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Beneath the Ivory TowerThe Archaeology of Academia$

Russell K. Skowronek and Kenneth E. Lewis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780813034225

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813034225.001.0001

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Beyond the Course Catalogue

Beyond the Course Catalogue

Archaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

(p.182) 10 Beyond the Course Catalogue
Beneath the Ivory Tower



University Press of Florida

Abstract and Keywords

The ground at Santa Clara University has yielded a wealth of information on the ways of education in the nineteenth century, the lives of the male students and their Jesuit faculty, and ultimately the lives of returning veterans and their families. The expectations meant to guide the students in their education are dictated by the university catalogues, rulebooks, and historical papers and are well documented through archival and library resources. In addition to documents and oral history, however, the artifacts provide another and often different perspective. Sometimes they tell the truth about what really went on. Smoking, dipping snuff, drinking, and general mischief during the early years at Santa Clara occurred despite the written bans on such behavior. Even walls could not keep the students inside. Prohibited materials from the outside world often made their way in. This chapter offers archaeological insights into the life of Santa Clara University.

Keywords:   Santa Clara University, education, Jesuit faculty, university catalogues, rulebooks, prohibited materials, archaeology

Banking to the right, the Boeing 767 speeds north up the Santa Clara Valley toward its destination, the Norman Mineta San Jose International Airport. Thirty miles south of the plane’s destination it begins: the suburban sprawl associated with Silicon Valley that runs all the way from Gilroy to the Golden Gate.

Here “old” and “out of date” are defined in terms of Moore’s Law: in years not decades (Malone 2002: 177). Because land is so valuable, adaptive reuse of existing structures is rarely contemplated. Instead they are usually torn down. It is not uncommon to see a single parcel pass through three incarnations in a decade (Skowronek with Thompson 2006: xviii–xix). From the birthplace of the modern computer age at what was an IBM plant to the 150–year-old adobe home of Juana Briones, a California entrepreneur, the few remaining “historic” structures more often than not are regularly demolished. Business dictates the fast pace of change in every corner of the valley.

As the airplane begins its final approach into the airport for Silicon Valley, what seems to be a timeless hundred-acre oasis of tile roofed buildings, green sports fields, and a church is visible a few blocks west of the airport: Santa Clara University.

Santa Clara College/University

This institution is under the super-intendance [sic] of the Fathers of the Society of Jesus, and it is open to all, who choose to avail themselves of its advantages. Preface, Catalogue, Santa Clara College, Academic Year 1870–71

Santa Clara College, the forerunner of Santa Clara University, opened it doors in 1851: 225 years after Harvard was founded, 3 years after the signing of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, 2 years after the start of the California (p.183) Gold Rush, and a year after California statehood. It is the oldest institution of higher education west of the Mississippi River. Over its century and a half of existence it has gained notoriety in its sports, its faculty, and its curriculum.

In 1949 its football team defeated the University of Kentucky (led by famed coach Paul “Bear” Bryant) in the Orange Bowl; more recently, the women’s soccer team won the NCAA championship in 1999.

Its faculty boasted John Montgomery, one of the pioneers of “heavier than air” flight, who was immortalized in the 1946 film Gallant Journey, and Father Jerome Sixtus Ricard, S.J., the meteorologist and astronomer credited with correlating sunspot activity and weather (Hayn 2002; McKay 2002). Both men were commemorated on campus with a monument and buildings and in Washington, D.C., at the Smithsonian’s Air and Space Museum on the Mall. Another faculty member, Bernard Hubbard, S.J., became known as the “Glacier Priest” in the 1930s and 1940s for his work in Alaska. Though he was trained in geology, Father Hubbard’s fame is derived from the thousands of photographs and thousands of feet of films he made among the Native peoples of Alaska (Hayn 2002; McKay 2002; Scarborough 2001). A significant fraction of Hubbard’s photographic collection and other material collections remain on campus, but much of the movie footage is now housed in the Smithsonian, where it may be readily accessed by researchers and Native Alaskans (Scarborough 2001).

For more than a century Santa Clara’s student body was male. During World War II the university began to change. Enrollments fell as young men and many priests enlisted or were drafted (McKay 2002: 150; McKevitt 1979: 261). The Santa Clara School of Law closed due to lack of enrollment. By 1944 the regular student body numbered 91, but they were joined by 375 soldiers obtaining special training in engineering. Other classes were opened to female students for the first time (McKay 2002: 150).

In 1955 Santa Clara hired its first female professor. Shortly thereafter, in 1956, women matriculated in the law school and in nursing classes. The school of business became coeducational in 1958. Finally, in 1961 women were admitted as undergraduates for the first time. At the beginning of the twenty-first century women make up the majority of the student body.

