Herb Juliano

Herb's Archive features an article about the Notre Dame tradition of "going home for the holiday's." From the December 10, 1937 Scholastic.


A serene image of the old Log Cabin, from the campus calendar of 1938.

A serene image of the old Log Cabin, from the campus calendar of 1938.


"Good Old Days" Recalled as Ancient Bulletins Give Valuable News
by Frederick E. Sisk

Around about this time each year, various transportation companies report that their supply of time tables and booklets containing rates and fares rapidly diminish and pass into the hands of Notre Dame students.

Along with this, each passing day of December is marked off on the student's calendar, days are subtracted and the number left are chalked up beside the calendar, remaining hours are next counted, and, finally, the enterprising freshman may even compute the number of seconds until the Christmas vacation is under way.

Without the possibility of any contradiction, this procedure has existed since the year Father Sorin first declared a Christmas vacation for the University of Notre Dame; it's what you might call a "natural tradition" in the sense that it has its basis on the infallible expression, "There is no place like home."

The means of realizing this aim from the early history of Notre Dame to the present has witnessed an evolution from the trains carrying wooden coaches and pulled by small engines to the present streamlined "iron horse" that gallops over the plains at 80 and 90 miles an hour and the modern air-liners which have narrowed distances even more.

Until the past year or two, the practice of "going home by air" has never seriously threatened the railroad's business from Notre Dame students. In the late past, however, an increasing number of students booked their passage on the air-ships in preference to the "rail-runners." Realizing this increased trade, American Air Lines has recently given the Notre Dame Conference of St. Vincent de Paul the concession for the issuance of airplane tickets to every section of the United States.

Concerning the early history of Notre Dame, the students then came from nearby points and not from the 48 states and numerous foreign countries as is now the case. Yet, in the University Bulletin of 1859, we find that the University had already begun to build up a student body which had a good geographical representation, for in the enrollment at that time the following states were represented: Illinois, Minnesota, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Missouri, Mississippi, New York, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Iowa, California, District of Columbia, New Mexico, and Indiana. In the same year Canada was included, and one year later the geographical distribution of students was increased by the addition of men from Cuba, Louisiana, and Maryland.

In those same years the student from California, Canada, Connecticut, or other distant points started out on his long journey to Notre Dame with six shirts, six pairs of stockings, six pocket handkerchiefs, six towels, a knife and fork, teaspoon and tablespoon, a hat and cap, two suits of clothes, an overcoat, a pair of shoes and a pair of boots for winter.

The same student was warned, too, that "pocket money is not allowed, except when placed in the hands of the Treasurer, and subject to his discretionary application."

Though the ride to Notre Dame, Indiana, was a long one in the late 80's, the "Prospectus" of the 1863 University Bulletin assured the students that, "the extensive forests surrounding the College give the best opportunity to those who are fond of hunting, whilst the two beautiful Lakes, upon whose banks the University stands, afford choice fishing grounds and baths in summer, and almost uninterrupted skating during the winter."

In the same year the Bulletin also said, "On the first Wednesday of every month, 'Certificates of Good Conduct,' and 'Improvement in Class' are issued by the Faculty to such Students as deserve them. On either side of the President's table and conspicuous to every visitor, are the 'Tables of Honor', presided over by the Vice-President and Prefect of Discipline. At these are seated twenty-two of the Students whose conduct has been most exemplary during the preceding week. They are elected by the unanimous vote of the Professors and Prefects."

The use of tobacco was also forbidden, and students were not permitted to visit private rooms. The regulations of 1868 said, "Bath Rooms, provided with hot and cold water, are fitted up, in which the Students take a bath once a week; in warm weather, however, they bathe twice a week in St. Joseph's Lake."



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