Sunday, April 7, 2024

Leonard Cline and Loyola College, Montreal

Leonard Cline matriculated as a freshman at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, in the fall of 1910. He was 17 and a half years old. Before that he had attended Loyola College in Montreal (at the time an eight-year classical school). He presumably graduated in the spring or early summer of 1910, but how long was he there? The mentions of Loyola in his papers are few.

In the summer of 1925, Cline wrote: "More than two decades ago--I am now 32--I became an oblate of the Order of the Holy Cross, Episcopalian, A few years later I was converted to the Roman Catholic church and went to a Jesuit college in Montreal."

In other places, Cline refers specifically to Loyola, so it is certainly the Jesuit college in Montreal to which he refers. More than "two decades ago" would be before the summer of 1905, so 1904 can serve as an estimate for Cline becoming Episcopalian (so presumably before Cline's father's death on 10 October 1904). Cline would have turned 11 in May 1904. "A few years later" would seem to mean 1906 for his conversion to Catholicism.  It seems unlikely that Cline attended Loyola before 1906. So if he attended Loyola for four years, the dating would be 1906-1910.

I have accessed a few detailed resources on Loyola College: Loyola and Montreal: A History (1962) by T.P. Slattery; and From "Le Petit coll├Ęge de bois" to 7272 Sherbrooke St. West: A Brief History of Loyola High School, Montreal (2012), by Joseph B. Gavin, S.J. Sadly there is nothing in them about Cline.

Loyola College was founded in 1896. For decades it was mostly referred to as Loyola College, though it was both a boys high school and a college. It opened on St. Catherine Street, at the intersection with Bleury Street, in downtown Montreal on September 2, 1896, and after a fire less than a year and a half later it moved several blocks west to 68 Drummond Street (near the intersection with St. Catherine Street), where it operated from February 1898 though June 1916. In 1900, Loyola had purchased the Decary Farm (renamed Loyola Farm), comprising some fifty acres to the west of Montreal. Buildings were commenced at Loyola Farm in 1913, and the school moved there from Drummond Street in 1916. Loyola College remains at that location to this day.  

Cline's tenure at Loyola College was entirely while the school was located on Drummond Street. Sadly, few photographs of that location appear in the books I have been able to consult.  The enrollment at Loyola College in 1910-11--the year after Cline left--was 45 students in the Faculty of Arts (the Faculty of Science did not begin until 1943-44, and the Faculty of Commerce in 1948-49); thus 45 students was the total college enrollment. The total College and High School enrollment for 1910-11 was 259 students, so Cline, having left Loyola the year before, probably would have numbered among some two hundred high school students (numbers from Slattery, p. 284). 

One of Cline's classmates became very important to Loyola history: Francis ("Frank") M. Breslin (1893-1977), who attended Loyola high school and college between 1906/07 and 1913. Though he taught at Loyola from 1916-1918, and again in 1921-1922, his studies took him elsewhere for several years. He was ordained in August 1926, and came back to Loyola in 1930, teaching (Latin, Greek, English and French) and running the library (from 1942 until 1969), and then he worked in the bursar's office until 1975. Obituaries note that Breslin kept faithfully the Loyola Diary as well as a complete personal diary, and a black book in which he kept up-to-date accounts of his friends, former students and their addresses. (I wonder where these are now?)

How close were Cline and Breslin?  I wish I knew more, for the only evidence of their friendship in Cline's papers is a long, warm passage from November 1927 in Cline's hand which Cline had copied to retain. Cline's papers are very fragmentary, so the lack of other correspondence is not indicative of anything.

Also, from the Cline archive, there is an annotated photograph which I can't fully explain. Cline appears to be about eight years old in it, holding two dogs,and the annotation reads "AS A CHILD YE ED WAS QUITE AN EXPERT WITH THE HOUNDS". The photograph is small (about 2-and-a-quarter inches square), printed in blue (why blue?) and with red ink. I know of no instance where Cline was the editor of anything to which he might have included a photo of himself as a young boy.  Was this instance in some way related to Loyola?  Was there a yearbook or some student magazine that Cline might have edited as a teenager? I simply don't know.

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