The Santa Clara University Archaeology Research Lab

Today more than 8,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in this highly rated institution. They come because of the school’s academic reputation and its pledge to provide ample courses for an individual to complete (p.184) a course of study in four years. To meet this vow the university began a major “bricks and mortar” capital campaign in the 1990s that led to the construction or reconstruction of nine buildings and a parking structure in the space of a decade. Prior to this work the university had experienced several periods of expansion. The last of these ended in the 1970s, before the creation of state laws pertaining to the mitigation of cultural resources and before local historic preservationists became acutely aware of the loss of the historic fabric of the community. When the construction projects were initiated, the school for the first time faced rules regarding cultural resources and their management. The enactment of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) in 1970 and the subsequent California Local Government (CLG) status obtained by the City of Santa Clara meant that some reasonable degree of mitigation is legally required during discretionary projects.

Santa Clara University is unique in many ways. The school was established and has continued to be operated by the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). It is the only institution of higher education housed on lands and in buildings originally used as a Franciscan mission. Under its hundred-acre campus is a microcosm of California history. It includes a prehistoric cemetery (Hylkema 2007; Skowronek and Graham 2004; Skowronek and Pierce 2006), the aforementioned Spanish and Mexican era Franciscan Mission (Skowronek with Thompson 2006), former parts of the City of Santa Clara (Harris et al. 1995), and forgotten parts of the school’s history. The oldest section of the school that incorporates mission-period structures is eligible for inclusion in the National Register (Caltrans 1985: 17–22).

As more archaeological features and their associated artifacts were discovered, it was clear that the university had no one to clean, inventory, or study them and, more importantly, no long-term strategy for future mitigation. Furthermore, ethical issues arose regarding the long-term disposition of these existing collections and those previously found in the 1980s during the reconstruction of the Adobe Lodge (Jenkins et al. 1998) and the Palm Drive entrance at the third mission site (Skowronek with Thompson 2006). The university had the choice of divesting the collections to an official repository (at a cost then estimated at $750,000) or supporting the creation of the SCU Archaeology Research Lab. Vice President Steve Privett, S.J., saw that such a lab facility would have great utility as a repository, place of research, locale for student learning, and aid to the Facilities department for small construction projects.

(p.185) To surrender intellectual control of these materials to cultural resource management (CRM) firms begged the question regarding the purpose of the lab as a center for research and education. As a result the lab was created in 1995 and in a few short years showed such success that it was hailed “as a trailblazer in heritage resource management planning in the university setting” by the Environmental Program of the Associated Colleges of the South (1999:2).

In 2003 the university released the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) for Ten Year Capital Improvement Plan. Due to the complexity of known archaeological resources on the campus and the immense scale of future projects planned by the university, the EIR required the development of a long-term strategy for the management and mitigation of future impacts. A resulting Cultural Resources Treatment Plan for the Ten Year Capital Improvement Plan is currently the university’s and the City of Santa Clara’s primary archaeological planning document (Allen et al. 2003).

Today the lab serves as a coordination center for CRM firms hired to mitigate these very large projects on campus, and the assistant campus archaeologist provides project oversight and direction to those firms. Materials are washed and labeled by students in the lab, then transferred back to the CRM firms for inventory, and returned to the lab ready to be studied and researched. The assistant campus archaeologist uses these materials to teach the lab components of the Introduction to Archaeology and Historical Archaeology classes in the Anthropology Department. Students thus have a tremendous variety of prehistoric and historical materials with which to complete research projects.

Although dozens of CRM archaeologists have worked on campus over the years, the assistant campus archaeologist has remained the lone full-time representative dealing with the day-to-day operation of the lab, which involves creating exhibits, supervising student technicians during their tasks (which include initial processing and cataloguing of artifacts, creating reference collections, and researching existing collections), collections management, teaching all the Introduction to Archaeology Labs, supervising CRM archaeologists and providing direct guidance to the University Operations Department, conducting research, and giving tours for elementary schools, museum docents, and other special interest groups.

(p.186) Campus Memories, Changing Landscapes, and Historical Archaeology

The spirit must be broad, embracing everything that goes to make up college life, participating in everything when this is possible, encouraging everything from lawn tennis to the study of quarternians, from the foot-ball [sic] field to the editorial staff of the college paper. The Redwood, Santa Clara College (November 1903)

Every year Santa Clara University is invaded by its alumni. They return to “find” their favorite professor, residence, class or locker room, or pub. All alumni view the existing landscape from the vantage point of when they last saw the campus. The familiar is embraced as a touchstone of “their” past. For them these are the tangible reminders that they were there.

