The Shirt Factory: The Early Years (1906–1919)

The earthquake and fire may have destroyed the beautiful school, but it would not do the same to the spirit of those who taught and studied there. After the earthquake, SI built a “temporary” campus that would last for 23 years and inaugurated a host of new traditions. The school published its first literary work in The Ignatian, re-established its debating society and, for the first time, began distinguishing itself from the college by calling itself “St. Ignatius High School.”

Students began formal competition in football, baseball, basketball and track and saw one graduate, Matthew Sullivan, rise to become Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court. The Jesuits began building the grand edifice of St. Ignatius Church, one of the city’s most beautiful places of worship, and it would send nearly 400 of its graduates to fight in World War I. Ten of those men would not return.

Rising from the Ashes

We can barely comprehend the feelings of the SI Jesuits as they returned to the ashes of their school once the fire subsided. Imagine them, in their black cassocks, poking through the rubble looking for items they could salvage and grieving over all they had lost. They were able to save vestments, chalices, crucifixes and ciboria that they had pulled out before fire gutted the church. They were also able to save some furniture and the giant bell that had sounded the call to prayer on Hayes Street and, years before, on Market Street. They had it carted it away, knowing full well that they would rebuild. (That bell had fallen to the ground but survived intact and is now in use at St. Ignatius Church.)

Some of the SI student body continued their schooling at Santa Clara College in the days following the earthquake. Fr. Richard Gleeson took in a number of his brother Jesuits from SI and invited the graduating class to finish their term with Fr. Dionysius Mahony, SJ, and Mr. Frederick Ruppert, SJ. Those students were awarded degrees at the end of their term. (Among the members of that class was Bernard Hubbard, later to join the Jesuits and gain fame as “The Glacier Priest” for his explorations of Alaska.)1

While those classes were underway, Frieden wrote to Archbishop Patrick William Riordan, Alemany’s successor, asking for permission to rebuild the church and college at another site. Earlier, the Jesuits had left their Market Street campus as it had grown too crowded with businesses and, regarding property taxes, too expensive. By the turn of the century, they saw the same thing happen to Van Ness Avenue, and they wished to migrate westward once more.

In a letter to the Archbishop, Frieden wrote that “constant increase of taxes on our property on Van Ness Avenue makes it impossible to rebuild there. We ask permission of Your Grace to change the location of the church and college. That portion of the city bounded by Hayes, Stanyan, McAllister and Masonic Avenue seems suitable and free from objection. The only block obtainable at present is that bounded by Shrader, Fulton, Cole and Grove, but the steep grade makes it undesirable for building. However, we are compelled to take action at once; we have an option on that block expiring on Monday, May 21st. We ask Your Grace’s permission to close the bargain with the further permission to purchase a more suitable block in the same section if, later on, we can do so.” (The Jesuits later built the USF Law School on this land, which became known as the “Frieden block.”)2

In the meantime, 18 SI Jesuits became the guests of Mrs. Bertha Welch, who offered her 57-room home at 1090 Eddy Street in Jefferson Square for their use until new quarters could be built. Others came to the aid of the Jesuits, including the Sisters of Mercy. The sisters offered their property on Hayes Street near Golden Gate Park without rent, but they could only surrender the land for two years as they were already planning for the construction of St. Mary’s Hospital for that site. Frieden knew he would need more than two years, as the Grove Street campus would need extensive grading before construction could begin, and he declined the offer.3

The land he chose for the fourth campus of St. Ignatius College was at Hayes and Shrader Streets. Frieden leased two lots on June 1, 1906, for five years, and on the same day paid a $1,000 deposit on the Grove Street site. Workers began grading the Hayes and Shrader campus on June 26, with a formal inauguration ceremony on July 1. The Monitor covered the event and noted the following: “An immense crowd gathered last Sunday afternoon … to witness the ceremony of breaking ground for the new temporary church, monastery [sic] and college of the Jesuit Fathers of St. Ignatius. The Fathers are at present domiciled in the beautiful home of Mrs. Welch … but they are anxious to get into a home of their own … for this reason, the project initiated last Sunday with enthusiastic fervor will be pushed with all possible dispatch to conclusion. It is hoped to have temporary structures ready for occupancy by September 1.”4

Among those in attendance was Judge Jeremiah Sullivan who, back in 1863, had acted in the play Joseph and His Brethren as part of the end-of-the-term dramatic exhibition that year. Standing before the crowd, he spoke of the Jesuits’ history in San Francisco, noting that “these sons of Loyola are now facing the future, ready to begin anew their labors. We here ask all to assist with their fortunes, their honor and their best endeavor the building of the new St. Ignatius.”5

Frieden followed, adding that “three months ago, no one would have thought we would be ready to build a new St. Ignatius upon this site, but, undaunted by disaster, we are ready for the new work. We have never lost courage, for we know that it is God’s work and He has provided. If San Francisco is to live, we live with it; if it passes, we pass with it – but not before.”6

San Francisco Mayor Eugene Schmitz noted that “from the ashes of the past, there will spring up not only a greater and better city but a greater and a better St. Ignatius College and Church.” But the last word, and the most light-hearted, was had by Archbishop Montgomery, who made reference to the school’s proximity to Golden Gate Park: “This college dates back through fifty years of wonderful history but, like the course of empire, it now takes its way westward. Horace Greeley has said: “Go west, young man!” and St. Ignatius College had never failed to do so. The Jesuit Fathers are cousins of St. Francis and always locate in the best place. Nobody should doubt the wisdom of selling the old site for a good price and buying a cheaper place. No one will doubt the wisdom of it when he comes to the new church, says his prayers there and then has a little picnic in the park afterwards.”7

This fourth campus, a temporary one, would serve the school for 23 years, far longer than anyone anticipated. Shortly after it opened, students began calling the Hayes and Shrader school the “Shirt Factory,” as the school building resembled the omnibus factory buildings south of Market Street. (It was also a cold and drafty building according to accounts from that period.) McGloin writes that the school earned this name “because of its pedestrian architecture as well, perhaps, of its rambling dimensions. [I], as a high school graduate of the last class to be educated within its drafty confines, can testify to its distinctive appearance as well as to the punishment it successfully survived from 1906–1929. Although legend attributes the name to the characterization given the building by Fr. Victor White, SJ, it is perhaps just as true that, after the fire and earthquake, San Francisco had a number of hastily constructed and strictly utilitarian buildings such as the ‘temporary’ Jesuit omnibus building at Hayes and Shrader Streets. Actually, some of these were ‘shirt factories!’”8

To ensure the school would be open by September, construction crews worked seven days a week. Perhaps knowing that they might need the “temporary” school for longer than the five-year lease, the Jesuits purchased the land (measuring 275 by 137.5 feet) for $67,500 from Mr. & Mrs. M.H. deYoung. The contractors finished, and the building was ready by September 1, opening that Saturday to a large crowd. As Fr. Whittle wrote that day in his diary: “We opened the new college today. We were much rejoiced to see a large attendance. As the building is not sufficiently complete and, more especially, as we could not as yet procure textbooks for the students, the classes were dismissed to open again next Friday.”

