Recording History: Digitizing the RSCJ Archives

By Riley Minkowski ’22

You might have recently heard about the library’s RSCJ Archives project. This project’s goal is to digitize the entirety of the school archive room, making photos, letters, and other artifacts of SHP and RSCJ history permanently and publicly accessible online. The project was started in order to line up with the upcoming 125th anniversary of the Prep, which will be in 2023, and it’s just getting started.

A photo of the Menlo Park landscape as seen from the second floor of the Main Building, taken sometime in the late 1800s or early 1900s.

The archives are full of things that bring new life and deeper context to the history of Sacred Heart and its surrounding communities. You can find preserved newspaper articles from the 1990s that contain stories about SHP on one side and local advice columns on the other, or you can discover photos of students learning field medicine from the Red Cross during World War II. You can also look into pictures taken as early as the late 1800s and watch Menlo Park and Atherton develop over 100 years of history.

Children line up in the Main Building with the RSCJ to get a gift from Santa Claus in the mid-1900s.

The archives also contain records of the RSCJ’s activities throughout SHP history. Before it became the Prep as we know it today, SHP was called the Convent of the Sacred Heart and provided religious education for girls only. All school affairs were conducted by the RSCJ, including classes, religious life, and administrative management. Each sister from every point in Sacred Heart’s history has their own unique life story to tell – some of which have been preserved in the archives through transcripts of interviews with several RSCJ. Their stories provide valuable insight into the inner lives and faith of these treasured members of our community.

A student prepares to dive into the newly-built swimming pool in 1955.

There are all kinds of things to be found in the archives: graduation programs from the 1920s, tuition bills for Convent students, and even photos of students practicing archery on campus… the list goes on. If you’re interested, your participation in the project can be used for sophomore service hours, Capstone service hours, or for a class project (with your teacher’s permission). If you would like to join the project next year, please email Ms. Chatterjee at schatterjee@shschools.org for more information.

Students practicing archery in the mid-1900s.
By Alexander Lourdes Medel

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