At Santa Clara countless members of past Bronco football squads often stagger into the Archaeology Research Lab, thinking it is still “their” Field House. The lab has been housed in the old athletic Field House (built in 1942) since 1995. The still-tiled shower room contains wooden lockers and stubbed-off pipes but little else. Now the Field House is torn down, and there is nothing left except the memories of the athletes and a plaque that greeted generations of students as they crossed the threshold into the building (Figure 10.1).

O’Connor Hall is another touchstone for those few left who return to mark their fiftieth class reunion. For them it was a residence hall (during the 1950s and earlier). Today the third floor of this edifice houses faculty offices, and many of them sport two small closets. Today they are jammed with unused books, caps, and gowns, but in their day they held the limited wardrobes of the two inhabitants of that space. In a few years refurbishment will erase the last tangible traces of this structure’s history as a residence hall.

Santa Clara may be unique in that many of its faculty and administrators are graduates. Also, many of its graduates grew up in the area and have continued to reside in the region. Their memories of the campus landscape, while long-term, may be more blurred. They have witnessed the incremental loss of familiar landmarks throughout the valley. While some have lamented these losses (Garcia and Mahan 2002), others recall how bleak things could be in the past (McKay 2002: 147), and still others look toward a technology-filled future (Locatelli 2002: 189) on the historic campus.

This juxtaposition of old and new creates a nuanced accumulative landscape. It has been said: “All landscapes are ‘historical,’ provided that they are now—or once were—altered, inhabited, visited or interpreted by people” (Holtorf and Williams 2006: 235). Santa Clara University is just such an accumulative landscape that has preserved (in structures and in the earth) the story of the school, from its prescribed curriculum to the lives of its students.


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.1. (Clockwise from lower left) door with a plaque overhead; threshold plaque; the Field House Building; demolition of the Field House, 2008. (Photos by Linda Hylkema)

Since 1995 investigations conducted by the Santa Clara University Archaeology Research Lab have revealed a picture of everyday life on the historic campus that sometimes amplifies and sometimes contradicts the institutional history of the past century and a half.

(p.188) Beginnings: The College Years, 1851–1912

On March 19, 1851, Father John Nobili, with a capital of one hundred and fifty dollars and a brave heart, laid the foundation of Santa Clara College and began the great work.

Santa Clara College Prospectus, for the year 1909–10

Santa Clara was founded directly in response to the Gold Rush. Father Michael Accolti, an Italian Jesuit writing of San Francisco in December 1849, said: “Whether it should be called a villa, a brothel, or Babylon, I am at a loss to determine,” which summed up the state of affairs in northern California at the time (McKevitt 1979: 7). In 1851 there were only 21 priests to minister to more than 40,000 Roman Catholics among a population of more than 150,000 non-Indians who had arrived in the two years since the discovery of gold. These numbers included children who needed an education in a safe environment close to their families but away from the vices of the gold fields or the city of San Francisco. Lying some fifty miles to the south of the city was their answer: Santa Clara. The former Franciscan mission had been secularized fifteen years earlier and now served as a parish for a nascent community of the same name (Garcia et al. 2002). In February of that year Bishop Joseph Alemany offered the site to the Society of Jesus for a school, and Santa Clara College was born on March 19 in the “wretched” adobe hovels that were the surviving remnants of the original Franciscan mission (McKevitt 1979: 23–24, 26).

Today we think of a college as a place of learning usually associated with students who are eighteen to twenty-one years old, but their charge 150 years ago was to create a preparatory school. Within two years of its founding it had seventy-eight students between the ages of four and eighteen (McKevitt 1979: 28). This practice was consistent among other Roman Catholic institutions of the period, including Georgetown and Notre Dame. Santa Clara would award the first bachelor’s degree in California in 1857.

Most of the students were boarders living far from their families. Considered to be in loco parentis, the original faculty members, mostly Italian-born Jesuits, were more than teachers and clergy—they were parental role models whose goal was to educate the “whole person” by living an exemplary life that would be emulated by their wards (Fitzgerald 2002). The Jesuits felt that the liberties found at other California colleges were doing a disservice to the students (Giacomini 2002: 120). At Santa Clara the students’ lives were closely regulated and disciplined, as was their contact with the outside world: “August of 1888 found me matriculated at Santa Clara College—the days of the high fence, when we lived in a little world of our own. Everybody knew everybody; we shared each other’s joys and sorrows, even the contents of a mate’s trunk stored with many delicacies that were not found on the College menu” (James J. Nealon, ’92, Monthly Santa Claran, February 1934).