A famous photograph exists from that opening day ceremony showing the entire student body posing in front of the school; some of these students were sitting on window ledges, on the roof, on gables, and atop construction material. It is hard to imagine any school today, with all the concerns about liability, allowing students to pose for a similar photograph.

During the 1906–07 term, the new school saw 34 Jesuits (18 priests, nine scholastics and seven brothers) ministering to 271 students who attended college, high school and eighth grade classes. These teachers and students found themselves with a revised curriculum, as SI began to follow some academic trends of the time. New electives, as listed in the 1906–07 Catalogue, included “higher mathematics, mechanical drawing, advanced physics and chemistry, special laboratory work, physiology, biology, modern languages, Latin, Greek and English literature, constitutional and legal history and other branches suitable to prepare one for the study of Engineering, Medicine or Law.”9

The first college commencement exercises following the earthquake took place on June 25, 1907, in the Van Ness Theater “on the spot occupied before the fire by the college hall,” according to the San Francisco Bulletin. The school awarded five Master’s and six Bachelor of Arts degrees, and SI alumnus and former Mayor James Phelan spoke about the greatness of San Francisco. (The college continued to hold graduation ceremonies in downtown theatres for many years. The high school did not celebrate its own graduation ceremony until 1916.)

Two new theories on the naming of the Shirt Factory

The Standard Shirts Factory, pictured here in 1880, stood on Gough Street between Grove and Hayes, just two blocks from St. Ignatius Church and College. Photo courtesy of San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Library. 

Since the publication of Spiritus Magis, two other theories have emerged as to the origin of the Shirt Factory name. Dave Clisham ’55 noted that his father, Edwin Clisham ’30 had told him that students would pronounce “St. Ignatius Church and College” so quickly that it sounded like “St. Ignatius shirts and collars.”

(Others in the Clisham family also attended SI, including Edwin J. “Jim” Clisham ’54, Thomas J. Clisham ’59 and Justine L. Clisham ’97.)

Also, while dining at the Boxing Room restaurant at the corner of Grove and Gough Streets, close to the Hayes and Van Ness campus that had been destroyed by the 1906 earthquake, Genesis editor Paul Totah read that the building had once been home to the Standard Shirts Factory (also known as the Standard Shirt Factory). Students attending SI in the late 1800s and early 1900s would have been familiar with the structure. A Dec. 12, 1901, fire that caused $2,000 in damage to the factory surely caught the eyes of students walking to school. The look of that building might have inspired Ignatians, five years later, to call their new industrial-looking home the Shirt Factory in homage to the one they had known so well. 

A New Site for a New Church

Months earlier, on December 23, 1906, Archbishops Riordan and Montgomery dedicated the 500-seat temporary church, located in the college hall. “We have come today to bless a new church,” said Riordan after blessing the interior walls. “It is not like the old one, spacious and beautiful. St. Ignatius has lost a splendid building, a noble college, a great library. But that is all. The spirit that was behind those things is not lost, and, out of that spirit will come grander achievements in the future. And so we can say that we have a nobler temple than the old one.”10 In the months that followed, San Franciscans would flock to this new church. By the end of 1907, the SI Jesuits determined that they had distributed communion 68,000 times that year.

Earlier, as the paint was drying on the Shirt Factory, SI administrators were looking to their next site. On November 16, 1906, they made a final payment of $102,659 on the “Frieden block” (the block bounded by Cole, Grove, Shrader and Fulton Streets). Soon, however, it became apparent that the property’s steep slope would add to construction costs. A 46-foot difference existed between Fulton and Grove Streets, and bulkheads and retaining walls would cost $40,000 alone.

Several individuals, including John E. Pope, a San Francisco civil engineer, urged the Jesuits to sell the Frieden block and purchase old cemetery land, owned by the Masonic Cemetery Association, north of Fulton Street and east of Parker Avenue. The Association was in the process of moving its graves to Colma as part of a citywide effort to relocate all cemeteries outside the city limits. The cemetery site was level and 350 feet higher in elevation than the Grove Street site, allowing the new church to become a city landmark. Pope advised the Jesuits that owners of lots on that block were willing to sell and that the land could be purchased for the same amount as the value of the Frieden block.

(Members of the Cemetery Protective Association, incidentally, were opposed to the sale of the land, even as late as 1928, shortly before the construction of the first college building. According to a May 31, 1928, story in the San Francisco Chronicle, the group planned “a determined fight to halt the sale of the old Masonic Cemetery property to St. Ignatius College and also to prevent the removal of bodies from the Old Odd Fellows’ Cemetery.” The group did not win its fight. Peter Devine ’66 recalls that his father and uncle helped to clear out the broken tombstones from this cemetery that remained after the caskets had been removed. The Jesuits had students do this to fulfill the state’s physical education requirement and to prepare the land for construction. “These PE classes usually ended up in rock fights,” Devine said.)

Despite strong objections by a group of older Italian Jesuits who preferred the Frieden block, two events helped to secure the Parker and Fulton property: the replacement of Frieden with Fr. Joseph Sasia, SJ, as the school’s new president in 1908 and John Pope’s persistent lobbying. Finally, in March 1909, Sasia agreed to sell the Frieden block and spent $138,590 on the new site, measuring 275 by 510 feet. The Jesuits broke ground on the new church in an informal ceremony on December 8, 1910, 61 years to the day after the arrival of Accolti and Nobili to the shores of San Francisco. Sasia, who was infamous for his long sermons, gave a surprisingly brief address during that dedication, after “a sudden gust of wind swept away his manuscript to the four corners of the property.”11

St. Ignatius Church was formally dedicated on August 2, 1914; at that time, it was the largest church in San Francisco, able to seat 2,000 worshipers, surpassed only in 1971 with the construction of St. Mary’s Cathedral. Some critics charged that the construction and decoration costs for St. Ignatius Church delayed the building of a new college. Others countered, according to McGloin, that “such a church is the truest classroom of a Catholic University for, within its walls, have been taught the most significant lessons of all — those involving eternal truths.”12

What is beyond argument is that the church has become one of San Francisco’s most beautiful landmarks, visible from most corners of the city. Elsie Robinson, a columnist for the Hearst chain of newspapers praised the beauty of St. Ignatius Church in a column that ran in many newspapers in the 1940s:

“From where I live, high on the hills of San Francisco, I look across a deep valley and other hills to one which tops them all, and there, tall and gleaming in beauty, rise the spires of St. Ignatius. To you who may not know San Francisco, St. Ignatius is one of our oldest and most beautiful churches and colleges. But to us, who live near it daily, those twin spires mean far more. Whatever your creed, they are a symbol of all that is best and bravest in city life. Before they were built, the hill on which they stand was merely sand dunes, littered with rubbish, ugly and forsaken. Then the city began to spread and the vision of men spread with it. And out of that vision came these lovely spires. In the adjacent schoolrooms many a civic leader has been trained. And only God knows how many shamed and bleeding hearts have found comfort before its soaring altar. When the great storms sweep out of the Pacific, darkening the town, or the fog veils the valley in blue mist, I like to look towards those gleaming spires which seem to float in another world.”13

Students of St. Ignatius High School attended a monthly First Friday Mass at the church and made their confessions there, too. Members of the Sanctuary Society assisted priests as altar boys, and, starting in 1936, seniors celebrated their commencement exercises in that church. All those who marched up its center aisle during these ceremonies sensed the importance of the moment thanks, in large part, to this vast and glorious house of prayer. Today, St. Ignatius Church serves not only SI and USF, but also the people of San Francisco as one of the newest parishes in the archdiocese.

