University Archives and Special Collections
The Creighton University Archives collects, maintains and provides access to collections that appeal to a variety of researchers: archival holdings related to the history of Creighton University; rare books and other valuable print materials; and special collections from literature, health, art, religion and other fields. Digital surrogates of selected files are available for viewing on the Creighton Digital Repository. See the links below to access featured collections directly.
Creighton University Rare Books Room
The Rare Books collection contains rare and valuable print materials ranging from 14th-century religious materials to U.S. historical items to first editions of prominent 20th-century writers. The Rare Books Room serves as the research area for the University Archives, Rare Books and Special Collections department. It is located on the main level of the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library and access to the Rare Books Room is currently by appointment only. To inquire about visiting the Rare Books Room or accessing the rare books collection, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 402.280.2746.
The mission of the Creighton University Archives is to acquire, preserve, and organize materials and information that have enduring value related to the history of Creighton University, a private Catholic and Jesuit comprehensive university founded in Omaha, Nebraska, in 1878. The University Archives will promote Creighton University, especially the university's teaching, research and service efforts, by making these materials accessible for research, instructional, administrative and other uses and by serving as an informational and educational resource for the Creighton community and others.
Creighton Family Collection
Collection of materials related to the founders of Creighton University
Omaha Area History and Miscellany
This collection contains items about events, people, places and more in Eastern Nebraska and Western Iowa, with Omaha - Council Bluffs as the primary geographical focus.
Omaha Committee on Foreign Relations
The Council on Foreign Relations, New York City, created the Omaha Committee (OCFR), as one of more than 35 affiliates, each to be a nucleus of informed opinion on U.S. foreign policy, contributing local views to the speakers and the Council.
St. John's Church
Collection of documents and items related to the St. John’s Church, located on the Creighton Campus
William F. Rigge
Collection of materials related to Fr. Rigge, who was assigned to Creighton in 1896 and had a distinguished career as a teacher and scientist. His research, much of which involved the Creighton Observatory, was published widely and earned him local and international recognition.
Special Collections encompasses thematic collections not specifically related to the history of Creighton University. Some special collections include historical tools and equipment from the fields of medicine, pharmacy, and dentistry; fables literature and memorabilia; religious realia; and artwork from several continents. Some collections are available for viewing online, and most are on display at either the Health Sciences Library or the Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library on the campus of Creighton University. We hope to have a more comprehensive list of our Special Collections online soon.
Carlson Fable Collections
Collection of 10,000 books and 4,000 fable related objects, curated by Fr. Greg Carlson S.J.
Dr. Sidney Stohs Mortar and Pestle Collection
The Dr. Sidney Stohs Mortar and Pestle Collection contains almost 200 mortars and pestles from North America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.
Stereoscopic Skin Clinic Cards and Medical Slides
The Stereoscopic Skin Clinic Cards and Medical Slides Collection contain historical images and describing various medical ailments and anatomy.
The first issue of the Creightonian came off the press in October 1922. The weekly student newspaper soon supplanted the Creighton Courier as the primary source of campus news. Today, the student-run Creightonian publishes a weekly print edition as well as an online version during the academic year.
The Creighton Courier began in June 1912 as a semi-monthly supplement to the Creighton Chronicle, a university journal that mixed campus news with academic articles by faculty.
Bluejay Service News
The Bluejay Service News was a newsletter distributed to former students of Creighton University who were serving in the military during World War II.
Chronicles & Shadows
Originally begun in 1909 as The Creighton Chronicle, the publication known today as Shadows has been a publication with many purposes. It served as the Creighton University news source until the emergence of the Creighton Courier newspaper in 1912.
The Bluejay (Creighton Yearbook)
Creighton University's yearbook, the Bluejay, was published from 1924 through 1941. Publication stopped during World War II and did not resume immediately following the war owing to a lack of student interest. The Bluejay returned in 1949 and was issued each year until 2011, the last year Creighton produced yearbooks.
We at Creighton are fortunate to have a Heritage Edition of The Saint John's Bible* on campus thanks to Mike and Nancy McCarthy, who have kindly gifted their set to the Creighton community. The Heritage Edition, when not in use for events around campus, is available for viewing in the Rare Books Room on the main level of Reinert-Alumni Memorial Library. Creighton classes, departments, organizations and alumni, as well as groups from outside of Creighton, have visited the Rare Books Room to engage with the sacred art and text.
