Category Archives: St. Joseph’s Academy

Voices of Students

 “Soon scenes may change, soon friends prove untrue

When for I rove, from dear Saint Josephs view

Yet naught can chase, thy image from my mind”

-From “Farewell to St. Joseph’s,” 1830, by “Remember Maria”

This is part of a yearlong series about the early days of the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s commemorating the 200th anniversary of the death of Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, foundress of the community.  In 1850, the Emmitsburg-based Sisters united with the international community of the French Daughters of Charity.

In many archives that gather administrative or corporate records, the voices of the people who used those services can be frustratingly absent. Luckily, the collection of St. Joseph’s Academy, the school founded by Mother Seton and the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, features many of the voices of students, including their creations and their writings. 

Some of the earliest examples of students’ surviving works include their needlework samplers, several of which come from the era when Mother Seton directly ran the Academy before her death in January 1821. 

Needlework by Mary Jamison, July 1812, St. Joseph’s Academy Student, 1810-1813

While the number of surviving student mementos from Mother Seton’s era are limited, they become more voluminous as time goes on until St. Joseph’s Academy received a charter as St. Joseph College in 1902.  Other markers of the students’ work include “premiums,” which are what would be called in the modern day certificates of achievement or small awards for top performers in the class in different subjects.

Premium earned by A.C.A. Grace, June 30th, 1825
Later programs listed out all premiums. This one is from 1854

Other materials in the archives contain some more direct creations from students of the Academy.  Although we refer to it as “Sr. Joannah Hickey’s Journal,” this small volume dated 1830 contains writings from a variety of individuals.  It includes the complete version of the poem at the start of this post.

“Farewell to St. Joseph’s,” by “Remember Maria,” 1830

The Sister Mary Raphael Smith Scrapbook contains similar pieces, written by Smith herself, other sisters, and students of the Academy.  Sister Mary Raphael had been a student at the Academy before becoming a Sister; she later became Directress of the school.  In addition to poetry, the scrapbook contains accounts of events that occurred in the Academy between the 1830s and the 1890s.

Accounts of the death of Father Burlando, by Sister Madeleine O’Brien, Mary Huneker, and others

A handful of these additional “Scrapbooks” from the Academy exist across the middle of the 19th century.  Other materials address the education provided by the Academy more directly.  Katherine McDonough’s lecture notes from 1899 show an average day of education in science, geology, and grammar.

The students of the Academy also contributed to a display of their schoolwork for the 1893 World’s Fair in Chicago.

Art and Schoolwork displayed at Chicago World’s Fair

In addition to a lucky genealogist looking for an Academy student-ancestor who may stumble upon their ancestor’s writing or work, the collection provides a valuable tool of the community and its earliest mission in the United States, along with a picture of education during this time period.

St. Joseph’s Academy on the true lawn tennis court

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Happy Anniversary!

Edward Augustus Seton, View of St. Joseph's Academy, 1825. Oil on canvas. Used with permission of the Provincial Archives

Edward Augustus Seton, View of St. Joseph’s Academy, 1826. Oil on canvas. Used with permission of the Provincial Archives

July 31 marks a double anniversary. Four years ago today the Province of St. Louise USA began from the former US provinces of Albany, Emmitsburg, Evansville, and St. Louis. On this day in 1809 St. Elizabeth Ann Seton began the Sisters of Charity of St. Joseph’s, in Emmitsburg, MD, on the same grounds which today house the Emmitsburg Campus of the Daughters of Charity and the National Shrine of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton.

The photo shows an oil painting of the Emmitsburg grounds as they appeared in 1825. The building in the middle is Mother Seton’s White House, which can still be seen today.

“Well, my own troubles will teach me I hope, how to comfort others, and serve as the payment of some little part of the great debt I own.”
—St. Elizabeth Ann Seton (C.W., vol. II, L 6.4, p. 78)

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Digital Exhibit: Photographs of William H. Tipton

Last week, for #Throwback Thursday, we shared two images of William H. Tipton, a prominent Gettysburg photographer whose images show up in our records of St. Joseph Academy. The Academy records contain a total of five Tipton photographs, showing both campus and students. We present them here. All images are used with the permission of the Provincial Archives. The images in this online exhibit are 150 dpi; high-resolution images are available for study in the Provincial Archives.

Oratory at St. Joseph's Academy, Emmitsburg, MD (Photo by William H. Tipton)

Oratory at St. Joseph’s Academy, Emmitsburg, MD (Photo by William H. Tipton)

Music room at St. Joseph's Academy, Emmitsburg, MD (Photo by William H. Tipton)

Music room at St. Joseph’s Academy, Emmitsburg, MD (Photo by William H. Tipton)

Group of St. Joseph's Academy students, 1900 (Photo by William H. Tipton)

Group of students, St. Joseph’s Academy, Emmitsburg, MD, 1900 (Photo by William H. Tipton)

St. Joseph's Academy, Emmitsburg, MD, class of 1903 (Photo by William H. Tipton)

St. Joseph’s Academy, Emmitsburg, MD, class of 1903 (Photo by William H. Tipton)

St. Joseph's Academy, Emmitsburg, MD, class of 1894 (Photo by William H. Tipton)

St. Joseph’s Academy, Emmitsburg, MD, class of 1894 (Photo by William H. Tipton)

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