The School Crest and Colors

In 1895, St. Ignatius Chicago used the coat of arms from the House of Loyola to create a college button to commemorate its Silver Jubilee. In the years that followed, other Jesuit schools across the country began using the Loyola crest in their school insignias. SI’s crest, designed by George Lyle ’09 in 1909, includes the figures of two gray wolves on each side of a large kettle suspended by black pot hooks. The symbol is word play, in that the wolves (lobo) combine with the kettle (olla) in Spanish to form lobo y olla (the wolf and the pot), which, “contracted into Loyola.” But the house of Loyola was also known by both the paternal and maternal family names of Oñaz y Loyola, and the crest of the house of Oñaz included seven red bars on a field of gold to honor seven heroes of that family who fought at the Battle of Beotibar in 1321. The kettle also commemorates the House of Loyola’s reputation for generosity, as, according to family lore, the family supplied their soldiers with so much food “that the wolves always found something in the kettle to feast on after the soldiers were supplied.”14

Around 1909, SI adopted red and blue for its school colors. The first issue of The Ignatian carried the new crest in red and blue on its cover, and all of the large, ornate, gold plate with cloisonné overlay award medals, given annually to students in the early 20th century, used the red and blue color motif as did the school rings. By the 1920s, the college adopted green and gold for its school colors, while the high school retained red and blue.

Read even more about the meaning of the SI crest here.

School Days

School enrollment increased yearly, climbing from 271 in 1907–08 to 373 the following year and 433 for 1909–1910. The school grew in other ways, too, with the birth of new traditions, the most significant of which, for our concerns, is the first known use of the name “St. Ignatius High School” in the 1909–1910Catalogue. Before that time, St. Ignatius College was divided between the college and preparatory (or high school) divisions. (The name “St. Ignatius Grammar School” also appears in the 1910–1911 Catalogue, as the school still taught seventh and eighth graders until 1918.) From this point onward, the high school and college communities began the slow process of separation that continued in 1911 when the college changed its name to the University of St. Ignatius (more on this later). That split widened in 1927 when the college students moved into Campion Hall (on the campus of USF) and when the high school moved, two years later, to Stanyan Street. The high school and university formally split in 1959 into two separate corporations. The final chapter in the separation occurred in 1969 when the high school moved to the Sunset District campus and became known as St. Ignatius College Preparatory. (Even though the name “St. Ignatius High School” did not appear in the official school Catalogue until 1909, Fr. Maraschi did refer to the school as “St. Ignatius Grammar and High School” in an 1855 advertisement for the brand-new academy on Market Street.)

Academics

Students in 1910–11 took a familiar course of studies that included religion, Latin, Greek, English, German, Spanish, French, mathematics, civics, elocution, freehand and modern drawing, physical geography, astronomy, physiology, botany, zoology, stenography and bookkeeping, taught by 11 priests and three laymen.

Admission to the high school seems to have been a rather informal affair. According to the Catalogue, “every candidate for admission, who is not personally known to some member of the Faculty, must present testimonials of his good moral character. If he come from another college, he will be required to bring a certificate of good standing from the institution which he has left. Students not of the Catholic faith are expected to conform respectfully to the religious exercises of the College…. For admission into the High School Course a knowledge of English Grammar, Analysis and Composition, of Geography and United States History, and of Arithmetic, is necessary.”

The Catalogue went on to urge parents to have their sons perform two hours of homework each night and insisted that the following pattern “be exactly followed: Monday — English Composition, Mathematics, Modern Language. Tuesday — Latin Theme, Mathematics, English Exercise. Wednesday — Latin Theme, Mathematics, Modern Language. Friday — Latin Theme, Mathematics, Modern Language. Saturday — Latin Theme, Mathematics, English Exercise.”

The Catalogue warned that “students who come unprepared to recite, or without having their written exercises ready, are looked upon as morally absent, and like absentees, they must bring satisfactory written excuses from their parents to the Prefect of Studies to avoid censure.”

Fr. Charles B. Largan, SJ ’14, began his freshman year at SI in 1910 and, as a young man, was an altar server at the dedication of St. Ignatius Church. In an interview published in 1977 in The 2001 (SI’s student newspaper), Fr. Largan recalled that “the only social events were the occasional fistfights, which were a little more grandiose than today’s pugilistic contests. The fights would start in the schoolyard and make their way to Golden Gate Park after school. They were terminated by the police. No one (well, almost no one) knew how to dance in those days so there was no prom. But there was a vote in class to have a dance.… Instead of a dance, the class had a feast at a downtown café. The logic behind this was expressed by … one boy who said, ‘Not all of us can dance, but we all can sure eat.’”

(Fr. Largan taught at SI from 1944 to 1961 and continued living in the Jesuit community, serving as a substitute teacher, unofficial school historian and minister to the sick until his death in 1982. He taught thousands of students, many of whom returned to teach at SI. He also taught Merv Griffin, Sr., the father of the former TV talk show host and producer Merv Griffin. He celebrated his diamond jubilee at SI in 1974, marking the 60-year anniversary of his entry into the Society of Jesus.)

In all, high school life in 1910 and 1911 at 2211 Hayes Street probably didn’t seem much different from the school days students experienced at the Market Street or the Van Ness Avenue campuses.

Athletics The Many Leagues of SI

SI’s membership in the various athletic leagues can be a bit confusing. In 1909, SI joined the Catholic Athletic League, and in 1910, the school joined the city’s Academic Athletic League (known from 1914 as the San Francisco Athletic League), which was run by student managers. When the Academic Athletic Association formed in 1926, putting the power in the hands of high school principals, SI joined it, though reluctantly because this league prohibited schools from competing against non-AAA teams in playoff games. SI, in 1926, had won the state basketball championship, and students were eager for a chance to recapture the crown. But because all other city schools joined the AAA, SI and Lowell had no choice but to go along. SI left the AAA in 1966, in part because only San Francisco residents could compete in that league, leading SI to join the West Catholic Athletic League.