*We offer a brief introduction for those who are unfamiliar with The Saint John's Bible or the Heritage Edition program. Contact Campus Ministry for more information.
The Saint John's Bible is the first handwritten, hand-illuminated Bible produced in English in over 500 years. Although the techniques for producing The Saint John's Bible, making quills to apply hand-mixed inks to calfskin vellum, are similar to those used by monks centuries ago, this is a 21st-century Bible that includes modern elements and artistic styles. A team of artists and scribes working at a scriptorium in Wales under the direction of Donald Jackson, in consultation with a committee of scriptural scholars and theologians from Saint John's University and Abbey in Collegeville, MN, completed the sacred text and artwork in 2011 after eleven years of work.
So that more people might engage with this beautiful set of Scriptures, Saint John's decided to create Heritage Editions, fine art reproductions that would closely approximate the original. Each of the seven volumes is bound in red Italian calfskin. The paper, designed specifically for the project, has the feel of vellum. The printing and embossing produced text and art similar to the original. Because mechanical processes could not do certain things, the illuminations were treated by hand, which means that each Heritage Edition set is unique.
The Heritage Edition at Creighton University is housed in a viewing stand and cabinet handcrafted by the Saint John's Abbey Woodshop. The design is intended to reference the transatlantic collaboration that produced this magnificent Bible. The pieces are made primarily of red oak sustainably harvested from the Saint John's University and Abbey campus in Minnesota, while Welsh oak (from a tree that fell on Donald Jackson's farm, where the scriptorium was located) is used for the drawer fronts of the case and the dark hexagonal accents at the corners of the stand. In addition, the sweep of the legs and the hexagonal elements suggest features of the Abbey's Bauhaus church.
For more about this wonderful work of sacred art and Scripture, please visit The Saint John's Bible website.
- Lighting the Word
- Sermon Project
We are blessed to collaborate with clergy across the Omaha metropolitan area to bring this special Bible to local places of worship. In this interdenominational project, faith leaders bring various perspectives as they feature specific illuminations in addresses to diverse audiences, all joined by the common inspiration of The Saint John's Bible. We are grateful to the communities for welcoming us warmly, and we are especially grateful to the clergy for participating and for graciously allowing us to share the recorded sermons. https://soundcloud.com/cuarchives
Many materials that are significant to the history of Creighton University are not in the University Archives. The list below provides links to other potential sources.
Creighton University Offices
Some offices on campus have records and other information about individuals and events who have influenced (and may continue to influence) Creighton University.
The Office of the Registrar maintains the academic records of current and past students.
The Office of Alumni Relations has basic information (such as year of graduation) for Creighton graduates. The university website contains links to these and other offices.
Members of the Society of Jesus (more commonly known as Jesuits) have been a constant presence at Creighton since 1878, when five Jesuits opened the school. Creighton remains a Catholic and Jesuit institution.
The collections of the Jesuit Archives of the Central United States* include materials on Creighton University, the Creighton family, and many individual Jesuits who have been at Creighton since 1878.
* The Midwest Jesuit Archives was renamed the Jesuit Archives of the Central United States following the merger of the Missouri and New Orleans provinces of the Society of Jesus, which occurred on July 31, 2014. The institution serves as the provincial archives for the Wisconsin, Chicago, Detroit and the newly merged Jesuits of the USA Central and Southern Province.
Local History Organizations
The Creighton community - the individuals as well as the institution - have made many significant contributions to Omaha and to Nebraska over the years. Researchers may find information and artifacts related to Creighton at area historical organizations.
The Douglas County Historical Society, located at Historic Fort Omaha (now a campus of the Metropolitan Community College), has exhibits and collections pertaining to the history of Omaha and Douglas County.
The Nebraska State Historical Society is devoted to preserving and telling the history of Nebraska. With a presence at historical properties around the state, NSHS is headquartered in Lincoln, which is the main location for archival collections and museum exhibits.
The Durham Museum, housed in Omaha's historic Union Station, tells the history of Omaha and the western region of the U.S. with permanent exhibits and collections, including an online Photo Archive.
