The Father of Mother’s Day

On February 7, 1904, Francis Earle Hering proposed the idea of “setting aside of one day in the year as a nationwide memorial to the memory of Mothers and motherhood” to an audience of the Fraternal Order of Eagles in Indianapolis [certificate below].

Certificate honoring Frank E. Hering, signed by those who were present at the English Opera House in Indianapolis on February 7, 1904, when Hering proposed a national day honoring mothers.  This document was signed on 07/24/1930

Frank Hering first attended the University of Chicago, playing football under Amos Alonzo Stagg, from 1893-1894, then took a coaching job at Bucknell for a year, before coming to Notre Dame in 1896.  That fall, Hering played quarterback and was the coach and captain of the football team.  He also coached basketball, baseball, and track, and served as instructor of athletics.  In 1898, Hering earned a bachelors in English (Litt.B.) and a bachelors in Law (L.L.B.) in 1902.  He taught English from 1898-1902 and later served Notre Dame for many years as a Lay Associate of the Board of Lay Trustees and as President of the Notre Dame Alumni Association.  He gave a speech at the dedication of Notre Dame Stadium in 1930 and was on the committee of the Rockne Memorial after Coach Knute Rockne’s death in 1931.

Varsity Basketball Team, 1897, with Frank E. Hering as coach (middle row, second from right).  For an unknown reason, there is a frog on the knee of the player in front of him

Hering’s inspiration for a national Mother’s Day came from Notre Dame students writing home to their mothers:  “[P]ractically every boy has as his sweetheart his mother – and that the surest way to appeal to him for his best efforts in building his character and his grades – those things greatly to be desired – was to remind him of the deep happiness his mother receives” [quoted in Scholastic, 05/09/1941, page 11].

Hering’s involvement with the Fraternal Order of the Eagles gave him an oratory platform to spread this idea of a day specially for mothers.  Others were also campaigning the idea, including Anna M. Jarvis, and Congress passed a resolution in 1914, making Mother’s Day a national observance.

“Throughout history the great men of the world have given their credit for their achievements to their mothers.  [The] Holy Church recognizes this, as does Notre Dame especially, and Our Lady who watches over our great institution” [Frank Hering, as quoted in Scholastic, 05/09/1941, page 11].

Lists of Early Notre Dame Students and Faculty
“Echos:  As ND as football, Mother’s Day and Community Service,” by Jason Kelly, Notre Dame Magazine, Autumn 2009
UDIS 141/19
GUND 10/05
GMLS 7/03

Elizabeth Ann Seton – America’s First Saint

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton (1774-1821) was canonized as America’s first native-born saint in 1975.  As part of the mission of the Archives of University of Notre Dame to collect and maintain records that document the life of the Catholic Church and her people as lived in the American context, the University Archives holds a number of collections containing material regarding Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton.  Most notably are the Robert Seton family papers.  Robert Seton, grandson of St. Elizabeth, was the titular archbishop of Heliopolis, founder of the American Sisters of Charity, and the founder of Seton Hall University.

Engraving of Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton around the age of 22, after a 1796 portrait

Letter from Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton to her daughter Anna, 12/31/1798

Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton’s prayer book with handwritten notes, 1812

Advertisement for the Masses in celebration of the canonization of Saint Elizabeth Ann Bayley Seton at the Novitiate Chapel of the Order of Our Lady of Mercy in LeRoy, New York, 1975.

King Kersten

In the spring of 1972, Robert (Bob) Calhoun Kersten ran one of more memorable Student Body Presidential campaigns from his office in the fourth floor bathroom of Walsh Hall.

Bob Kersten and others on the sidelines of the ND vs. Purdue football game, 09/30/1972

Kersten’s candidacy was intended satire of student government and he ran under an oligarchy platform.  Despite University violations, Kersten’s running mate was Uncandidate the Cat, the “first female Notre Dame poobah” [Observer, 03/03/1972].