Tennis

Aside from that first football game against Sacred Heart, the earliest records of SI’s athletic teams come from the Ignatian of 1910, the first student publication. It reported, simply, that “when the High School joined the AAL last year, it was so late in the season that we were able to enter only a tennis team in the tournament at Stanford. The members were the Fotrell brothers, who captured the championship of the California High Schools in both singles and doubles. Thus our prep school’s career in the AAL was ushered in most auspiciously.”

Basketball

An article in the 1910 Ignatian noted that high school basketball “is practically a new game with us and this year marked the advent of a High School team. We entertained very little hope of developing a championship team — not that the players were wanting in quickness of mind and strength of body, two elements of vital necessity to play the game with any degree of success, but because they lacked the experience which tells in tight places. And yet their record is an enviable one. They finished third in the championship race, yielding only to Cogswell and Wilmerding…. The team consisted of Captain Evans, McGrath, Keating, Noonan, Flood, Foster, Naylor, W. Fotrell and Harrigan.” In 1911, SI’s basketball team placed third in the city’s league, second in 1916 and first in 1917, coached by W. Thorpe. In 1919, the team had its first star in Jeff Gaffney (who also excelled in baseball), and in 1921, SI beat every other school in the San Francisco Athletic League championship tournament. The basketball program divided students into weight classes, which was the practice of the day, with 100s, 110s, 120s, 130s, and 145s. (In effect, the 145s represented the varsity players, though the weight classifications changed over the years, with the varsity later called the Unlimited. The numbers are a little misleading, as coaches placed students into categories based on a convoluted matrix of height, weight, age and ability.)15

Football

SI had an on-again, off-again relationship with football (which was played as rugby until the school adopted “American football” in 1919). SI fielded teams in 1908 and 1909, disbanded football in 1910, and reinstated it in 1911 on both the high school and college levels. The December 1911 Ignatian reported the following: “Considering the number of novices who formed the nucleus of the team, their work was gratifying. Their first game was with San Rafael Union High School on September 14. At the end of the game, we were the victors {25–0]. Being the first game of the season, it was devoid of any sensational plays, which generally thrill a spectator at a rugby game. The team on the whole played well, and every man had a hand in scoring.”

Football continued through 1916, but was discontinued in 1917 and 1918 in order to provide more athletes for the baseball and basketball teams. It made a brief appearance again in 1919, and again in 1922 before becoming firmly established in 1924 under coach Jimmy Needles (a football star from Santa Clara) and later, his brother Frank Needles.

Dick Hyland ’18 gained fame on America’s last Olympic rugby team

After returning from France, Hyland played football for Stanford, running 48 yards in the first play of the 1926 Big Game against Cal to score a touchdown in his team’s 41–6 victory that day. Photo courtesy Stanford University.

By Col. John Scharfen, USMC (Ret) ’43

In 1924, the U.S. won the rugby championship at the Paris Olympics with one of the principal team members being Richard Frank “Dick” Hyland ’18.

The U.S. had won the 1920 Olympic Gold in Antwerp by beating a good French team. In 1924, the French were still smarting over that loss. The American team was invited to compete in the games in Paris, and the American Olympic Committee accepted but didn’t provide money to fund the team.

Some veteran rugby players sponsored the effort, raising money and recruiting players from the San Francisco Bay Area, mostly football players, from Stanford, Cal and Santa Clara. It was a pickup team of some accomplished athletes who had not played rugby as a team before. One French newspaper referred to them as “street fighters and saloon brawlers.”

They had other handicaps: When they arrived in Boulogne-sur-Mer, the French immigration authorities refused to let them come ashore, so the Americans forced their way onto French soil and stayed there. Then they were denied access to the Olympic playing field to practice. So the team marched, en masse, to the stadium, scaled the fence and had their practice.

They had played four exhibition games in England and lost big in each of them. It didn’t look too promising for them to defend their title.

The Americans first defeated a Romanian team 37–0 before a crowd of 6,000. The French had also beaten the Romanians, so the championship game came down to the U.S. and France. The odds were 20-to-1 that the French would win. But when the games started, the Americans shook up the French with their athleticism, ferocious tackling, speed and punting.

William “Lefty” Rodgers of the U.S. team rocked the French star, Adolphe Juarraguy, with a hard tackle, and after Juarraguy was hit a second time, he was carried off the field not to return to the game. The Americans beat the French like a drum, 17–3, before 50,000 shocked spectators.

Some of the French in the stands couldn’t accept their loss and the hard play of the Americans and went ballistic. They refused to stand for the playing of the American National Anthem and beat up some of the few American spectators with heavy, gold knobbed canes, sending two Americans to the hospital. The officials and the Americans needed police protection during the ceremony for awarding medals and as they left the field.

Nevertheless, once the game was over, the French players, unlike the spectators, were good sports. They accepted their defeat with grace and helped the police provide protection to the American contingent as they left the playing field after the game.

Further testifying to the good will of the French rugby team, the Americans attended the big French Rugby Association banquet held the evening after the game.

As a result of the post-game dust-up, Olympic officials decided that rugby should be pulled out of the games, although it is scheduled to return for the 2016 games in Rio de Janeiro.

After the 1924 games, Hyland earned the nickname “Tricky Dicky” because of his running ability. He was one of a trio of sensational backs playing on the U.S. team along with Bob Devereaux and Charlie Doe (from Lowell High School).

Hyland, who had played rugby light at SI, went to Stanford, where he played football, baseball and track. In the 1926 Big Game against Cal, Hyland, on the first play from scrimmage, ran 48 yards to a touchdown in a Stanford 41–6 upset.

He later played in two Rose Bowl Games in 1927 and 1928 and earned entry into the Stanford Hall of Fame in 1961. Hyland became a sports writer for the Los Angeles Times and worked in the movie industry. He died on July 16, 1981, in Wawona, Calif. 

Baseball

We know that baseball began at SI in 1907, one year after the earthquake, thanks to a picture found in the archives of the California Province. The next earliest reference to SI’s high school baseball team came in the Easter edition of the 1913Ignatian, which noted that “the doughty little warriors from the high school overcame the onslaught of Poly’s host in their first contest and won rather easily [13–6]. A bombardment of John O’Connor’s benders in the first inning netted Poly five runs and O’Connor a seat on the bench. Ted Pohlman took up the burden and held Poly safe for the rest of the game.” That season, SI finished with 11 wins and four losses. One of those losses, against Oakland High, spurred Warren Brown to write the following in the Easter edition of the 1913 Ignatian. “Kids to the right of ‘em, trees to the left of ’em, fences in front of ’em, no wonder they blundered. Imagine a baseball game staged on the Scotch bowling green in Golden Gate Park. Picture three primary schools holding picnics on first, second and third bases, and, gentle reader, you have it — Mosswood Park, Oakland, the scene of our second defeat. Words fail to describe the game.” Ten years later, in 1923, SI fielded an indoor baseball team briefly.16

Famed Yankee pitcher Dutch Ruether played on the greatest team of all time

Spiritus Magis told the story of Charlie Silvera ’42, a catcher for the Yankees who was with the team for six World Series wins. The book also noted others in the big leagues, including Jimmy Mangan ’46, who played with the Pirates in 1952 and 1954 and with the New York Giants in 1956. Don Bosch ’65 played with the Pirates in 1966, the Mets in 1967 and 1968 and the Expos in 1969. And Allan Gallagher, who played third base for the Giants from 1970 to 1973, and who finished his career with the Angels, attended SI for part of his high school years before he went on to Mission High School, where he became AAA Player of the Year. He returned to the Jesuit fold when he enrolled at SCU.