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.2. Santa Clara University course catalogues: 1870, 1885, 1900, and 1922. (Collection of Linda Hylkema)

(p.190) They lived within their small, walled campus, where they helped prepare meals, cleaned the buildings, and had their personal mail inspected. From the earliest days of the school the use of tobacco in any form was strictly prohibited until 1876, when, with permission, smoking was allowed (Figure 10.2). Certainly, that did not preclude the use of tobacco. A student essayist writing in the Owl in 1872 noted that those who partook would often “seek the shade of some far-spreading tree, and there, with a cigarette in their sleeve, they ‘lie low’ for prefects, whose watchful eyes might detect the wreathes of smoke” (Giacomini and McKevitt 2000: 69). Alcohol was permitted, but in 1865 “intoxication” was grounds for immediate expulsion. The only variations in the prescribed schedule were monthly day visits to family.

Revealing Campus Life

With most complete and appropriate accommodations in every department, and a full staff of professors, this institution presents uncommon advantages for the moral, mental, and physical training of young men and boys.

Descriptive Catalogue, Santa Clara College (1885)

In the first decade of the college’s existence academic life was centered on a single building known as the California Hotel. When erected in the 1820s this adobe structure was used in the waning days of the mission era as a granary. In the 1840s it was modified and used as an inn. From 1851 to 1909, when it was demolished following damage in the 1906 earthquake, it housed a dormitory, debating hall, and eight classrooms (Giacomini 2002: 122; McKevitt 1979: 44–45). In the next three decades the remaining “decrepit” mission-period adobe buildings including the church were renovated. They were joined by a swimming pool in 1856 (Giacomini 2002: 128; McKevitt 1979: 63). Other important structures soon were added that figured prominently in the school’s first century. One was the Scientific Building (1864–1929), a three-story wood frame structure that housed a dormitory, dining hall, and science classrooms and labs. Another wooden structure, College Hall, became known as the “Ship” because it was rumored to have been pegged together with treenails. Over the century of its existence (1870–1962) it held a dormitory and a theater. The only brick structure constructed during this period was the two-story Commercial Building (1877–1929), which contained classrooms and related facilities (Figure 10.3).


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.3. Campus map showing archaeological deposits on the Old Quad. (Drawing by Linda Hylkema)

The extensive campus renovation also effected a modernization of student life. In the process of building St. Joseph’s Hall in 1911, the board fence that had once kept the students isolated from the rest of the world was taken down. Now students could leave the campus proper and even go on weekend outings. As one alumnus put it, “the new Santa Clara entered the march of progress” (Giacomini and McKevitt 2000: 108). With access to the neighborhood surroundings for the first time, students were able to purchase goods and services from local businesses and integrate themselves with the growing downtown areas of Santa Clara and San Jose. A number of these purchased products clearly were transported back to campus to be used and ultimately discarded.

During the construction of a new Music and Dance Building in 1994, vestiges of the nineteenth century were discovered. A very large historical deposit, variably interpreted as a trash pit or privy, was encountered within the future Dance Building’s footprint and excavated by the Archaeology Research Lab. The deposit was located adjacent to the former location of the Scientific Building and the Ship. The deposit contained a large amount of architectural and household debris that appeared to have been dumped in large episodes, perhaps in response to the major 1868 or 1906 earthquakes that rocked this section of California (Figure 10.4).


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.4. Artifacts from the Music and Dance Building excavation (clockwise from upper left): “Jules Haule & Co. Phila”; snuff bottles; stoneware bottle with lid; black and aqua glass shoe polish (?) bottles; embossed mineral water bottles; “Worlds Hair Balsam” bottle and cologne bottle; three French embossed cologne bottles; redware pipe bowl; ceramic Petri dish and crucible. (Photos by Linda Hylkema)

In addition to structural materials such as window glass, cut nails, copper sheeting, and wire, domestic artifacts were recovered that included metal keys, weighted metal candlestick bases, fragments of kerosene lamps and their associated glass chimneys, a pendulum from a wall clock, a stove leg, a stovepipe trim collar, and a pearlware chamber pot lid. Because this deposit is located in an area that would have been situated between three former buildings that housed dormitories at various times (the Scientific Building, the Ship, and the California Hotel), the presence of these domestic materials (p.193) is not incongruous. In an era before electricity was common, kerosene lamps and candles would have provided the only lighting, and stoves would have been a primary heat source. Also, chamber pots would likely have been in every room.

The deposit also contained many different items that could be construed as indulgences. Dating from the 1870s, they included wine and “blob top” soda/mineral water bottles and their associated pontiled glass cordials as well as drinking tumblers. Clay tobacco pipe stems and numerous glass snuff bottles were also present.

Clearly, there was some attention to hairstyling and grooming, as the deposit also contained numerous nineteenth-century personal items. Among them were ceramic shoe polish bottles, pearlware and whiteware cosmetic (or toothpowder) pots, cologne bottles (with and without pontils), and a shaving brush. One bottle fragment was embossed with the words “for the hair and skin.” The variety of colognes could easily have served as the deodorants of the period, because the dormitories only had communal washbasins and “warm baths in the winter” (Catalogue, Santa Clara College, Academic Year 1870–71).

