Preserving History: Chaminade, Julienne, St. Joseph Commercial, and Chaminade Julienne
A delicate teacup and a tattered century-old yearbook, a vintage band uniform and a towering championship trophy – the Chaminade Julienne archives are a historical treasure trove.
Marybelle Yeazel brings new life to Chaminade Julienne’s storied history by sorting, organizing, cataloging, and sharing the many unique and meaningful archive items with alumni from Chaminade, Julienne and St. Joseph Commercial high schools as well as CJ. She has been volunteering in this capacity since 2014.
“This work gives me joy,” Yeazel said. “To take a collection of something, sort it and figure out the best way to store it is a big job, but seeing the reactions and hearing the stories at reunion is so worth it.”
Yeazel, who spent 36 years working in records management at the National Archives Federal Records Center in Moraine, is ideally suited for the daunting CJ archives project. Her experience — paired with the knowledge of Sr. Kim Dalgarn, archivist for the Ohio Province of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur – has proven to be invaluable.
“Sr. Kim has been a Godsend,” Yeazel said. “She has helped me determine the best way to work through collections. I keep her on speed dial.”
Yeazel, the mother of 2016 graduate Elizabeth Yeazel, can hardly contain the excitement of having a new and significantly larger space for her work at the new Founders Center on Perry Street. With shelving, display cases and plenty of prime wall space, the priceless pieces of Chaminade Julienne’s history have found a new home and an enthusiastic curator.
“It’s a work in progress, my brain is trying to figure out how best to use this space,” Yeazel said. “I call it a labor of love.”
The archives have come a long way in short time with the recent addition of the Founders Center to the CJ campus.
“We basically moved from a former kitchen in Marianist Hall, really just a storage space, to a dedicated space where we can honor the past and inspire our future work,” said John Marshall, ‘86, director of development. “I envision it as being a museum-like center, a meeting space surrounded by our history.”
The space will be utilized for on-campus meetings for faculty and staff as well as special events for alumni and community members.
“I would love to have rotating displays,” Yeazel said. “And I want to have areas where people can come in and look at various collections.”
Yeazel is especially excited about the possibilities for alumni events, particularly reunion festivities.
“It’s all good to have these items, but the real value is in sharing them,” she said. “The stories you hear are just amazing.”
The archives will breathe new life into old memories and be a space to create new memories.
“We want to curate the best possible reunion experience for our alumni,” Marshall said.
While there are still boxes to sort through, pictures to organize and displays to create, Yeazel is always on the lookout for new treasures to add to the collection.
“When we have alumni bring their treasures in, that’s the best.”
Anyone with an item they would like to contribute can contact alumni relations coordinator Adrienne Green at email@example.com.