However, one of SI’s best baseball players never made it into SI’s history books. Walter “Dutch” Ruether attended SI College and pitched on the baseball teams where he earned the attention of the pros during a March 10, 1913, exhibition game against the White Sox. With SI up 2–1 in the ninth, Ruether pitched against future Hall of Famer Ray Schalk and Hal Chase. Buck Herzog then hit a 3–run homer to give Chicago the 4–2 win.

That year, at 19, Ruether was made an offer by the Pacific Coast League but signed a $500 contract with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He didn’t like being assigned to a farm team ­— the Pirates had earlier promised to let him play pro ball — so he quit and played for the Northwestern League. His pro career was recounted in 2012 on the sportspressnw.com website and is excerpted here with permission of the authors.

by David Eskenazi & Steve Rudman

A southpaw, Walter “The Dutchman” Ruether pitched in the majors from 1917 to 1927 and performed for four World Series clubs, including the 1919 Cincinnati Reds who won that year’s tainted Fall Classic against the Chicago White (Black) Sox.

Ruether fashioned five 15-win seasons, one 20-win campaign (1922), won 13 games for the 1927 Yankees, and had an extensive career in the Pacific Coast League before and after his days in the majors.

Born Sept. 13, 1893, a Friday the 13th in Alameda, Walter Henry “Dutch” Ruether grew up in San Francisco and first turned out for baseball at St. Ignatius High School, whose coach, George Hildebrand, umpired in the American League from 1913 to 1934.

After Hildebrand saw an erratic Ruether throw for the first time and refuse all instruction, he said, “Get out of here, you young hard-head. You’ll never be a ballplayer as long as you live. You’re solid bone from your ears up.”

“Hilde, it seems, was wrong,” Ruether told an interviewer years later. “But then, he was an umpire, and they’re never right.”

Ruether came to the attention of professional clubs March 10, 1913. Pitching for SI in an exhibition game against the Chicago White Sox, Ruether took a 2–1 lead into the ninth inning and was on the verge of beating a team that included future Hall of Famer Ray Schalk and the infamous Hal Chase when shortstop Buck Herzog smashed a three-run homer, giving Chicago a 4–2 victory.

Although he lost the game, Ruether’s performance impressed the PCL’s Los Angeles Angels enough to offer him a contract. But when Pittsburgh also offered a contract (worth $500), the 19-year-old signed with the Pirates, with one condition — that he could opt out if the Pirates assigned him to a minor league club.

 Sure enough, a month after reporting to Pittsburgh’s spring training camp in Hot Springs, Ariz., the Pirates farmed him. Ruether quit and returned to the West Coast to pitch in the Northwestern League.

 Thus began one of the great vagabond odysseys in baseball history and one for which, initially, young Dutch Ruether was hardly prepared. Wild on the mound, he alternated great games with wretched ones, always showing potential, never consistency, one reason he bounced around with Portland, Los Angeles, Sacramento, Vancouver and Salt Lake City before landing in Spokane 1916 at 22.

 Ruether reportedly liked to carouse, and newspapers frequently called him a “playboy.” He also enjoyed taking a nip or two or three or four. He had a mind to do things his own way and he harbored lots of opinions, which he never kept to himself.

 “I am a left-hander in everything but my thoughts,” Ruether said late in his career, “and early in my career I thought left-handed, too.”

 That changed under Spokane manager Nick Williams who later managed some great San Francisco Seals teams (1926–31). Williams tamed Ruether, in part by using him in the outfield and at first base when he wasn’t pitching. In addition to winning 13 games for Williams, Ruether also hit .297 in 384 at-bats.

At the recommendation of Christy Mathewson (who had seen Ruether play), the Chicago Cubs signed Ruether in 1917. He went 2–0, 2.48 before the Cubs inexplicably waived him July 17, at which point the Reds snatched him, only to lose him to the U.S. Army (assigned to Camp, later Fort, Lewis south of Tacoma) for most of 1918.

Ruether rejoined the Reds in 1919 and had his first big year in the majors, going 19–6, 1.82 ERA and a .760 winning percentage that led the National League. More important, Ruether’s 19 wins helped the Reds reach the World Series.

Cincinnati manager Pat Moran selected Ruether to pitch Game 1 because Ruether was a better hitter than Slim Sallee, a 21-game winner. Moran chose wisely.

Ruether threw a complete game in defeating Eddie Cicotte, one of the “Eight Men Out” ringleaders, 9–1, while adding two triples, a single, a walk and three RBIs.

Even today this is true: Only Cy Young, Babe Ruth and Ruether have pitched and tripled in a World Series game, and Ruether is the only one with two triples.

After Ruether won 16 games for the Reds in 1920, Cincinnati traded him (Dec. 15, 1920, for Rube Marquard) to Brooklyn, where he pitched some of his most memorable games.

To cite two: April 16, 1922, Ruether threw a complete-game, 10–2 win over the Phillies and contributed four hits. Ruether tossed another complete game with four base hits against the Boston Braves Sept. 4, 1924.

Ruether spent four years in Brooklyn, posting a best mark of 21–12 in 1922, and then went to the Washington Senators in a sale Sept. 17, 1924, after falling out of favor with Robins’ owner Charles Ebbets.

(Ruether featured a notable fastball early in his career, but between 1922 and 27 he won more games using smarts than stuff. Stomach trouble, which played havoc with his digestion, often rendered him pale and wan. Washington traded Ruether to the Yankees in 1926 because it was feared ill health would end his career, but an operation remedied Ruether’s stomach trouble.)

Ruether went 2–6 in 1926 and pitched Game 3 of that year’s World Series, losing 4–0. A year later, when he roomed with Babe Ruth, the Yankees agreed to pay Ruether a $2,500 bonus if he won 15 games.

By Sept. 1, Ruether had 13 victories. The New York brass ordered manager Miller Huggins not to use Ruether in any more games to save on the bonus, the only reason Ruether did not appear in the 1927 World Series.

Stiffed by the Yankees, Ruether quit major league baseball and returned to the Pacific Coast League.

Ruether departed the majors with 137 wins and 95 losses, a .591 winning percentage, holding the National League record for most innings pitched in a season-opening game (14 in 1923), and with a well-deserved reputation of being tough on great hitters: Lou Gehrig (2 for 14, .143 BA), Eddie Collins (2 for 11, .182), Tris Speaker (2 for 9, .222) and Babe Ruth (3 for 13, .231).