Profile and platform of Student Body President candidate Robert Calhoun Kersten [Observer, 02/22/1972]

In an apparent publicity stunt, Kersten was “abducted … from the third floor water closet in Keenan Hall” [Observer, 02/24/1972]

Page of the index of the Observer, maintained by the University Archives, listing some of Kersten’s activities during the 1972 Student Body Presidential elections and his first few months in office, including walking on water, coronation, and declaring martial war

Kersten wins the Student Body Presidential election [Observer, 03/03/1972]

Kersten won the election by the largest margin to date, although he hadn’t planned much for his actual presidency.  Student Body Vice President Uncandidate the Cat was replaced by Ed Gray, who was replaced by Dennis Etienne (H-Man) in October 1972.  Kersten’s presidency was relatively uneventful as Etienne ran much of the day-to-day activities.  Etienne won the following year’s SBP election.

Kersten’s antics are remembered still today.  The Observer and Notre Dame Magazine have mentioned him in recent articles.  Legend’s of Notre Dame Restaurant also offers a “King of Campus” steak in his honor.

GRMD 3/57

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

The University Archives, along with all other Notre Dame administrative offices, will close for the Christmas Celebration on December 24th and reopen on Monday, January 3rd.

CAZA 40/01:  Christmas Card to Dr. Albert Zahm from the Wrights of Dayton, Ohio
(a certain Orville and Wilbur), 1909.

Dr. Zahm was a physics professor at Notre Dame from 1883 to 1892.  He was a pioneering figure in the development of aviation and aeronautics.  His relationship with the Wright brothers, however, deteriorated when he testified against them in favor of Glenn Curtiss in a patent lawsuit in the early 1910s.

Rev. John “Pop” Farley, CSC

John Farley arrived to Notre Dame in the fall of 1897.  He came to study for the priesthood, but also had a penchant for athletics.  He won nine varsity monogram letters in football, baseball, and track, and was heralded as one of the great Notre Dame athletes for years to come.  For over thirty years after his graduation, Farley became a beloved fixture among Notre Dame students as he served as a rector for three dorms.

Letter from John F. Farley to University President Rev. Andrew Morrissey, CSC, requesting information about attending Notre Dame as a student studying for the priesthood, 1897/0202.

In August of 1899, Farley wrote to University President Rev. Andrew Morrissey, CSC, with a dilemma — return to Notre Dame and continue his studies toward becoming a priest or attend Seton Hall, which was closer to home so he could better care for his mother and family [UPEL 75/11].  Morrissey’s response does not exist in the University Archives, but Farley decided to return and ended up spending most of the rest of his life at Notre Dame.

John Farley, Captain of the 1900 Varsity Football Team

Ordained into the Congregation of Holy Cross in 1907, Farley spent around thirty years as a rector of three dorms at Notre Dame:  Corby Hall, Walsh Hall, and Sorin Hall, where he reigned as “king.”  With his keen athleticism, Farley regularly coached interhall teams to championships.  He was gruff, but genial, and in counseling the students, he quickly earned the paternal nickname “Pop.”

Corby Hall Interhall Coaches – Al Feeney, “Pop” Farley, and Knute Rockne, c1913

Rev. John “Pop” Farley, CSC, distributing mail on the exterior steps of Walsh Hall, c1915

In 1937, Pop Farley suffered a stroke, which resulted in the amputation of one of his legs.  He spent the rest of his life in the Holy Cross community infirmary and died in 1939.  At Farley’s funeral, Rev. Eugene Burke, CSC, said “For over thirty years, wherever Notre Dame students gathered, Father Farley was in the midst of them, always as a cheerful leader or companion.  For all those years this kindly prefect, whose work was with and for the students, loved that work as dearly as a scholar ever loved his books, and through it won the respect and admiration of thousands of students.” [PNDP-02-Zz-01; South Bend Tribune, 01/17/1939]

In 1946, Notre Dame honored Pop Farley by naming a new dormitory after him.  Farley Hall became a women’s dorm in the second year of co-education (1973).  In 1976, the University created the Rev. John “Pop” Farley, CSC, Award, which “is given annually to honor distinguished service [of a faculty member] to student life at the University of Notre Dame.”

[photoshelter-img i_id=”I0000osVERwYpdNU” buy=”1″ caption=”Farley Hall exterior, c1950s.” width=”576″ height=”481″]

PNDP 02-Zz-01
UPEL 61/18; 75/11
GSBB 2/15
GMIL 2/10
GMIL 1/13
GPHR 45/0020