Skip to main content

Collegium Gonzagaeum: Celebrating the Classics at Gonzaga, 1887 - 2011: Case 4

Case 4 1887 – 1911 The Foundation of Classical Studies at Gonzaga

Case 4 1887 – 1911 The Foundation of Classical Studies at Gonzaga

Instruction in Latin began at Gonzaga’s foundation in 1887 and along with Greek, which was added in the following year, the ancient languages quickly became a central component of Gonzaga’s early curriculum.  Latin and Greek requirements for 1st and 2nd year students were in place by 1890, and beginning in 1897 these were expanded for a time into the junior year.  Students were expected to arrive at Gonzaga having already learned their Latin and Greek fundamentals, and in their college courses they were expected to study a wide range of authors. The interest in the classics went beyond the classrooms in the form of extracurricular activities focused on classical topics. The play Julius Caesar, for instance, was produced once in 1893 and again in 1911 and remained a popular play at Gonzaga for the next eighty years.

List of Gonzaga’s first faculty members, Gonzaga Catalog, 1887-1888

List of Gonzaga’s first faculty members, Gonzaga Catalog, 1887-1888

Note Fr. Peter Barcelo, S.J. as Professor of Christian Doctrine and Latin.

 

Fr. Peter Barcelo, S.J.

Fr. Peter Barcelo, S.J.

The first Latin Professor at Gonzaga College from 1887-1888.

Photograph courtesy of the Jesuit Oregon Province Archives.

Julius Caesar, Program, February 22, 1893

Julius Caesar, Program, February 22, 1893

The earliest documented production of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar at Gonzaga.  Published in the Gonzaga Catalog, 1893.

Roman Antiquities, a Comedy in Two Acts, Oct. 13, 1895

Roman Antiquities, a Comedy in Two Acts, Oct. 13, 1895

Given in honor of Rev. Thomas Neate, S.J. on the occasion of his Ordination into the priesthood by the students of Gonzaga College.  A comedy in two acts, presented first in 1895 and again in February 1904.

Course listings, Gonzaga Catalog, 1902

Course listings, Gonzaga Catalog, 1902

Note the prominent role the study of Latin and Greek play in the overall education of an individual receiving his Bachelor of Arts degree. The classes themselves were divided based on the particular classical authors the students were to read (i.e. Class of Rhetoric read Cicero, and Livy while the Class of Poetry read Virgil etc.).

Elocution Contest Program, 1902

Elocution Contest Program, 1902

The Senior Division of this competition presented three classic-themed titles: “Spartacus to the Roman Envoys,” “Spartacus to the Gladiators,” and “Catiline’s Defiance.”

The Full Cast of Julius Caesar, 1911

The Full Cast of Julius Caesar, 1911

Since the founding of Gonzaga in 1887, there have been four documented productions of this William Shakespeare play indicating its popularity. 

Francis J. Barrington as Brutus in Julius Caesar, 1911

Francis J. Barrington as Brutus in Julius Caesar, 1911

William P. Kearns in the title role of Julius Caesar in the Julius Caesar, 1911

William P. Kearns in the title role of Julius Caesar in the Julius Caesar, 1911

 

Andrew S. Feider, 1912

Andrew S. Feider, 1912

Andrew S. Feider attended Gonzaga High School and, later, Gonzaga College from the fall of 1905 to the spring of 1912 when he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.  Andrew was well versed in both the Latin and Greek language as well as ancient history. That he excelled in his studies can be gathered from his name on the “Roll of Honor” for the 1905 and the 1906 academic school year.

Francis A. Feider, the younger brother of Andrew, attended Gonzaga High School and Gonzaga University (Gonzaga College was renamed Gonzaga University in 1912) from 1908 to 1915.  Francis graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree.

In a 1917 Gonzaga Alumni publication, Andrew and Francis were listed as being wheat ranchers in their hometown of Pomeroy, Washington.

Page, T. E. Elementary Classics: Q. Horatii Flacci Carminum Liber II. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1909

Page, T. E. Elementary Classics: Q. Horatii Flacci Carminum Liber II. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1909

26.     Page, T. E. Elementary Classics: Q. Horatii Flacci Carminum Liber II. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1909

27.     Fredet, Peter.  Ancient History. Baltimore: John Murray Co., 1879

28.     Walpole, Arthur S. Elementary Classics: P. Vergili Maronis Aeneidos Liber I. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1901

29.     Page, T. E. Elementary Classics: Q. Horatii Flacci Carminum Liber I. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd, 1909

30.     Jeans, G. E. Elementary Classics: Select Letters of Cicero. New York: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1902

31.     Walpole, Arthur S.  Elementary Classics: Gai Iuli Caesaris de Bello Gallico Commentariorum I. London: Macmillan and Co., Ltd., 1908

Latin and Greek textbooks used at Gonzaga and owned by brothers Andrew S. and/or Francis A. Fieder, who attended Gonzaga from 1908 – 1915.

“Editorial”, Gonzaga Quarterly, 1912

part 1/2: “Editorial”, Gonzaga Quarterly, 1912part 2/2: “Editorial”, Gonzaga Quarterly, 1912

This editorial examines the value of a classical education. The question of “are the classics useless” had as much applicability in 1912 as it currently has in 2011 and is a question that every student of the classics will eventually ask. However, like the conclusion of the article, the answer is, at least to a classics student, a resounding “yes”.