When Ruether arrived on the West Coast, he joined the PCL’s equivalent of the 1927 Yankees, the 1928 San Francisco Seals, managed by the same Nick Williams who had turned around Ruether’s career in Spokane in 1916.

Ruether played a major role in San Francisco’s 120 victories in 1928. The 35-year-old lefty led the PCL in wins (29–7) and complete games (28) and batted .316 in 72 games.

Always on the move, Ruether pitched for the Mission Reds in 1929 (14–9) before Klepper purchased him. Ruether won 17 games for the 1930 Indians, who released him in mid-1931, at which point Ruether signed with Portland. Over the next two years, Ruether also pitched for Nashville, Mission (again) and Oakland, retiring as a full-time player in 1933.

[In 1934, Ruether became team manager for the Seattle Indians and was the All-Star Team manager in his first year. Ruether left the league in 1936. Ruether would later serve as a scout for the Chicago Cubs and San Francisco Giants and discovered players such as Joey Amalfitano, Eddie Bressoud, Peanuts Lowrey and Mike McCormick. He died May 16, 1970, in Phoenix at 76.]

For more on Ruether’s extensive career as a manager and scout, go to sportspressnw.com.

The best baseball team that ever was?

In 2012, Harvey Frommer wrote in The Epoch Times about the team he and many others considered the best ever: the 1927 Yankees, which featured Dutch Ruether in its pitching lineup. The team, according to Frommer “was so consistent in every way that its roster was not ever changed that glorious season. The team began with 10 pitchers [including Ruether], three catchers, seven infielders, five outfielders, and ended that way. There was no shuttling of players up and down from the minors. The 25 guys who began the season remained on the big league roster all season long, tying a record for fewest players used by a major league team.”

Ruether roomed with Babe Ruth for half the season, and another teammate was Lou Gehrig. This “royalty of baseball,” as Frommer called the team, led the Yankees to a four-game sweep of the Pirates for the world championship. “It was a group of men who totally dominated baseball.… And if you loved the Yankees, it was the best of times.”

Track and Field
By Dan Lang ’86, Varsity Track and Field Coach

From the earliest days at SI, the track team has enjoyed success thanks to the arduous and anonymous work of dedicated students and coaches. The earliest mention of track competition is in the 1910 Ignatian, which refers to the college class of 1913 (then freshmen) that competed on the third annual President’s Day. The author notes that “a beautiful and costly trophy offered by Rev. Father Sasia, SJ, [went] to the individual scoring the greatest number of points in the winning class.” The freshmen of 1910 so dominated the interclass competition that one of their own, David Barry, was moved to write The Victors; a sample reads:

For forty yards the big men ran
And to our joy our Captain, “Stan”
As swift and fleet as the northern wind,
Came first with Milt and Flood behind.

As was the case with most high school programs at the time, SI’s track program was organized, judged, scheduled and operated by students. The school also supported the program financially. The December 1911 Ignatian noted that “bleachers have been built to accommodate 2,000, thus making the total seating capacity 5,000. It is our intention to put in a cinder track outside the rugby field. We feel proud to assert that our stadium will be the very best in San Francisco.”

The earliest reference to an SI high school track team appeared in the 1912Ignatian, which noted that on January 12, 1912, the high school relay team “entered the Olympic Club Indoor Meet and came out victorious, winning the beautiful silver trophy offered for the relay race” against St. Mary’s, Lick, Palo Alto and Mission. Stars on that team included Captain McElearney, Chandler, Evans, O’Shea, H. Flood and Keating.

Just two weeks later the same group of Ignatians took the silver cup at the YMCA indoor meet and tasted victory for the third time at an invitational hosted by The Examiner. During the outdoor season (the teams competed in an indoor season in the winter and an outdoor season in the spring), the relay team of 1912 took fourth at the Stanford Interscholastic Meet, a gathering of the “finest athletic talent in the state.” (SI teams to this day compete at the Stanford meet, one of the most competitive in the nation.)

The sport continued to develop in popularity, and by 1917 editors of the Ignatianproclaimed, “We undoubtedly possess one of the most formidable track teams of the San Francisco high schools…. To encourage track, dual meets have been arranged with Lowell, Humbolt and many other schools for the early spring.”

Soon, student coaches would give way to some of the best adult coaches in SI’s long history, including world record holders and Olympians such as Emerson “Bud” Spenser and Seattle Seahawks offensive coordinator Gil Haskell.

Terry Ward ’63, who coached at SI in the 1970s — and the man whom many consider the Godfather of WCAL track and field — noted that in each of his 37 years coaching track and field, “I try to make the 150 athletes in my charge know that I care for them and want them to succeed. From the fastest runner to the slowest jogger, I live with each step they take.”

Julius Yap ’74, who coached in the 1980s and 1990s and influenced a new generation of athletes and coaches, echoed that sentiment. “Coach Ward and Coach Haskell also provided the model for me to follow as I returned to teach and coach here at SI. I have had some success here during my 25 years at the prep, and I owe much of that to my two coaches at SI. They taught me the value of hard work. The most important value an SI coach should honor — and this is the top priority of an SI coach — is to care for the student as a person first and an athlete second.”

Former head coaches Charles Taylor ’88, Tom Fendyan ’83 and head coaches Martin Logue ’92 and Dan Lang ’86 were all athletes under Yap, and each has encouraged his athletes to live out those ideals. In doing so, they practice the Ignatian philosophy of cura personalis — care for the whole person.

That philosophy has created a successful program, with the men’s team taking 14 varsity league championships and the 1991 Central Coast Section (CCS) title. The women’s team won 10 league victories in a row and CCS titles in 1997 and 1998.

Modern track champions include Chris DeMartini ’94 for shot put, the only individual state champion in SI history; Olympian Tom McGuirk, who competed in the 400-meter hurdles in Atlanta in 1996 and Sydney in 2000; and Jenna Grimaldi ’01, who became the number-one-ranked female high jumper in the nation in her senior year.

If you walk onto the SI track in spring to watch the boys and girls compete, you will find some stark contrasts with the SI track team of 1910. But you will find one thing in common: Much of the work is still done by students. They measure the distance for discus and shot put. They serve as timers for the sprints. They set up and take down hurdles. And they cheer on modern-day Wildcat athletes who, like their counterparts in the Olympics, strive towards their very best.

Extracurriculars

In 1910, the Class of 1913 published a literary journal that, the following year, became the Ignatian Quarterly, a combination literary magazine and yearbook. (The publication later dropped Quarterly from its title.) The college and high school published this together until 1928 when The Heights made its debut, exclusively covering high school life while the Ignatian dealt only with college students. (Publication of all high school annuals in the San Francisco Archdiocese ended in 1932 on orders from Archbishop Mitty who hoped to spare Catholic businesses the burden of paying for advertisements.)

Among the articles published in the first issue of the Ignatian were essays entitled “The Dangers of Labor Unions” and “Stevenson — An Appreciation,” on the writing of Robert Louis Stevenson, along with poems praising Jesus’ parents.

