The Ramonat Seminar: Using Data to Tell Stories

John, pay attention.

You and the two other John’s in your class raise their heads in confusion. You’re not sure if your teacher, an older Irish Nun, is speaking to you or one of the others. It’s winter time and the classroom is cool, and packed. Younger children and young men sit together, while she drills you all on math, reading, writing, and the Catholic way. You worry about the winter though, staring out the window. Your mother and father work as a housekeeper and shoemaker respectively, and you have three other siblings. While your tuition is reduced compared to the others at $50.00 a month, you know they can’t afford to put you through school for several more months. That means less time to absorb anything, more time spent locked away at home or working odd jobs with your Father… and the winter storms of Chicago are setting in.

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The Ramonat Seminar #5: Music, Tradition, and Culture

“Music doesn’t lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music.” – Jimmy Hendrix

Now, I’m not sure how much BrainyQuote is to be believed when it comes to the validity of these quotes being said by the supposed author, but I do believe it beautifully illustrates what I’m trying to get at in this post about music’s role in shaping tradition, and therefore, broader culture.

I’m sad that I wasn’t able to see Mick Moloney and Jimmy Keane’s performance last Thursday. I am happy to report that I didn’t blow off the questions their show being put into the seminar raises, however. What is the role of music in history? Why is it important to examine?

At its heart, music is storytelling at it’s finest. One doesn’t need to know the ins-n-outs of chord progression to know if something moves them in a certain way. Music plays a significant role in shaping a nations when it comes to national songs and celebrations of wars, it leaves a lasting memory of the past, and can reflect the concerns of an age, the zeitgeist to use unnecessary German terms.

Cultural scripts are the ways in which a society or and a local community decides what they will project onto the world, and how they will make those in their community follow suit. Music, why it is produced, by who, and for what purpose is one of the most wide-spread cultural scripts out there. Much like the saying “you are what you eat”, what you listen to informs the ideas you shape from a very young age.

While the source and context impacts how one understands a song in question (if it’s lyrics versus an audio version, how the musician performs it, if it was written during or for a certain period in history, and so on), music offers a fairly reliable example of a larger historical moment.

Spirit_of_76

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The Ramonat Seminar: Discovering the Neighborhood 

1870+Census_683

I was in charge of mapping pg. 683 of this 1870 census, taken around the Holy Family neighborhood! Susie and Claire covered the other portions of our section.

Here are some stats to start off with:

  • I have a total of 40 residents
  • Of those residents, there are 9 “families” (Strong, Haganin, Teas, Vanever, Washburn, Camfield, Genard, Templease, and Brown), and three “singles” (John, Burchman, and Fay)
  • The Strong family only lists children between the ages of 9-16, with no parents attached to them
  • While most “families” consist of a mother and father plus a few kids, the Teas are a husband and wife (I assume) with a large age gap (53 Husband to Wife’s 37), and the Camfields are both in their 40’s with no children
  • 14 residents were born aboard (In Prussia (present day Germany), the Kingdom of Hanover (present day Germany), England, and Canada)
  • The rest are born in either Illinois or a Midwestern state
  • Those born aboard have marked both parents being born aboard, while Lizzie (3) and Mary (1) Genard are the only native-born American’s with that mark, indicated that their family immigrated shortly before Lizzie’s birth
  • It seems after the age of 16 or so, most children haven’t attended school within the year, do to the fact that high school and beyond hadn’t really caught on in that era
  • All men 21 and older could vote, all residences were literate, and no one suffered from mental or physical disabilities 
  • The age range is even as well as the mix of males to females
  • Finally, out of all the data the class collected, my page was the only one who had a family who was not of total white descent. The Browns had a black father, with the Mother and two children of mixed white and black descent or mulatto, to use the antiquated term

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The Ramonat Seminar: Early Catholic Education in Chicago

“To the Catholic sisterhoods more than any other human agency is due the upbuilding of Chicago’s system of Catholic parochial schools to its present splendid development” (Garraghan, pg. 202).

Above is a digital map and a quote pertaining to the assignment we were given by our Professor over fall break. My group and I were tasked with mapping eleven (11) schools in Chicago, drawing on Gilbert J. Garraghan’s book The Catholic Church In Chicago 1673-1871Susie and Claire covered what I didn’t in my map above. I had a lot of trouble with this assignment I will say!

For example, in the reading Garraghan offered no end dates for the four schools I covered called St. Aloysius School, St. Stanislaus School, Christian Brothers Academy, and St. Ignatius College, the last of which is the precursor to Loyola University Chicago! Another big issue was getting correct directions. West Twelfth Street (where Garraghan says St Ignatius was founded) no longer exists, and has become Roosevelt Road from a quick google search on my part. Others, however, were harder to discern as he states St. Stanislaus was built were Sacred Heart was founded, so I had to back track in the text.

Past my confusion, I did learn a lot about who ran these schools, and how these school came about. These institutions were mostly founded by woman religious (with the help of male church leaders), which is often lost in the narrative itself as it focuses on Catholic priests as the pillars of the faith. Also, it revealed many ways I can imagine the past, past physical text, as these visual representations and anecdotes about what happened back then help me to better understand the subject we’re studying in a more fluid sense. Rather than fixed images, these schools changed with the times, got absorbed, or disappeared altogether. However, they did leave a mark on the thousands of children, teachers, and Catholics it serviced and or was run by.