Primary Sources Tell All

After a month of rest and travel, I am back on Loyola’s campus and the Ramonat Seminar is in full throttle. This semester has a special focus on a research project, each tailored to the interests of those in the course. But, of course each project will have some emphasis on the social activism in the realm of Dorothy Day’s America. My project focuses on anti-war activism during the 1960s and 1970s at Chicago’s Catholic universities and colleges, including Loyola and its now-affiliated Mundelein College, DePaul University, Rosary College (present-day Dominican University), and Saint Xavier University. Because my project considers specific college campuses during the Vietnam War rather than the broader anti-war movement across the country, a large proportion of my research will be based on primary sources. I will be utilizing student journalism, administrative records, oral histories, and photographs to portray the fiery activism that occurred on Chicago’s Catholic university and college campuses in the 1960s and 1970s.

Today in the digital collection of the Women and Leadership Archives, I came across the January 24, 1969 issue of Mundelein College’s student-run newspaper, The Skyscraper. The article of interest, “Apathy deflates radical’s bag” by Ellen Roucek, describes the challenges that Students for a Democratic Society (SDS) face in the conveyance of their message for peace and equality at their respective campus. Rose McKiernan, a member of SDS, explains that students are not aware of the devastating conflict in Vietnam, and thus feel that the intentions of SDS are not sincere to the matter. The article also notes a working relationship between student organizations, like SDS, at Mundelein College and at the neighboring Loyola University.


The January 24, 1969 issue of Mundelein College’s The Skyscraper. (Courtesy of the Women & Leadership Archives, Loyola University Chicago)

The anti-war sentiment at Loyola University was heavily reported by its (former) campus newspaper, Loyola News. In the May 16, 1969 issue, “SDS Holds Demonstration” by Tom Hayden reports on a student-led strike against the ROTC program at Loyola. SDS at Loyola openly challenged President James Maguire, SJ and the university’s policy on ROTC. The author’s name rings a bell to me: Tom Hayden drafted the monumental “Port Huron Statement” in 1962 for SDS. However, this could be – and probably is – a completely different Tom Hayden, but I digress.


The May 16, 1969 issue of Loyola News. (Courtesy of the Loyola University Chicago Archives & Special Collections)

Thanks for reading.. More to come soon!


Matthew Day


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