Creighton Historic Highlights
Death of Edward Charles Creighton1874
In life, Edward Charles Creighton (08/31/1820-11/5/1874) wanted to establish a free school under Catholic auspices; but he died without a will and no plans were left. Daily Herald obituary.
Death of Mary Lucretia (Wareham) Creighton1876
Mary Lucretia Creighton (2/3/1834-1/23/1986) bequeathed $100,000 to the founding of a college that would be called Creighton College in honor of her Husband Edward Creighton. John A. Creighton became executor of the will of which he also was the chief beneficiary.
In April of 1877 land was purchased for the college and construction of Creighton Hall began.
Scholastics arrive at Creighton1877
Messrs. A.J. Beile, Michael Eicher and William F. Rigge, along with lay instructors Edward A. O’Brien and Mrs. B.M. Hall to begin planning and to assist in supervising construction of the first building. Image is from 1928 Golden Jubilee Program.
Creighton College Building1878
Creighton College was erected and given over to the Jesuit order in 1877.
Classes at Creighton began on September 2, 1878 at an elementary level. Picture taken September 1889
Creighton University Incorporated1879
2/27/1879 Nebraska legislature enacts a law providing for incorporation of universities. Rt. Rev. James O’Connor Bishop of Omaha turned over his trust to a corporation called Creighton University and appointed five Jesuits as the Board of Trustees. August 14, 1879, Creighton University was officially incorporated.
Formal Library was established1880
Description of Library by Fr. Dowling in University Reminiscences. “Under a happy inspiration, a vacant room was soon found. Suitable furniture was purchased, pictures and other decorations were arranged, magazines and papers procured, and, in less than a week, there was a cozy little apartment that very much delighted the boys, who showed their appreciation by proceeding without delay to make good use of it."
John Creighton Knighted1882
Mr. John A. Creighton created Knight of St. Gregory by Pope Lee XIII in August of 1882.
Chemistry Building Constructed1883
December 1883 Physical and Chemical Departments were formed and the Chemistry building was constructed.
Road work on California St.1885
Grade of California Street was lowered 12 ft.
October 1885 the Observatory is constructed.
From October 1886-June 1887 the Transit Room was constructed as an addition to Observatory. Father William F. Rigge's Astronomical Panoramic Views From a City Observatory.
St. John’s Cornerstone1887
Bishop James O'Connor lays the cornerstone of the new collegiate chapel 6/26/1887. Bishop O'Connor's arrival in Omaha is remembered in Early Days of the Mercy Order in Omaha.
St. John’s Church1888
The new chapel is dedicated to St. John the Evangelist Before the Latin Gate 5/6/1888.
Death of Sarah Emily Wareham Creighton1888
Sarah Emily Wareham Creighton(10/17/1840-9/30/1888) bequeathed $50k to the Sisters of St. Francis to be used in the construction of a new hospital at 10th and Castelar which was called Creighton Memorial St. Joseph’s Hospital. Her husband, John Creighton donated an additional $150k to the project.
Creighton Memorial St. Joseph’s Hospital1892
The cornerstone for the new hospital was laid on 11/23/1890. Creighton Memorial St. Joseph’s Hospital opened on the feast of St. Anthony on 2/7/1892. "Seventy-Five Years" Creighton Memorial St. Joseph's Hospital - Diamond Jubilee Souvenir 1870-1945
Medical College established1892
5/3/1892 The Board of Trustees unanimously resolved to establish the “The John A. Creighton Medical College.” at 12th and Mason St., temporarily in the Old St. Joseph’s Hospital. John Creighton is at the gate of the old St. Joseph's hospital in the 1882 photo. "Chapter IV: Early Years, 1892-1910" from A Century of teaching and healing 1892-1992: the first one hundred years of the Creighton University School of Medicine.
John A. Creighton was made a Count of the Papal Court by Pope Leo XIII in January 1895.
In 1941, the Creighton yearbook, The Bluejay, introduced a humanized version of Billy the Bluejay.
Head of Archives & Special Collections:
Peterson Brink, MA, CA
University Archives - RAL
2500 California Plaza
Omaha, NE 68178