Health care items also figured prominently in the deposit. These included many pharmacy and medicinal bottles with rough pontils and a number of unembossed and embossed patent medicine bottles. “Burnetts Cocoaine [sic]” was a hair tonic touted as a cure for baldness, and “St. Jakob’s Oel [sic]” was a remedy for pain or hair loss that dated from 1881 to approximately 1900.

The location of this deposit also hints at the proximity of the old dining hall building, as well as the Scientific Building’s own temporary use as a dining hall. The Montgomery Science Building served as the science building and held classrooms, and some of the artifacts from the deposit clearly reflect this. They include umbrella and master ink bottles and slate slab pieces/ pencils. We also know that nineteenth-century students were taught assaying, which seems to be confirmed by the presence of lead slag and terracotta crucible-type vessels. Also present were thin and delicate glass tubes, possibly early vacuum tubes or part of an early electrical experiment. They are not complete, however, so additional research is needed to bear out this supposition (Figure 10.5).

Most puzzling are several blue, green, and red glass fragments. Most are rectangular and appear to have cut and ground edges. Were they part of a stained glass window? Or were they used in one of the early scientific instruments that the university was famous for during the nineteenth century? The answer may lie in with another artifact. Made of copper, it is a square frame with a circular opening 13.5 inches in diameter, which may represent a forerunner of theater spotlight gels (Figure 10.6). Given the location of the university’s theater, the Ship, this is a parsimonious interpretation.


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.5. Photographs of the Chemistry Lab building (top) and the “Letter A” room (bottom). (Courtesy of Santa Clara University Archives)


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.6. Colored glass fragments and copper “frame.” (Photo by Linda Hylkema)

Another deposit, similar in size and temporal range, was discovered in 2003 during the installation of an elevator shaft in O’Connor Hall. O’Connor Hall was built in 1912, so clearly this deposit predates the building. Like the Dance Building deposit, this one also included large amounts of window glass. This deposit is more complex, however. While the majority of the materials date from 1870 to 1880, this is a multicomponent deposit. There is a thin layer of Mexican-era materials at the very bottom, including roofing tiles and flooring bricks, pearlware table ceramics, and fragments of cleaved or hacked bone (Figure 10.7). This was overlain with artifacts that we associate with the California Hotel (Figure 10.8). Among these there are molded whiteware serving and tablewares, candlesticks, and condiment bottles.


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.7. Artifacts from the O’Connor Building Elevator Project excavation (clockwise from upper left): ground glass tumblers (reused as inkwells?); “Stickwell & Co” adhesive and umbrella inks; “… Oil” (unreadable) with partial labels (cod liver oil?); sliced horn cores (from cattle), function unknown. (Photo by Linda Hylkema)

Above these were artifacts associated with the first thirty years of the college. Once again there were items such as master and umbrella ink bottles and crucibles associated with educational activities. The deposit also contains snuff, cologne, and medicine bottles similar to those found at the Music and Dance Building. Of particular interest is the presence of several black glass bottles dating from the 1860s and 1870s. These still carried remnants of paper labels indicating that they contained “cod liver oil.” Also present were bottles for “Burnett’s Cocoaine [sic]”; J. Hostetter’s Bitters; Radway’s Ready Relief (circa 1870); J. C. Spencer’s Fragrant Sapoine for the Teeth (circa 1880); Mexican Mustang Liniment, C. Langley Wholesale Druggist, San Francisco (circa. 1879–80); L. W. Glenn & Co. (circa 1880); and several dozen fragments of clear and aqua glass apothecary and chemical jars and bottles. There were large chunks of sulphur, which was widely used in the nineteenth century as an antiseptic, antifungal, and keratolytic (http://www.antiquebottles.com/apothecary/glossary.html).


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.8. Photographs of the California Hotel circa 1860 (top) and an early classroom on the second floor of the California Hotel circa 1890 (bottom). (Courtesy of Santa Clara University Archives)

Large numbers of wine, soda, and snuff bottles were also present. Despite the bans on tobacco and liquor, it is clear that the students were smoking and drinking anyway. Given that the campus was walled off from the outside world, the importation of illicit items was probably made more difficult, which in turn likely made them all the more enticing.

(p.198) From College to University

Much about old Santa Clara was romantic, and, as is often the case, with romance went inconvenience. Round about the back gate had sprung up a number of buildings—the domestic offices—neither convenient nor romantic. They had come into existence as the need of the moment demanded, and to the moment’s need only, did they respond.…

These have all disappeared. They were equally inconvenient, inefficient, unsanitary and unsightly.

