This Week in Fordham History

Happy Spring Break! We’re  looking back at moments in 1911, 1934, 1935, 1937 and 1945!  March historically was an exciting month for Fordham University! Read on to find out about women’s enrollment at Fordham, what exciting historical artifact Fordham acquired in 1935, and Dean James Walsh’s feelings on commercialism.

Dean James J. Walsh

Dean James J. Walsh

On March 20, 1911 the Philadelphia Inquirer ran a brief article about Fordham University Dean James J Walsh.

Dean Walsh gave a lecture at the Bellevue-Statford to the members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, stating that “commercialism has destroyed the interest of artisans in their work.” Dean Walsh is quoted as saying during his lecture, “At the present time the spirit of commercialism has destroyed the workmen’s interest. Everything is done at the highest speed possible. The idea is to complete the task and receive the pay envelope.”

One wonders how Dean Walsh would feel about the internet.





Time traveling to 1934, on March 19, 1934 the New York Times published an article entitled “Would Repudiate War. : Dr. Cox Asks Preachers to Prevent Conflict with Japan.”  Rev. Dr. Ignatius W. Cox of Fordham University gave a sermon calling upon ministers of the church and State to publicly declare their objection to war with Japan. In his sermon Rev. Dr. Cos said, “It is time to develop an irresistible will for peace and to make that will so evident now that our statesmen and diplomats understand that the American people demand a solution of international misunderstandings not by the barbaric weapons of war but by measures dictated by right reason, by natural and international law and by arbitration.”


March 17, 1935 the New York Times reported that Fordham University acquired a clay bone record originally found at Ur of Chaldees. The bone was inscribed with 20 lines of cuneiform writing and dated to 2150 BC. The writing was translated by Dr. Pfeiffer of Harvard University, “The divine Libit-Ishtar, the humble shepherd of Nipur, the faithful husbandman of Ur, who does not change the face of Etidu, a lord who befits Erech, the King of Sumer and Akkad, who captivated the heart of Ininni (Ishtar), am I. When justice in Sumer and Akkad he had established (three lines not yet deciphered) the temple of justice he built.” At the time the bone was especially exciting and interesting to Fordham University because it mentioned four cities mentioned in Genesis which had previously been considered mythical locations. The bone was on display at Fordham University Library.


In 1937 Fordham was generally regarded as an “educational institution for men” which is why when female enrollment reached a historic high in March of 1937 it warranted an article in the New York Times. In March of 1937, 7,500 students (total) were enrolled at Fordham University and  1,961 students were female. There were 349 students enrolled in the Graduate School, 73 of whom were seeking degrees in philosophy. The university’s School for Social Service had the largest concentration of women with 400 female students and 100 males students.

Women are now completely integrated in the study body of Fordham University.  As of the 2014-2015 school year 46% of the student population at Fordham University was male and 54% was female ( and female scholars are now also valued faculty members at Fordham.  While female professors are still less likely to receive a tenured teaching position*, progress certainly has been made since 1937, and  the yearly GSAS Professional Development Workshop Series at Fordham discusses this topic the place of women in academia.

*as of 2005-2006, 31% of tenured teaching positions nationally were filled by female faculty

March 23, 1945 the New York Times reported that Poland would “make no effort for representation at the United Nations Peace Conference in San Francisco because of the futility of it’s lone puppet vote, Professor Oscar Halecki of the Department of History at Fordham University.”  Dr. Halecki expressed concerned that Poland’s ‘lone puppet vote’ would only add support for the Soviet Union. Professor Halecki is quoted as saying, “We Poles have always been enthusiastic

Professor Oscar Halecki

Professor Oscar Halecki

about international organization based on right and justice, but we do not think a conference is necessary to decide whether great powers will be free to attack smaller ones whenever they like. We are interested in peace, but there can be no peace as long as the teachings of Christ are not applied to internationalism.”

Dr. Oscar Halecki taught Eastern European history at Fordham between 1944 and 1961. He was also an adjunct professor at Columbia University between 1955 and 1961. He retired in 1961, however he was a visiting professor at Loyola University (Rome) between 1962 and 1963, at the University of Fribourg in 1963, University of California between 1963 and 1964, and Good Counsel College for five years between 1964 and 1967.


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