab anno 1847 ad annum 1876," UNDA (hereafter cited: Granger, "Students' Obituary, 1847-1876.").

16 C. of Prof., 1844-46, entries of January 7 and February 18, 1844, UNDA.

17 Schedule compiled from the entry of January 7, 1844, C. of Prof., 1844-46, UNDA.

18 Ibid., entry of May 3, 1844. The Wednesday afternoon walk, possibly copied from a similar practice at St. Gabriel' s College in Vincennes (see summary statement of St. Gabriel's in the Catholic Almanac . . . for 1846), became a tradition at Notre Dame du Lac for many years.

19 Cleanliness was sometimes a problem. An entry reads: "The necessity of separating Mr. Kelly Junior from the other Boarders for the sake of cleanliness was taken into consideration by the Council who decided that he & his brother should sleep in the old kitchen." The old kitchen was probably in one of the old log buildings. C. of Prof., 1844-46, entry of March 22, 1844. UNDA.

20 Ibid., entry of January 7, 1844, UNDA.

21 There were some changes in the routine during the year; for example, Gatian later taught French to all of the Boarders at 11:00 A.M. every morning. Ibid., entry of May 15, 1844.

22 Ibid., entry of February 18, 1844; these books probably were Frederick Emerson, . . . The North American Arithmetic (Philadelphia: 1832); Samuel A. Mitchell, Mitchell's Ancient Atlas . . . and Geography (Philadelphia: 1844) or an earlier edition of the same; and Salma Hale, History of the U.S. to 1817 (N.Y.: n.d.), 2 vols.

23 C. of Prof., 1844-46, entry of March 15, 1844, UNDA.

24 Ibid., entry of May 15, 1841, UNDA. There is no record of what these books were to be or of when they went into effect. The ordering of classical books from France is not unsensible, for these works, of course, were printed in Latin or Greek.

25 "Chronicles," p. 38.

26 Brother Edward (?), "The Record of Notre Dame -- 1840, 1841, 42," UNDA; "Chronicles," p. 38.

27 "Chronicles," p. 38. Such threats were not uncommon in these years, for the 1840's saw the dramatic rise of a number of anti-alien and anti-Catholic societies which reached the: zenith in the so-called, 'Know Nothing' movement of the early 1850's. In July of 1844, there was open rioting in the city of Philadelphia, and the conflicts spread to several parts of the Mississippi Valley. Cf. Billingion, Protestant Crusade, pp. 236-238.

28 This same problem was a common one in other colleges. Tewksbury says, "It must be kept in mind that those (colleges) on the frontier were experiments in institutional management conducted under the most trying circumstances. For one thing, the student body was made up of youth accustomed to the individualistic ways of a frontier existence. Thus the problem of discipline was an ever-present source of difficulty. In striving to meet this problem, the faculty were often set off against the trustees, who in that day took a more active part in the internal affairs of a college than is the custom today. Constant friction between the two groups contributed in a number of instances to eventual disruption." Tewksbury, op. cit., p. 27.

29 C. of Prof., 1844-46, UNDA.

30 Sorin did not advocate a light discipline because he believed it to be a sound educational practice. Like most people of his day, he was a firm believer in "Spare the rod and spoil the child," and, in later years when the school was firmly established, he was a strong disciplinarian.

31 Elbert Vaughan Willis wrote concerning the Protestant denominational colleges: "To influence students definitely toward a religious life, and particularly to lead them to the choice of the ministry as a career, was an aim kept constantly in view." Willis, The Growth of American Higher Education (Philadelphia: 1936), p. 69.

32 Ehrbacher says in regard to the Catholic colleges: "Character training according to the ideals of the gospels formed the predominant aim of the Catholic colleges. The perfect Christian character was deemed their finished product. The entire life of the student, in the classroom and on the campus, was regulated by rules whose aim was not only to maintain order and discipline, but above all to regulate the conduct of the students in accord with the principles of religion and sound ethics." Ehrbacher, op. cit., p. 66.

33 Ibid., pp. 102-106 contains a brief description of discipline in American Catholic colleges during this period.

34 "Chronicles," pp. 57-58. Fire was one of the most common causes for the failure of American colleges; of. Tewksbury, op. cit., p. 24.

35 "Chronicles," p. 59. There was not even a lightning rod on the building, although a bell was sent from France in 1844, a gift from Moreau, which twice served as an alarm to wake the college in the night and save it from fire. Ibid.

36 A true copy of the note is in UNDA, dated Fort Wayne, January 22, 1844.

37 "Chronicles," pp. 55-56. The early account book does not list the exact amount of indebtedness, but it does corroborate Sorin's account by indicating that sums of money were obtained from the above sources at this time; cf. Ledger A, UNDA. Sorin also mentions the gift of a piece of land by a family named Beaubien of Detroit, but this is not included in the Ledger. Cf. "Chronicles," p. 5.

38 Bro. Edward [?], "Record of Notre Dame -- 1840, 1841, 42."

39 Extract from the deliberations of the General Council at Notre Dame de Ste. Croix, August 27, 1845, UNDA.

40 "Chronicles," pp. 60-62, 65, 69.

41 Ibid., pp. 60-62.

42 Ibid., p. 64.

43 Ibid., pp. 64, 66; supra, p. 27. Such a statement seems ironical coming from Father Sorin who himself would so enthusiastically adopt the American character that his fellow religious at Notre Dame de Ste. Croix would find it difficult to understand his actions.

44 Bro. Edward [?], "Record of Notre Dame -- 1840, 1841, 42."

45 "Chronicles," p. 65.

46 Ibid.

47 Sorin to de la Hailandiere, Notre Dame du Lac, September 29, 1843, PAHC. There were ten orphans there by early 1845; cf. extract from the deliberations of the General Council at Notre Dame de Ste. Croix, August 27, 1845, UNDA.

48 "Chronicles," pp. 67-70.

49 Ibid., p. 68.

50 Ibid., p. 69.

52 Ehrbacher, op. cit., p. 76.

53 James A. Woodburn, History of Indiana University (Bloomington, Indiana: 1940-1952), I, 106-108.

54 The Boarders' Ledger No. 2, 1849-1852, lists several boys who worked for their education while students (the ledger does not list the names of apprentices). In addition, it notes a few students who left the college to become apprentices in the Manual Labor School or vice versa.

55 Unidentified clipping marked as reprinted from the Church Journal. A letter of Father Patrick Dillon to Father William Corby, LeMans, France, January 27, 1867, indicates that Dillon had received a copy of the article in France; most probably, then, it was published in some Protestant church paper around that time. Letter and clipping in UNDA.

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