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St. John's University Archives: Digital Collections

About this collection

Sparks, a literary magazine, was the first student publication at St. John's College, Brooklyn. It began when students from the Sparks Literary Society began writing class pamphlets. Upon the success of this pamphlet and encouragement from their faculty advisor, Father McCormick, they began the Sparks literary magazine. The two earliest issues in existence were handwritten, while the four later issues were printed.

 

This magazine provides insight into the academic lives and extra-curricular activities of the earliest students of St. John's, from their compositions and poetry, to their athletic pursuits. Also included are some of the earliest photographs in the history of St. John's.

 

In addition to editing this early publication, the society dedicated themselves to the study of elocution, composition, and debate. The name Sparks was derived from “the fact that the pamphlet contained little offshoots from the flame of knowledge then so fervent and bright in the minds of many of their class.” By 1897, Sparks Literary Society had raised enough funds for a furnished meeting and reading room and small library. The society had their own song, which is shown above in the 1897 issue.

 

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