University of Santa Clara Diamond Jubilee Volume 1851–1926

The first half of the twentieth century brought great physical changes to the campus in the form of many new buildings that are still in use in the twenty-first century. Some were built (or rebuilt) following catastrophic fires (1909 and 1926) and the Great San Francisco Earthquake of 1906. Others were built to serve an expanding student body as classroom and office buildings (Kenna Hall, 1924; Alumni Science, 1923; Montgomery Laboratories, 1923–71; Ricard Observatory, 1928); residence halls for students and priests on the faculty (St. Joseph Hall, 1909; O’Connor Hall, 1911; and Nobili Hall, 1930); the George Seifert Gymnasium (1923–75), constructed out of bricks recycled from the old Commercial Building; a library (Aloysius Varsi, 1930); and the Mission Church (1927).

In this same era the Donohoe Infirmary (1923) was constructed. It would serve the health-related needs of the campus until 1975, when Cowell Health Center was constructed. The impetus for building Donohoe was the great influenza epidemic of 1918, which killed two students and sickened dozens more (McKevitt 1979: 184). During the half-century of Donohoe’s use-life as an infirmary, it offered 24–hour nursing, a hospital ward, and private rooms for sick and infirm Jesuits.

Today the building is used by the Alumni Association, but the soil behind the structure contains evidence of its former function. In 1995 utility work along the north and west side of the old infirmary building yielded an archaeological deposit containing large numbers of pharmaceutical containers, including vials and ampoules (Figure 10.9). These date from the 1930s to the early 1960s. Maker’s marks indicate that the bottles were made by Owens-Illinois Glass Company in the 1950s to 1960s, the Anchor-Hocking Glass Company in the 1950s, and the T. C. Wheaton Glass Company. T. C. Wheaton still manufactures bottles for scientific use. Many of the vials are made of “N-51A” glass, which is a borosilicate glass made specifically for caustic chemicals. It has the highest resistance to chemical attack of any known commercial available glass (http://www.kimblepharma.com/KPCatalog.pdf).


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.9. Medicinal artifacts from the Donohoe excavation: (left) corked medicines and (right) “snap-top” ampoules. (Photo by Linda Hylkema)

Documents from the University Archives reveal that the infirmary dispensed a plethora of potent (and now illegal) drugs to students and Jesuits to bring relief from headaches, allergies, colds, diarrhea, rashes, sore throats, aching feet, and more serious illnesses. Through the 1930s, before they were outlawed, Santa Clara dispensed opium, heroin, cocaine, and codeine to its patients (Santa Clara University Archives—Inventory of Opium, Etc., No. 8301, June 30, 1937). Records from the 1950s housed in the Santa Clara University Archives reveal that students and the Jesuit faculty were receiving allergy, tetanus, and typhoid shots, smallpox vaccinations, and injections of panmycin and penicillin. Others were given doses of common over-the-counter medicines such as aspirin, Pepto-Bismol, milk of magnesia, castor oil, and Kaopectate. A few received more potent medicines such as Pheno-barbital, sodium seconal, Coricidin, Demerol, and thorazine.

Archival records indicate that most of these drugs were in tablet form. A large number of single dose ampoules with “snap-off” tops were recovered during the excavation, however, indicating that specific dosages of medicines were administered to individuals. It is quite likely that vaccines were administered from the contents of these ampoules.

(p.200) World War Ii and Beyond

Many of us, too, aren’t really civilian yet. We dress like civilians and we look like anyone else on the campus. But still we don’t think like civilians. We find it hard to take seriously some of the courses that we realize we must take. It’s hard to be serious about conjugations of a verb when such a short time ago the things we learned might make a difference between life and death.

Veteran Orr Kelly, ’48, Santa Clara, January 17, 1946

The university would probably have closed during World War II due to low enrollments. Instead nearly three-quarters of the campus housed the Army Specialized Training Program. Its goal was to train artillery officers. Those who graduated were commissioned as second lieutenants in the artillery.

In the thirty years following World War II an expanding student body strained the prewar facilities. To meet these needs the university purchased surrounding neighborhoods and industries and began a period of adaptive reuse, demolition, and construction that increased the size of the campus fivefold, to its current hundred-acre size. This included the construction of residence halls, a student union, a library, an engineering building, and other classroom structures. Students who returned after the war were often married.

