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St. Viator College Collection

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: CSV-Inst-FPS-IL-##pdc

Scope and Contents

The St. Viator College (SVC) collection contains the records created and/or published during the school's era - 1868-1938. Numerous publications from the college are a big part of the collection. These include newspapers, bulletins, catalogs and yearbooks. They provide rich historical information of the times and are currently being digitized for Internet access. The collections hold student records, including transcripts from both the college and high school departments, grade books, test scores and graduates although it is not complete. The Alumni files capture personal information on some of the prominant SVC graduates (a created collection), the records of the Alumni Association and the Extension Club. There were ten Presidents of the college and each has a file capturing the term of each. Numerous Financial records are preserved, including warranties and quit claim deeds, cash books, journals, general ledgers and account files. Minute meeting are also available for the Board of Trustees and the College Council. A created collection regarding the college campus is maintained since its closing - articles and newsclippings about Olivet Nazarene College. Photographs, ephemera and artifacts are a very small part of the collection.


  • Created: 1868-1938


Biographical or Historical Information

Three Viatorians, Fr. Peter Beaudoin and Brothers Augustine Martel and Jean Baptist Bernard, came to Bourbonnais Grove, IL from Joliette, Canada in 1865 at the pleas of Rev. Jacob Cote, then pastor of the Village Church, to aid in educating the local youth. St. Viator College was established by the Viatorians in Bourbonnais Grove in 1868.  Fr. Thomas Roy, CSV, was the first president from 1868-1879.  The first building was erected under his regime and a University charter was secured from the State of Illinois in 1874.  It was an institution of higher learning empowered to grant degrees in Arts and Letters, Philosophy, Science and Commerce. Under Fr. Moises J. Marsile, CSV, the second president from 1879-1907, the college grew rapidly.  Two wings were added to the original structure and a chapel was erected.  In Feb 1906, a distasterous fire wiped out all the buildings, except the new gymnasium. Fr. John  P O'Mahoney, CSV, the third president from 1907-1918 set out to rebuild the institution.  O'Mahoney, at the age of 30, was the youngest college president in the country at that time.  With the help of the Alumni and the Carnegie Foundation, two large, modern and fire-proof buildings were erected.  O'Mahoney also standardized all the courses, making them conform to the best requirements of modern education. The entrance of the United States into World War I was a signal for St. Viator College to give her best service to the nation - classes were depleted by students enlisting and professors departed to be chaplains in the military.  Fr. James F. Ryan, the fourth and war-time president, successfully directed the college from 1918-1919 and weathered the storm.  The Student's Army Training Corps was established under Ryan at the college, one of the first colleges to secure the SATC unit.  The seminary was discontinued during this time. Fr. William J. Bergin, CSV, was the fifth president of the college from 1919-1921.  His enthusiasm for intellectual growth lifted the college to scholastic excellence. Fr. Joseph D. Kirley, CSV, was the sixth president from 1921-1922 and Fr. Terence J. Rice was the seventh president from 1922-1927. During his term in 1925, St. Viator became co-educational. Fire struck again in January of 1926.  The gymnasium, which survived the 1906 fire, was completely destroyed.  Reconstruction began immediately and two new buildings were erected - a new gymnasium and a new dining hall. Fr. James V. Rheams, CSV, was the eighth prseident from 1927-1928, followed by Fr. John W.R. Maguire, CSV, the ninth president from 1928-1934.  During Maguire's term in 1930, high school was discontinued, but the class of 1931 was allowed to graduate.  The institution became exclusively devoted to college courses in 1931. The tenth and last president of St. Viator College was Fr. Edward V. Cardinal, CSV, from 1934-1938.  The financial condition of the college deteriorated rapidly during the Great Depression and it was announced in June of 1938 that it was closing its doors.  It was a difficult time for the Viatorians and the community of Bourbonnais.  The institution that gained nationwide recognition for educating religious, governmental and social leaders came to an end. In 1940, the campus was purchased by the Church of the Nazarene.  Buildings of the Nazarene College in the town of Olivet, IL had been destroyed by fire the previous November.  Instead of rebuilding, Olivet Nazarene College was relocated in Bourbonnais on the campus of the old St. Viator College.

Note written by The Viatorian, St. Viator College, Special Number - The Drive, 1922; The Viatorian, Nov. 10, 1926;


45.00 Linear Feet

X boxes, X linear feet other_unmapped

Language of Materials



St. Viator College, established and run by the Clerics of St. Viator, was located in Bourbonnais, IL from 1868-1938.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in 14 series and then chronologically within each series.


Archon Finding Aid Title
Joan Sweeney, Archivist
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Viatorian Community Archives Repository

1212 East Euclid Ave
Arlington Heights IL 60004 US
847-637-2145 (Fax)