St. Norbert College Yearbooks

Another set of yearbooks has recently been added to Recollection Wisconsin, providing an interesting counterpart to the yearbooks now available online from Mount Mary College. St. Norbert College in De Pere is, like Mount Mary in Milwaukee, a four-year private Catholic college founded in Wisconsin in the 19th century and still in operation today. But while Mount Mary remains exclusively a women’s college, St. Norbert was a school for men only until it was made coeducational in 1952.

Abbot Bernard Pennings founded the college in 1898 to train young men for the priesthood, and would go on to serve as College president for nearly 60 years, until his death in 1955. St. Norbert students published their first yearbook in 1917. At that time, 134 students were enrolled at the college, each paying $300 in tuition. The title chosen for the yearbook, Des Peres (“The Fathers”) reflects not only the college’s location (the city of De Pere, just south of Green Bay) but the Green Bay area’s long history of French influence.

The digital collection now available from St. Norbert’s Miriam B. and James J. Mulva Library includes the first ten years of Des Peres, from 1917-1926.

Cover of the 1917 Des Peres yearbook. Illustration by J. Kitslaar.

The cover illustration for the 1917 yearbook (signed “J. Kitslaar”) ties the college’s identity to the history of European missionary work with Native people in the Green Bay area. Mulva Library, St. Norbert College.

Two of the 24 graduating seniors featured in the 1917 St. Norbert College yearbook.

Two of the 24 graduating seniors featured in the 1917 yearbook. Mulva Library, St. Norbert College.

St. Norbert College yearbook, 1919

The 1919 yearbook features a “roll call” – a series of group photos of students, mostly in more formal poses than this one. Mulva Library, St. Norbert College.

Football in the 1925 St. Norbert College yearbook.

The college football team is prominently featured in every yearbook. In 1925, the yearbook staff wrote: “We know that St. Norbert’s would be worth while without football but we also know that it is a better place with football and that its football men represent the most finished, the best educated in the wide sense and the finest specimens of St. Norbert’s men.” Mulva Library, St. Norbert College.

Browse and search the St. Norbert College yearbook collection.

The yearbooks make up the third digital collection from St. Norbert College, along with St. Norbert College in Photos and the mid-19th century diaries of Father Maximilian Gartner. The next digitization project from the College will be college catalogs from the early 20th century.

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