In the spring and summer of 1946, in conjunction with the National Housing Agency, Santa Clara University met the veterans’ housing needs at the locations where Buck Shaw Stadium, Ryan Field, the Malley Fitness and Recreation Building, and the Leavey Center are located today (Figure 10.10). Known as Project CAL-V-4454, University Village (known variably as Veterans’ Housing or Veterans’ Village) was created with a complex of some thirty-four 20–× 20–foot military surplus Butler Huts. Relocated from the Point Montara Anti-Aircraft Training Center (also known as Radar Station J-80 at Point Montara) on the Pacific coast, the structures were originally meant to house up to a dozen men. These prefabricated buildings were subdivided to accommodate two families (McKay 2002: 152). Veterans’ Village was torn down seventeen years later, in July 1963.

Beyond a handful of photographs (Figure 10.11) no tangible remains of this brief period were known until 1998, when construction activities associated with the Pat Malley Fitness Center uncovered a number of mid-twentieth-century materials associated with the Veterans’ Village. The variety and scope of the materials discovered differed from the Dance Building and O’Connor Hall deposits because they clearly reflect the addition of women and children to the residential units (Figure 10.12). Unlike the ceramics in the earlier nineteenth-century deposits, the Veterans’ Village examples were often more decorative than utilitarian. These included a decal-ware plate, yellow ceramic teapot, decorative majolica leaves from a dish or figurine, and a decorative majolica peach and leaf cluster handle from a covered dish as well as orange, pink, and yellow glazed Bauer-Fiesta pottery, flowerpots, and carnival glass. All of these bespeak a feminine touch in the household.


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.10. Map showing the location of University Village. (Drawing by Linda Hylkema)


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.11. (Top) Photograph of University/Veterans’ Village; (bottom) Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (ROTC) infantry unit on the parade grounds. (Courtesy of Santa Clara University Archives)

Other household and utilitarian objects were also present, including a butter pat dish made by the Syracuse China Company with a date stamp of July 1936, whiteware fragments (some molded), and a brown crockery lid. Food service and kitchen items consist of Fire-King green glass, Depression glass, stemware, bone-handled cutlery, drinking glass tumblers, glass tubes for percolator coffeepots, a coffee percolator filter base and drain with a chain (circa 1936), a salt shaker, a tea strainer, and spoons.

We can almost imagine a housewife on a sunny morning fixing coffee and seeing her student-husband off to class. Perhaps he rode his bicycle, which he lubricated with 3–in-One Oil (the precursor to WD-40), made originally for use on bicycles. Its name, given by the inventor George W. Cole of New Jersey, derives from the product’s triple ability to “clean, lubricate and protect.” Or maybe he slicked his hair back with Wildroot Hair Tonic. Cosmetic creams, lipstick tubes and compacts, and glass marbles indicate that families were definitely living there. A broken ceramic pig snout may even represent a piggy bank.


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.12. Artifacts from the University/Veterans’ Village excavations (clockwise from top left): Zippo lighter and lady’s compact; “dummy” or practice mortar; ceramic female figurine; army infantry enlisted man’s collar disk; ceramic pig snout.

The consumption of alcoholic beverages continued. In addition to generic wine and beer bottles, a Petri Wine Company bottle dating from 1948–49 was found. Soft drinks such as Coke, Hires Root Beer, Nehi Soda, and Circle “A” Sparkling Beverage were also enjoyed by the residents of Veterans’ Village.

Although these objects represent everyday families trying to get on with their lives, two objects in particular serve as reminders of the war that preceded those halcyon postwar college days. The noted historian Peter Brown once spoke of the “inverse magnitude” between the tiny bone shard relics of martyred saints and the huge holy power ascribed to them by medieval Catholics (in Starn 2004: 197) That such innocuous objects can be ascribed such importance is an amazing concept. A few items at Santa Clara bear a (p.204) similar connotation. We have recovered an enlisted man’s Type III bronze collar disk bearing crossed cannons with a “2” (indicating the second artillery regiment) and an M69 practice mortar round. Without the presence of these two objects, the Veterans’ Village deposits would look much like any other domestic household trash. The collar disk and mortar are poignant reminders that the world war did not just occur “over there” and did not just involve other people.

An Education beyond the Books: The Significance of Archaeology at Santa Clara

I’d rather be wrong in an interesting way, than be right and boring. James Deetz, circa 1981 (in Praetzellis 1998)

The time of transition between high school and the “real world”—that fledg-ling period fraught with the changes and challenges of adulthood while still tied to the apron string—marks the magical phase of life we call college. It is the period when most students live away from home for the first time yet are still almost completely dependent upon their parents for support. It is usually the time when the concept of personal freedom first becomes reality—not as much as they would like, but enough to whet their appetite for more and entice them to do things they could not get away with at home. It is the time to try new things, to experiment with vice or simply with frivolous things not allowed at home. In almost every case, there is no going back. It is a time marked with learning, but not just about what is taught. Often what is experienced outside the classroom is the best teacher. Life is about limits, expectations, permissions, and exceptions to the rules.

