Mary Adaline Kennedy, ’05, a graduate of Maryville Academy of the Sacred Heart, which much later became Maryville University, kept a scrapbook during her time as a student at the original campus on Meramec and Nebraska streets in south St. Louis. Her grandniece, Judy Meador, recently donated the relic to Maryville’s University Archives, along with other mementos, including a member roster from the first meeting of the alumnae club.
Kennedy captured images of her friends while outdoors, in class, in costumes for plays and during a May Crowning ceremony. The photographs have been identified as albumen prints by Kelly Scheffer, an adjunct instructor in art history. The photographs were taken on a home camera and then mailed away to be developed; the scrapbook itself was a separate project. Scheffer says it’s interesting that some of the young women were caught smiling, because photography at the time was taken very seriously.
The photographs depict life at Maryville at the turn of the century. They show students in various outfits: different uniforms, winter coats and graduation caps and gowns. At the time, there would have only been a few buildings on the Meramec campus, including the imposing administration building and the chapel. The interiors of both buildings are shown in the photographs. In the administration building, Kennedy photographed her dorm room, dining room, parlor and classrooms. In photographs of the chapel, the beloved Mater Admirabilis statue can be seen.
One photograph shows students in white dresses holding bouquets, standing on each side of a road. This is a May Crowning ceremony, a yearly Maryville tradition on the old campus. The statue of Mary in the grotto would be crowned by the student that had shown herself most devoted to Mary. The tradition ended in 1962, after taking place just once on Maryville’s west St. Louis County campus.
Some items in these photographs can be still found at Maryville over 110 years later — such as the cabinets that hold Mother Kernaghan’s rock collection. Today, those cabinets reside of the second floor of Kernaghan Hall.
After leaving Maryville, Kennedy gained employment as a seamstress at a dry goods store in Monett, Mo., then a department store in North Dakota. She returned to St. Louis later in life.
For more information, contact Emma Prince, archivist: firstname.lastname@example.org.