February 1, 2023 | Archives, Editorials and Columns
Fr. Stephen Van Lal Than

Pictured is the first issue of “The Mount” school newspaper, dated April 1923. COURTESY OF MOUNT SAINT JOSEPH ARCHIVES

A snapshot of history to be found in the Mount’s inaugural school newspaper


School newspapers can be very mundane. This is so true that many schools did away with theirs long ago. Their loss is a detriment not only to the school but also to history. The creation and preservation of these relics establishes a culture and history that is sacred and unique to that individual school. However, we are fortunate that Mount Saint Joseph has preserved its academy newspaper “The Mount” which ran continuously for over 20 years. Today we will take a look at this snapshot of history by reviewing the first issue.

“The Mount” first released in April 1923 and ran through June 1946. There are few more ideal periods of time that could have been chronicled. We not only see our final years as a part of the Diocese of Louisville but also see our establishment and first years as the Diocese of Owensboro. On the grander stage we also see the Roaring 20s, the Great Depression, the Second World War and the Rise and Fall of the Third Reich. Wow, what a time to be alive or at least to read about it.

The first issue is beautifully written and interesting. One of the best articles is a travel piece written by an unnamed but well-traveled member of the Mount’s faculty. It details a day in Stratford-upon-Avon, the birth and burial place of William Shakespeare. The author chronicles visiting various places relating to the famed playwright. The style is beautiful and captivating, near poetic. Contemporary, ardent Catholic pride shines throughout the piece. The author not only proposes the notion that perhaps Shakespeare was a “fervent Catholic,” a thesis that is currently seriously discussed by academics, but also admires the Catholic grandeur and origins of the ancient churches, mournfully noting they were “mutilated by the destroying hands of schism.”

Daily happenings and celebrations are also covered. Visiting actors, performers and musicians get a fair amount of attention. The number of national acts that ventured through is remarkable. Easter nest hunts, Forty Hours devotions and sisters taking vows are also included.

The paper is supplemented with humorous stories with the names of academy girls and MSJ Sisters inserted, spiritual quotes, prose, and even a Mount ghost story. This is all characteristic of the period, and it is truly a joy to read. It transports the audience to a much simpler, more wholesome time.

The insights contained in these papers is enough to make a history enthusiast’s heart race. Though this article only briefly examined the first issue a review of the entire run would be fruitful and will perhaps be forthcoming. The historic names mentioned on the local level as well as the world stage would make these a fascinating read. How incredible it is to think that the unknowing academy girls and sisters at the Mount were doing so much for our history without even a passing thought.

Edward Wilson is the director of the Diocese of Owensboro’s Archives and the Archives of the Ursuline Sisters of Mount Saint Joseph. Comments and questions may be sent to [email protected].

Originally printed in the February 2023 issue of The Western Kentucky Catholic.

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Publisher |  Bishop William F. Medley
Editor |  Elizabeth Wong Barnstead
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