Today anonymous student surveys reveal that prohibited activities are common in university residence halls. This includes seemingly innocuous things as cooking as well as ingestion of alcohol, tobacco, and controlled substances. People regularly illegally download music and films and engage in consensual sex. While many of these proscribed behaviors can leave potentially recoverable material remains (such as pots and hot plates, cigarette butts and ashtrays, liquor bottles, roach clips and bongs, or condoms, condom wrappers, diaphragms, or pill packages), they seem to leave no evidence when the trash from these buildings is surveyed. When students are asked how this can be, most respond with a nod and a wink that they have ways of disposing of such incriminating evidence. This should give pause not only (p.205) to campus administrators but also to archaeologists seeking to document campus behavior.

Archaeology is good at revealing those secrets. The ground at Santa Clara University has yielded a wealth of information on the ways of education in the nineteenth century, the lives of the male students and their Jesuit faculty, and ultimately the lives of returning veterans and their families. The expectations meant to guide the students in their education are dictated by the university catalogues, rulebooks, and historical papers and are well documented through archival and library resources. In addition to documents and oral history, however, the artifacts provide another and often different perspective. Sometimes they tell the truth about what really went on. Smoking, dipping snuff, drinking, and general mischief during the early years at Santa Clara occurred despite the written bans on such behavior. Even walls could not keep the students inside. Prohibited materials from the outside world often made their way in.

As times changed, so did behavior. World War II brought on new challenges and responsibilities both for the university, which struggled to stay open while the majority of its student body was overseas, and for the students, who struggled to regain some semblance of their old lives after they returned.

Individuals often leave their mark on the landscape in ways not revealed through traditional archaeology. People like to be remembered, but how? Personal trash is ephemeral. Carving initials on a tree, table, or desktop or writing in fresh concrete may result in fines or expulsion. But people still purposely leave their mark and so make a lasting personal statement that they were part of the university’s history. At Santa Clara in addition to detritus we have found numerous examples of that very collegiate experience. Graffiti in the form of names etched onto various surfaces have been discovered (Figure 10.13). The Archaeology Research Lab is fortunate enough to have a glass cabinet front with the names and dates of the freshman and junior chemistry classes from 1914–15 etched on it. It had been salvaged during the demolition of the building in the 1920s and recycled as a garage window in the city of Santa Clara. When that building was being torn down, the family returned the window. During the 1980 renovation of the oldest building on campus (the Adobe Lodge) a seventy-five-year-old inscription written on wall plaster by a former student was found. It simply reads: “Charles R. Plank—October 11, 1905.” And inside a dorm room closet is the message “to all those I leave behind, my memory will live with you … Mack Daddy Player, ’90.” His real name underneath is unreadable.


Beyond the Course CatalogueArchaeological Insights into the Life of Santa Clara University

Figure 10.13. Examples of student graffiti (clockwise from upper right): dorm room closet “autograph” circa 1990; 1905 wall writing; etched glass cabinet windows, circa 1912, from the Montgomery Science Building.

(p.207) As the University of Arizona’s long-term Garbage Project has demonstrated, the archaeological record can both complement and contradict the documentary record and in so doing create for the discerning a more nuanced and complete picture that goes beyond the “ideal” to the “real” story of the past (Rathje and Murphy 1992). At Santa Clara University the efforts of the Archaeology Research Lab are rewriting campus history while training the archaeologists of tomorrow.


We are indebted to the following students (some of them served as archaeology technicians at the Santa Clara University Archaeology Research Lab), whose studies of Santa Clara’s history and insights into its material culture made this a better chapter: Catherine Aldinolfi, Julia Canavese, Nicholas Fussell, Kelly Greenwalt, Melissa Johnson, Eric Loewe, Michael O’Sullivan, Olivia Sorrell, and Paige Wilson. We also wish to thank SCU archivist Anne McMahon and archives specialist Sheila Conway, SCU campus historian Gerald McKevitt, S.J., and George Giacomini, Jr., in the Department of History for their guidance and insights into the history of the campus. We also gratefully acknowledge the historian for the City of Santa Clara, Lorie Garcia, for always graciously sharing her knowledge. We wish to thank the more than a thousand students from Santa Clara University, San Jose State University, and Stanford University who have labored to reveal the Santa Clara story over the past dozen years. Thank you also to Shirley Hammond, our friend and a former nurse who is quite familiar with the use and administration of medication and recognized the ampoules and medicine bottles. We want to give special recognition to Joe Sugg, vice president of university operations, for his ongoing support of the CRM program. Finally, we would like to thank the President’s Office, the Provost’s Office, the College of Arts and Sciences, and our colleagues in the Departments of Anthropology and Sociology, without whose support this story would never have been told.