The first editorial, written by Adrian Buckley (who received his Bachelor’s degree in 1911), noted that “the aim and ambition of the Ignatian Quarterly is to be a journalistic success in every sense of the word. In the literary field it certainly has every reason to be sanguine. Many students of St. Ignatius College, who have long desired a wider scope for their literary talents than that afforded by mere class routine, will welcome an opportunity to contribute to a periodical in which their productions will reflect, not only honor on themselves, but also on their Alma Mater. The subjects treated in the Ignatian Quarterly will be on interesting topics, and written in a style well calculated to hold the reader’s attention throughout.”17

The journal reported on the various athletic and extracurricular activities, including this report on the Junior Philhistorian Debating Society: “The most important feature of the year was the public interclass debate held in the College Hall on St. Patrick’s night. A large and enthusiastic audience was entertained with the question of the fortification of the Panama Canal. Fourth Year High espoused the affirmative, and Third Year High spoke on the negative. The affirmative won.”18

It also reported on the High School Elocution Contest. The 1920 edition praised the winning student, William O’Brien, “whose clever dialect rendition of the popular piece, ‘Rosa,’ was capable of stirring the most unresponsive audience.” High school students also took part in the Sanctuary Society (serving as altar boys) and the Sodality along with their college counterparts. Finally, students had a rudimentary intramural program, with the high school juniors playing the seniors in the Interclass Basketball, Baseball and Track games, with the winner of the basketball competition receiving the Austin T. Howard trophy, in memory of a deceased professor. In 1922, that interclass track competition became the President’s Day games, held at Golden Gate Park Stadium on April 28, pitting high school athletes against their college counterparts. The high school carried the day in nearly all events.19

The Sullivans of the State Supreme Court: Matthew, Jeremiah & Raymond

Even before the 1906 Earthquake, the SI Jesuits saw a need to separate its college from its high school. They came a step closer to that in 1911 by formally changing the name of St. Ignatius College to the University of St. Ignatius (a name used until 1919).

The School of Law began on September 18, 1912, when 29 students gathered in the Grant Building on Market Street for their first class. Serving as the first dean of that school was one of SI’s more famous graduates, Matthew I. Sullivan, who received his BA degree in 1876 and who went on to become chief justice of the California Supreme Court.

In 1987, Eric Abrahamson wrote about Matthew Sullivan in The University of San Francisco School of Law: A History. In his book, he reveals how SI graduates, such as Sullivan, were growing in political influence in San Francisco. The following is from Abrahamson’s book:

“On Sundays, Matt Sullivan went to five o’clock Mass and then walked from the Mission to his office in the Mills Building on Market Street. He worked until noon when his driver would pick him up to carry him home to 920 Guerrero Street where he lived with his brother John and his two sisters, Nora and Julia. From around the corner on Twenty-first Street, Sullivan’s nephew-in-law, Eustace Cullinan, Sr., would come with his family to join the party. Sometimes from down the block, ‘Sunny Jim’ Rolph would drop by, and they would all eat together.

“It was Matt Sullivan, along with attorney Gavin McNab, who convinced Jim Rolph to run for mayor of San Francisco in 1911. A law partner with Theodore Roche and Governor Hiram Johnson, Sullivan was in many ways the workhorse behind a generation of Progressive leaders. He upset the political dynasty of blind boss Chris Buckley in the late 1880s, was appointed to the Board of Supervisors when members of Mayor Schmitz’s administration were indicted, and, along with Hiram Johnson, succeeded Francis Heney as special prosecutor in the Abe Ruef trials after Heney was gunned down in court.

“In 1912, after being elected governor, Hiram Johnson appointed Sullivan president of the Panama-Pacific International Exposition and then, in 1914, appointed him chief justice of the California Supreme Court. When his term expired, however, Sullivan refused to run for the office. According to some, it was against his principles to run for office. According to his grandnephew Vincent Cullinan, ‘Uncle Matt knew he could make more money in private practice.’

“In 1912, when the law school at St. Ignatius was begun and Matt Sullivan appointed the first dean, there was hardly a more eminent lawyer in San Francisco, nor was there an attorney more committed to St. Ignatius. Graduated from the college when it was located on Market Street in 1876, Matt Sullivan, along with his brother, Jeremiah (also a justice of the California Supreme Court), played a major role in the formation of the Saint Ignatius College Alumni Association in 1878. Jeremiah served as the first president.

“Like Michael O’Shaughnessey, San Francisco’s preeminent engineer who was appointed dean of the College of Engineering in 1912, Sullivan lent his name and respectability to the new school at St. Ignatius but did not engage in the day-to-day administration. Nevertheless, he served as titular dean for 22 years until 1934. His contributions to the college as a whole were so significant — serving as president of the alumni association and engineering the purchase of the Masonic Cemetery land — it seems impossible that he did not play some role in directing the curriculum of the law school.”

Finally, Abrahamson notes that Sullivan “may be the unsung workhorse of the Progressive movement in San Francisco, which transformed city government from a patronage system into a modern, professional city management.” When Matthew Sullivan died in 1937, he was praised for his service to the city and to SI.20

Judge Jeremiah Sullivan (who attended SI for eight years, graduating with his Bachelor’s degree in 1870 and his Master’s degree two years later), was the first president of the SI Alumni Association. Like his brother, he, too, served on the California Supreme Court and served six years as president of San Francisco Bar Association, which he transformed into an advocacy group. According to Abrahamson, he championed “legal reform and professional improvement,” and his reputation led to his election as the first president of the State Bar.

Unrelated to Matthew and Jeremiah was Raymond Sullivan ’24, who died October 20, 1999, at the age of 92 after a distinguished career as a justice on the California Supreme Court.

Justice Sullivan was born January 23, 1907, in San Francisco and graduated from SI in 1924 before graduating magna cum laude from USF in 1928. He worked at SI between 1927 and 1935, where he coached the debate team, taught Latin, English, geometry and history, and moderated the senior debating society (the Senate). In the SI student newspaper, the Red and Blue of September 21, 1927, he is listed as a “brilliant college student, noted for his forensic ability. Moreover, he will guide the destinies of the Senate during the year.”

While on the SI faculty, he received a law degree in 1930 and a Master of Law degree in 1933 from USF. He left teaching in 1935 for private practice and, in 1961, was appointed to the state's First District Court of Appeal, which then covered a swath of Northern California from the Oregon border to the central coast. He became the court's presiding justice in 1966.

He was appointed to the high court in 1966 by Gov. Edmund G. “Pat” Brown and is best remembered for writing the 1971 decision that transformed the way the state's public schools are financed.

An obituary in the San Francisco Chronicle noted that Sullivan “‘was regarded on the court as a lawyer's lawyer,’ said former Supreme Court Justice Joseph Grodin, who served with Justice Sullivan on the faculty of the University of California's Hastings College of the Law. ‘He was the court's expert on procedure. He cared a lot about the process of the court. He was also very innovative.’

