Mount Saint Joseph’s College
Men and Deeds: The Xaverian Brothers in America (1930) by Brother Julian has a chapter on Mount Saint Joseph’s College. In 1975 Mount Saint Joseph’s College issued a centennial yearbook containing an early history of the school. The Baltimore Sun covered some school events. The ad (right) is from the 1891 Sadlier's Catholic Directory, Almanac and Ordo.
The Xaverian Brothers incorporated Mount Saint Joseph College in 1876. Classes opened for one student in January of 1877. Bother Julian notes that enrollment remained “around the forty mark,” and in the first twenty years enrollment “never accrued more than 90 students. The Sun reported that 140-150 students were expected in 1908. While most students were from the area, two Cubans were among the 1909 graduates.
Mount St. Joseph’s issued its first B.A. degree in 1894. The performance of graduates was such that Johns Hopkins and then other schools in the state and region recognized the degree. By 1914, sixteen B.A degrees were awarded. The school also had a commercial program that drew a large number of students
Mount St. Joseph’s had very strong programs in music, drama, and elocution. An elocution contest was part of commencement exercises each year. The Sun reported on dramatic presentations such as including “Major Andre” and “More Sinned Against Than Sinning.” The centennial yearbook shows a 12-piece orchestra, and the Sun notes school entertainments featuring the orchestra and a glee club.
In 1917 so many Mountmen entered the armed services, that college-level classes were suspended. After the war, enrollment in the high school was such that college classes were never resumed. Mount Saint Joseph’s High School continued and today has an enrollment of more than 900 young men.
Father Isidore C.F.X. led the walking and swimming activities for Mount students. Image from Men and Deeds https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=mdp.39015064366415&view=image&seq=379
Bricks and Mortar
The Xaverian Brothers were able to purchase the twelve-acre “Seven Gates” estate in 1876 as the site for their Mother House. The scenic Mount was then three miles from downtown Baltimore. Its single frame building served for all school purposes until the “Old Noviate” building was added around 1885. This three-story brick building was only one classroom wide with a porch. As enrollment increased, the building served many uses. As needed, the basement became a study hall, gymnasium, auditorium or commencement hall. The ground floor contained classrooms; the third floor had music rooms and a lecture hall or chapel; the fourth floor was a dormitory. Wings were added to the building in both 1892 and 1900 as it gradually became “part of the network of buildings since erected.”
In 1900 St. Joseph’s added the mammoth “M” building. Originally intended only for the use of the Brothers, it too soon became a multi-purpose structure until it was razed in 1960.
Mount Saint Joseph’s High School still occupies the same location, now a part of the city.
The Mount in 1901 after the new addition. The tower still figures in school symbols. The small white structure may be the original building. Image from Men and Deeds https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=uc1.$b55035&view=image&seq=205
School colors: Purple and Cream
Team name: The Sun generally referred to early teams as the Josephites; The centennial
yearbook prefers the name Moundmen. At some point teams became known as Gaels.
Brother Julian notes that the most popular activity for early students was the Saturday afternoon walk with Brother Isidore. He also points out that Brother Isidore was both tireless and innovative in his attempts to create a swimming pool—finally achieved in 1904. But baseball was the only extant sport from the early years of the school. And so it became its signature sport. The 1912 team was declared state champions with wins over Maryland, Maryland Aggies, St. John’s, Washington College and Mount St. Mary’s. Future major league pitcher Bill Morrissette was a 1913 graduate. In one game he pitched against another future major leaguer named Babe Ruth when the Mount lost to St. Mary’s Industrial school. Morrisette pitched for the Athletics (1915-16) and Tigers (1920).
During the period when Mount St. Joseph’s was a college, College Football Data Warehouse shows games against the same schools plus Gallaudet, Rock Hill and Baltimore City College. In 1910 the school hired a basketball coach, so played basketball after that date.