Friday, January 15, 2010

Images from Milwaukee's Marquette High c. 1952

Through the magic of eBay, I recently acquired the 1952 edition of The Flambeau, the yearbook of Marquette University High School in Milwaukee.

This particular volume caught my eye because the 1951-52 school year was the last one that my father attended MUHS.  (Today would have been his 76th birthday.)  I was also interested to see if I could find a photograph of legendary broadcaster Tom Snyder, who graduated with the class of 1953.

I scored on both counts, but also found a few other interesting things.

For one, it seems that virtually nobody at Marquette High in the early 1950s -- whether students, faculty, or staff -- had first names.  Some people in the yearbook were identified with a first initial, if they shared a surname with someone else.  The only people with first names were those who shared both a surname and first initial with another person.  So, for instance, my dad is identified simply as "Sincere" and the future host of NBC's Tomorrow Show is identified as "Snyder."

I also discovered that there were faculty and staff members at MUHS who spanned the period from 1952 to 1977, the year I graduated.  These included math teachers John Fountain and Laurence Kelly, S.J., librarian Miss Elizabeth Connelly, and English teacher Father Richard Forrey, S.J.  (I have an even earlier -- 1927 -- Flambeau that has a photograph of Mr. Fountain as a young teacher.)

By sheer coincidence, I found two MUHS graduates of the class of 1952 who later achieved prominence in their closely-related fields.

Tad W. Guzie became a Jesuit priest, theologian, and liturgist.  He later was laicized and married, passing away in 2001.  Juxtaposed on the same page as his graduation picture is a photograph of John M. Haas, who also became a theologian, specializing in bioethics.

This particular yearbook belonged to James Voell, who became a psychiatrist in the D.C. area, specializing in the problems of homeless people.

Here is the only photo in the 1952 Flambeau I was able to find with my father in it. He is identified as "Sincere" and is the fourth from the left in the top row:

As for Tom Snyder, I found more than a few mentions of his name.

First, his class photo (he is in the bottom row, far left):

Then I found him as one of the performers in the Prep Players' production of Mary Chase's Pulitzer Prize-winning play, Harvey.  He didn't play Elwood P. Dowd (the role made famous by Jimmy Stewart) but rather was cast as Dr. Sanderson:

In  years past, it would have been difficult to find something as rare as a nearly 60-year-old high school yearbook.  I wasn't exaggerating when I referred to the "magic" of eBay.  The Internet has made possible what we thought was impossible.

Update: The Winter 2010 edition of the MUHS alumni magazine arrived in my mailbox today (March 16) with this note on page 32:
Tom Snyder '53, the radio and late night TV talk show pioneer who often remembered Marquette University High School and the Revs. Jerome Boyle SJ and RJ Connell SJ on-air, paid homage to the school with a recent fift that established an endowed scholarship fund in his name....

The Thomas J. Snyder Endowed Scholarship Fund will help support students who demonstrate financial need and who participate in the arts during their time at MUHS.
The full announcement can be found here.

It wasn't until reading this that I discovered that, not only did Tom Snyder and I attend the same high school (at a distance of about a quarter-century) but we also attended the same elementary school, St. Agnes. (That is, of course, assuming that there has only been one St. Agnes School within the boundaries of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee, the one in Butler.)

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