“In the landmark Serrano-Priest decision, the Supreme Court ruled that California's system of using primarily property tax revenue to finance schools was unconstitutional because school districts in wealthy areas could spend more on a student's education than could a district in a poor area.”

He was the recipient of many honors. SI gave him the Christ the King award in 1986 and USF bestowed on him the St. Thomas More Award for legal excellence in 1968 and an honorary doctor of laws degree in 1972. In 1991, Hastings students voted him Outstanding Professor of the Year, and in 1994, the State Bar of California awarded him the Bernard E. Witkin Medal for significant contributions to the quality of justice and legal scholarship of the state. The California Trial Lawyers Association also honored him in 1975 as Appellate Judge of the Year.

World War I

While SI grads such as Matthew Sullivan were thriving in their professional lives, not all was well at the Shirt Factory. Enrollment among university students fell so low that in 1912, the college had only 24 students, including 15 freshmen. During the 1914–1915 school year, there were as many Jesuits teaching high school and college as there were students enrolled in the university — 33 — making it one of the smallest universities in the world. (This was a hard time for many private colleges in the country, and many permanently closed their doors.) During these years, SI high school enrollment fluctuated between 150 and 200 students, a far cry from the heyday of the 1880s when SI was the largest Jesuit college in the U.S. The deficit in students was matched by a financial deficit, and the Jesuits reinstated the Ignatian Society to help raise funds for the school and for the construction of the new church.

World affairs would soon intrude upon SI’s crisis. The U.S. entered World War I in 1917, and of the 378 SI grads who fought in Europe, 10 lost their lives. Among those (according to the June 1918 Ignatian) was Charles P. McVey who drowned on the Tuscania, which was torpedoed on February 5, 1918. The others included William Lasater, George Ross, Frank Cardanali, Harry Heaton, Joseph Hickey, Louis Kengla, William Ketler, Frank Kramer and Frederick Schimetchek. Of these nine, three died of disease, five of wounds and one by accident, crushed by a falling gun carriage. Another alumnus, Lt. Frank A. Flynn, was seriously injured in a plane crash and may have died of his injuries.

The highest ranking SI grad to serve in the war was Brigadier General Charles H. McKinstry (SI 1884), who served as 1st Division Commander of the 1st Field Artillery Brigade in 1917. Also serving were the Callaghan brothers, Daniel ’07 and William ’14, who would distinguish themselves in World War II.

During the war, SI took part in a government program designed to provide military training to college students. The Students Army Training Corps began October 1, 1918, and ended in December, shortly after the November 11 Armistice agreement. In that brief time, military officers trained and drilled students, ending each day at 10 p.m. with taps.

Overseas, Ignatians found hell on earth in that gruesome war. Capt. Joseph Sullivan ’11, in the June 1919 Ignatian, wrote the following to his brother, Thomas “Sars” Sullivan:

“I do not know whether to be glad or sorry that I was not on the front when the end came. I could not be there on account of my wound. If I had been there, the last shell of the last gun would have riddled me, I am sure. I’m sorry, for there must have been a wild celebration. The fighting where I was, was particularly hard. You know where the First American Army was operating. Well, Sars, they threw the picked Prussian Guard divisions against us, they pounded us with artillery and machine-gun barrages till the very air seemed to be so filled with flying lead that there was not room for more. And they showered us with gas, so that our breathing apparatus became null and void. When my battalion went to the attack, we were war-strength. We had a Major and four Captains. I was Captain of “I” Co., and I was right support company of the battalion. The Boche21 barrage broke over us for eight hours before the time for attack was set. But my men were dug in, which means that they were in holes in the ground perpendicular to the axis of hostile fire. All through the night the hell continued. The Austrian 88’s (whiz-bangs, we call them), just cleared the slope and broke on the reverse side where we were. Frequently I would receive a clod of dirt in the face, which some Boche shell had sent flying. Then the hour of attack came, the battalion rose out the hole and went for the Boche. Such a day and such a night! Captain Sackett, a classmate, led the left support company of the regiment. As we rose, an increase in the Boche barrage was apparent, and Sackett dropped with twenty machine-gun bullets through him. My officers were wonderful. My men — too much cannot be said for them. Of course contact and control were difficult, and as we jumped from crater to crater we could preserve no formation. The ground was a succession of slopes, and over each one the Boche had complete mastery. The Boche had direct fire on us with artillery, and it was deadly. He enfiladed us from the flanks and from the left rear as we progressed, and when we reached our objective the battalion was reduced to 200 men under the command of a 1st Lieutenant. The Major was wounded, I was wounded, Capt. Ed. Leonard, “K” Co., was dead, Capt. Mudge, “L” Co., and Capt. Wilhelm, “M” Co, were wounded, while Lieutenants were strewn over the battlefield.

“Well, it’s all over now but the shouting, and I’m sick of war, of its havoc, its ruin and destruction. I want beaucoup peace and quiet, and they are sending me into Germany to get it.
“Sars, it’s a funny world. Be good to yourself and take good care of Mother.
“Ever your loving brother, Joe”
Later, he wrote this to his mother with an accompanying photograph:
“In October 1918, at Romagne sous Montfaucon, an isolated “77” was picking off my men. We maneuvered and killed the Boche gunner, and I took his name-tag. Last night I was billeted in this home, and Madam cleaned my clothes. She came across the name-tag and said that it belonged to her son. She knew that he was dead, but she did not know that she was billeting under her roof the man who had killed her son. Mother, I had a strange feeling, but I had only done my duty.”

Surviving Epidemic & Debt

In 1918, the Jesuits in San Francisco suffered under two great strains: an enormous debt and the Great Flu Epidemic that broke out that year. Students and teachers went to St. Mary’s Hospital for treatment, and one scholastic died. Others, including Fr. Pius Moore, SJ, who ministered to the Japanese community in San Francisco, “were brought to death’s door,” as were many family and friends of those connected to the school.22

The Jesuits accrued a debt in excess of $1 million due in large measure to church construction. Archbishop Edward J. Hanna, on May 12, 1919, issued a formal proclamation asking the people of San Francisco to help the Jesuits. “Something must be done and done quickly if we are to preserve the old historic institution,” he wrote. A fund-raising drive that year netted $200,000, and Fr. Moore, SI’s 16th president, sold the Hayes and Van Ness site for $311,014, further cutting the debt to $451,597. By 1925, SI had whittled its debt down to $130,000.

While Fr. Moore was able to address this problem, he was less able to increase the size of the university student body, which in 1919 numbered only 26. He changed the university’s name back to St. Ignatius College, and the enrollment grew slowly in the years to follow, with 41 students taking college classes, excluding law students.23

St. Ignatius High School, on the other hand, was thriving in the early 1920s. In 1921–22, for instance, student enrollment rose to 357. It began the gradual process of separation from the university in 1916 when the high school held its first graduation exercises. Before that, only students who had earned Bachelor’s or Master’s degrees received diplomas during the three-day-long-program that marked the end of the school year.

AMDG
St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
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